Year of Presence—Behold the Quiet Light
“We all have our own thing, and that’s the magic. And everybody comes with their own sense of strength and their own queendom.”— Jill Scott
I just want to be cozy, make beautiful things, and share what I love.
I wrote that in my journal after an intense existential conversation with myself. I can get lost in the complicated algorithms of my mind, but the truth is often the simplest thing, waiting for me to just listen. If you ever have trouble figuring out what you really want, drop all the grandeur, throw your hands in the air and complete this sentence (really fast)....“I just want to ____.”
(And here's another: if you don't know how to jump into the deep end with your words, just ask yourself, “What do I really need to say?”)
I really need to say that I've let fear hold me back.
It felt like a secret message from God when the words slipped into my consciousness—you are the light of the world ... Hill cannot be hidden. Out of context, perhaps, from the original quote, but it is there in black and white. Hill cannot be hidden.
Many in real life call me Hil. Maybe God does, too.
I am a private person. A quiet soul. I value solitude and keeping myself under layers. As a highly-sensitive and empathic woman, this is one way I hold onto life-giving boundaries. But a place to rest can also become a place to hide. For awhile I needed quietness. I needed to explore private heartaches and healings, figure things out, and do so without someone else reading over my shoulder. But after awhile, instead of being a fruitful and healing sort of dark, the cave becomes a hideaway, while outside is where life is.
To do my work and to be effective in my work I need to embrace the willingness to be visible in a way I've avoided for a long time. I'm not a spotlight kind of girl, yet I keep getting messages that it's time. That if I want the kind of meaningful life I long for and write about, then I've got to move out of the comfort of shadows. Only outside my comfort zone can I fully express the gifts I've been given, says The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. Which I read in just about one sitting. That book echoed a lot of my own beliefs and asked some new questions that edged me quickly towards discomfort. (So, in the right direction?)
Hendricks posed two particular prompts: Where in my life am I not taking full ownership? And What am I trying to disown? He then says, “The answer is blindingly obvious, but we can't see it until we get humble enough to ask the question.”
I don't know if this means I am now humble enough, but I'm certainly asking the question and it's tearing me apart to say this: I am not taking full ownership of my truth. There is so much of ME I've disowned—maybe not consciously, but through what I've allowed and not allowed to show up. My past. My stories. I keep thinking they have no relevance to now, although of course they do. My disappointments. My needs. My questions.
There is so much that clamps a hand over the mouth, isn't there? Fear of saying the wrong thing. Fear of going viral (success can be terrifying!). Fear of obscurity—of not being known. Fear of being politically or spiritually incorrect. For those of us lifelong overly-responsible ones, fear of more responsibility. Fear of not being strong enough for the work. Fear of not having the right words at the right time.
Here's the thing: until recently I've held myself back from what I am meant to do because I am petrified of the responsibility that comes with visibility, success, and growth. I've had some in the past and wasn't ready for it. My boundaries weren't as strong. I wasn't as strong (or street-smart, I should say). And I've been living from the body memory of past experiences, which means that whenever I get close to visibility, success or growth my body steps in to say, “Remember last time? We don't want that again, do we? Here's a panic attack. Now you can go take a nap for the rest of the day. Crisis averted.”
Today is my personal New Year.
I've just made another turn around the sun and I come to this day with a renewed commitment to the life I am made for. This means saying yes. This means deeper truth and trust. This means the willingness to show up with a tender sort of quiet light that says Here I Am. This is me. I like to be cozy and make beautiful things and share what I love. What do you like? It seems a little anti-climactic, but this simple acknowledgment feels huge, like I'm tip-toeing up to the door of possibility and welcoming the moon.
So for this, my New Year, and for the new year to come, I have chosen the guiding word Presence.
Presence of Spirit, of self, and with you. The adventure is already underway and I am gently curious. Curiosity is my response to fear. So is wonder.
“Spiritual humility is not about getting small, not about debasing oneself, but about approaching everything and everyone else with a readiness to see goodness and to be surprised. This is the humility of a child, which Jesus lauded. It is the humility of the scientist and the mystic. It has a lightness of step, not a heaviness of heart. That lightness is the surest litmus test I know for recognizing wisdom when you see it in the world or feel its stirrings in yourself. The questions that can lead us are already alive in our midst, waiting to be summoned and made real. It is a joy to name them. It is a gift to plant them in our senses, our bodies, the places we inhabit, the part of the world we can see and touch and help to heal. It is a relief to claim our love of each other and take that on as an adventure, a calling. It is a pleasure to wonder at the mystery we are and find delight in the vastness of reality that is embedded in our beings. It is a privilege to hold something robust and resilient called hope, which has the power to shift the world on its axis.”― Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise
Again—“It is a relief to claim our love of each other and take that on as an adventure, a calling. It is a pleasure to wonder at the mystery we are and find delight in the vastness of reality that is embedded in our beings.”—Krista Tippett
Here I am, love. Arms open. Let's be ourselves.
PS....here is your sermon for today: