Inspired, Tired and Grateful for Hiding

I’ve had a heavenly week – got a Reader’s Favorite, five star review of my book Joy Ride: My One Legged Journey to Self-Acceptance, helped facilitate a fun improvisational dance workshop, “Start Where You Are”, as part of the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI), and saw three amazing, enlightening performances of an ongoing, mixed-media performance piece called Intersecting Bodies, a collaboration between writer/dancer Farhad Bahram and dancer/choreographer Shannon Mockli. Honestly, a week of immersion in all things I love.

So how come I feel so wiped out? I expected all that inspiration, good news, fun and, play to buoy me, have me floating on a cloud with an open heart, and render me ready to move graciously through everything with endless, easy energy. HA! Not today anyway.

Here’s the scoop.

I think I should be doing more. I should spend hours each day immersed in planning for the next thing, writing blogs and FB posts, sharing every thought and feeling I have with myself and the universal soul. I should know exactly what I want to do next and be gung-ho on getting it done. But, I’m not doing that – I can’t or I don’t want to. I want to rest. I want to go inside and slow down, listen, retreat from the endless hot sun, emails, social media, and even from the fun, exciting world of performance and book reviews.

To my good fortune, I happened to read this excerpt from David Whyte’s book Consolations. It presented itself as part of a weekly astrology email, and it’s exactly what my soul needs to remember today. I so eagerly beat up on myself for hiding (may have even written a few posts on the subject), though I know deep in my cells that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for lots of previous, very productive periods of hiding. I take this stuff to heart, it buoys me. I’m grateful it popped up to greet me today.

By David Whyte

HIDING is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until
we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves
can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding
is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the
natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held
bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the
hibernating bear.

Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb
until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted
world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the
immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future
emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat
from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways
where we have been too easily seen and too easily named.

We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our
thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too
early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world
already awash with too easily articulated ideas that oppress our sense of
self and our sense of others.

What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to
be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows
what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known
by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others,
especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and
private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with
no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for
absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control.

Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we
have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us
completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely

Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside
interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of
itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into
the light of a proper human future.

Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ in “CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and
Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words”
– 2015 © David Whyte


Joy Ride 2018: The Marketing Journey

As so many things do, the title of this post came to me one day as I awoke. It was right there in the forefront of my brain, or on my eyes, or someplace where those things we know or need to know show up. That morning I felt fully ready for the next phase of this book writing, publishing and disseminating journey. I wrote Eva, my editor, an email that morning declaring “I guess I’m ready to believe I have it in me.” I was referring to the kind of self-selling it takes to see if a self-published book is of any interest to a world outside the writer’s small circle. Eva says it involves being a kind of motivational speaker, reaching out to the various audiences that may be interested in the details and the over-all message of my journey.

The idea pushes a few of my buttons – one being the notion that I believe I have something to say. Isn’t that sort of conceit? This is a lesser theme in the book – this notion that one can and must embrace one’s strengths (and weaknesses) and share them openly, accepting praise and gratitude from those who respond without diminishing those responses. I realize that in writing a book and, more so in telling others I wrote it, I’m opening myself to all sorts of responses from others. And so, I will for certain have to prepare myself to be the gracious recipient of whatever comes my way while this next year unfolds – whether it be praise, gratitude, questioning, dislike, or even silence.

And silence – the silence of others who I know have bought the book but have not mentioned anything about it to me – is difficult. I’m mostly confident that I’m open to any and all comments, reactions, questions – flattering and unflattering – and want to hear all of those. The catch comes when I’m with known book owners who are saying nothing while I want to hear something, anything. What do I do? Do I ask if they’ve read the book? If they have read it, they know so much more about me than I know about them – and what are they thinking? If they haven’t – will they? Did they just buy it to be nice to me? There’s this space surrounding me and those who have bought the book that’s palpable to me. It’s an energy that connects us and is totally mysterious – a delight in one way and frustrating in another. I’m doing my best to live in the place of delight today.

Back to the 2018 journey – I’m both ready, as in committed, and not so ready, as in squeamish about self-promotion and the prospect that nothing will come of the effort. Because I know that nothing comes without commitment and effort, I will do all I can to make Joy Ride: My One-legged Journey to Self-Acceptance available to any and all people who might be interested. I will write a query letter for the media and independent reviewers; I will join local book reading events; I will create a FaceBook page; I will continue writing blogs and updating my website; I will enter any writing contests Eva suggests; I will submit excerpted sections to publications that may be interested; and, after the holidays, I will send an email out to all those who have supported and encouraged me by buying the book asking them to write an Amazon review. And most importantly– I will do my best to let go of all attachment to a particular outcome and open myself to the wondrous possibilities.

Goethe says it best in this quote – and I so know this is true from a place deep within. Wishing you dreams, love and peace in 2018.

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Post Launch Mania

I read a review of the book, Silence in the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge, in this week’s local Sunday paper. Mr. Kagge is a Norwegian explorer, author and publisher who’s been searching for the ultimate silence for many years. He trekked to the South Pole in 1993 and was alone there for fifty days and nights.

The newspaper article quoted him as saying, “When you start you have all the noise in your head,” and by journeys end, “you feel your brain is wider than the sky…To be alone and experience the silence feels very safe, very meaningful.”

That same day I had a massage with a wonderful masseuse friend with whom I spill my guts about my mental and physical state before we begin. That morning I was reeling from the overwhelming response to my book launch from local friends and acquaintances, family living clear across the continent, and New Jersey high school classmates spread far and wide. I’ve been getting emails, calls, requests for additional books that many want to sent to their friends and relatives. The outpouring of support and encouragement is at once humbling, exhilarating and exhausting! My head was like a bus full of screaming kids – yelling at me about how I wasn’t responding to emails or getting books to people quickly enough, and I was remiss in not ordering more so I wouldn’t run out, which I did before I filled all the requests people had made. Those notorious voices accused me of scheduling too many things – a DanceAbility performance for a local non-profit, Christmas cards and packages to finish and mail, on and on. As I lay on the massage table I felt like I just consumed a gallon of pure caffeine – me, a decaf coffee drinker! As Sadie methodically moved her experienced, healing hands over my flesh and reaching far down into my muscles and bones, I felt the reality of the quote seeping into my body and mind. Suddenly there was space, my cells had calmed down and time seemed endless.

The next day I met with Mary, my long time Authentic Movement partner, for our regular weekly practice. She’s a somatic practitioner and teacher experiencing a recent acceleration in requests for her time and wisdom. It seems the two of us are often moving with the unplanned intention of returning to ourselves and allowing our bodies to speak about what they need. My movement that day began with a deep, seated forward bend during which I covered my ears and was immediately transported deep inside myself. As the silent twenty minutes of movement unfolded I played a game with my moving self with the theme of reaching far outside my boundaries – exploring, searching, seeking – then coming back in to find a way to connect again to that deep place within. When my twenty minutes was up, I spoke about it with Mary as part of the movement practice, noticing how important it felt to return home to that deep place of silence, to never let myself get so far outside of that place that I feel I could lose control of who I am at the core. This is an ongoing challenge. I love being in the world –  socializing, offering myself as a volunteer, doing my best as part of my work team and lately, responding to all the support, encouragement, praise and requests about my book. And, I need and love to slip into that place of silence, when my brain becomes “wider than the sky…and the silence feels safe and very meaningful,” in the words of Mr. Kagge.

And so – I’ll sign off with a promise to remember to re-member myself, lest I’m no good to anyone, anywhere, anytime.