How well do you know me? How well do you know yourself? How about others in your life?
My writing beckons you into my world and offers you the opportunity to know me in ways you may not even know those closest to you. I’m on the journey of a lifetime, unwinding my entire being, and in the process rediscovering myself and reality. Perhaps some part of you—and maybe it’s really deep down where you can feel it but not make sense of it yet—feels compelled to do the same.
Most of my life I wore various masks. In any given moment I presented the version of myself I thought most certain to be liked and accepted and hid the parts of myself I wasn’t comfortable with or thought were unacceptable. I don’t think I was ever disingenuous, but I rarely—perhaps never—stood in my full, authentic power. It shouldn’t come as a surprise though. From a very early age, we’re told how to behave, think, and feel, what to be, what’s acceptable and what’s not, all of which can have the unintended consequence of shrinking us and diminishing our light.
Though I badly wanted to be seen, loved, and accepted, I was too afraid of anyone truly knowing me: what I really thought and felt, my flaws, my fears and insecurities, my ignorance, all of it. Honestly, I didn’t know myself yet—not really, and I certainly didn’t love and accept myself wholly. The result was that I moved through the world as only a shadow of my true self. It’s a very lonely way to be.
How many of us live this way? How much do we suffer because of it, often in silence?
Today, while I don’t like every part of myself, I most definitely love and accept all of myself, and I want people to know the real me. It’s been a long, sometimes painful, but always profound road getting here. It’s also been one of the most important things that I have ever done and imagine will ever do. Let me tell you why.
I didn’t understand—but do now—that I could only ever know, understand, and accept another person to the extent that I was able to do so for myself. I could only show up for others to the extent that I could show up for myself. Every experience that I have ever had has had one common denominator—me.
With that realization, every relationship I’ve ever had with another human being—from a brief exchange with a stranger to a passionate romantic love—suddenly looked different. The times I was triggered, felt anxious, ran, blamed, became angry, felt rejected, judged…all of it… ultimately came back to my relationship with myself. It was never really about the other person. In fact, the same holds true for our relationship with everything in life.
Our experience of life is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.
I now share myself with the world openly, authentically, and vulnerably to remind you that we’re all in this together. We’re not strangers in the way we’ve been conditioned to believe. Underlying the myriad things that make each of us uniquely special (i.e. the differences that we’re so unnaturally distracted by), is a much deeper, older truth: all of us are and everything is interconnected. Take that in for a moment.
It’s my hope that my writing, and ultimately everything about who I am in the world, sparks a remembrance within others of that connection. That my openness feels like permission to bring your own walls down and inspires you to show the world your own wonderfully imperfect self. That you remember that the only thing that blocks you from fully experiencing life and having a profound connection with everything is you.
I’ve given myself permission to be human. I invite you to give yourself the same permission.
We move through the world going past one another, often not even making eye contact let alone sharing words from our hearts. Lost in our heads, hiding behind our masks, we move through life not truly knowing those around us, interacting superficially as shadows of our most real, most powerful selves. I don’t say this as a judgment, but rather as an observation and as a reflection of how I once was. From this shallow vantage point, it’s easy to dismiss one another, to be rude, to criticize, to ignore another’s struggles and to hide our own, and in doing so we perpetuate the belief that we’re all separate. Because of that, the world continues to suffer. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Knowing yourself is the foundation of knowing another, and to know another is to know yourself.
My story is about a man and his journey through life. It’s a story about waking up, healing, remembering, and ultimately falling in love with life and the mystery that’s beyond. I strive to be real because I hope to inspire others to be real. I do what I do because I never again want to spend another moment being anything less than all of myself.
Won’t you join me?