Thursday, November 22, 2007

Claiming the Pieces

This week's Wishcasting prompt inspired me to want to take a public stand about what I want to claim about myself, those parts of me that for a variety of reasons I have rejected in some capacity. This was really inspired (once again) by Rachel Remen's book Kitchen Table Wisdom, particularly, "Our listening creates sanctuary for the homeless parts within the other person. That which has been denied, unloved, devalued by themselves and by others. That which is hidden."
Here are 3 things about me that I do truly love and believe are strengths but have for a variety of reasons felt it was not okay to claim.

1. I love beauty.
This has been a challenge because a love of beauty can be seen as narcissism, shallowness and materialism. In fact, I recently worked with a coach who responded to my longing for beauty with the suggestion that perhaps I was being materialistic. Surprisingly, this became a huge part of my claiming process. A part of me was crushed, another part was offended, a part of me searched inside to see if it was true and then a part of me rose up, pushed back with vigour and put my stake in the ground. The realization I came to is that I love beauty whether it's a peony from my garden or a $7,000 chandelier. I love and appreciate beauty. The price tag is irrelevant.
I also read a great book called The Portable Coach by Thomas Leonard. In it he encourages us to get our needs met, and he identifies that things like beauty can be a need. I was incredulous. I might actually need beauty? Was that okay? Being given permission to need beauty still brings tears to my eyes. I realized how deeply my soul longs for beauty all the time. I use the word about a thousand times a day. So I finally decided to just get over it and accept it.

I love beauty. I need beauty in my life. I am going to bring my beauty into my life.

2. I love home.

As a self-professed lively downtown girl, a feminist and a former club girl, um, it hasn't felt particularly cool or hip or empowered to love home. Also, I'm generally so busy that I don't spend a great deal of time on my home. And we've been on quite a journey with our house, doubting our choice, not knowing how long we'll be here, and so I've felt unsure about how much to invest in this particular space. But the truth is all of that makes me feel disheartened. I love home.

I remember watching an episode of one of Colin & Justin's shows (I heart design shows) and Colin commented that an uncared for house is unloved and that has stuck with me. I want to live in a loved space. Because I have a busy life and a very busy brain, I especially want to come home to a sanctuary that I feel embraced in, that feels like us and that feels like home. And truthfully, I find some home stuff rather soothing to do. Doing the dishes is a short-term goal that makes me feel like I've accomplished something and I can see the impact immediately. I love having home-cooked meels and lunches for the next day. I love slipping into fresh sheets when I go to bed.

So, I admit it, own it, embrace it. I love home. I am going to invest more of my time, attention, money and love into creating home.

3. I love being a leader.
Anyone else's gremlin sound like this, "Who the hell do you think you are?" (That voice and leadership is also very tied to my identity as a creative performer, but I'll stick with these 3 for today) In fact, that voice is so strong that I spent a lot of my youth being that very nice girl in your class, you know, quiet, polite, unobtrustive. What it took me a while to understand is that you can be nice, polite and step up!

Stepping up and leading something is just in my DNA. At home I created games, performances, businesses when I was a kid. When I was older, I became involved in leadership activities at school. When I'm involved in something I generally have a strong response and get personally invested in what's at stake. If I don't, I generally don't see the need to participate.

Don't get me wrong. I don't always need to be the leader. (Ah, is that my gremlin worrying that you won't like me if I do?) But a lot of the accomplishments that I feel most proud of are moments of leadership. And the times I think of being most at home in what I'm doing, like directing, are leadership experiences. I like to to bring people together, to plan something, to organize it and hold it together, to inspire and encourage others, to contribute, to have a vision, to create something, to make something happen. I love it.

I love being a leader. And in 2008 I am going to invite more leadership opportunities into my life. You heard it here first!

What previously unaccepted parts of yourself do you wish to claim? You can share your wish here and also at Wishcasting.


Marilyn said...

I COMPLETELY get the leader thing, because I have it, too. When I was 7, my teacher (nun) wrote on one of my report cards that I was being bossy on the playground. I was crushed and mortified--I assumed "bossy" was a bad thing and I didn't want to be bad. When it was explained to me what I'd done to earn that description, I knew I hadn't meant to be bossy at all--I just saw a lot of confused chaos on the playground and was trying to organize things for efficiency and maximum enjoyability for all. Ha! (Even though I didn't know that's what it was at the time.) ;) And yet, like you, I've often tried to make myself small to be liked...fearing that the innate leader in me will be instantly disliked. Complicated, isn't it?!

As for beauty, I say claim that with all you've got! I'm very susceptible to my surroundings, to the point where I can feel depressed in ugly (especially work) environments.

I swore I'd never settle down...and yet nothing gives me more pleasure now than hanging out in my little house. My kitchen's my favorite room...and I don't even cook! I just like the funky charm of it (even if it doesn't look charming to anyone else). As I told J not long ago (and I'm someone who's moved dozens and dozens of times)...this little rental is the first place that feels like home to me...and that's a comforting thing.

This is a powerful post, Jamie! Here's to more claiming in the coming year! Happy Thanksgiving from America! ;)

Sacred Suzie said...

Like draws like. I think it's the beauty in your spirit that is drawn to the beauty of art and nature Jamie.

I hear you on the home being a love not being hip. I want you to live in a loved space too!

Jamie, the world really needs leaders like you. We NEED you. I think this is one gremlin you gotta stomp on for the betterment of the world.

Yay! I love all these loves of yours. I think you should be 100% confident about embracing them.

Jessie said...

your list really speaks to me and i'm glad that you shared it. hmmm...i'm just about to retire into bed with my journal and i think i will spend some time with the "hidden" parts of myself. anyway, i feel introspective tonight.

i hope your day has been filled with beauty and that your home has been filled with lots of love!


Jessie said...

lol...ok, i just reread my comment and decided that it sounds really horrible. gah. i didn't mean it like that. really! :)-

um, yeah...
sorry 'bout that. *embarrassed laughter*

Fiona said...

When I started working with my coach, I refered to beauty as a minor value when the truth is I whither without beauty!

Today as I have worked my last corporate day, I claim my entrepreneur. I used to have my own company as a child too! And from today, I claim the non-conformist who carves her own way rather than making myself wrong for not conforming.

Jenn said...

Jamie, I loved what you shared here and look what you sparked in other's comments. Wow, how's that for leadership ;). You are up to such great things and I love that you are claiming these important pieces of what makes you so awesome!

And one side note, I was putting away my Natalie Roger's book The Creative Connection on my bookshelf a few minutes ago and noticed that the back cover says, "The Creative Connection is a Process for Reclaiming Vital Parts of Ourselves" - definitely a theme going on in the universe!