The other day, my daughter Alexis wrote about how she just couldn’t make it to the washroom in time. Her blog, Shit Happens, is hilarious, and insightful. In her vulnerability (revealing you pooped your pants on the way home from work kinda takes down all the walls) she discovered that her fear of ‘looking good’ to others got blasted away in the aftermath of her revelation. The next day, Alexis shares that
The best part about pooping your pants in public is that after suffering through the humiliation of that experience, there is hardly any shame-inducing scenario that one could dream of that could ever elicit that level of embarrassment again.
This morning, reading Ann Koplow’s blog, What I’m Avoiding, reminded me of Alexis’ insights –when we come clean with our fears, when we open ourselves up to ‘being real’ by fearlessly facing our trepidations, our self-concerns, our judgements and our inner lies — we live life on our own terms.
And, seeing as this is my one and only life (that I know of), living it on my terms is way better than living it on someone else’s.
I think it’s one of the things I admire about my daughter the most — she is fearless in her willingness to go inside and get dirty. And in that state, she is willing to open up, be vulnerable and let go of shame and self-limiting beliefs and behaviours that would keep her from living on the wild side of being free.
It took me a lot of years to get there — and there are still days when I struggle with appearances, wrestle with doing the right thing versus the expected, jostle with turning up regardless of what others say by tuning out the noise of what I perceive to be their condemnation, criticism, judgement and/or expectations.
My inner critic can be deafening — and when I give it free rein, it is deadening.
Because, when I’m giving the critic free rein, I am not listening to my heart. I am not hearing my soul calling me to breathe, to be, to surrender and let go of my thinking to make way for my being, present, here, right now.
I have been struggling with direction lately. Struggling with a sense of ennui that is robbing me of focus, attention, and commitment to doing the things I am truly passionate about. I’ve been drifting.
Sometimes, it is okay to drift. Sometimes, the drift is where the quiet finds us. And in the quiet, we hear our soul calling us to be still. To stop running and simply slow down to a walk or even a crawl. And sometimes, in the drift we find it’s not the winds of change hurling us about, it’s our fear of change that keeps us moving away from where we truly dream of being.
And in the drift I find the nexus of my ennui.
I have a book I started working on last year — Lessons in Love: Everything I know about being human I learned at a homeless shelter. — Lessons in Love chronicles the amazing world of the homeless shelter where I worked — its people, its happenings, and the love and humanity I found working there.
I’ve been avoiding working on this book.
It’s time to come clean. To face my fear. To recognize that ‘avoidance strengthens fear’ and in my avoidance of writing Lessons in Love, I’ve strengthened my fear of writing.
I’ve been drifting for far too long. Filling my time with ‘otherness and otherlies’ that don’t add up to a whole bunch of anything, to avoid facing my fear of writing.
Because seriously… that is what has risen as I sat in the silence of my meditation this morning and let my inner guide give voice to my fear.
I am afraid of writing!
Kind of a funny fear when you know I write here every morning.
But Lessons in Love isn’t this kind of writing. It has a structure that I have been rebelling against. Time to take heed of my friend Maureen Doallas‘ words which she wrote me some months ago — don’t begin with the lessons. Begin with the stories. The stories are what makes Lessons in Love powerful.
I am a story-teller.
I don’t fear telling stories. What I fear is giving advice. Sounding like I know or have the answers.
I don’t have your answers or anyone else’s. I know that.
But I do have mine. And when I get still, real, real still. When I stop running from my heart, I can hear my soul calling me to simply tell the stories without trying to make them be the answer.
The stories are not the answer, but they do illuminate the darkness of homelessness, poverty, pain and suffering with the one thing I know is always the answer — Love.
Because what I learned working at a homeless shelter is easy to sum up — No matter the question — Love is always the answer.