Sunday, March 10, 2013

Self Awareness - the Path to Tikkun Olam

Yesterday (Saturday 3/9) I officiated Stephanie and Rueben's wedding at the Ashton Depot in Fort Worth, Texas. Here are the personal remarks I shared with them and their guests:

In one of my meetings with Stephanie and Rueben, I made the observation that they both had a greater capacity for self awareness than other people. Regarding their own emotional and spiritual development, Stephanie and Rueben are very aware of who they are, what they want, and where they are headed, as individuals and as a couple.

Now, being self aware is more challenging than you might think. There is a reason your average airport bookstore has such a large collection of self-help books, from the academically serious titles to the unintentionally comedic titles, like - this is an actual example - How to Change Your Life in 7 Days. Right...

The problem is, as a recent essay in New York Magazine pointed out, most of this ubiquitous book store offering talks a lot about the "help" part, and not so much about the "self" part. So, when I come across a title from that bookstore section that actually addresses the latter, I take note.

Here is what David Kirchhoff, a techie turned CEO, who has a bit of a Buddhist bent, says in his book. (When I read this, I immediately thought of Stephanie and Rueben, and knew I would talk about it here.) "There is no firmly defined 'me.' I am a collection of choices that I make each day, and I am constantly evolving, growing, and changing. I am not bound by who I was... 10, 15 or 20 years ago... Our future can be defined by the choices we make going forward."

Now, you could say that this is true of all of us. Sure, but it is the awareness of this that sets some, like Stephanie and Rueben, apart. It is the awareness of this that allows one to make better choices, it is the awareness of this that allows us to seize some measure of control over our destinies.

Ironically, it is this understanding of self, that helps us discover that a truly meaningful life lies not in the over-indulgence of this self, but outside ourselves. So, we should not be surprised that in their personal and professional lives Stephanie and Rueben focus not on themselves, but on helping others.

Stephanie and Rueben, may you be blessed to continue to possess this deep sense of self, and through this understanding may you continue to practice Tikkun Olam, making the world a better place, each and every day.

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