On Being an Eclectic Soul

Oak Tree -Joanna KujawaIf I were to be completely honest, beyond any pretence, beyond all the shorthand clichés on websites that are always only selected parts of ourselves, I am an eclectic soul. I am an eclectic soul and I am learning how to love myself as such. Now and then I try to fit into different categories provided abundantly by the society in which we live: author (too puffed up?), writer (too general?), academic (too constricted), scholar (maybe a freelance scholar?), traveller (yes, I love that), adventurer (I definitely used to be – now my adventures are more of an inner kind), lover (been there done that), a partner (Ah! The bliss of companionship with your soulmate), wife (now, that was a baaad idea!) etc. In truth, no number of categories can embrace me and I am not the sum of their parts either. I am not just an academic because every time I am offered an opportunity to be the head of a discipline or an academic director of one sort or another, something in me shrinks and I run in the opposite direction. Why? My interests are too vast, don’t fit in (that phrase again) to one restricted stream of research. I also prefer writing for wider audiences than simply a small group of academic colleagues. I am not merely an author/writer. Although I am very self-disciplined about my writing, I do not come under the hackneyed notion of the ‘obsessive author’. This is not the way I want to be. I am not simply a traveller or adventurer because I also love my secret, wild garden where I can hide from my travels and reflect on my adventures. I am a seeker – but I am no disciple of only one tradition. I do have a spiritual teacher from the tradition of Kashmir Shaivism, but I am also fascinated by the Gnostic Gospels, which portray Jesus as a counter-culture teacher largely misunderstood by mainstream Christianity. The list goes on… Yes I am completely committed to each aspect of myself. I used to berate myself for earning a living lecturing on topics that have nothing in common with my literary and spiritual interests. But teaching and being with students invigorate me and I do share my passions with my students – if only on the margins of my teaching. So, I promise myself today to shed all labels because we are all so much more than the sum of platitudes we assign to ourselves. At the moment I like the idea of being a bundle of energy on a journey of evolution. This is as precise as I am willing to get when labelling myself or anyone else.


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4 Responses to On Being an Eclectic Soul

  1. Sumitra Bateman says:

    Love it…

  2. Shelle says:

    So well said – beautiful.

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