“It is perhaps the oldest of inner laws, as inescapable as gravity. There is no chance of lifting into any space larger than yourself without revealing the parts you hold closest to your chest.”
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening)
Most of us, when we meet people, like to put our best foot forward. We smile, shake hands and make eye contact. In professional schools, we are taught how to shake hands by laying our second hand on top of the other person's hand to communicate friendliness, warmth. We are funny, ritualistic people who try to cover our short-comings behind a veil of civility. In social situations, that's a good thing. Civility comes from the same root-word as civilization. We would not have achieved civilization without some rules of civility.
However, as Mark Nepo points out, we cannot spread our wings and lift off without revealing much more of ourselves than we're normally comfortable doing. To forge relationships beyond the superficial rituals, we must allow others to know who we are deeper down. There is a time and place for this. There are boundary areas in which self-revelation is not appropriate; in the business arena for one, and in public spaces with relative strangers is another. But in our private moments, with people we call friends, or want to call friends, we must show more than just our sunny side, our camera-ready smile.
To be self-revealing, we must first know ourselves very well—and quite honestly, that is harder than it seems it should be. Many of us recognize our strengths, acknowledge our weaknesses, but there's an entire spectrum of characteristics that we refuse to see—our dark side, our shadow, the parts of us that we reject automatically as being “not me.” When we say, “I would never do that!” we are revealing a blind spot. When we apply labels to others—liar, creep, slut—we are showing the soft underbelly of our own shadow. The tags we hang on others come straight out of our own psyches.
Likewise, when we idolize others, when we put them on a pedestal as being greater than anyone else, one of a kind, a shining example of humanity, we are showing what lies unknown within us. Some of us have just as hard a time seeing our light as we do our darkness. In fact, we're shocked when someone else points it out.
We all want real, authentic, soul-connected relationships. We can have those, but they have to begin with ourselves. Getting acquainted with all of who lives within us is key to opening our wings and lifting off.
In the Spirit,