Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Human Tapestries

Many years ago, visiting The Vatican, I saw numerous tapestries lining the hallways.  They were so colorful and so beautiful. 

Only recently it occurred to me that those images would not have been possible were it not for the fabric on which they were woven and for the knots in the back (which are covered with a cloth...hiding the not so beautiful aspects) holding the images together.

I have come to realize that it is similar with us human beings.  We too are like the tapestries.

For so many reasons, understandably, we are told from early on to put our best foot forward, show only our bright side, our unique abilities, potentials, strengths, and so on.  In essence, to show only the front side of the tapestry.  Yet spite of all that, at times deep within many of us feel incomplete, empty, as if something is missing. Why is that and what is that we long for, I wonder.

One of the things I have learned is that we are already complete but we lose touch with that aspect.  And to feel whole again, it becomes important to also recognize and embrace our dark side, which we tend to avoid, cover up as in the tapestries.  These include elements such as our weaknesses, limitations, things we have become ashamed of, regrets, shortcomings, things we don't want others to know, things that pain us, and so on.  But they too are an integral part of us and we must honor, respect and embrace those aspects of ourselves as well.

For example, by nature, I am not a very aggressive individual, I am not the sharpest pencil in the box, I am not very quick on my feet, and I don't have the gift of being talkative When at gatherings, I tend to be fairly quiet for I don't have the gift of, nor frankly the interest in, small talk.  There was a time I used to think something is wrong with me and I wished I had these talents as I see others having. 

I now see, after all these years, that there is nothing wrong with me and it is my very limitations that on the flip side allow me to create safe spaces, ask probing questions in a way that they are heard and people feel comfortable responding, and for me to truly listen to both the spoken and more importantly the unspoken.

I realize now that these are my gifts and they become possible because of my limitations.  Two sides of the same coin.  So by accepting both sides of myself, my limitations and my potentials, I have come to  feel whole and complete and am able to live more joyfully, more at peace and do work that is more aligned with who I am.  I no longer try to be someone I am not.  Trust me, I have tried and its really no fun.

In addition to what I have already shared, I have come to also experience that once I was able to accept myself fully as I am, and then live in alignment with my uniqueness, not only does that bring me greater personal happiness, that then gave me greater capacity to also accept others, without judgement, as they are, how they are. And to me, that's a beautiful thing.

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