An Observation on Self Awareness


All of a sudden there is a flurry of creative activity in my life. I opened a door an the wind is blowing in like a storm. Here is the question. How do I not get overwhelmed, take on too much at once and do it all well? What do I have drop or say no to? Or do I have to do that? Can I learn how to manage my time better to ensure both my success and my sanity?

I am a person who needs balance between work, creativity and my personal life. They are all important. I know at times one will dominate, but there needs to be counterbalance or I lose focus and self awareness.

In my class The Tel, someday I’ll discuss it in more depth, we are exploring what makes us tick. Uncovering the key factors that make us who we are. I admit I find vulnerability hard, especially around people I admire. I have taken a few steps though. One, I took the class! Two, I shared this with a friend that is in the class. Three, I’m writing this now knowing it will likely be read by the people involved…gulp.

In our last class I held back until the end. I made a decision to say out loud what was happening. We were asked to share a word regarding where we were in the moment. I gave a word. One that I didn’t really feel at the moment, but it was the only one that came to me. I have a tendency to go blank when asked a question like that, I’m not sure why. But what’s interesting is that I now want to know why? Why do I get blank, why does my brain shut down? What is it that stops me from being able to explain the storm brewing underneath. I’m not hiding. I literally can’t speak, its actually physical…why? I have so much to say!

Finally after going around the table somehow the words came to me and I mustered up the gumption to say that I was overwhelmed. My analogy was being a kid in a toy store being asked what I want. I start grabbing…”I want this, and this and this…” and so on. I have this pile in front of me then I’m asked to now go through and find what I really want. Granted these aren’t really toys we are taking about. They are values, ethics, mandates and causes that fuel me as a human being. The must haves in my life.

Each time I’d whittle down to a few, I would start adding them back one by one or hearing a word that excited me from another person and saying…”yes…that too!”. I didn’t know what to choose. Its all so important. Then one of the instructors said something to me so profound…she said, “but it’s not a candy store. It’s you. All of that is in you, you don’t have to give them up”.

What? I all of a sudden felt lite. I don’t have to choose? I think intellectually I have always known that I can care about all of these things, but somehow when I try to apply them in my life I feel torn. I feel like I have to decide which one is more important, but I don’t. They are all important and that’s more than o.k. For whatever reason hearing someone tell me that was so new. I literally almost broke down. I didn’t realize what a weight trying to choose what is important to me was imposing on my heart.

I know that as I move forward I will need to choose what to focus on if I am working on a project or participating in a cause. It doesn’t mean those other passions go away. They are in me. They matter. How I structure what I choose to be a part of will come in time. Right now I’m just thrilled to suddenly feel allowed to accept that I am a person who feels and believes many things.

I wants to be a part of something bigger. I want to live quietly with compassion and fight fiercely for what I believe. I want to love openly and build understanding to empower change. I want to live and never simply exist.



Author: Finding True North

Nichole Donje is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, and leader. A philosopher and self-exploration addict, Nichole is currently working on two books of art and poetry FINDING TRUE NORTH and LIFE POEMS. She is a visual artist and photographer. Nichole founded and ran the highly regarded New York City based independent theatre company TAPT from 2006-2016. Serving as TAPT’s Artistic Director, Nichole worked diligently to support new and forgotten works that help shape the way we view the world around us. A recognized leader, Nichole served three terms as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Players. Currently, she chairs both the Communications and Theatre Committees which she established. The Players celebrates the rich cultural life of New York City with exclusive member-only events that include live performances, readings by leading authors and playwrights, film screenings, and dining in its famous Grill Room. More information about The Players may be found at A key influencer of the Players current revitalization she has become an advocate for the art and livelihood of a social club. The Players not only honors yesterday’s and today’s luminaries of the performing arts but also reminds us of the necessity of building face to face relationships. Nichole is a member of SAG-AFTRA, LPTW/League of Professional Theatre Women, LeanInNYC, and The Players.

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