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Lifelong Learner

I love learning. I don't need to take tests, or get graded on anything. No, not that kind of learning. I will always be a student of life. I shared this quote the other day on the socials:


“I know that I will never understand the world I live in or fully know the places I've been. I've learned for sure only what I don't know — and how much I have to learn.”

–Anthony Bourdain


I couldn't agree more. To be honest, I wish more people had this approach to life. It's tiring to come across someone who thinks they know more than the next person, loves to hear themselves talk, they have ALL the answers and information, need to make sure that everyone knows they know more, while it never occurs to them that perhaps, just perhaps, someone else in the room probably knows even more on the subject than they do, but is keeping silent.


I understand the impetus behind that, that there's probably some kind of insecurity where they need to prove themselves worthy, to get attention, to seek approval and acceptance. To be loved. Though for most, this is at a deeply unconscious level.


For those in the back, yes, that's what mansplaining is.


Which is also unexamined male privilege. Jes sayin'.


But that's not where I was going with this.


I'm currently taking an amazing course around the subject of intuitive painting ~ how to teach it ~ not just to learn about it for myself. I feel like I can be a much better facilitator than I've been so far, and I want to have the right language, mindset, and approach so that I can hold space for others without unintentionally hurting anyone in the process. I'm learning so much! It's transformative.


Because intuitive painting is very much about process, not product. And that's something our society doesn't have a lot of experience in, me included. What thing have you made? Is it any good? Can you make money from it? Focus on the end result and productivity is the American dream.


Creating a piece of art that's not about the final piece of art but about learning to listen to and trust your intuition, that is about identifying the gremlins in our heads that tell us we're not good enough, that is about trusting our heart and our bodies... that's pretty foreign stuff to most people. It can be a very vulnerable place to go, to find our authentic self that's been buried deep down under familial and social conditioning. If we're not creating just to create a thing, aren't we doing it wrong? Actually focusing on how we're feeling while we're creating those things? Whoa. What? Whole new way of doing life. For many.


In the learning process last week I came up against something in myself that I didn't know was there. A part of me that has lurked in the shadows for all too long. I've been in a teaching and facilitator role many times and in many ways throughout my adult life. It's something I've become quite comfortable with, and I feel confident when I'm up in front of a group of folks. What I learned about myself is that I'm not comfortable being a student, while learning something new. Ironic, right? Since I love it so much. Turns out I have a lot of insecurity around making mistakes, getting it wrong, or messing up while I'm learning that something new.


And that's because I've interpreted it as meaning that I'm imperfect. And in that imperfection I will be rejected. I will not be accepted. I will not be loved.


Ouch.


It was a doozy of a thing to unearth. But I know I'm not alone in this.


I think that being truly seen, being accepted one hundred percent for who we are, unconditionally, warts and all, is far rarer than one would imagine. There are so many folks in our society rejected and not loved for who they are. We see it everywhere right now during Pride month especially. But it's also with folks who grew up questioning their families values. Or who chose a partner their family didn't approve of. Or in the religious or not religious or spiritual path they chose. For being too quiet. Or too loud. For being too serious. Or too goofy. For not being smart enough. Or successful enough. For not trying harder. For speaking up. For questioning the way things are.


You could probably come up with even more, and a few of your own personal ones I'm sure.


To be seen. To be loved. It's what we all want. What we crave. And if we didn't get it as children we spend the rest of our adult lives looking for it. Sometimes in very unhealthy ways. Runaway and homeless teens? They are not the problem. They are the symptom of a very broken society, for being rejected for who they are, for the struggles they are experiencing. It's heartbreaking.


When we think we know better than someone and how they should be, trying to fix people to be something they are not, being uncomfortable when someone is struggling having hard and heavy emotions and feelings. These are all the ways we perpetuate the problem. But we can shift things.


The solution? It's so easy that it's seemingly complicated. Love. Compassion. Non-judgment. For others. But especially for ourselves. Warts and all.


Acceptance. Curiosity. Connection. Truly listening.


Just being together with someone. Quietly.


"I see you."


Most healing thing you can say to someone.


Best thing ever to hear.


I encourage you to try it. Someone in your life is going to be so incredibly grateful. So relieved to know that they get to be themselves one hundred percent. Just. As. They. Are.



 

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