How Am I Not Myself?

Is there a weirder movie than I Heart Huckabees? Released in 2004, the plot centers around a couple who are moving through the motions of life without really knowing how or why. Conscripted by larger societal values of professionalism, being productive and successful, they discover they have existential crisis they cannot resolve. They hire a weird detective agency which, instead of solving crime, help the couple discover their purpose in life.

The movie is as absurd as the premise promises. There is one phrase that one of the main characters is asked by this detective agency that he repeats for much of the movie – How Am I Not Myself?

This is a question that comes to my mind as we contemplate this months theme: Sophrosyne, a greek word which means to have a sound mind because you know yourself, you know who you are. It’s one of the qualities of spiritual maturity as defined by Rev. Kendyl Gibbons. It triggers a lot of questions, like the main character asks in I Heart Huckabees himself over and over again: How Am I Not Myself?

It’s easy to understand how the ancient greeks thought knowing yourself meant a sound mind, because if we know who we are, then it is easier to handle the constant barrage of news and changes in our lives. As we are devastated by the news of the floods in Houston, as we are elated by the news of the local town of Carbondale adopting resolutions that help our immigrant community – to know who we are offers a steady rock in the river of life that changes all the time. If we don’t know who we are, then we are swept away by events and as unsteady as ever.

Let us reflect this month deeply on the topic, and think if we do know ourselves as much as we’d like, and are able to have a sound mind to process our lives and the events that go on around us. We don’t need to hire an existential detective agency to figure this out, luckily, being part of Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist means that we can discover our common purpose together – especially this month!