Cranes from dollar bills. Flowers from straw wrappers. Give my daughter something to fold and she probably will. It’s quite a joy watching her create something beautiful from something ordinary.

My origami skills, I’m afraid, leave a great deal to be desired. Although I do feel like I’ve been the one who has been folded.

Life has a way of doing that to us, it’s own version of origami, often folding us without us even being aware we’re being folded. Folded by the critical comments, unhealthy actions, and toxic opinions of others, especially in the formative years of our own self identity. Such folding impacts our experience and expectations, time often turning those folds into deep creases, continuously pressed even deeper into our psyche, reinforcing who it is we tell ourselves we are.

I’ve been folded and contorted into neither a crane nor a flower. I am just me, my final shape yet to be clearly defined. But folding is always a part of our evolution.

My journey into better understanding life and, in particular, my life has been a meandering maze of diving more deeply into me. Yes, I’ve been folded and molded and shaped into who I am today. But is who I am today who I was actually created to be? Like, are the labels and traditions and limitations I’ve accepted as true not actually the truth inherent with my creation?

Questioning something as significant as your identity involves a process of self awareness and examination. Sort of origami in reverse, the conscious process of slowly unfolding the self. A forensic and non-judgmental deep dive inside of yourself, challenging who you accept yourself to be and why you believe it.

Yes, life had shaped me, but the process of unfolding creates the space for me to shape my life, the space for me to intentionally re-fold and re-shape myself in to who it is I believe I was created to be.

“I’m not the only one,

Staring at the sun,

Afraid of what you’d find,

If you took a look inside

“Not just deaf and dumb,

Staring at the sun,

Not the only one,

Who’s happy to go blind…”

In “Staring At The Sun” U2 sings of going blind by staring into the sun as a preferred alternative to looking deep inside the self for fear of what would be found there.

There are far more pleasant things to look at, to be distracted by, to be numbed by versus intentionally looking deeply inside and facing yourself. Especially if your relationship with yourself is less than ideal. But inside is the only place where I’ve ever found what I was truly looking for. Peace. Acceptance. Validation. Worthiness. Understanding.

Unfolding, then re-folding. Me, intentionally re-shaping me into a version of me which feels much more aligned with who it is I believe I was created to be.

It’s a process. Often a messy, difficult, gut-wrenching, non-linear, unsupported, painful process. But it’s also been the gateway to some of the most significant growth I’ve ever experienced. Isn’t that why we do this kind of work in the first place? To more fully grow into who we really are?

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

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