I started a new semester of teaching tonight – three students. I found myself sharing with them my writing from the blog and telling them about Barbara Techel’s book, Through Frankie's Eyes, which I have just reviewed. One student wondered what he had to share and I told him how I had just read Barbara’s book about how her experience taking care of her dog helped her grow in confidence and find an authentic life. The pieces seemed to just come together. In the past I would have been reluctant to read my own work to my students, but tonight after I had them write about a first impression, I read my piece Tears on meeting a perspective owner for one of my friend Joan’s puppy. I shared my own insecurities when it comes to writing, letting myself be vulnerable and they seemed to respond. I’m learning and growing, like we all are, and in being open and honest, we foster each other.
One of my favorite quotations is by Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I have long cherished these words and shared them with others, but each day I am learning to live them. As I shared the other day, we have been talking a lot at the Hubbard Hall Writers’ Group about what it means to live an authentic life both as people and as writers and have concluded, that in large part, it means a willingness to be open and vulnerable. That’s a big move for me. You spend a lifetime trying to build a façade only to learn that it can be a dungeon, locking you inside. On one hand, I have always been open and honest and direct about my feelings, but another part of me I’ve always kept safely locked inside. Now I’m taking the above words to heart, playing small does not serve the world.
That’s something my little black pug Waffles already seems to know. Here, she shines large, a queen in her snowy tiara. She is a tiny powerhouse, shrinking from nothing. Never playing it small.