Containing Multitudes: The Power of And

In the ongoing journey of soul-searching and often struggling to define myself in a nice, neat package, I’ve ended up having the same words pop up repeatedly in several different places – this often happens, and I’ve learned to acknowledge the message.

I actually shared the quote on Instagram a little while ago, and it’s become a bit of a mantra. It’s this line from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself (it’s a long poem, and this comes near the end):


It’s one of those quotes that has sunk deep and makes more sense and feels more right the longer I ponder it.

And what I’ve realised in the pondering, is that these three words can actually be boiled down to just one simple three letter word that holds a great deal of power when it comes to that self-definition I was talking about:


I don't have to constrain myself to being just one thing - in fact I really don't want to - and can instead embrace my multitudes and contradictions.

  • I can be a creative free spirit AND logical, analytical, and organised.

  • I can be passionate and curious about doing all sorts of different things AND want time and space to do nothing but sleep.

  • I can be utterly content in my own company AND crave the intimate connection of genuine one-to-one conversation.

  • I can have my personal money demons AND charge what I'm worth in my business.

  • I can feel the call of wanderlust, travel, and exploration of exciting new places AND enjoy the comforts and security of home.

  • I can be intrigued about new ingredients and flavours and trying new recipes AND sometimes just fancy toast for tea.

I can be a daughter AND a sister AND an employee AND self-employed AND an introvert AND love performing in public AND a voracious reader AND a swimmer AND a knitter AND hate onions AND love Marmite AND be good at languages AND be fairly good at maths AND be left-handed AND be a bit clumsy AND have really vivid dreams AND all of the other millions of unique little things that add up to making me Me.

I don’t have to choose just one to be forever, I can pick different aspects to show at different times, like notes on a piano that get combined into different melodies and chords. (this metaphor is another thing that has been growing and taking on a life of its own recently, but I’ll go into that another time!)

Does this sound as exciting to you as it does to me?

I mean it’s not easy all the time – acceptance of some of the maybe less desirable parts of myself can be tough to come to – but it certainly feels a lot more freeing that trying to conform and fit into one tightly constrained box for the rest of my life!

I want to explore all these different parts of myself, see which ones work well together, which ones come to the fore in circumstances when I need some kind of a boost, the ones that fit most comfortably and the ones I’ve resisted, the ones that are still valuable despite the tough situations from which they developed, and the ones as yet undiscovered.

Of course, this is all part of the continuing work in progress that is life, and I’m sure there will be diversions and obstacles along the way, but in a way it’s come as a huge relief to let go of the notion that I have to be just one thing.

From a business perspective, I’m quite conscious that this multitudinous nature has the potential to become confusing and overwhelming – for myself as well as for you, my social media community, and customers and clients – but I’m trusting that at least a good proportion of the different facets will coalesce to form something beautiful, and that makes sense, and that you want to be involved with.

From my point of view, I’m feeling like I’ve shifted into a space that has a lot more ease and flow – words come easier (usually a lot of them all at once, I just can’t help myself!), motivation feels stronger, dreams become clearer, hope burns brighter – and I can only believe that this will feed into what I share, the work I do, and how I make a difference, in my own way, to the world.

All of this is stoking the fire of passion for building my business in a way that works for me – but most importantly, in a way that allows me to help the people that need it, in ways that only I can.

I truly believe that for all of us there will be people who resonate or connect with us more deeply and more closely, even if on the surface what they’re offering looks similar to what you’ll hear from others.

I hope I can be that person for you.

If you’d like to explore this more and have been thinking about seeking my support, take a look at my Mentoring services for information on how we can work together and what I can help you with.