“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ― C.G. Jung
Being considerate to others is encouraged. But what about being kind to ourselves? Somewhere along the way most of us learned self-compassion is self-indulgence. If we don’t constantly reprimand ourselves, a monster will be unleashed. We will become slothful, greedy egomaniacs who run their lives into the ground. That’s where the inner critic comes in. Always humming in the background, its voice judges our every move, keeping us in line.
In truth, self-abasement keeps us stuck. I’ve learned trying to corral yourself with constant criticism blocks the whisper of God. To quiet that internal voice for one day is frightening but ends up feeling like heaven. The more you try to control, the more you remain in your head and not your heart and soul. Being exceedingly gentle with yourself clears the channel and allows guidance to flow through. Somehow with self-acceptance the need to judge everyone else vanishes too. Giving to ourselves and giving to others are one and the same. Wrapping a blanket of kindness around yourself, ends up engulfing the whole world, muffling the drone of the fault-finder forever.
My nephew Matt lets his puppy Nate lick peanut butter off of a lint roller used to simulate an ice cream cone.
“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.”― Drew Barrymore
There has been a lot of conversation about vulnerability thanks to a Ted Talk given by shame researcher, Brené Brown. Little did I know when I began writing my children’s picture book, Glory in the Morning, Brené’s work would help me unearth its deeper meaning. Buried in my story, is the universal longing to be seen and believed in. Meaningful connections like that can only be earned by sharing your truth with the world, a concept Brené calls living wholeheartedly.
Glory in the Morning is an accidental allegory of events in my life. I realize now that the fairy I wrote about is actually an aspect of me.When she gets in the way of an angry troll, he casts a spell to make her disappear. The only thing that can save my winged protagonist from fading away is if two believers see her at the same time. I’ve had some trolls in my life too. Being around rage is where I first learned to disappear. My way of going unnoticed was to be perfect. Never making mistakes meant I would be left alone. And alone I was. Even after my perfectionism had outlived its usefulness, I lived in fear of exposure. I kept much of the “real me” secret. Being introduced to Brené’s research was the beginning of an awakening in me. Learning we are beautiful in our humanity, that our flaws are endearing, gave way to sharing my authentic-self with the world. In return, I was given the validation of true connection. With fairies and people alike, the only way to wholeheartedness is through risk and vulnerability. Satisfying the heart’s yearning to be loved for itself has the power to break any spell, even one cast by a cranky old troll.
As I type this, Glory in the Morning is being produced into a picture book app. It should be available in the iTunes store in mid-September. It’s such a part of me, I feel like I’m sending my child out into the world. My hope is that everyone who reads it, will connect to its underlying message. We all ache to be seen and heard. No longer hiding, we fly free.
Maybe the tragedy of the human race was that we had forgotten we were each Divine. –Shirley MacLaine
The inspiration for Divine Things came to me one summer on Martha’s Vineyard. The island is wrapped in a wild, raw beauty. There are images of mermaids everywhere. Lying on the beach, it’s not hard to imagine a secret world beneath the waves.
The mermaid in the illustration is a metaphor for the exquisiteness that so often lives below the surface. It takes an open mind and heart to discern it. But then again, sometimes all it takes is just looking……
I snapped this photo of my daughter Bridget on Martha’s Vineyard, around the time she posed for the above illustration. She is a mermaid of the landlocked variety. To learn more about mermaids check out my friend artist Margot Datz’s book A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids.