Quotes as Prompts into Personal Truths: Anaïs Nin

A good quote is an invitation, an invitation into oneself. We resonate with certain sayings or phrases because they awaken a truth in us. They offer something we would have liked to say, but couldn’t quite get there. Certain words create an allowing, a sense that it’s okay to be who you are, or a push, to let yourself be more than you thought you could be.

Over the next few days, I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes, and why they speak to me on a personal level.

“The lasting revolution comes from deep changes within ourselves that influence the collective life.” - Anaïs Nin

This is the quote that I chose to have on the front page of my blog because it, more than any other quote, speaks to the inner mission of the work I do. It speaks both to the smaller and larger purpose—the individual soul and the soul of the world. As I mature, and enter middle age, I see how important it is to me that the work I do has an impact on society, on the collective life. In fact, if I look closely at my history, I would say that that goal has always been there, even if it has sometimes been hidden from my view.

As a teenager, after watching the movie Pump Up the Volume with Christian Slater, about a teenage boy who was a secret rebel—through his radio show—he stirred up a conservative small town into acknowledging and rebelling against its own rigidity. Watching that film awakened me to my soul’s mission: to be a voice of impact and awakening for humanity. There have been times that I have gotten caught up in the ego’s desires to have fame or recognition, to be popular. It is clear to me now, after much inner work, that these desires link to a very old need for be respected and acknowledged. But when I look more closely, and open up to my heart’s mission, I see that my goal is to have an impact on how people live. I want people to experience life more fully and deeply. I want them to open up to who they really are. To experience both their unique soul’s manifestation as well as opening up to the universal Self.

In yoga yesterday, Marimar, the teacher, invited us to ask ourselves: “what is my life’s purpose?” Immediately, the answer came: “to be myself & to help others be themselves.” It was a feeling of happy recognition. After all, the title of the workshop I have led for the last five saturdays is Be All Your Selves, and this becoming my catch phrase, as well as the lyrics to one of my songs.

I have discovered that in order to be yourself, you must first allow yourself to explore and integrate all the smaller selves, or subpersonalities, or archetypes. This is my updated version of Jung’s discoveries about human as well as spiritual development. Personally, I have struggled deeply with being myself.  It can be so hard to simply just be yourself, when we often don’t know what that is, or what that would look like. But in any given moment we can contact an aspect of Self through a role we play, or an emotion we feel, we can explore that part, accept it, love it, the slow process of integrating it into the whole.

Its this process of integration that is the core of the work that I do: both for myself and for others, by focusing on the individual experience of self-actualization, we change the restrictive nature of our culture, one awakening at a time.

Do you have a favorite quote that reminds you of your life's purpose?