I’ve been on a journey of discovery the last year or two, trying to figure out who I am, want I want, how I tick…how to make me tick better, if I can. It’s not surprising. As I have written about before, this year is a many-milestone year, and it would be surprising if I weren’t thinking about where my life has been and where I want it to go.
Today, self-improvement gurus often use “life hacking” to describe the myriad small, deliberate changes we might make to improves ourselves, It’s a term that reflects our computer-driven society, and maybe a little bit that this kind of self-engineering is something outside normal expectations. Hackers break the system, and life-hackers break the system that is themselves.
Personally, I prefer the term “alchemy,” not just because of its historic and magical connotations, though certainly those appeal. Though the goal is the same, I think “hacking” has an implied sense of, well, hacking things apart. Breaking something so that you can make it work they way you want it to.
Alchemy, on the other hand, suggests a process of refining, of distilling a substance to its most essential nature. Taking things apart is part of the process, yes — Solve et Coagula, to separate and join — but it feels less violent, and more wholistic. In the end, you’re not really changing anything, just making it more true, if that makes sense.
I thought, when I first started thinking about and writing this post, that I might talk some about the kinds of things I’m doing to pursue this alchemical journey, but now I find myself reticent. Of course, this blog is part of the whole thing, of course, using words to pull me down into the well of self-reflection and self-realization. Being more deliberate about the clothes I choose to buy and wear, so that my outward appearance reflects the inward person I’d like to be is another part (it’s less shallow than it sounds, I swear). I also have spent more time with my tarot cards the past few months than I have in recent years — I’m no medium, but they do help me focus what’s going on in my heart and soul more clearly.
There’s more, but I guess I’m not really prepared to talk about it all in an open forum (even if no one is actually reading this right now). It is, afterall, a very personal journey.1