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Scheme of Things

The Essence of Green Grapes
By Nan S. Russell
Jan 7, 2013 - 11:33:56 AM

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It started as curiosity. Using five-year-old fingers to press a large green grape against the side of her bowl, my oldest granddaughter managed to squeeze out a tiny bit of juice. Taking up a spoon for leveraged pressing, she extracted a bit more. Working the spoon and her fingers together she encountered even more success, adding a second grape to her labor-intensive juice-extraction experiment.

Now enthralled with the transformation of grapes to juice, she announced to the family her mission: make everyone a glass of grape juice. After negotiating permission for more grapes and a potato masher from her mother, she developed her mash-the-juice-out process, ultimately bringing juice in doll-ware glasses for the six of us. With focus and procedural enhancements along the way, she achieved her goal an hour later.

Like my granddaughter, we have things that draw our attention and missions we're pursuing. Some are launched from curiosity, passion, or interest; some are short-lived, some lifelong quests. Others result from the necessity of a changing world, life-events, or new-year-new-you concepts nudging us to reinvent ourselves as better, slimmer, healthier, kinder, simpler, smarter, or more enhanced versions of ourselves.

Yet, many of us miss the real why behind our undertakings. While we may change careers, body size, friends, or addresses, morph our interests, skills, or perspectives, and evolve our thinking, understanding, and wisdom, our essence isn't changed. We're still who we are on the inside, we're just struggling to let us out.

Whether you're working on the external you-version 2.0 or 5.0, or reinventing your life's goals, aspirations, or connections, it's still you. It may be a thinner, happier, more organized you, but the essence of who you are hasn't been transformed. If you're lucky, it's a more revealed you. As jazz musician Miles Davis said, "Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself." And that's the goal.

The question isn't how do you reinvent yourself, morph yourself, or evolve yourself in this year of new beginnings. The question is how can you be yourself? How can you bring the core and essence of who you are to the world? How can you share your light? Author Anne Morrow Lindberg said, "The most exhausting thing you can do is to be unauthentic." I know that's been true in my life.

So, my wish in 2013 is to rediscover, reinvent, recommit, recreate whatever it is that enables each of us to do just that – to live authentically from the core of who we are. In the scheme of things, I think we're like my granddaughter's grapes. It takes a little mashing to discover our "juice" and bring its sweetness to the world. May this year be a year the world sees more of who we are.

(c) 2013 Nan S. Russell. All Rights Reserved.

Nan S. Russell is the award-winning author of "Hitting Your Stride: Your Work, Your Way." Her third book, "The Titleless Leader," was published May 2012. More about Nan and her work can be found at  Sign up to receive Nan's free monthly eColumn at:

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