It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own.
– Mary Oliver
It is weird to post a giant photo of my face on a blog. Especially this photo.
I was trying to figure out why this photo makes me uncomfortable. We often talk about our masks. The images and faces we show to the world. For example,
“I’ve got this” when you haven’t got a clue.
“I am confidant” when inside you are panicked.
“Look how happy and free I am” when inside your world is falling apart.
Masks are used to cover up our true feelings. They keep us from showing our vulnerabilities.
So what about the flip side to masks? These are the faces that show our raw emotions, that capture a part of us that we don’t typically show to the world. We are sometimes startled by them when looking at photos of ourselves. Do you ever see a photo of yourself and feel a bit naked? Like there is an expression captured on your face that you prefer to keep hidden?
That’s what this photo is of me. When I first saw it a couple years ago, it was one in a series of head shots taken for Levity. I saw it and immediately dismissed it. It felt both foreign and intimate to share.
And yet, when asked, a good friend said it was one of her favorites. “It shows your fierceness,” she said.
Ah. I have had an uneasy relationship to my fierceness. I’ve tried to hide it my whole life and cover it with a nice smile, which, by the way, doesn’t work. For those of you who are trying this technique, your friends see right through you.
And frankly, who doesn’t want access to their fierceness? It is such a wealth of vitality, will, and force to harness. Hiding this photo was hiding myself. But in the world, we want access to all parts of ourselves. I now have so much more access to these gems thanks to meditation.
I would not have the insights to myself, the clarity or the ability to make sense of the world as I have without the help of meditation. The workshop that got me started and set me on a path is the Awakening the Third Eye Workshop. This two day workshop gave me the context, foundation, and set of experiences (yes, I had full-on experiences during my first weekend workshop!) to have a sustainable and continuing practice.
The biggest challenge I hear from people is the ability to maintain a meditation practice and not drop it. This workshop gives the tools to do just that.
[link to ATE workshop] We have not hosted this workshop in San Diego in over a year and it’s finally coming back this fall, on September 8 & 9. I will be helping facilitate the workshop with Instructor Wenndi Freer, who introduced me to this practice almost a decade ago.
with love and fierceness, Jennifer