It’s quite possible I have resisted it my entire life! I have this push-pull relationship with structure, and systems and rules. Maybe you can relate? I resisted other people’s rules so much; I created my own business, so I could make all of my own rules. Sometimes I’m deliriously happy, and other times I feel like I have a chain around my neck. But that’s not really what I want to talk about today.
This week has been profound for me in many ways. First, I opened myself up to some criticism this week, and also some great accolades for a tiny little book that I’ve been writing for almost 3 years. It was absolutely terrifying to ask people to read it, and then wait (in some cases it was days) to hear their feedback. And in truth, I was secretly hoping they wouldn’t write back. They may have something bad to say. Better to pretend they simply hadn’t opened it, right?
And then I got it, one person who didn’t agree with my story at all. The concept didn’t make any sense and this person believed I was targeting the wrong audience. It cracked me open. I couldn’t sleep, and the very next morning (too early in the morning – I’m on the west coast) I was attending a workshop with some beautifully creative people. I had the pleasure of supporting the host with some backend techy work. But at the same time I was participating in the activities of this virtual event.
What I didn’t know is that I was going to be “Doing the work”, in a very big way.
He started out by asking a few lovely little questions. I wasn’t prepared for what came next (this was intended to be a fun exercise – but for me it was anything but fun).
It went something like this…
Imagine your life as a room. Walk into that room. What do you see? How does it feel? Describe it. (okay, this is my interpretation, and not exactly what he said at all) but I want to share with you my response.
Loralee’s room – July 4, 2011
Sunshine is streaming in through a side window and creating pockets of light on the deep dark brown hard wood plank flooring. It feels so strong beneath my feet, and yet makes this delicious noise when I cross it in my favorite pair of red heels. I feel strong, and I belong here.
I cross the room to a sturdy oak table and pick up a glass pitcher of water with cucumbers, inside a tray. I lift the heavy pitcher with my right hand and casually rest the base/stem of the large wine glass in the palm of my left hand. I breathe in the scent of the cucumber as I pour the water, listening to the sounds of it splashing into the glass.
I look out the window with the light colored curtains gently blowing and take my first sip. It’s refreshing in a way I can’t describe. I feel the coolness slide deep within my body.
I breathe deeply.
The paintings on the walls on the left of me are framed in a complimentary dark wood. The walls are a deeper shade of brown than I expected. It feels warm and rich. Like home.
There is a sofa under these pictures, but it’s small and low to the ground. I don’t sit in it often.
There are cushions strewn around and a few books I must have been glancing through this week. And a throw blanket. It’s not neat here, but it’s not dirty.
There is a bookshelf in the corner on the north east wall. It’s almost the same texture as the dark chocolate hardwood floors. It holds my trinkets, memories and most loved books. Some pictures and postcards are strewn between the mix.
Under the table is a rag rug. It probably doesn’t make sense to have it here, it would get dirty. Yet is seems to belong. It’s warm under my toes now that I’ve slipped out of my red heels.
I drop my bracelets and necklace on a side table now – half of my water is gone & I fill the glass again. Oh how I love the sound of it pouring into the glass. Feel the coolness in the palm of my hand as I spin the base of it with the fingers of my right hand. The light dances off the edges of the glass, like crystal. I tap the side and hear it chime back to me as I curl up in the corner and flip through a magazine.
It’s one of my favorites. Glossy and colorful, images of travel destinations on the cover and inside, stories and pictures of people who are exploring the world helping where they are. Contributing to communities they are in. Teaching, but learning more in return from the people they meet. I love this mag.
And then he asked me to go read this again, pull out the descriptive words, look at them and ask myself if indeed these are the essence of who I am. That I was simply describing myself.
Okay! I wasn’t expecting that!
But by this time, I was already a little behind so the next question (that was being dripped slowly into this virtual event) arrived in my inbox. I was asked to look at my business as someone or something sitting with me in the room. To describe it/them. To really feel my business, present beside me. And I became resistant again! Fidgeting, fighting, bringing myself back to journaling, and eventually I was in tears. Sobbing!
The thing sitting beside me in my mind, split between some annoying teenager who has no idea what to wear, desperately seeking approval, and this big looming energy behind it, that was trying to pull the carpet out from underneath me. Just waiting to laugh at me, make a complete fool out of me.
I asked it questions, I asked myself questions. I remembered the times when I was strong, standing with my shoulders back, knowing the work I was doing was valuable. That I was helping people. I saw myself networking and making beautiful long lasting connections.
In my mind’s eye, I was standing on a red carpet, walking into an event. It was like an Emmy award show. I was wearing a sensational dress, and shoes to die for. People were snapping pictures as I walked the red carpet (and no, I don’t have cravings to be famous – this is simply an analogy). And as I was walking, shoulders back, feeling my footsteps land purposely on that red carpet, I hear the “swwooosh”… and that carpet was pulled out from under me. I’m lying on the ground and everyone is laughing. I’m not sure if I should even get up yet.
I lie there.
I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want anyone looking at me anymore.
How can I get out of here? And then I hear the cameras clicking and the laughter dies down. People start to ask, “Why isn’t she getting up?”
If you want to know more about this virtual event, visit Alex Baisley at www.BigDreamProgram.com I promise you, I was the only one in tears. It’s enlightening for sure, but I tend to do things “the hard way”.