As I sit here writing this on a Friday afternoon, I’m consumed. My best friend in the whole world is about to pass on to the next part of life’s journey. I have sat with her many times recently, including this past Sunday. It feels like it won’t be long now.
This week I committed to write about integration — which is, simply stated, the action of putting together parts or elements to combine them into a whole.
During this time of transition my mind is busy. There’s been a lot of self-reflection about my own life’s journey and the large role my work has played in my life. An essential part of me is that of a business woman and Enneagram expert. There have been times when I momentarily believed those who suggested that to be an “evolved” being I should not be overly attached to my work. I knew I was meant to be a teacher who embodied her teachings, and I knew I loved my work and was wholly invested in helping my clients achieve success, whatever that was in each of their eyes. After years of personal growth work, I’m here to say that I unapologetically feel good about identifying with my professional self.
Of course, that is not all of me. The first draft of this post I started a week or so ago began: ‘Listen to the voices saying you are more than your work. Yes, you are. We all are.” For me, personal integration, true embodiment, includes not only my consulting and teaching but all my roles, thoughts, beliefs, reactions, dreams, my past, my wins and losses, my heartbreaks and my joys — all of me. But most days, I count myself lucky to be able to integrate many of those things into what I do for a living.
I remember a key teacher in my life, David Daniels, saying that self-awareness never outpaces self-acceptance. He was right. The process of integrating all parts of me into a sense of who I really am remains a journey. As I ponder my BFF’s life, I see the whole of her, and I know she has seen the whole of me. It’s what friends do. It’s a priceless gift.
Thanks for indulging me this heartfelt post. I hope reading it creates an opportunity for you to reflect on your own journey of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and personal integration.
By Mary Anne Wampler
PRINCIPAL, TRANSFORM, INC.