It’s hard to be seen. Really hard when you have spent a lifetime hiding your light under the proverbial bushel. Because often when we want people to see us we remove the invisibility cloak, but we want people to see only our good qualities, our positive side. In a way when we remained in the shadows people never got to see our light or our dark, they never got to see our strengths or our weaknesses. Hiding in the shadows is both a comfort and a discomfort zone, filled with duality.
When I wrote my book ‘When Everyone Shines But You‘, it was inspired by the small gentle voice inside, the voice we all have access to – the wise self. I began to see that the world deserved to see all of me, not just the bright aspects or the creative beauty. But alas, in the world of publishing, marketing and showing myself to the world, some fear arose and then an even greater load of fear emerged, until I was so immersed in fear that I forgot who I was any more. I was very much ready to crawl back into the shadows and hide again.
When we hide, we may feel safe. To be seen means that we also risk sharing our vulnerability. Tweet That
Public Shame & Embarrassment
A few weeks ago I joined a spiritual development group in my local area. We connect to spirit, meditate as a group and if we receive any messages for others we pass them on. I had been feeling very blocked in many areas for several months, creatively and spiritually too, and this last group session I had so much fear come up it completely blocked my connection. But not only did fear come up, it was so evident on my face that everyone in the group saw it. I literally felt like a rabbit in headlights and felt embarrassed by this fear. Communication issues coming up to be heard once again, but from a much deeper level.
This feeling overwhelmed me, I felt raw, I felt seen, I felt in many ways naked. And that same night I had a toilet dream, one of those common dreams people can have related to fear and releasing. In my dream I had been to the toilet and the toilet overflowed. I was trying to get my mum to help unblock the toilet, and well it was a messy affair. I now realise that is what I felt like in the group. The fear was overflowing. I was releasing in public. All eyes could see this shit literally coming up in me, I could not repress it or hide it any more. My body was literally not allowing the fear to be hidden. So my vulnerability was like a new authenticity cloak I was beginning to wear, not one I wore easily.
Over the course of a couple of days I wrestled with being seen. I had shame feelings come up, embarrassment, and I did not like how I felt, but one evening I remembered my mindfulness practice and I let myself feel the feeling fully. And what came from this embracing experience?
Warmth and tenderness.
Vulnerability, fear coming up in public has at its core warmth and tenderness when we fully allow it to be.
Lessons In Vulnerability
My vulnerability has a big lesson for me, a lesson in grace.
So many of us wear a suit of armour. It may be smiles, a happy sticker pasted over some emotional or physical pain. It may even be a suit of anger that keeps the world away, but beneath the anger may be raw pure sadness awaiting our kindness, awaiting our awareness to shed light onto what may appear to be a dark place held deeply within us.
Vulnerability, fortunately, is becoming an experience viewed by some as a great courage. People like Brene Brown and other teachers are wearing their vulnerability publicly, showing us that to be real, to be seen ‘warts and all’ is an act of strength and power, NOT weakness.
Fear has a gift held within it, like most emotions we may resist or run from. We can no longer hide or run away from these emotions and think that we can be positive and that will be the end of it. We simply can’t sweep darker emotions under the carpet hoping they will go away. The only way forward is to dive into them and we may just discover the fear of the fear itself is nothing but a sheep in wolf’s clothing (not the other way round).