Your Life Has A Theme

Part of the waking up process is to realize that your life has a theme. Many people know that they have interests, but they don't know that they have a theme. Life themes are not cookie cutter, or culturally-sanctioned, ideas. They don't fit into little boxes. In fact, culture, and culture's propensity for categorization, has nothing to do with your theme. Since life themes are not yet understood by the culture at large, life themes take a bit of digging to understand and recognize.

You have many reasons for being here, but your theme is different. Your theme is the angle and propellant for why you're here. It's the central hub of your exploration. When you're done exploring your theme, or you're too blocked by seeming obstacles to explore your theme, you'll leave this reality. That makes your life theme central to your life. Often family, or cultural, norms will stand in complete opposition to your theme. This can make your existence everything from merely annoying to downright hellish. For this reason, it's worth the time to explore the idea of themes.

Your theme is the exploration of some dynamic of this world. For example, your theme might be sound, or it might be the contrast of intensities that you can experience here, or it might be the ability to transform your perspective, or it might be the idea of any kind of transformation, or it might be to experience the world from an observer's perspective. One size does not fit all when it comes to life themes.

My life theme is to understand how individuals construct their personal realities. So, if I met you I would immediately begin to ask you questions about yourself, and I would pay attention to every nuance of your philosophy. I've been doing this behavior forever. I will talk to anyone, and everyone, about their point of view. It's the gas in my engine. It fuels my existence.

Once, I was called into my bosses' office for talking to the maintenance staff. I was asked to sort of "keep my place," as it were. I was a lawyer, and they viewed my behavior as consorting with the riffraff, but the riffraff have the most interesting life stories. I love talking to people who hold what culture defines as "lowly" jobs because many of them are immigrants with fascinating life experiences.

For instance, I once met a woman who worked as the night janitorial staff for my office. She was from El Salvador. Her husband was killed in the civil war, and she was left to care for two children and a second husband who couldn't find work because he'd lost both legs in the war. Out of desperation, she left the country to find work. She traveled through El Salvador, Guatamala, Mexico, and then up to California, by herself, with no money and no papers. She found employment in California and eventually got a work visa through an immunity program.

For seven years, she worked two full time jobs, living with four other woman in a studio apartment. She supported both herself and her family back in El Salvador the entire time. Eventually, she saved enough money to go back to El Salvador and build a small house and open a shop. You don't hear stories like that unless you talk to people.

So, even though I needed my job, my reply to my boss was that I wasn't going to change my behavior because talking with the "riffraff" is why I'm on the planet. If it ruins my life, then so be it. At least I will have had a life to ruin. I know my theme, and I stick to it whether other people understand it or not.

We exist to explore. Exploration exists because of diverse perspectives. So, themes run the gamut. They're entirely singular and unique. Here's a typical example of how a theme can play out in a person's life and how not understanding your theme, while living in a cultural climate that doesn't understand themes, can be troublesome.

Let's look at a hypothetical guy named "Lee." Lee's life theme is to explore color. Lee's not aware of his life theme. Now, Lee comes from a family that puts a lot of pressure on him to engage in an occupation that has stability and income, and Lee caves to that pressure and becomes a dentist.

Being a dentist is not necessarily the easiest route to explore his theme, but it's not impossible, either. Lee gets through it by dreaming about having his own office. Mentally, that's where he lives. He's planning the color of the equipment and the color of the goop that they use and the color of the murals on the walls and how he'll color code the files and so on. In his mind, he's creating this entire space of color, and that's what keeps him going each day.

One day, he's able to open his own office, and as he goes over the plan with the accountant, the accountant advises him that studies have shown that the colorful office will reduce his cash flow, and that more neutral tones will render a feeling of professionalism in the minds of his patients. After this meeting, for the first time in his life, Lee becomes seriously depressed, and no one around him can understand why. His family and friends are puzzled. He's about to open his own office. He should be happy, but he's not happy.

The reason that Lee is no longer happy is that he can't figure out a way to keep exploring his life theme while being a dentist. The issue is more serious than Lee, or his family, understand. If he doesn't find a solution, he's not going to be around. Your theme is why you're here.

So, how do you figure out your theme? You look for the clues. Look to your behavior. What are the things that you've done your whole life, no matter what you were doing? For example, I'm always talking to people about their perspectives. That's a clue as to my theme. I've been doing it since I can remember.

In the example above, Lee would have been thinking about color his whole life. He might be able to tell you what a pantone number is. He doesn't need to know a pantone number, so this is a clue to his theme.

A person whose theme might be contrast may have a life filled with drama, experiencing one extreme situation to the other. A person who has a life theme of mechanics will have been constantly tinkering with things, taking them apart and putting them back together. A person with a life theme of relationships will have been investigating, and participating in, intimacy.

What are your behaviors that defy time? What are your particular inclinations, your particular interests? What draws you in? What gives you endless energy? What fascinates you. What are your natural habits? These are clues to your theme. Your theme isn't going to be an occupation. It will be more like an inclination. Maybe you're always drawn to be outside. Maybe you're obsessed with space. You have to get to know yourself to understand your theme.

You can see how futile it is to listen to other people's opinions about what you should "be," or how you should "be," when they have no clue about the theme of your life. People who give such advice are running on cultural assumptions about what constitutes a good, or bad, life. Those assumptions don't take into account life themes. Therefore, such advice can be dangerous because it can run counter to a person's purpose for being here, and as that person tries to fulfill the cultural demands and follow the advice, it can get dicey. It can create crisis.

Individuals in this world don't understand how truly complex and unique they are. Culture tries to modify individuals into a predictable set of criteria, but people aren't criteria. You're not a list of criteria. You're an individual. That means that the only person you should be listening to is you. No one else knows a damn thing about you.

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