Friday, May 16, 2008

Who Are We?

I left work yesterday, picked up my wife at her office and drove in the pouring rain to Chloe's daycare. As I drove down the Interstate the Beatles "Here Comes The Sun" played on the radio. Unfortunately, the sun never came. Since Chloe's mother doesn't work as many hours now as she used to I rarely see Chloe during the week. I miss her smile and the excitement she shows when she sees me coming in the daycare. We had our usual gourmet meal at McDonald's. She was in a great mood, laughing and being her sweet self, until she realized that she had to go home with Mommy instead of coming to my house. As I was trying to strap her in the car seat she did an excellent imitation of Emily Rose from the movie entitled "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". It's amazing how many ways a young child can contort their bodies when you are trying to secure them in a car seat against their will. She kissed me goodbye but I did not get an "I Love You" like I normally do. I tried to convince her that she needed to go home so she could help Mommy and Daddy to pack for their vacation. She wasn't buying it. Any grandparent hates to part with a grandchild on a negative note. I know however that she probably got over it very quickly.

Chloe and her parents are leaving today for Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My wife, younger son, and I will leave on Sunday morning to join them. Yes, it is time for the annual Griswold Family Vacation. Together we own a time share so we can all stay together and be together 24 HOURS A DAY. We all get along well and we will have a good time. Like with all families I am sure there will be a few tense moments here and there. I will not get a moments rest because every time I try to sneak off to take a nap, Chloe will track me down like a bloodhound. Her radar is always on. "Where's Pa Paw"???? I will be on vacation all next week. There will be no daily thoughts while I am on vacation unless the Spirit moves me. Otherwise I am also taking a vacation from writing.

The Tao Te Ching asks an interesting question. What is our nature if we have no outside forces telling us who or what we should be? Perhaps it is because of my spiritual search to discover my true self that I have had something of an obsession trying to understand what makes me tick. I enjoy psychology and the study of personality types. I have come to know and accept that my Myers-Briggs type is an introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiver. In other words I am an INFP. Besides being introverted and intuitive, INFP's tend to make judgements based on personal values rather than established rules, and they like life to be open ended rather than constricted. My study of the Enneagram has revealed to me that I am a type Nine, also called the Peacemaker. Being considered a peacemaker says a lot about what I value in life. I read in one book that 90% of all INFP's tend to be Enneagram type Nines. I am still trying to figure out why I am these types. As with all people, my life experiences, especially my childhood, have much to do with it. I don't think any of us have the ability to choose our personalities but we unconsciously build them as our defense against the world. I think I am an introvert because I grew up in a large family in a small house. There was no where to hide or go except within myself. Enneagram Nines, besides loving peace and harmony, often feel unnoticed, even invisible, to others. I have sometimes found myself wondering, "What do I have to do to get noticed"? I think part of the reason I am this type is because I was the first born child in a large family. As each sibling was born I felt pushed further from the parents...until I felt I was no longer even noticed. I still feel like this sometimes. Of course, this is just my theory but it helps me to understand why I am a withdrawn person while also being someone who craves attention. All of this is who I became naturally without any realization of it until late in my life. If it's not difficult enough being who you are, the world is constantly trying to mold you into someone you are not. Culture, race, gender, sexual preference, the marketplace, and the workplace often pressure us to act and behave in a certain way that is more often than not is in conflict with who we really are. Being resistant to these influences and pressures is a full time job. Consider how you feel inside compared to how you feel compelled to act on the outside. Is it a comfortable feeling? Do you feel at home within your own skin? Who are you if no one is telling you who to be?

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