Come in. Welcome. Or maybe just peak a little bit but don’t be too critical and don’t comment… and don’t question too much. Just peak, smile and wave and nod that I’m okay and you’re okay … and then leave; leave with a smile. Maybe when I’m ready, and I’ve determined that you’re safe, you can come back in…sound good?
My hunch is that it’s no coincidence with the 50th anniversary of Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree, upon us that I have his opening poem from, Where The Sidewalk Ends, on my brain. I had to pull my 1974 original addition from my daughter’s shelf to see if I was saying it right:
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
I had forgotten the part about liars and pretenders. I somehow remembered the story being about truth — not spinning of tales. But there you have it. Come in and we can pretend together. Do you feel like life is like that — pretending to be what we think we’re supposed to be instead of honoring our truths and being our authentic selves?
I’ve spent so much of my life wrestling with wanting to disappear and wanting to be seen. Two extremes. To disappear from the pain and suffering that engulfed me in my childhood home with my mother and stepfather. To be seen by the world which I knew in my heart and soul was filled with hope and dreams and truth. A world filled with both joy and pain which are the bread and butter of our humanness. We all have our stories to tell. Our secrets to share. But how often do we really let our truth shine through?
I find myself being so incredibly moved by Brené Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability. I love her latest book, Daring Greatly. If you haven’t read it, you should. Even easier, check out her Ted Talks on Vulnerability and Shame . They’re a good place to start a flooding of self reflection and honesty. I cried when I watched them. Which was a little funny because I was riding my bike at the time. Inside. (Ha!)
I think our human connection can heal us. I think that if we are honest and gentle with each other, we can appreciate that while perhaps our suffering isn’t the same, the fact that we all experience suffering makes us the same. It makes us human. We are not alone in our suffering. We also aren’t alone in our joy… but somehow joy is so much easier to share. There is no shame in joy. Joy is light. Joy is easy. Joy makes people happy. Suffering makes people want to run the other way. Why is this? Is it because another person’s pain reminds us that we too have pain? Is it the mirror we don’t want to look in? I think so. I also think we don’t know how to respond to another persons pain because more often than not, we’re hiding from our own. Or trying to avoid it. Pain is uncomfortable. That’s probably why we have so many ways in which we try to numb ourselves from it.
I think what I’m trying to get at, is an invitation for you to come in and see me and in turn be seen. I find myself disappointed in the parts of Shel’s poem where he says, if you are a liar …. if you’re a pretender come in … I’ve had enough lies and pretending in my childhood to last a life time. They are the sludge I’m trying to wash away from the depths of my pores. You can’t be seen if you are denying your truth. You can’t be seen if you’re pretending. You can’t be seen if you’re hiding. Funny thing is, when we show up and are seen by others who are honest and living with intention, we aren’t greeted with criticism, but a welcomed appreciation for showing ones true self. Even with the yucky stuff. Especially with the yucky stuff. There is no such thing as perfect and thinking that we should be perfect or that we have to be perfect only exacerbates our shame and hiding.
What does being seen look like? I’m not sure yet, but I hope to figure it out here. With you. Sharing our human experiences. Together. On my part, you’re going to have to be gentle with my typos, grammatical errors, average writing skills, vague understanding of blogging and all of my other human faults. I’m just going to be here. With you. Come in. I’m leaping. Leap with me.