When my grandmother died many years ago, family members arranged photos of her chronologically from the time she was a girl of 16 immigrating from Russia, until age 87 when she said goodbye. Looking over those pictures I felt like I was right there moving with her through the trajectory of her life. The sensation was like running my hand along a fence as I walked by (like when I was a child), except I was touching on the feeling of her energy as my eyes traveled each of the photographs.
Though my curiosity was always peaked about the details of my grandmother's life, ultimately I was more interested in how she felt to me - who I knew her to be, the essence of who she was (still present now after all this time).
Recently, my son, age 15, complained he doesn't know who he is. I told him what I've come to see - that who we are is not an intellectual concept; it cannot be identified through thinking about ourselves. We must be still and quiet and feel who we are - for who we are is far beyond any list of what we've done, any self-image, any role we play, and any job title. It's too wonderful and too expansive for any of that. We must feel it to know it, just as we must feel love to know love.
From the Inside