What Are My Unique Gifts?
To get a first idea of who you are in the essence of your Unique Self,* here is a simple exercise:
Draw a table with six columns and the headings shown above.
Answer the following questions for yourself - and write at least 3 answers in each column. All of this doesn't have to be about your job or vocation. It can also be about something very personal.
Which needs do I often perceive in my environment. Needs can be needs of people, animals, plants, or even the planet.... What do I notice over and over again? (=> Unique Need in my unique circle of intimacy and influence).
Which of these always drives me nuts? That rage (or outrage) may be just the energy I need to engage here. (=> Unique Outrage)
What special gifts, talents, and skills do I have? (=> Unique Gift)
What gives me special joy and pleasure? What makes my eyes shine when I even think about it? (=> Unique Pleasure)
Where is a risk that I would need to take in order to actually be the contribution that I could be? This can be something very concrete, e.g., if it is about standing up for something or someone in a very concrete situation or making myself visible with an uncomfortable point of view. No one will hold us accountable here if we do not take this risk. On the contrary, our environment will reassure us that it would be bad (for us) if we took this risk. Only we generally know deep down that this is our risk to take. An indication that we are not taking our authentic unique risk may be that we are taking disproportionate risks that are not ours. Or, we may become more fearful and less willing to take a risk as we age. (=> Unique Risk)
What are your authentic needs that must be met so that you are nourished to contribute and continue to grow? How can you fulfill this need for yourself? Where are you living pseudo-needs instead? (=> Unique Self Needs versus Pseudo-Needs)
Now look at the whole table again. Where do you notice connections or patterns? Maybe what you are good at and what you like to do are somehow related? Or maybe you notice how you can use your special gifts and pleasures to fulfill a need in your circle of influence, the non-fulfillment of which always drives you nuts.
Dr. Marc Gafni:
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is Outrageous Love.
The more intersections you see, the more likely it is that what you see here is related to your Unique Self.
You might also want to ask friends what they perceive for you. This may be the beginning of shining a light on the areas of your Unique Self that are still in the dark (or in shadow). (=> Unique Shadow)
Of course, this task only gives you a first idea about your Unique Self. And each time you do this exercise, new, deeper insights may open up.
At the same time, there are still many distinctions between Unique Self and ego to explore - as well as false self and Unique Shadow.... Ultimately, Unique Self must and can be rediscovered every single day... Life (of the Unique Self) is not a destination, but a journey...
Radical Giving and the Secret of the Kiss
Love means radical giving. We give and do not ask what we will get back. It is precisely the love we give that we receive.
This is what the evolutionary, erotic mystics called the secret of the kiss:
You can't give a kiss without receiving one.
You can't receive a kiss without giving one.
In our society with its zero-sum games with their win/lose metrics, what one person, or part of the world, gets is always taken from someone else.
In Love - in Eros - however, giving and taking (or receiving) are one.
Giving a quality of Eros, expressed through our Unique Self, is also our deepest fulfillment and joy.
Therefore, real deep love - what Dr. Marc Gafni calls Outrageous Love - can unleash an almost subversive power and transform our society in its depths.
* The Unique Self Dharma was developed by visionary, philosopher, integral evolutionary wisdom teacher and erotic mystic Dr. Marc Gafni, with whom I have the pleasure of working at the Center for World Philosophy and Religion (formerly Center for Integral Wisdom) he founded.