About thirty years ago I confessed to a kindly iridologist that I felt I had failed to find my ‘niche’ in life. He peered into my bright blue eye-maps and remarked that it was strange, because everything he could read there indicated that I was a highly capable person who could find a niche in many avenues of expertise.
It worried me, that feeling of being niche-less. I was in awe of those who seemed, from a young age, to know exactly what they wished to do in the world and set about achieving it. And it wasn’t helped by those who knew the potential here and kept asking when I was going to fully explore (exploit?) it. I was in my late 40s and still wondering what I would be when I grew up.
I had all the right tools: a reasonably sane brain, a good education, some skills as an educator as well as in the area of art and design, but my life-path seemed like a meandering groping from one neti-neti to the next.
I tried being a teacher, a broadcaster, a fashion designer, a wife, a lover, a wandering yogini, a ‘professional’ artist. All these niches ultimately failed to fit. The only role that held some promise was that of the artist, but the funny thing was that whenever the flow of genuine creating was going on in the studio, I wasn’t there. I mean, ‘artist-me’ was AWOL. In its place there was a vast, spacious, ‘I’-ness playing outside of all my small ideas of what should be happening. And the moment the ‘artist-me’ tried to examine this mysterious movement, it would vaporize. It was ungraspable and unknowable.
Later I found a philosophy that made sense of this mystery – it is spoken about by sages and artists alike as the movement of pure nondual Awareness. But back then it was a great mystery to me; it put the fire under a lifetime’s exploration of creativity. And it eventually delivered me to the niche I had given up any hope of finding.
My niche turned out to be that ineffable nondual Awareness itself. And the amazing thing is that it always had been! It had been my preoccupation for decades, yet I had failed to recognize that it was a valid contender for the niche stakes. The realization actually only hit once I was past the age and stage where niche-finding matters. Truly, I can be quite slow …
When the penny dropped, a lifetime of seemingly incoherent bits of ridiculousness fell into place. I fell about laughing like a lunatic. The absurdity and awesomeness of it! The beauty and simplicity and grace of it! Like … landing on a cloud of rose petals … sinking into their silken perfume … resting, at last … knowing that you never have to leave … even if it were possible!
~ miriam louisa
Photograph by Mary Sedivy