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May 22, 2010

disABILITY: Varied interests not a sign of unfocused life; it's about self-awareness

Recently I was challenged to come up with my biggest passion in life, and while it took me 2½ weeks of extensive consideration of what that might be for me, I came to the realization that my big passion in life is self-awareness.

I have never actively considered what it is that I'm pursuing. I have so many scattered and seemingly random interests and activities in my life.

The only thing you might be able to first gather from the activities I get involved with, or my virtual library of electronic and audio books, is that there is virtually no genre, topic or area of life that I have not or will not explore or pursue in one way or another.

I felt overwhelmed when I started thinking about all my zillions of scattered interests. They all stood out to me as important and yet none of them stood out above all the others.

Do I not have a focus in life? Believe it or not, I do have a focus.

The focus is about bringing a lot of knowledge and experiences in through many channels. Because of that, it can easily appear as though there is no single focus or goal at all.

My intent in all areas of my life is about growing through self-awareness.

I see my reflection through many mirrors. Books, people and wide and varied activities all reflect aspects of myself that I might not otherwise see or recognize any other way.

Being able to know myself more fully and deeply is essential to my growth in life. My growth in life is directly connected to my deeper fulfillment in life. My deeper fulfillment in life is what I want to have the pleasure of looking back on before I take my last breath.

So in order to live fully I am constantly exploring the things I know little about.

I educate myself on the things that may have no current application to my life. I'm seeking to know what those seemingly irrelevant or easily avoided things hold for my own recognition of why I am the way I am and why I think or believe what I think or believe.

I might sometimes fear the unknown or bristle at the prospect of challenges to my own ways of thinking, but it doesn't stop me from jumping headlong into an exploration of why I fear or react defensively toward those things.

Because I don't see my world, I have to feel it and hear it and drink it all in through other means. There are, no doubt, things I miss because they are presented and represented visually to the masses.

If I can't see it and don't happen upon it by touching it or hearing about it, I can easily miss the whole point or at least enough of the point that I can't connect all of the dots along with everyone else.

I have never felt bitter over this, I simply believe it's just one of many thousands of reasons I hunger after such a wide variety of books, ideas and experiences.

My method of learning might seem scattered to some, but it makes complete sense to me.

There is rarely, if at all, any time that I seek out something without some intent to personally grow.

When I came to Ithaca to attend massage school, I didn't just look for a nice apartment that would hold all of my junk and make me feel good. I looked for a whole environment that was going to challenge me toward growth. It might sound odd, but that's how I work.

I must say that the apartment I have is very nice. It does hold all my junk, and it is truly quite comfortable.

But at the same time, I am finding that it has, indeed, turned out to be a great teaching ground as well.

I do believe my level of consciousness about me and my life reflects the types of experiences I will have. If I'm not very conscious, my life will be on the side of superficiality. If I live in a deeply conscious, aware way, my life will take on more and more depth and multi-dimensionality.

I want to live as largely as I possibly can. I may not be cut out for a job as an academic teacher to others, but without a doubt I am my own best teacher when it comes to learning life.

Learning life is such an internal, personal process that I wouldn't want it any other way.

To me, there is nothing more essential and more important to have in life as self-awareness. There isn't much I can have if I don't have self-awareness first.

"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power." _ Tao Te Ching.

Kate Pavlacka, a graduate of the State University College at Oneonta, has been totally blind for about a dozen years. Her columns can be found at

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