“There is a lovely root to the word humiliation – from the latin word humus, meaning soil or ground. When we are humiliated, we are in effect returning to the ground of our being.
Shedding the carapace we have been building so assiduously on the surface, we must by definition give up exactly what we thought was necessary to protect us from further harm. The outlaw is the radical, the one close to the roots of existence. The one who refuses to forget their humanity and in remembering, helps everyone else remember too.
To die inside, is to rob our outside life of any sense of arrival from that interior. Our work is to make ourselves visible in the world. This is the soul’s individual journey, and the soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else’s.” ~David Whyte
I saw this quote today and it really affirmed this last, long leg of my journey. So many times over the past ten years, people have criticized me for being someone who focuses on “self-actualizing” as though it is a crime or something that one should not do. I have also been lauded numerous times for being “authentic” and and “courageous” which I am writing here to remind myself that it hasn’t all been criticism.
If the work is, indeed, to “make ourselves visible in the world”, it’s time for me to really own that visibility. To shine a light on my own gifts and talents and keep putting them out there. As I told my daughter last night, it’s not bragging to say, “I did this and I’m proud of it.” I told her it’s healthy to know what you’re good at and do it. It’s healthy to let your light shine in the world. I told her I don’t like it when people act like what they are doing is better than someone else. That’s false pride and is hollow but that’s not what my daughter was doing and it’s not what I am doing by putting my work out into the world. (Yes, I have to remind myself of this to quiet my inner critiic.)
After stripping away the false and allowing myself the humility of returning to the ground of my being, I find an immense amount of vulnerability inside of me. It is scary to show my truest self to the world but it also makes me feel alive. My friend Duke Haney and I were talking about how art and acting in particular helps us to resolve the contradictions inside of us. I think this is because art helps us to become more aware of ourselves. Rather than constantly reacting, we learn to watch ourselves and respond. Art excavates and unifies our inner being.
This is why I am so passionate about self-expression and self-actualization–it returns us again and again to the roots of our existence. It’s not selfish to do so, it is why we are here.
Go forth and express! Give yourself permission! When you forget, come back here and be reminded. Peace to your heart. 🙂