Sometimes the unusual, incongruous, or (slightly) uncomfortable opens a space for an important truth to truly find its home in us. It’s one of those seemingly paradoxical partnerships of ideas – important truths offered with a light touch!
That’s what happened earlier this summer as a group of us were engaging one of those BIG conversations. In that conversation I was struggling with standing in the power and REAL value of my work in the world. While I’m clear the impact of this work is significant, many lives (including my own!) have been transformed, something in me was getting in the way of my fully embracing it.
I love what I do! And I’m clear I’m very skilled – I have for years, and every day still continue to learn, practice and hone both old and new skills. A downside of this is they’ve now become so much a part of who I am that they often feel ordinary to me – kinda like breathing, important, but just something I do.
In fact in that conversation, it was having the inimitable Lissa Boles remind me of the impact on us as humans NOT to have air, or fish NOT to have water, that allowed me to hold the tension of the paradox of the ordinariness, AND the extra-ordinary significance of what flows through me into my life, and the lives of those I touch. This work and the space we co-create together creates an environment where we thrive!
Lissa continued to support me as I sat in the tension of this way of seeing myself with the reminder “You really ARE Kind Of A Big Deal!”
But that’s a mouthful to keep on saying, or typing, and a couple days later, the wise and funny Lyn Allen who was also part of that conversation, messaged me – “Kind Of A Big Deal” – new acronym? KOABD? Loved Lissa’s play with this; it’s still reverberating for me. hmmmm….we may need T-shirts. Or tiaras…..”
T- shirts didn’t appeal to me; been there, done that, got lots – waaay to ordinary. But tiraras – now that was a different story. As I shared the fun of all this with my daughter Rachael, her immediate response was “We could make a tiara for you Mum!”
It’s taken a while but look what arrived in the mail this week – here’s a selfie of me sporting the VERY FIRST KOABD TIARA ever made!!In a magical way, the delightful, unique and incongrous idea of a KOABD tiara opened my heart and created a space where the deep truth of the value of my work in the world could land, and a way to hold and balance the complexity what that meant for me.
Let me have a go at explaining what I mean here – at least as clearly as I understand it in this moment. Part of me had felt nervous about all this for a couple of reasons. First the fear of being shamed for getting puffed up, swelled headed, or too big for my britches showed up – all these things that, especially as women in our culture, we’ve often been taught are at best not nice ways to be. The second was even scarier. What if I really was KOABD? This fear emerged from the underlying assumption that being KOABD also meant bearing a heavy weight of responsibility for making sure big things happened. No wonder owning the real value of what I brought to the table had been unappetizing, unattractive and undesirable!
As I’ve reflected about all this over the last couple months I’ve come to realize that when we’re truly present in our lives, in each moment there’s something that can only happen through our unique interaction with everything else that’s going on.
There are ways the Universe, Life, God, whatever name is resonant for us, wants to have things evolve. And there is something to the idea that there are things that can only happen through the unique contribution of each one of us.
our doing that creates the accomplishment.
Yes, each one of us is KOABD, and yes, lots of things are accomplished, but from this understanding, there’s neither the heaviness of responsibility, nor the opportunity for swelled headedness.
The uniqueness of our contribution means we’re not just Kind Of A Big Deal, but as the wise Rachael chose to remind me in her secret message on the back of the big blue heart in the center of the tiara, we ARE a big deal! AND, in its lightness and delight, the tiara also reminds me to take myself more lightly, and that it’s not actually our doing that creates any accomplishment, it’s our willingness to be present and say “yes” to engagement in the moment. This creates a balance that has me hold everything I do waaay more lightly.
With all the challenging things happening in our world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and incapacitated. We can drive ourselves into exhaustion by trying to do more and more. Or maybe we attempt to avoid the whole situation by zoning out in some way. Another way we try to cope sometimes is by focusing on others, judging them on what we think they should or shouldn’t be doing. At times perhaps all the above! I don’t think I’m alone here, what’s your sense?
Do you think that at least part of the reason we get caught in these ways of being is in an attempt to protect ourselves from having to feel the shame or responsibility we’ve been so conditioned to feel? Especially with so many powerful and painful situations in our world – near and far – that our deeply caring hearts ache over and want to make a difference in.
I don’t have answers for all those situations, but I AM clear that the Jack Gilbert poem I referred to in a recent eNews “I Wanna, But …” … Risking Stepping into the Gladness of Deep Desires bears repeating here.
He reminds us:
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world.
So here’s a pic of the tirara for you to have some fun with. I’m hoping you’ll find delight in imagining yourself wearing it! And that as you do so, you remember that you are KOABD – each one of us is!
There’s something about tapping into lightness and delight like this – not as an avoidance of the hard things in our world, but paradoxically as a way of connecting with ourselves in each moment. From that space of presence we can uniquely express the particular KOABD we came here to be. AND as I always remind us, honour our humanity by being gentle with ourselves in those moments when realize we’ve not …
As you might notice, this continues to be a very alive exploration for me, and I’d SO love to hear what you’re thinking, about this and anything else that’s percolating in your life.