Thursday, January 28, 2010
All That I Am
My younger sister Ali gave me a piece of artwork two years ago, with a drawing of a dragonfly, and a quote by e.e. cummings:
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
When I re-painted my home office shortly after, I used the small message as my centerpiece. I chose paint that matched the green, and pumped up the yellow to a brilliant lemon for the opposite walls. My entire room is filled with art, most of it by or from friends. But this little green and yellow missive now hangs directly in front of me when I sit down at my desk to write.
I think of it as a Purple Heart, a badge of honor. For many, many years I struggled and fought, questioned and doubted, stubbornly resisted. I said, over and over again, "I am not that!" I wasn't sure exactly who I was, or where I was headed, let alone how to get there. But I knew that someone else's answer wouldn't work. I was convinced that even my family's best wishes for me, though much appreciated for their intent, were off the mark.
Stumbling through many dark years, becoming a friend with despair, making mistakes again and again...still, I pushed on. Some small voice in my head said, "You are enough." But I felt so flawed, and so out of step, and so lost.
And then my Zen teachers told me: "The goal of practice is not to become a better person; it is to become more fully yourself." To become who you really are.
When I received that little painting from my sister, I knew I had finally been seen. And being seen by someone else helped me to see myself.