This morning when I was rummaging around in my suitcase I found a ring that I thought I had lost yesterday. I see it as a hazard of weight loss (weight loss that so far has targeted my fingers and wrists…what about my belly and thighs?! Patience, grasshopper…).
I wasn’t too upset when I noticed it was gone. I was walking up and down the main street of a small town in the North West of Tasmania. I just kept walking, focusing on noticing what was around me, hoping I might notice a telltale glitter and believing that some things move on and some things return to us.
Lately there’s been something else that has been returning to me, my sense of, and connection to, my authentic self.
I’ve been taking time (some well earned, self-funded long service leave) and pursuing transformation. It’s an important time, a gift of getting back to me after many years of service, giving through wonderful work opportunities and volunteering with communities across the country.
I’ve been listening to podcasts by Tara Brach (American psychologist and Western leader of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening) as I drive between Wollongong and Canberra. In a talk on unconditional love Tara speaks of such love for the self and about how sometimes we put on a spacesuit. Our spacesuit is made up of the best defensive and proactive strategies we can find to help us navigate when our needs are not met. The hitch is that we can come to think we are the spacesuit.
After experiencing illness and trauma at a young age I specialised in a survival spacesuit. It’s kind of ingenious really and I managed to survive well, but a spacesuit can remove us from our authentic self.
So why the authentic self if the spacesuit has worked? Well, because when we are our authentic self there seems to be a lot less stress and anxiety and a lot more joy and energy, at least that is what I’m finding. Plato said that “the essence of knowledge is self-knowledge” and it is in knowing myself that I can most authentically be.
In consciously taking off my spacesuit I’ve been thinking about what useful strategies I can take from it and also taking time to recognise and recall the valuable and wonderful qualities of my authentic self. I ponder how I can bring those spacesuit strategies and the essence of me together as a true and powerful way of being me.
So here’s what has happened… returning to me is the connection with my inner lion (great personal strength and resilience and some measured fearlessness that lets me more freely be in the world doing my thing). As the the lion roars my confidence is growing, I laugh more, I regain the energy to maintain a commitment to care and compassion, to learning, to encouraging my own and others leadership.
Actually, these are not things that had disappeared. These qualities and strategies and ways of being have been the backbone of my work over a long period. In truth, what’s different is that I am starting to give myself a place in this, where giving and service does not exclude looking after myself. I had disconnected from self as if I was not worthy, and plugging back in is an amazing feeling and the most genuine gift of love I can give myself. It’s an important gift if I want to continue to be a contributor in the lives of others and be present to what is most important to me. It is my turn.
I’m joining in the Your Turn Challenge because someone I’ve come to very much admire and care about has extended the invitation to me, and to you. Matt Jones (10citybridgerun.com) has been up to some heroic stuff, using his personal qualities and strategies to lead an inspiring and important journey that invites us to together make a difference in the delivery of child survival.
Being my authentic self lets me know that I have a lot to give and while I don’t yet know what it is I can do to make a difference to child survival, I wholly support Matt’s approach to using our networks and by sharing my blog with you I’m sending a message through my networks. It’s a conversation and I’m having it with you now.
Sometimes things are returned to us and I hope today, that if it’s gone missing or been sidelined as we focus on our busyness and what is in front of us, you have returned to you a sense of being a global citizen and an interest in what is happening for others both in our own neighbourhood as well as in communities around Australia and across the globe.
Returning to Plato, this wise man saw the self as a potential to be realised.
“At last, in a flash, understanding of each blazes up, and the mind, as it exerts all its powers to the limit of human capacity, is flooded with light”.
Imagine what might return to our selves and our global communities if we work together to shine a light, that is the best of each of us, on the issues associated with successfully delivering child survival…bring your authentic self, find your inner torches friends, it’s your turn too.
Please have a read of the Building Bridges Blog (10citybridgerun.com) and join the Building Bridges community page on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/10citybridgerun.design.forum). This is a citizen led initiative. Bring your authentic self, your strategies and qualities and join a greater collaborative of selves and let’s see what we can make happen together.