I've not long gotten off the phone with my gorgeous friend Michelle, whom I met on this retreat last year.
At the end of our retreat, I felt honestly perplexed as to why so many people were coming up to find me, to say goodbyes.
'Why would they bother?' I thought, 'I'm not that interesting.'
When I relayed this to my newfound soul-sister Michelle upon parting, she said 'Are you serious? You Shine!'
Something in the way she said it to me really hit home. Cracked open my shell. Some fresh, green love seeped into my heart.
Could this be true? Could I actually be more than I'm allowing myself to believe I am?
For days, weeks and months afterwards, my insides began to splinter apart and soften. That little voice that usually piped up to say, 'Oh no, don't share that idea. People will think you're stupid', still said it's piece, but another voice began to rise up to meet it:
What if I'm more than I believe I am? What if ... what if, I was born to shine?
Even as I write this sentence, tears well up in my eyes. I still feel overwhelmed by the prospect. Could I be born to shine?
As I often do, I began making Art to process my new feelings. I knew I had to use yellow. Perhaps 'cause to me, yellow shines.
Next came the sun - not one, but two - rising into the sky, sharing their unique light with the world.
What if I am born to Shine?
The painting took on a life of it's own. I added what I felt in my heart. I symbolised my feelings in colours, textures and words.
I didn't hide that original, fear-driven voice. It's here in the rocks on the ground and the branches in my trees, beckoning me to grow down and stay tightly closed.
Rather than burning that nasty little voice up in the pits of my twice firey suns, what if it was only trying to help? What if, all along, I was only ever trying to help and be loved and accepted. Aren't we all?
Maybe both parts of me can exist together, for as long as they need to. Maybe they'll eventually part ways.
The difference is today, I am learning to approach self-preservation from a new perspective.
A perspective which is more pro-active, rather than re-active.
A perspective which offers me a new choice - to question old beliefs and see if there's a better way for me today.
Because you know what?
Deep down inside, the real reason I'm an Artist ... the real reason I teach these classes and write these blog posts like I do, is because of this:
I want to live in ways where I feel free to shine.
And although sometimes my sunny skies will inevitably get clouded over with shame, guilt or fear of judgement, the point is that each day, more and more, I am choosing to Claim and Share my Shine.
I'll leave you with this beautiful quote by Marianne Williamson, who sums up this idea beautifully:
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, and 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 will not 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 is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
- Marianne Williamson. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", Ch. 7, Section 3 (1992)P. 190