“I Am Not I”
I am not I.
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.
–Juan Ramon Jimenez
Translated by Robert Bly
Juan Ramon Jimenez was a Spanish poet who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956.
This is my favorite poem of his because it addresses beautifully the gap between who we let ourselves be and who we could be.
I interpret the “I” as the ego and “this one” as the soul.
No question this poem has a mystical aspect. But this poem also touches upon the practical aspect of being authentic.
Being an authentic leader comes from not being divided or being two-faced. It comes from integrating our inner and outer lives and being whole.
When I sense wholeness and authenticity in leaders, I trust them more. Don’t you?
Where there isn’t trust, people act in protective behaviors, are political, and are competitive with peers even when it is detrimental to the group.
Where trust exists, people admit weaknesses, interpersonal shortcomings, mistakes and ask for help.
What could be more practical than that?
Practices and disciplines which enhance wholeness, include listening to silence, reflection, journaling, reading and writing poetry, and prayer.
Egg Image: Rage Krishna