I start small.
I light a candle.
I turn off the TV and ignore the texts, Goggle Calendar reminders, and Facebook notifications.
I abandon the to-do list in search of the people.
Lately I’ve been working on holding space with others, with time, with the physical surroundings. Trying to ground myself and stay present. To take account. To be aware and notice. To dwell (my #oneword365)
Holding space for myself is a whole other thing.
This fall the waves were crashing, the babies were sleeping, and the night air smelled of the sea. I held the space for a moment, taking in the simple beauty of this moment. Breathing it in, I relaxed. I stayed present in the moment. I have a tendency to rush. To overproduce. To be productive. To move on to the next thing. But this was different. I was drowning a bit, in just the basic. The need for breath wasn’t about slowing down the rushing it was to slow down the plunge underneath… it was a different kind of feeling and I didn’t recognize myself. It was near the ocean where I had the freedom to say that out loud.
In Shuana Niequist’s new book Present Over Perfect she writes “The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you.”
Anyone else feel a little gut-punched by that quote?
Is there anything more vulnerable than really giving yourself over to examine what makes you, YOU, even the ones you don’t want to openly admit? The real motivation of why you do things will lead you down a spiral, I promise you that. The realization of times you are living out of your false self… thinking it was your authentic self all along.
I feel a bit “ruined” as that statement defines it at the moment. But not in the way that I usually would be. It’s not in the overproduction lately…albeit that is still my daily reality but more in the full-time working mom, 3 kids 5 and under, navigating foster care, and supporter of a local biz owner husband kind of way. And oh yeah, one of my kiddos is sick literally every other week.
For me, I think it’s the pressure to want to know what makes me…me.
But I’m impatient.
I don’t really want the long journey of self-discovery and awareness if I’m honest.
Maybe I’m scared of what I might find buried down deep.
Or maybe I just want to know myself deeply already so I can better engage in this life but I don’t want to do the work. I know it doesn’t work like that.
In the book The Road back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile say “Human beings are wired for survival. As little kids we instinctually place a mask called personality over parts of our authentic self to protect us from harm and make our way in the world. Made up of innate qualities, coping strategies, conditioned reflexes and defense mechanisms, among lots of other things, our personality helps us…over time our adaptive strategies bounce increasingly complex. They get triggered so predictably, so often and so automatically that we can’t tell where they end and our true natures begin.”
Who am I really?
Who will my kids be because of things they pick up as they grow inside my home?
Fredrick Buechner says, “The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out of all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.”
I was at yoga a few weeks ago, a class that’s focused on embodying prayer with movements. It focuses on the simple act of breathing as a web that connects soul, body, mind. Breathing is a prayer with the power to root me back when the coats and hats are off and I’m sitting there with God.
He is the one who knows who I really am and I believe He wants to help restore me back to my authentic self. Breathing is enough for now.
So today I chose to take that into my day. I might not know how but I want to and that’s enough too.
Holding space for myself…
…learning who I really am after the coats and hats are off.
Dwelling just there.
I hope in this moment I can say what I want to believe about my creator.
That He’s patient with me.
That He already knows me and He’s working with me to take off the many layers.
And in it all He is saying,
“My creation, My beloved. You are very good.”