• Andrew Woods

TO REACH THE SKY




“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.” – Jim Carrey


As I stood at the edge of the lake, looking out at the mountains and pale sky, witnessing a moment that would never repeat itself, a question came to mind.


It wasn’t any kind of question I’d ever had before, nor at the time did it reveal its true intent… but curiously, it stuck with me.


It was a question that I began to ask myself more and more, as time passed. And although the answer seemed absurdly obvious, I recognized there was a deeper, more profound realization behind it.


After all, the question of, “Who am I?” could only have one answer.


“I’m me.”


Obviously.


“I’m Andrew.”


But through observation alone, in nature and in civilized society, things were always changing. Always evolving. Everything was simply in transition.


A caterpillar would identify as caterpillar… until it becomes a butterfly.


As we go through life, and ride the ups and downs, there are occasions when you might wake up and realize that some kind of transformation is necessary. Maybe you’re unhappy, maybe you’re uninspired, maybe you feel a lack of something.


Whatever it is, you realize that somewhere along the way you’ve lost touch with who you truly are.


As it happened to me.


I woke to find myself emotionally, spiritually, and morally bankrupt. To the point that I no longer recognized the person reflected in the mirror.


But that’s life. And through life we are given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and to acquire new wisdom through a unique series of lessons.


I spent most of my early life looking externally for what inner-peace I desired.


I sought acceptance from the world around me, without ever asking whether I could even accept myself.


That external validation became its own drug. And I rode from one high to the next, seeking from others what I couldn’t provide for myself. It was never enough. I wanted more, and that nagging feeling of incompleteness and inadequacy became a heavy burden.


But, looking back there’s a kind of acknowledgement that maybe everything happens when it’s supposed to. As Robert Downey Jr once said, “You end up doing the stuff you’re supposed to do at the time you’re supposed to do it.”


I guess what I was supposed to do was become acquainted with myself. To learn that there isn’t anything on the outside that I need, and rather it’s what I can offer to myself that matters most.


I learned the value of self-love, of being self-compassionate, of accepting the whole spectrum of who I am – the good, the bad, and the ugly.


It was a beautiful process.


That kind of shift in perspective can have a huge impact on a person’s life. Because in a way the reality we face on the outside is a reflection of our own inner-reality.


I still ask myself the question regularly.


Who am I?


And the answer is never a constant. It’s always changing.


I take comfort in the awareness that who I am today will not remain static.


With every day, there is growth, maturity, learning and progress.


For all of us, combined. As part of the bigger picture, the bigger narrative.


Like the story of the caterpillar who becomes the butterfly.


We must crawl in the dirt before we can reach the sky.

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