When I first heard of Michelle Obama’s new book I thought the title was Becoming Michelle Obama. I assumed the book was about how she came into her own as a person and as a first lady.

When I received the copy of the book, I immediately realized the book is called Becoming. Mrs. Obama makes it clear that she is always evolving and learning and that there is no final destination. She sums up the meaning of the title at the end of the book when she says:

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end… It’s all a process, steps along the path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.”

Michelle Obama at almost every step of her life experienced changes that took her outside of her comfort zone. Her first significant change was when she tested high enough to be accepted at Chicago’s first magnet school— Chicago Whitney M. Young High School. She spent three hours a day traveling on buses to get to and from this school. Her second significant change was going to Princeton University, where she was part of a small minority of African Americans going to school there. After that, she went to Harvard Law School.

Marriage, including having children, is a major change for anyone. She thought she and her husband, Barack Obama, would be two lawyers working in Chicago and never expected getting into the wild ride of politics. It never entered her mind that she would become the first lady of the United States of America.

Each of these changes challenged her to face insecurities, self-doubt, intellectual hurdles, and social situations that were not always so comfortable. Mrs. Obama rose to meet each of these situations head on and grew stronger as a person.

Naturally, the ultimate challenge was becoming the first lady—every word she said and every piece of clothing she wore was scrutinized by the press and the public. Living inside the bubble of the White House, not even being allowed to open a window for fresh air, in the constant presence of secret service would be daunting for anyone. As the first lady, she served our country with dignity and grace.

Also, her Let’s Move initiative, and her desire for children to eat healthy diets helped many children around the country become healthier.

There are too many stories in her book to review her whole life in this blog. However, the book serves as a platform to discuss the theme of “becoming.”

Although my life can’t compare to Michelle Obama’s, the one thing I can relate to is the unexpected turn my life took when I learned Transcendental Meditation when I was eighteen years old, becoming a teacher of Transcendental Meditation the following year, and then the next year l joined the International staff of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation organization.

I found myself in an unfamiliar situation that was not in my comfort zone. If I had turned the clock back three years, I couldn’t have even imagined myself in this situation. I was only twenty years old, and everyone around me had either a master’s degree or a PhD. I felt inadequate, as I also had no particular skills to offer. I tried to do my best in each job that was given to me, and little by little I felt myself gaining confidence and that I did have something to offer. It was definitely a process of “becoming.”

Now, many years later I enjoy being in situations that are outside of my comfort zone—composing and recording music, learning photography, writing books, speaking in front of large groups of people. Each time I am in one of these new situations, it allows me to draw upon my inner resources for the strength to deal with the situation. Each new challenge I accomplish lifts me to a higher level of confidence. They are all growing experiences of becoming more and more of who I want to be as a person.

I have learned there are two aspects to becoming—one that is brought about by changes of external circumstances that can challenge and expand yourself as a person. The other is by experiencing your Being.

Through my practice of Transcendental Meditation for over forty years I experience the Transcendent, pure consciousness, my Being. Drawing upon the silence, calm, and infinite creativity that lies within this state, I experience Being itself becoming—the qualities inherent within the Transcendent becoming manifest in my thought and actions. The experience of Being provides a foundation for the ever-evolving state of becoming. My ultimate goal in life is to become all the sublime qualities of the state of Being—nourishing, unbounded, infinitely creative, unity in diversity, ever present in the eternal continuum of life.

As I am now more than half century old, I want to keep “becoming” in both directions of life—outer and inward. Outwardly, I want to take on new challenges and to see new places to stretch my horizons and to meet interesting, successful people that inspire me.

I also want to keep diving inside into the bliss of the Transcendent, whereby bliss itself ever becomes blissful and where I can explore the fascinating universe within. Naturally we want to “become” the best person we can be in our lives. Living and enjoying two hundred percent of life—one hundred percent inner along with hundred percent outer gives us the best opportunity to “become” the fullness of who we are meant to be.

I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Obama’s book. After reading it I had an even greater appreciation for her accomplishments and what she has given back to society, uplifting children especially everywhere she goes. She is an incredible role model. I also appreciate that she gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own experience of “becoming” in my life.

As 2018 ends and 2019 begins, it is good time to reflect on who we want to “become” in the new year.

Author's Bio: 

Ann Purcell is an award winning author—her latest publication is Tender Flower of Heaven a collection of 130 poems. Ann has been a full-time teacher of Transcendental Meditation since 1973, teaching Transcendental Meditation and advanced courses in many countries around the world. In addition, she has worked on curricula and course development for universities and continuing education programs. She over sees the teaching of Transcendental Meditation in girl’s schools and communities in several countries in Africa.

She also is a song-writer and has recorded 7 CDs.

Ann is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and has been featured in many podcast and radio interviews.

You can view more of her blog posts on her website: http://enlightenmentforeveryone.com