Recently I was asked to “be” a certain way, that is their preference. It literally took me months to figure out what was happening. My first reaction was does anyone still do this? :: Does anyone still even try to arrange people so that they feel good being around you? Especially when there is really great language about spirituality …. Can spirituality be a veil, covering up the real work … ? Shocking. But then Christianity doesn’t mean people actually practice Christianity - it’s such a vehicle for the life of the ego, too, so it would seem everything is a vehicle of living in ego … I tried looking at it as a Boundary issue, but when there is disagreement arranging or being managed never works … This I know in my bones as a minister’s daughter that being someone for you, being who you want me to be, our public Personas … O god, no.
Obviously being asked to be less Me doesn’t work for me in any way shape or form. I don’t care of you are Jesus’s mother or the Auntie of Thick Nhat Hanh. I searched all the angles, questioned disorders, definitions of friendship, parenting, partnership …
Then a poem by David Whyte, a connection concept by G, memories of a previous life coaching session with S, and Brené Brown came to the rescue kind of all within three hours.
I (and G) actively dream of finding our Tribe, which reminds me to write something about Ken Robinson’s book The Element and the amazing stories of people finding their tribes by following their intuition and inspiration … I will say that I don’t feel like I found mine. This is a statement that is a work in progress. But what I do know is that I can’t fake a relationship according to how someone else wants me to be. That’s not what Tribe is. Not only is it important for me to have and live all feelings, but authenticity is key for me.
G has this fabulous, fabulous idea around connection and has given me homework assignment to list what IS connection to me. I love our times when we merge more traditionally left brained and right brained thinking …. As part of my homework assignment I created this quick illustration, just as a way for me to get into his instructions. Hmmmm, what ARE my ways of connecting?
And then I remembered Brené Brown and her book Daring Greatly, and that is where the bigger sense of
A-Ha! happened for me. Her book is based on Theadore Roosevelts 1910 speech in Paris, the idea of the Man in the Arena, see quote below.
You see, I keep forgetting that I am actually daring greatly, because I had a plan, the plan didn’t work and so where is the “greatly” part of my world, let alone “daring”? And then there is Brené Brown’s interpretation absolutely nailing it, this Man in the Arena quote is about Vulnerability:
“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”
And there it is, something that becomes a deal breaker for me in relationships, and key Connection points for me with my homework assignment:
If you are not in the Arena too, you don’t get to comment on my Being. If you are not willing to be there for me, exactly as I am, then you are not in that Arena. Daring greatly isn’t just about trying to achieve something “great” like climbing Mount Everest, an obvious success. Daring greatly means moving out of your comfort zone and doing something differently, in a vulnerable space. Daring greatly means any kind of showing up for a person, even, no - especially if it’s out of your comfort zone.
And so it became a piece for my homework assignment. I’m not sure how to create a small phrase for it as a Connection, because I’m learning that although there are plenty of people who love Brene Brown, it’s a whole different ball of wax to actually do the Practice of her teachings and research.
And so my artwork changed too, for this homework assignment. I thought visually of the layers of a Redwood tree, what a beautiful visual which I could use to illustrate this concept. And I am reminded of the Energy Bubble concept that my life coach used to have me play with. Yes Play with, because playing and drawing a thing connects me to my Heart thoughts, not my Head. Illustration wise, I am the center core with a circle around me. She would have me envision and even feel out what it felt like to expand my “womb circle” which is for all practical purposes a boundary, our core, my core. As I feel this inner core, it’s about learning how to trust myself more, not based on exterior circumstances. The big question, who would I want to invite in? Because my Heart tendency is to assume the best of everyone, when there are really a lot of seriously unaware and unintentional people out there, who do not have my best interest in mind. The artwork has to show me being the center, and the layers will show who is in my inner most circle and how it fans outwards …. And it’s okay to get those outer rings. Here’s a rough sketch.
The art speaks of the same boundary that Brené describes “the Man in the Arena”. There are people in your life who are in the Arena, by living a whole hearted life and show up for you, who dive into a kind of mutual vulnerability. My list of Connection points, has to include vulnerability, being in the Arena with me, in some way. These values create my inner ring, inner rings, the ones closest to my heart.
David Whyte writes, this poem:
“You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”
The beauty of that inner most ring, the world to which you belong. That’s the center of the circle. And yes, it is sweet confinement, but my inner circle is not too small. It feels quite spacious in fact … Filled with feelings, an ability to show up, ask people to show up, embrace my vulnerability and just expect good things. And maybe I’ll add this woo woo Northern California word, “magical”. Expect good and magical things. :)