What I’ve struggled with this week is in thinking about my gifts – or mostly, my fear that maybe I have none.
I imagine myself standing next to a box which holds my gifts and abilities. When I open it to draw them out and offer them to the world I discover one of my worst fears – that there is nothing much in there. Instead of glorious, shining, colorful gifts, it is an almost-empty box, with just a few dull stones in the bottom of it. I am left standing small, holding a couple of stones. And I feel pretty stupid!
This image conjures up all sorts of emotions for me – mostly fear, I think. Fear of putting myself out there and not having the resources to follow through. Fear of looking like a fool. Fear of being embarrassed. Fear of not being good enough.
All this fear makes me want to hide away in a corner. And then I feel so sad for myself, trapped there by my expectations of having to be brilliant, to be good at everything I try.
What helped was that as I looked at those stones in the bottom of the box, I thought of the beautiful little Zen-like stone cairns with the drops of water on them. They have such a quiet, peaceful simplicity. It made me think that the stones I held in my hands could be used to build those, and that I put way too much pressure on myself by having high expectations about how amazing my gifts should look. I judge them and compare them and feel they come up short, but I think I want to now spend some time learning to appreciate the gifts I have, without judgement.
We have plenty of stones in the garden, so I spent time building a little cairn, just quietly sorting through stones, and gently placing them. And then I did a painting of them (not very well, but hey, that’s the whole point!).
And during the day, some gifts emerged:
– a willingness to let go of outcomes and expectations
– a willingness to show up, to grow and change
– a lessening of the need to define and classify and judge
– a willingness to surrender to the process, rather than needing to direct it.
These gifts feel gentler, easier. They don’t require brilliance or ‘amazingness’. And they feel like they give me more freedom to just be whatever I am able to be in the moment. Sometimes, I guess, that will be shining and colorful, but other times it will be the quiet being-there, the humble sharing of myself and the willingness to be honest and open and authentic.
This week I will build a little stone cairn every day, and love it for what it is. And then remind myself to do the same for myself!