Surprise – I Look Like S…!
Yesterday I thought that I was going to a relaxed Saturday afternoon visit at my friend Jen’s house. We were going to cook together and catch up while our husbands and kids helped out. I was wearing a t-shirt and slippers, no makeup and had barely put a brush through my hair, thinking I was going to do kitchen/cooking stuff.
As I turned the corner in our friends’ kitchen 40 impeccably dressed people screamed “surprise” at me!
Surprised? You can say that again!
After the first heart-racing seconds passed – I realized that they were all there for me! I was the guest of honor – and I looked like I was ready to go gardening!
Do you know this feeling?
In my case it felt like a mix between wanting to run and hide, like I had been “found out” and exposed…
“Oh my God, all these people are here for me and I look like s…!”
As I stood there with my jaw on the floor, thousands of thoughts like the above ran through my head. It was almost like the kind of dreams where you find yourself in public – only you realize you are naked!
After a moment dense with panic and conflicting emotions – a moment that felt like an hour – I let go of my mixed emotions and the thought of surrender sounded like this:
“These people are here for me, and I better just enjoy every second of this!”
And I walked in and hugged each person in that room and allowed myself to just be loved and honored – to be held and cared for. I found out how intricate the planning had been, my darling husband and my kids had planned this for months – and my friends Jen and Steve had been on board with the deception… ahem… planning for many weeks as well. My friend Charlie had flown in from Chicago and taken care of the decorations, my husband and kids had printed pictures of me from when I was newborn to today and posted it on boards throughout the house. Everyone had parked far away as to not give it away – in short: it was a flawless execution over all!
And after I surrendered it dawned on me:
These people do not love me because I am made-up, in proper attire or fancy shoes. They love me because I am me!
How many times do we go through life thinking we have to appear this way or that?
That we have to do or have certain things to be accepted?
And in reality – in many more occasions than we think – all we have to do is to show up as who we really are.
After I gave in and accepted this notion things got a lot easier – and my enjoyment went through the roof. Now, I am not saying that I will never wear a fancy dress or use makeup again. Of course I will. However the lesson was one of really letting it sink in that when I do that, I do it more for myself than for anybody else!
And in addition it became clear to me that, when we “put on” or “keep up appearances”, we are in fact often isolating ourselves, and preventing others from seeing us as simply who we are! We get caught up in our own hype and end up isolating ourselves behind our masks of pretentiousness.
Here we lose sight of what we are here on earth to do: Be fully present with each other!
It is about being authentically who we are, so we can fully appreciate each person we meet on our way.
Surrendering to the beauty in others have nothing to do with what I wear or how I look. It is about being comfortable and being in the moment so I can allow others in, and appreciate all that they are!
I learned a lesson. Marianne Williamson says it so beautifully – and I have modified in cursive: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear of not fitting in or acting in expected ways, our presence automatically liberates others.”