I’ve said to a few people, “There’s nothing you can tell me that I can’t know on my own. So, if you want to teach me something new, tell me about yourself. Then you’ll be sharing things I don’t know.”
This was before Good Will Hunting came out, by the way, which has a scene with Robin Williams’ character telling Will Hunting (Matt Damon’s character) almost exactly that same thing. And actually, that I’m not the only one who sees it this way supports exactly what I’m talking about - wisdom is accessible to everyone.
So I’ll tell you something about myself. The wisdom that’s here, you can find it in your own brilliance. But maybe you don’t know this about me.
There is so much fear built up around my heart, fear that disguises itself as strength, fear that blends in so well with “normalcy” that bringing it to light is like trying to squeeze cream out of milk with a hug. The irony is that it takes what seem to be “normal” interactions to make the fear clear enough so I can see it. A “normal” event in this context is, for example, someone being kind to me.
Here I am, writing about kindness all the time, sharing about it, sharing tools, etc, ways to invite humanity to be kinder to each other and themselves. They work, too! The tools work! And somewhere in my dance has always been this little person’s psyche who found no kindness in the outside world and at that time happily took on the self-assigned mission of creating kindness on the planet. This mission included forsaking all of the social things young suburbanite humans are expected to do, like having friends and enjoying life. My priority throughout all of life, aside from brief stints of distraction, was to prove that kindness exists. And I had to do it alone because nobody else seemed to understand.
That’s quite a job considering that the kind of proof needed for success will also require that other people are not just interested but also willing to see what I want them to see. But as a young person, maybe 3 years old, that logic had not yet formed itself.
Later, around age 14 it was more obvious to me that I had something to prove. At that point, it seemed totally justifiable, in fact righteous to prove to someone, to anyone, that life is beautiful, simple, elegant. Totally full of love. Somehow though, I was still misunderstood by those closest to me. A young teenager growing up in hard-core suburbia is, according to the people around me at the time, not supposed to understand these things. A person my age was supposed to be defying parents, lying, struggling, chasing boys, preparing for the miseries of adulthood and fearing parents. That wasn’t me, but it was hard to not be what they thought they should see.
I spoke about how to feel the truth. I tried to share with my family how to heal wounds and injuries. I shared techniques for listening and interacting with animals, with guides, with consciousness, with the answers to any question you could possibly ask. I was told to tell the truth. I was told I was too sensitive. I was told that I couldn’t see past the tip of my nose. Years later my father told me, “If I had known then what I know now, you would have been in an institution.” I applauded his ignorance.
There was a point in there that shattered my confidence in my Self, which was at the time very much synonymous with god. God was a feeling. A sensation. It was a sense of having at least 7 other presences guiding me, answering my questions and listening when I was confused and needed a way to prove to myself that I wasn’t insane. There was a point where all that I had tried, all of the truth that came because I had declared my unavailability to anything BUT the truth crumbled all around me. All in one swoop, all of my effort was shattered because no matter what I did, my family would still not see kindness the way I wanted them to. I took it as a failure of my systems, of my self, of god, and I resigned myself to start over from the beginning. The reasoning was…I might have missed something.
The truth was, I hadn’t missed a thing. I asked for the truth and I was provided with the truth. It just didn’t match my awareness that the truth is a kindness. Had I continued to speak the truth to my family, I would have been showing them kindness. I didn’t understand that the truth, and kindness, did not require that other people play along. It did not mean my family would play along. At the time, I was holding the behaviors of my family to be the greatest proof of my rightness in kindness - my parents would step into love when I “got it right.” And with that assumption, the fear of NOT getting it right was simultaneously empowered.
Fear keeps another from being welcomed into my heart because I must have missed something…according to the fear. And, if I have missed something, according to the fear, to the degree that the immediate family is not interested in joining me in kindness to one another, then certainly it would be a dis-service to invite or let in any other person. According to the fear.
With all of this “proof”, the fear began to feel normal. It seemed scientifically proven. It was normal to the degree of being invisible. It became “the way it is” beyond question or recognition. And then the fear took the image of the outside world.
It’s been consistent for a long time. For a long time there was no way to see the fear nor an opening to let anyone in. Everything matched what made sense before the proof of failure solidified, which is to say that it was my job to prove to the world that kindness exists. Certain people did eventually come along who I thought might break the spell, if only they would see things my way. But they didn’t seem to want to play along, trying to satisfy the fear. All of life provided the fear, which had control of my vision through fog around my heart, with proof upon proof upon proof that my job has only just begun. The space was full of fear, and it was easy to live by its creed if I simply never try to open the door to let someone in.
More recently, with the support again of the same god-party from when I was small, and a few others, I’ve been able to recognize opportunities to let others in. And beyond that, I’ve begun to open up and actually LET them in!
Sounds great, right? Well, it’s endlessly funny, actually. it’s funny how saying hello to someone and letting them return my hello with an openness and sincerity, engaging with them when they ask questions from the heart and sharing with awareness of defenses but refusal to use them…it’s funny how much fear I feel. It’s funny how easy it would seem to just begin to “teach” something about kindness or consciousness. It’s funny how raw it feels to feel openness from another and have no protection. It’s funny how openness gets twisted and the defenses are trying to function in the face of openness.
Letting others in to my heart is the untwisting of twine that looks like it’s going to be a crazy mess just up until the point that the central aperture reveals itself and draws forth a sense of wholeness like a snapshot of that moment when everything can change.
What I’ll share with you about me is that I still feel so much fear, fear of you showing up to be kind to me, to share support. I feel the fear, and I’m happy you’re here. I can feel it. At least now I know it’s there and we can address it. There is so much to share. I can say that now not from having to prove to you what I see, but from having already let myself into my own heart and quit the proving and hard work.
I wonder what it will be like to let more into my heart. I wonder what more will come for me to share.