raw, polished

Why do we fear narrating our own everyday experiences? A simple story can touch someone. Ladybird is a great movie not because it captures triumph or heroism, but because it touches the heart of an experience that people relate to. Everyday pain.

Most of the time, I hold my own story as unworthy compared to the intense suffering and victory I read about. And when I come across overly-emotional stories about minor life incidents, I instinctively cringe. So I spend lots of time self-censoring, drying out, draining emotion from my personal recollection. Flat stories, the character wiped from them in fear that my experiences are invalid and insignificant compared to the suffering of the world.

What does it sound like to speak from the heart?

In my personal journal, it’s just a series of questions and reflections. Trying on new phrases to see if they fit. It’s uncomfortable. So are old patterns of speaking. When the old has expired and the new has yet to arrive, where are you?

The obvious answer is “present.” The present is shockingly uncomfortable, most of the time. I tell my yoga classes each time we take up Utkatasana (chair pose) that we are practicing the ability to stay with discomfort. To resist the urge to wiggle away and commit to staying aware, staying present. Telling my own story feels a lot like chair pose – rubbing up against discomfort again and again, committing to stay, to exist, to not deny or shrink my existence. To stay raw and open, with a sense of gentle defiance.

How do you learn to be both raw and polished, like a softly sanded stone?

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