Shells, sea grass, fragments of sponge and marine life, this collection of the ocean’s bounty must be a tribute to mermaids. I had to snap a photo. But it was more than my whimsical imagination that compelled me to take the picture. This arrangement has soul. It speaks to me in a way I am not able to explain. Grittiness and untidiness are qualities linked to soulfulness.
We live in a world with a motto of, “Life is messy — clean it up.” So we polish, shine, and manicure everything: our nails, our yards, our words. In that process, we can lose something. We can lose us. Being real is messy. It means saying things that makes others uncomfortable. It means doing and saying things that make us uncomfortable. Authenticity requires us to stop trimming and polishing our words.
There is beauty in being real. And each of us recognizes it whether it appears in a clump of sea elements, lines on a page or words coming from a friend’s mouth. Even if we do not agree with the words we read or hear some place in us can appreciate their authenticity. However, speaking from our hearts doesn’t mean that others will change their behavior. If we have that as our agenda, we’ll often be disappointed. When we risk being vulnerable it lets us claim more of who we are. That is its true value.
I dislike ideas that divide me into parts. But on a good day there are only two parts within me fighting for attention: soul and ego. My ego wants me to look good no matter the cost to others or myself. This involves lying and denying what is obviously true. My soul, on the other hand, is invested in me being authentic – no matter the cost. Even if the outcome leads to me feeling embarrassed, shameful or humbled by honesty.
The ego’s motto is “Look good on the outside no matter how bad you feel on the inside.” The soul’s motto is “Being real is more satisfying than looking good.” And of course, when we are being real we actually do look better.
Writing my book, Unfolding, and sending her out into the world is teaching me a great deal. In the past, I believed it was my job to convince you of what I know to be true. Now I realize that is not my assignment here in Earth School. My assignment is to be me. You will either agree or disagree with what I say. That is not my business. The best gift you can give another is to take time to listen and to understand. Not to agree but to appreciate.
If you have not yet read the review of Unfolding, in the industry giant Publisher’s Weekly, I hope you will. I feel honored and respected by the time and attention the reviewer gave my book. http://new.publishersweekly.com/978-1-935952-68-8#path/978-1-935952-68-8
In our women’s groups we sit on the floor in a circle. We are all on the same level and each has a view of the center from a different point a view. We work to honor each view. And as we soulfully look at one another there is more room for differences. I pray that as I take Unfolding into the world I hang on to my truth. Appreciating the truth of others is also part of the journey.
If I listen at the edge of silence I hear my soul whisper: You are unfolding. Stay open. Dive into life. Sink down. The mystery that moves the ocean also runs through your veins.
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- 2023 Women Writing to Unfold (Taos, NM)
- 21 Aug 23