Posts In: Musings

Ich habe hunger

October 13, 2015

It occurred to me that, as English speakers, we really do overuse the phrase ‘I am’. I am hungry.

I am thirsty. I am cold. I am sad. I am British. I am female…

We use it for permanent states, and temporary states, with no second thought at all but if you think about our various European cousins, they’re different.

Ich habe hunger vs. Ich bin walisisch.

J’ai faim vs. Je suis galloise.

Tengo hambre vs. Soy galesa.

They use ‘I am’ for permanent states but ‘I have’ for more temporary states such as being hungry, thirsty, sad, happy…

And that’s right isn’t it? Because to use ‘I am’ with a feeling, an emotion, gives it too much credence, too much weight. It accords it a sense of permanence that it doesn’t really deserve. I am not hungry but I feel a temporary need to eat. I am not sad but may be experiencing a passing moment of sadness – a moment that, if I don’t attach myself too strongly to it, will just fade away with time.

That’s not to belittle feelings. I have (recent) personal experience of their power, both positive and negative. But it seems to me that in an age of so-called mindfulness we might be as mindful of the language we use to describe our feelings as we are of the feelings themselves.

Being me

May 6, 2015
I'm convinced!

Greg Faxon and the 30-Day Bravery Challenge he started back in April – that’s the source of this post, indeed this blog!

For a while I’d wanted to write but it had never quite made it to the top of the ‘to do’ list. That is until I was challenged, on day four, to be authentic.

But what does authentic mean I started thinking – what does it mean to be me? Scratch that, what does it really mean to be me?  Because it’s not such an easy thing to answer, especially when your life has recently undergone such massive change as mine has.

Two years ago ‘me’ was a wife, a sister and a daughter. A career-focused marketer with a C.V. full of promotions, always on the lookout for bigger and better things. Caring, but busy. Living a bit of an insular life. And, in hindsight, falling a little out of love with it all.

Fast forward to today and that me is, if not totally gone, then certainly different. I’m an ex-wife, an (estranged) sister and, of course, still a daughter. I’m still a marketer, I still have that C.V. The difference is that, bubbling up from below the surface, is a whole new set of wishes and desires. My ‘truth’ if you will – the ‘authentic’ that Greg had tasked me with being.

The strange thing is, it’s familiar – reminiscent of more innocent years. Which means that somewhere along the way I buried it, for reasons I’m not sure I’ll ever understand.

I have a yearning for the creative that doesn’t yet have an outlet – I’m drawn towards learning to draw or paint, to make a love of writing more official, to go out and take photographs.

I’m filled with desire to be outdoors – in great open spaces preferably. It doesn’t have to be activity-based, I just have to be closer to nature.

And I’m sporty, a runner. I ran a bloody marathon! And not just any marathon but NYC, one of the greats. How’s that for setting a goal and grabbing it with both hands?

I love helping people. Helping find solutions to their problems and guiding them in facing challenges. By all accounts it’s something I’m quite good at.

And really, I love people. Talking to them, learning about them, experiencing and celebrating  their differences.

I have some pretty strong core values. Integrity, truth, equality, justice, compassion…

And finally, I’ve rekindled a love for yoga. Today is 57 days straight in my home practice and I’m enrolled back in a class too.

But I need (need not want) to make more of all this. To turn it into something tangible. This is the scary bit. I’ve become very unfulfilled and my gut tells me it’s time for something new. But you’ve spent the last 35 years getting here my rational brain yells. Well, so what? That’s not a good enough reason to not change things.


Yesterday saw me start a conversation with my yoga teacher about qualifying to teach myself. And we’ve identified a course I could start next Spring. It’s not going to pay any bills, not overnight, but being a yoga teacher feels like it’d be somewhat right. Authentic if you will.

Certainly it’s a piece of the puzzle. And I can manage not being in love with all the other pieces while I’m working on this one. Plus who knows what other pieces I might find that fit and can help to build a life that I love. That is fulfilling. And of course authentic.

Watch this space.

So that’s me, being me. And I invite you to give it a go – what does it mean to you to be authentic?


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