Sunday, January 14, 2018

First To See


"First to see things as they are
then to meet things as they are."
~Mark Nepo   

I am home resting on the couch after a week long trip nearly 500 miles from home. This first full week after the holidays trip has become a favorite time of the year - an annual tradition of gathering with artist and teacher friends, hanging low, creating art, gathering around the table with no real agenda other than renewal in preparation for our individual and collaborative schedules in the year ahead.
The quote at the top of the page contains my word for the year: "See". The choosing of a word, or the letting a word choose me each January, has also become an annual tradition. It helps me to focus on the meaning of that word to set an intention or theme for the year, rather than make New Year's Resolutions.
When "see" first started presenting itself to me, I resisted. It sounded too simplistic and lackluster, nearly feeling like I hadn't really tried very hard to find my word. So I asked for verification and sure enough, the confirmation started rolling in. It isn't about seeing visually, but having an internal knowing. To be able to see what is underneath, a discerning if you will.
Life has a way of being our teacher if we let it. And I have been giving life permission to teach.
I loaded up the car for my annual road trip to the castle, and started listening to the new book I had downloaded on audible. And then about halfway there, I was in the throes of an anxiety attack, something the author said made me aware of the emotions I had been carrying. Each year, this gathering has grown, beginning with a small group of just 3, this year we had 11, and for some reason I hadn't been able to put my finger on, I was feeling a great deal of apprehension about going.
And then there it was, sitting behind the wheel of the car, suddenly I was back in junior high. 
Geeky, pimply, oily faced and awkward, sitting alone at the lunch table listening to the popular kids tease me. Growing up, I never fully belonged to one group or another, and heading to this week long intimate gathering, I realized to a certain degree, I still feel like that sometimes. This group of women represented all those cool kids at the table and I subconsciously walked in carrying the shame and the weight of those childhood wounds fully expecting to relive the experience.
Of course that isn't what happened. Though I have to admit, the first night I was a bit of a mess and had to fight the urge to flee. But I woke the next day able to "see". And it was healing.
First to see things as they are, then to meet things as they are.
If I hadn't been able to see my 13 year old self, I may have carried the emotions with me all through the week unaware, preventing any possibility of true connection with the other artists. I would not have been able to meet myself at the table to know that I really do belong.
And so do you. There is room for us all at the table

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