When I launched CoDiscovery.com in early 2008, I solicited for contributing writers, as I envisioned the site as being a growing, forward-looking collaborative resource and not just as a monolithic retrospective. One of the many writers who approached me was a young, deeply talented and gifted Andrea Beerman from Westwood Hills, Kansas.
Andrea was a rising star: High School Valedictorian, dentist, Visiting Faculty Member at the Pankey Institute, speaker, marathoner, missionary worker, practice owner, and a general all-around inspiration.
Losing Andrea in 2013 sent shock waves through dentistry- still felt. It laid bare the paradox of personal strengths and courage which coexist against our weaknesses and blind spots. Many of us similarly struggle with our fallenness.
Today, I would like to share with you a piece of inspiration Andrea shared with me. I feel blessed that Andrea touched my life- albeit briefly. Andrea was a “third level thinker”, she not only understood herself and others well, but could also separate herself from both, observe, and comment brilliantly about what she had learned.
BECOME WHO YOU ARE
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this quote from Emerson and understood it with greater depth as it reconnected me with one of my personal Core Values -originality. It reminds me that it is my natural state to follow my own mind – my own unique ideas.
Personally, I know I struggle when I try to do things like others. In these instances, I feel like I am not being my authentic self.
Sometimes, I have found myself conforming or doing something “the way it’s always been done”, because it seems quicker or easier. I don’t have to face the truth or something that may take me to my learning edge if I do things in a rote way. I do not have to make time to enter the “classroom” of silence to know more clearly the path to choose. In these moments, I know I am not realizing the sacredness of my own mind and spirit.
With this quote, I am reminded to continue to trust and tap that potential – the beautiful, unique spark of Life within me. A friend and mentor of mine encouraged me to find a picture of myself when I was a child and put it somewhere I would see it everyday. I now keep it in front of me, because sometimes I forget who I am in the midst of my busy days. Of course I am a dentist, but the truth is, deep down – I am still that little girl. That same bright spirit, eager to live fully, and embrace life. All I wanted then was to be loved, accepted and understood. What do I want now? If I answer honestly, I’m not sure the answers are different.
When I see her picture it makes it really easy for me to forgive myself for all the times I came up short and for the mistakes I’ve made along the way. I see her innocence when I look at this picture, and remember I am truly doing the best I can with what I know.
So I have this picture on my desk – to help me remember who I am and what I really want from life. What I’ve learned – it also reminds me of the truth about others – you, my patients, family and friends.
Beneath the layers of life, lie our bright spirits. I am at my best – in patient interactions and with my friends and family- when I can see others for who they truly are. I think E.E. Cummings said it best when he said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
I wish you my very best in your journey.