Still Sewing Together These Remnants of Self

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Tonight was my writing group’s holiday dinner. A mightily different crowd of people from my healing class, but a sweet and generous atmosphere all the same. I am the youngest in the group by a good twenty years, with the majority of the women already enjoying a well deserved retirement. There is talk of grandchildren and good therapists and the best female Episcopalian ministers, and, of course, books that change lives.

When asked about how my novel was going, I hesitated because, truth be told, fiction has taken a back seat to my healing work and my spiritual explorations and the words that I scatter here. For all my talk of integrating the self and walking around with a whole perspective, I suddenly found it difficult to marry my worlds.

There wasn’t the luxury of time or space to explain this whole other aspect of myself to a group of laughing ladies sipping champagne. They know me as the girl who writes stories about a painter of churches who struggles with his marriage and his faith. Smiling and nodding, they moved on to talk of waters more easily navigated, more updates on people they had known since their now grown children were small.

It certainly was not disinterest or rudeness that kept them from asking what sort of healing I do. I realized quickly, that for all their worldliness and their fascination with the human experience, energy healing was unfamiliar territory and required an introduction in a different setting. In the same spirit, to a group generally still wary of computers, mentioning that I kept a blog might not mean an awful lot.

Tonight was a valuable lesson for me in the art of carrying around a complete sense of self, but being alright with the fact that some people are tuned into smaller slices of who I am. To walk around constantly needing to flaunt my wholeness and announce myself as a writer and a healer and a spiritual seeker and a person with a library operations manager is just too much stuff – both for a business card and for polite conversation. All of those things are just details anyway – important details that describe how I spend my time, but details all the same that can never describe the true essence of who I am.

Still, I came home with a full belly and a slightly confused head. How will I sew the various remnants of my life together? It is one thing to know that it is not necessary for colleagues to understand the changes in my life – if they notice anything it might be that my rougher edges have been smoothed. But in a social situation, it is a little different to realize that it will be challenging to explain my shifts in priorities and talk about the things that truly matter to me.

I know that it will just take patience, and that I should not expect all of my revelations (understanding myself as a healer, as someone who communicates to people in a space like this) to take root in a week.

Isn’t one of the first lessons of writing “show, don’t tell“? When I walk through life wearing a cloak stitched with the wisdom I have gathered on my new path, I think I’ll find these worries will have flown with the moths that chewed up my old disguises.

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5 thoughts on “Still Sewing Together These Remnants of Self

  1. Nita December 15, 2008 / 12:51 am

    Aaaahhhh, I have seen myself in your lovely words. The art of being and emanating wholeness but allowing different facets of the self to be illuminated with different people present. Perhaps it is all in our perception. Allowing the facet of one part of ourselves to mirror who we find ourselves with yet not letting it differentiate from the whole gem that we are. A very good practice indeed. i look forward to reading about the continued emergence of the healing artist in you and how she weaves it all together.

  2. Jessica December 15, 2008 / 12:17 pm

    My friend, I really love reading your words here, and hope you find some good exchanges and support for your journey.
    I think I am just beginning to see that I am not what I do, I do what I am. And you can either see me that way, or you can see me another way, and that says nothing about me, and a lot about you. I’m proud of you for being who you are, and for seeking a path for all your aspects.

  3. brandi December 15, 2008 / 2:18 pm

    this post speaks so strongly to me as I often feel like one group knows one aspect of me and another knows another piece and can feel shy in introducing different elements.

    you have given me much to think about-

    thank you.

  4. Lisa December 15, 2008 / 5:00 pm

    How wonderful to incorporate the writing mantra “show don’t tell” into one’s life like that! Brilliant.

    My husband and I talk about this very thing all the time. I have come to the same conclusion as you, tho I have never phrased it as perfectly. People will see the whole of you in the kindness of your actions – the rest are just details indeed.

    (And when you write your blog or interact with others in person, you are still a healer, even if others are not necessarily conscious of the fact that they are being healed – they are by your presence and your words and insights. So rock on healer woman, you know who and what you are!)

  5. girlwhocriedepiphany December 16, 2008 / 8:05 am

    Dear Nita, Welcome! And I see myself in your lovely words. “The art of being and emanating wholeness but allowing different facets of the self to be illuminated with different people present.” Brilliant. So glad to have you here along for my journey.

    Sweetest Miss Lady J, Yee! So amazing to see one of my realest world people appear here. I love that you and I have had what, twenty years (give or take a few that were lost to Ohio) to watch each other change and grow. Thank you for always being there as I have explored all of these “aspects.” Hoping I have finally struck upon the right ones…

    Dear Brandi, I guess we just need to learn not to push our agendas or our desired selves in any one spot. Let me tell you, I am interested to see what part of me gets to play at the family Christmas gathering…

    Dear Lisa, Thanks! It does take a good measure of patience and trust to let people be affected by lovingkindness you are emanating rather than passing them a note about how you wish they would understand they were talking to a changed being! Thanks for the reminder that I am carrying around this healer self even if my table is folded up in a distant corner. Slowly I am beginning to understand and integrate this idea.

    Blessings,
    Marisa

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