Why we choose to stay asleep and hide
Why do people choose to sit on the bleachers of life?
Why do people choose to stay asleep?
Why do people choose to stay small and not put themselves out there?
I think it has to do with this abrasiveness- not as a concept, but as a feeling.
What I’ve noticed is how this abrasiveness goes hand-in-hand with aliveness.
In other words, true wholehearted living is inherently abrasive.
As you move into life’s inner lane, you will feel the urge to reach out and risk yourself. You will come to expose your soft underbelly, as the walls of hiding continue to fall.
You will be splayed open by your becoming and your sense of self will shatter. You will be ground by the mortar and pestle of the process. Rubbed raw by life, and then bundled into its arms of grace.
As unsavory as this process sounds, it’s one that’s deeply life-giving and loving. And necessary.
Michelangelo once said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
This abrasiveness is not negative, but positive. It’s how life carves the heavy block of your being, so you take a unique shape and are set free. Free to truly live.
One day, I got this amazing chance to speak live on stage, but when I woke up, I found myself retracting. I didn’t want to show up, but curl up in a tiny ball and pull the covers over my head.
Does this happen to you? Do you find yourself wanting to hide sometimes, even when your dreams are coming true?
On the surface, I could observe the common fears. Fear of failure. Fear that you will tumble the delicate house of cards and discover your incompetence.
But when looking deeper, I noticed an unspoken undercurrent to my avoidance.
There was this abrasiveness to the showing up, as if I was being chafed by life. This abrasiveness was not just confined to this act of public speaking, but also found in every act that would spur my growth and make me feel alive.
The Inherent Abrasiveness of Living
Letting Yourself Be Carved- A Continuous Choice
When it comes to true wholehearted living, I think there’s this notion that once you get there, you stay there. But I’ve learned that it’s not a destination. It’s not a place you reach. It’s a continuous process, practice, and choice.
Even though I wouldn’t trade this life for anything, sometimes, the comfort of hiding feels more enticing than this abrasiveness. It’s what makes me want to pull the covers over my head, to not show up even when the road rises to meet me.
Yet time and time again, like the rising sun, my heart calls me forward. It whispers, “You’re not meant to stay here. Let yourself be carved.”
Now, I’ve shifted my relationship with this abrasiveness. I see it not as a destructive force, but as a life-giving hand, a midwife of my becoming.
I’m learning from the canyons, who have yielded to this abrasive embrace of time, taking their majestic forms. I’m learning from the gnarled oak trees on my street, whose sweeping arms have been shaped by the abrasive embrace of wind. I’m learning to choose embracing over enduring.
So now, when this abrasiveness visits, even if it feels uncomfortable, I practice smiling to it and welcoming it in as my sculptor. I thank it for setting me free. I show up.
So tell me,
Do you want to live your life as an unformed block or as a sculpture, free to let your beauty flow?
This is the question I will leave you with today.
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
Well, there is time left --
Fields everywhere invite you into them.
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?
Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
To put one's foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!
To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!
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