Even though much of my work is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to write, and this is the place for that. Feel free to join in the conversation. Thanks for reading.
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with another person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure or unheard.
It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.… I’m an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey. In sharing my story, I hope to help create space for other stories and other voices to widen the pathway for who belongs and why…. Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.” — Michelle Obama
This is the final of many gems Michelle Obama shares in her boldly told purpose journey written with courageous vulnerability in a way that intimately invites you in, as if you have taken the ride with her. And if you are a midlife soul, you undoubtedly have: evolving from Becoming Me, stretching into Becoming Us and finally, craving and dancing into that third chapter, Becoming More. Besides providing a fabulous historic perspective, her voice is real and her struggles resonate deeply.
I remember hugging her in DC at the first inauguration when Barack became Senator Obama. Her gigantic body guard standing watch nearby with such ferocity I wondered what threat I could possibly present, she paused to take off her gorgeous tweed blazer, revealing a fuchsia vest and a bare back. Much taller than I, I reveled in the ease of her beautiful presence, relished her personable warmth. Listening keenly to every speech she’s ever given, I have often basked in her confidence, creativity and caring concern for others. Becoming tells another tale and it brought me to tears. With a bow of deep gratitude for all her sacrifices as she reluctantly released her Barack into the public light because we needed him, I applaud Michelle and highly recommend her exquisite life story!
What begins as a search for purpose, grounded in a lovingly grounded family life, soon becomes a well-lived purposeful life journey, best told by the one who chose to live it all the way out! Her challenges feel so real and her tests of confidence surprising and inspiring given her success. Hesitantly stepping into the public arena, Michelle Obama shines with courage and grace, truly making herself known — whether trying to follow social norms with the Queen of England or Nelson Mandela or sneaking out of the White House for a breath of fresh air or reticently handing over the reigns to uncaring, disgraceful people.
She cares deeply. We all benefited from her caring for eight long, wonderful years and it really took a toll on her, not that she’s complaining. I can’t wait to see what she does next and I feel inspired with more enthusiasm than ever to make myself known and to know the stories of others. Each time that I do, I feel that soulful connection I deeply desire. In fact, just yesterday, a man named Allen was mopping the floors at the gym. Always intent to make sure people who may feel invisible are seen, I smiled at him and thanked him for his service. Later, he came over to talk. “Some people see past all this external stuff,” he said, “They just see spirits.” Our souls connected past all the obvious differences and external strangeness. He shared stories about enjoying four Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends and finally, joining his lonely landlord who was eating all alone. He relayed his recent heart scare and committed to live more fully and healthily. He preached wisely about the dangers of a society trying to steer us away from the truth of our souls: we are One. There, amidst all us sweaty gym rats, working off extra calories from the feast, my soul was fed as Allen spoke his truth, and I was graced in making his known. Together we became the world as it could be, the beloved community.
Who are you becoming?