We had walked into timelessness. Water cascading, sun glinting through the leaves, subtle chirping, sturdy boulders to climb.
We sat side by side in silence. Our hearts beat in time with the pulsating water. Everything we ever wanted to say was coursing through this liquid language.
The rhythmic falls sloughed off the final cellulose layers of shame, disappointment, and fear surrounding our true beaming selves. Still, we sat in silence.
The selves we were always meant to be were on display, communing with an exquisite universe. In our willingness to be utterly vulnerable, we had found, perhaps for the first time, completely wholehearted acceptance. There was no turning back from this.
As many folks foretold, the World Domination Summit proved to be an inspirational turning point in this project, setting in motion the dominos that would tumble into a newfound passion for vulnerability.
The weekend’s conversations wove from trusting intuition to embracing rejection to using negative thoughts to unveil self-knowledge to creating a meaningful life by shedding layers of personality and shame to reveal a true self. Talk about some serious momentum toward soul-searching.
After the final seminar, creative hangovers loomed. In an effort to stave off the crash, another WDS attendee (who had plopped down in the seat next to me just an hour earlier) and I went on a long walk through a Portland park. [On this walk, we encountered and played with a beautiful pig named Beef. Only in Portland.]
With each step, we cracked open our chests a little more, putting the weekend’s lectures into action. By the end of the evening, we had told each other every embarrassing secret, every way we had hurt the people we loved, every guilt we had hidden from the world. This game of vulnerability chicken revealed my pearlescent core self that was freer, healthier, more vibrant, more alive, more imaginative than any other moment in my life.
The weather on my final day in Portland was the epitome of the gorgeous Northwestern summer. The perfect day to continue the experiment. We ventured into the mountains to immerse our new raw selves in a vast blissful nature. As our new selves silently crystallized, we both knew that these realizations would deeply infiltrate our creative endeavors.
Now, I will admit that I am nervous about revealing these experiences in the virtual universe. Are you just going to scoff and brush me off as a lunatic? Perhaps. But, darling, I can’t not tell you. That wouldn’t be honest.
After returning to North Carolina, I talked to anyone who would listen in order to process the ramifications of this experiment in extreme vulnerability. And this is what we have determined:
When we hide our true selves, we begin rationally justifying our value and distancing those we want to affect out of fear that they won’t care. Artists who are effectively changing their communities don’t hide behind this fearful façade. They peel themselves open, move past the calluses built as a defense against life’s pain, and access the core of love within themselves. Only by exposing this raw honest loving self can we touch that same self within someone else’s core. That is the core from which change emanates.
Darling, I urge you to peel open your chest today and reveal your true core self to someone whom you barely know (or to someone whom you know well but have been afraid to tell everything). Be daring. Be your honest flawed self. Others will respond in beautifully positive ways that you cannot anticipate. The results will change you – and the community around you – forever. (And if you feel so led, please feel free to share your experiences here.)
Featured Image of the Bridal Veil Waterfall from My Captured Moments