Taking Down My Fence (Believing Mirror Part 2)

Cat Fink--'Old Coyote Trick (sticks and stones)'
Old Coyote Trick (sticks and stones) — Cat Fink

I’ve been reading about vulnerability in Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly.  Her words have me feeling and remembering.

Growing up, no one told me that strength included vulnerability.  If they did, I didn’t hear them.  Maybe the people around me did not know this either.

Growing up, I was taught that being strong meant holding back my feelings from public view.  Show a calm, controlled front.  Always pretend everything is okay.  I became so good at this, even I didn’t know what I was feeling sometimes.

I kept pushing my feelings away.  I thought I was getting rid of them.  Truth is I was storing them behind a fence of ‘okay’.

This is not the way to live.  I knew it, but did not know how to be different.

Things changed when I was twenty-one.  I began the relationship with my future husband.  He saw my heart behind the fence, and he loved it, and he wouldn’t let go.

Something in me knew it was time to build a gate.  A skinny gate at first, but enough to let me say out loud for the first time in my life, to someone, I love you.

I was terrified saying it.  This was laying myself open, a direct path to hurt me and reject what I offered.  Despite all of the loving actions and words Lyle had given me, I did not trust I was truly worthy of love.  I didn’t much love myself, so how could someone else love me?

I could not say ‘I love you’ to Lyle as a statement.  I said it like a question needing the right answer.

He said it.  He said I love you.  He answered.  To me.

Love made the gate in my fence.  Love and the courage to love.  I don’t know where the courage came from, and the ability to hear the voice that whispered inside me, ‘do this’.

I knew this was a choice, to stay with fear or to step forward to love.  I knew Lyle saw me differently than I saw myself.  He saw a world that did not require fear, and he saw me in this world braver than I saw myself.  Maybe this is how my courage appeared.  His vision sparked my belief, and my belief sparked courage to arise, be seen, and claim out loud my ability to love.

Lyle showed up for me when I needed someone to help open a way through the fence I had built around myself.

Lyle told me how he felt and what he saw in me.  But louder than the words were his actions.  He treated me as a person of great value, who had gifts to be seen and shared.

He believed in me.

This is what we do for each other.  We see the best in the person standing before us, even and especially when they can’t see it themselves.  We believe in them.  We say ‘let’s do this together’.

We all have the gift and possibility of being a Believing Mirror for the person standing before us.  We just have to choose to see that in ourselves, and be vulnerable enough to offer it to someone else.

‘I believe in you.’  Words as precious and important and life-changing as ‘I love you’.

Lyle and I have been together thirty-seven years.  We have a son to be proud of.  My fence?  It shows up sometimes as a ghost of itself.  Old habits, old patterns of thinking and reacting, reminding me where I was, and showing me where I am now.  I pat it kindly, and thank it for keeping me safe at a time when I thought I needed protection.  Then I walk around it.

Lyle, I love you.  Happy Father’s Day.

_______________________

In this post:

Brene Brown, book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Avery, 2012.  http://brenebrown.com/

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

‘Believing Mirror’, page 47 in It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, Julia Cameron, TarcherPerigree, 2016.  http://juliacameronlive.com/

 

Believing Mirror

'7 Crows, A Secret Never To Be Told' detail--Cat Fink
7 Crows, A Secret Never to be Told (detail) — Cat Fink

Thursday I had my last session with my coach.  Yes, I am a creativity coach-artist-writer-blogger who has a coach.  I should say, had a coach.

For this past year we have been talking, every two weeks.  Sometimes emailing in between the talking.

I’ll tell you how I feel right now.  Sad.  I am going to miss our biweekly conversations.  I am also elated, excited, pleased with myself.  I keep hearing ‘I did it!’ popping into my thoughts.  I am grounded and balanced within myself and my life.  I feel like I just graduated from a Master’s Degree program.  I feel like I just ran a whole marathon.

So what did I do that has me celebrating?

Last April I got very honest with myself.  I looked at my nineteen years as a professional artist.  Looked at my writing and my blogging.  At my book with the half-completed second draft.  At the creativity workshops and coaching I was doing.

I loved all I was doing and creating, loved the connections and community I was building.  But I had no focus.  It all felt very random, with no clear path ahead.  My usual way of working was feeling chaotic rather than organic.

This is where I am, I said to myself.  Where do I want to go?  How do these pieces of my creativity fit together?

I am the kid who always says ‘I can do it myself’, and does.  Not this time.  I need help, I said to myself, and Source heard my request.

Enter Linda.

Linda is a Master Coach.  Yes, the capital letters are deliberate and appropriate.  She coaches CEO’s and entrepreneurs.

Linda listened to me with her heart and her head.

I have a bad attitude around business, I said.  Business and art don’t belong in the same sentence.

We can do this, she said.

Over twelve months we shifted me, my life, and my creativity into focus.  We talked about the nuts and bolts of what I was doing, the energy and feel of what I was creating.  About where I was and where I wanted to be.  We used our heads and our hearts.  Feeling and knowing what was right for me, and what was not.

Two (of the thousand) things I learned from Linda:

Feel and think.  My heart carries my dreams and inspiration and path.  My head carries the organizing and details, the process, the nuts and bolts of building.  When I connect all of this, the whole of me, I see clearly the next step in front of me.  I feel the energy of the people I am connecting with, and what they are asking for.  I see how this matches my inspiration, the workshops and coaching, the words and drawings I will create in response.

Use everything.  Instead of pushing away what I don’t like, I get curious about it.  What does this feel like?  What is it telling me?  Why is it showing up?  How can I use it?  I am fascinated at how there is always a way to turn something around and let it inspire me.

Linda has been my Believing Mirror.  She met me exactly where I was, and saw the future me as I wanted to be.  Step by step she walked with me into that place.  Transformation.

What is best?  I am now my own Believing Mirror.  I see where I am, and I see where I am going to be.  That vision of where I will be pulls me forward.  It creates the space for me to walk into, and the steps to get there.

Thank you, Linda, Master Coach, Believing Mirror.

_______________________

In this post:

‘Believing Mirror’, page 47 in It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, Julia Cameron, TarcherPerigree, 2016, http://juliacameronlive.com/

Linda Caducoy,  Executive Coach,  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindacaducoy