It is pretty easy and pleasant to talk about material things and processes in the journey to a more simple, deliberate, minimal, meaningful life. A decade ago when I was beginning my effort to downsize things, evaluate how green or how joyful my daily life was and could be, sharing was just as exciting as doing.
I could write or talk at length about simplifying my personal care routine, improving the food I prepared for myself or served to my pets, or embracing the value of my own time. I got more quiet as the space I created for myself shifted my focus inward.
In every mind there are plenty of dark spots that are hard enough to illuminate for ourselves without also opening up for others.
But that has been the aim of my current path – openness. Openness to relationships, to experience, and to all the wisdom life holds, pleasant, endearing, or otherwise.
I’ve had many opportunities to be open and honest about my own story, and it’s been a hard walk to take. Our self-identity can be so fragile.
I used to build my identity around the experience I was inhabiting. During my school years and in college, I was a “good student,” and letters and marks could strengthen my indentity as such, or break me down to nothing. I ran from subjects that had given me challenge, so that I could hold on to being the smart one.
What makes us unique and interesting is not what we are doing or have done, not the geography we find ourselves in, and not the labels used to classify our actions and experiences for telling stories about ourselves. Each of us will have great moments and low moments, stories grounded in human experience.
When my inner critic is being particulary harsh and effective, I will tell myself that there is nothing I can write that will be good enough or interesting enough to stand. I have to remind myself, that the way I meet my experiences is where my unique story lives. Each of us has the power to take a familiar theme and weave it into something special that can touch another person.
How many stories and songs tell of heartbreak, yet the right one at the right moment can bring is to our knees, reach us and resonate.
We cannot get to that place without stripping away the protections and armor, facing our experience, our story, and our truth openly. Then sharing it.