I’ve been thinking about how something so simple as “just show up, be yourself, and do what you can” so often becomes tantalizingly difficult and/or elusive. It gets me thinking about what gets in the way of “the natural,” what it’s all about and what can be done about it?
First thoughts: well, let’s see…some demolition work, some acceptance of all the parts, some cleaning out of the filters, learning to learn, developing some skills, developing competence, “working” a narrative, finding purpose, identifying talents, clearing some space for something authentic, and then showing up “as is” and without pretense. Well that should just come together lickety split, eh?
In the dream I am walking along a path and I hear some sharp noises off to my right. I go to explore and I start climbing a rock strewn hill. Around the other side of a very large boulder there is a man who is chipping away at the stone face of the rock wall.
That’s all I remembered of the dream, but it was enough to arouse my curiosity. Hmm, the progression in my mind was: walking a path, hearing something, the rock, chipping away, the stone face, the face of the wall, the façade. The word which caught my attention the most was the façade: the face, the exterior side of a structure and that which is usually presented to and seen from the front.
The façade can set a visual and affective tone for expectation. It’s the cover of the book, so to speak. It’s the “best foot forward.” It’s the preferred, chosen or cultivated impression which wants to be given to those passing by or those approaching. At best it can be a reflection of something genuine; at worst it’s a deception, an attempt to manipulate. When used consciously it can be a tool to express what wants to be first.
Sidebar moment 1: This implies a flexibility, a possibility of variability, and creativity all of which can be used in conscious design. But in the dream, the initial presentation was of a stone wall – anything but a flexible medium. And in the dream, the man who is encountered along the way, on the journey, is not just banging away at a boulder, he is chipping away. The implication is clear that he is trying either to g0 to something already within which wants to be revealed [light or dark] or to create something using the medium of what is already there and readily available, i.e., the hard reality of an unchanging exterior….unchanging until it is acted upon, engaged with through an outside “the box” consciousness, and in the process becomes part of an event of co-creation.
At one point in my life I was aware of choosing to have a face which “gave nothing away.” Let’s just say that the frightened, self-conscious, terribly unsure, confused, lost, and, oh well you get the idea, right?, teenager chose a façade of stone. But in my situation, it was not to express, but to not-express, to conceal and to protect.
As I reflect on that period of my life, I realize that it was a reflection of how cut off I was from the world, both inside and out; how I was trying to hide in place, to become invisible to a world that frightened me and which I didn’t understand. I didn’t know how I fit in. It was a way of saying “stay away.” It was an important piece of armor and, as such, it was a “defense.” At a time when I needed it, because I couldn’t come up with anything else, it served it’s purpose, but not without consequences.
All these years later (in linear time) there is a part of me that is still working on that façade. Yes, that man in the dream is reminding me that there is still more work to be done, to continue to express and to create. Now, it is more related to a dropping off of that which no longer serves a useful and expressive purpose for that which is inside.
Therein lies the challenge. If the “historically safe and steady-state exterior is dropped or softened, then what gets expressed, shown? Is it polished? Is it a complete representation? Is it accurate of who I really am? Is it all-together or scattered? Is it complete or unpolished and unfinished? The opportunity, it seems to me, is to allow for all of those and more – presently “as is” and that has to embrace the ongoing state of changing.
Let me play with this a little differently for now. When it’s the old, the erected, and through trial and error “the functional,” and when it is habitual, as in automatic and not consciously present, it is clearly more “façade.” When that is infused with present expression and expressiveness, then it is “just showing up,” “just now showing up.” There may still be some filtering going on so as to not endlessly go down the road of impulsive and inappropriate buffonery. However, what is expressed and spoken is close to an “as is” sharing of current thoughts and feelings. A contribution which has the authenticity of this-is-what-my-current-thought-feeling-is-about-what-we-are-talking-about-right-now but which-I-reserve-the-right-to-change-modify-withdraw-from-later.
Isn’t that interesting. What will appear to be a perfect example of an imperfect representation may actually be a perfect manifestation of a further reality – the unseen, the unseeable – which can only be approximated and reflected moment to moment. Herr Doktor Heisenberg, would you care to leave a comment?