By Daniel Compas
Who am I?
We’ve all asked ourselves this age-old question. We’ve all come up empty-handed at one moment or another (probably more often than not).
Then there are other moments—those “aha” moments—where we feel like we really know. What I’m realizing this year as I journey into the unknown—a journey where I attempt to let my heart guide—is that I don’t know.
When those moments happen, I just am.
There’s a seamless unraveling. A flow. There is a current bursting forth from a hidden spring where there’s no distinction between the moment and its happening. What it really seems to be, without getting lost in the esoteric, is authenticity. When I live effortlessly, when fears dissolve in a moment, when a decision is made instinctively, is when I am wholly myself.
That is when I’m authentic.
By no means are these moments permanent though. They come as quickly as they go. As each one arrives I find myself clinging to the notion that this is it and I must hold onto it forever.
What I am also realizing however is that you cannot keep it. It’s not allowed. Life would not be a process if you could. Otherwise we would all be certain of who we are and constantly act from that center.
But we don’t (well at least I don’t, and if you do please tell me how you got there).
That’s why when I allow moments to happen without effort, I feel so at peace. Because it’s in these moments that the deepest essence of who I am—without patterns, without fears, without agendas, without boundaries—shows itself.
But how do I begin to know who I am? And how do I live authentically?
The sad news for me was that I didn’t find a magical formula as an answer. There was no single book. No medicine. No teacher. No guideline. It was just me staring back at myself in the mirror, confused and alone.
The beautiful news was that I was staring back at myself in the mirror confused and alone. And it is only from this point that I could move forward and in that realization was the freedom to ask.
That’s what brought me to this community. The freedom to ask.
And this question I’ve been wrestling with this past year has allowed me to enjoy the most beautiful moments, connect with the most inspiring people and begin the most terrifyingly magnificent journey of living an authentic life.
I will admit that just because I’ve asked and taken the leap, doesn’t mean that life is now easy.
In fact, it’s probably more challenging than it ever was. Because I can no longer rely on other people, the media, my multitude of books, an employer, or even the systems at large. At the end of the day it’s still me, alone in the mirror, asking the same question:
As I write I am but baby steps into this journey and I claim only imperfection.
What has helped so far to connect me with those effortless moments where I seem to know who I am and feel as though I am living authentically?
I’ve said “I love you” to myself until I feel silly. I’ve greeted strangers more than I’ve looked away. I’ve told my wife she’s beautiful until she feels it. I’ve tried to shut my mouth and open my ears. I’ve sat in silence longer than feels comfortable. I’ve learned how to catch myself in unconscious moments. I’ve admitted when I was wrong. And known when I should have. I’ve stopped waiting and started doing.
Most importantly, I’ve learned to be okay with not knowing.
You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to “arrive” somewhere. You don’t have to be any more than you are. Right now is the perfect time. It’s the only time.
You are already authentic. You are already you.
Look in the mirror, smile, and just say,
Daniel Compas is just a human being attempting to create the beautiful life that each of us deserve. He is imperfect, passionate and sensitive. He loves nature, books, gardening and yoga. He is in the early stages of creating a coaching business centered around teaching people how to have more authentic, vulnerable, expressive lives. In the meantime, don’t be a stranger. Please connect with him on Facebook or via email. He currently lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife, Noelle and their awesome dog and cat.
Editor: Dana Gornall