Dear Friend, I hope this letter finds you whenever you need it. I’m writing to you from the west side of Michigan, and it’s pretty dreamy here. Imagine tree-lined winding roads and sunsets over Lake Michigan. Farm stands and ice cream shops and slow-ish living.
I want to share something with you that moved through me this past week. Of course, like often, it was a powerful feeling that occurred in what looked like an ordinary moment.
Earlier this week, I was running an errand for my boss, which required me to drive to a farm about an hour away. I’ve been to this farm a handful of times, so I’m familiar with it. The people there are always warm and helpful. Usually, we share a few words and maybe a laugh, and then I’m on my way, back on the road. Easy.
This time, there were a couple of faces I hadn’t seen before, but just like everyone else, they were so kind. At one point, I walked into a conversation, and I just stood back and waited until it was my turn to talk with the owner of the farm. The man he was speaking with spoke in a dialect that was new to me. He didn’t talk in “proper English,” according to specific classrooms I’ve studied in, and he was kind, patient, and polite.
At that moment, a feeling started to come over me. Then, I took care of business, spoke with the owner, then went to my car and cried. I drove up the road to the nearest coffee shop and cried some more. I took a coffee break, then returned to the car, and you guessed it, I cried. The ol’ waterworks.The flushing and The washing away. I believe tears are medicine. Do you think so, too?
I was feeling this awareness of some of the lies we’ve learned, in classrooms, in life, and through the media. For over a decade, I lived in the city, and while there I earned a degree. In those classrooms we talked politics and English and discussed people from the country as if they didn’t know things. “They’re” “uneducated” (big eye-roll). Or so we were taught. “What could they know?” (Another eye-roll.) The generalizations and assumptions that occurred in some of those classrooms are somethin’ else. Stepping back and becoming aware of how we judge and place people into the “other” category is humbling. The ways in which we create divides simply because of surface level differences is mind-boggling. The ways in which we live, speak, and think are no reason to “other” someone.
Additionally, it’s in these classrooms and social settings where we learn to write and speak in a very particular way so that the world will take us seriously. As if someone who hasn’t perfected these lessons (and perfectionistic fears, let’s be honest) should not be listened to and heard. Ha!
It can be such a small-minded way to think of life and people. Don’t you think? To believe that because someone lives differently, has a different type of job than you, didn’t go to college, or doesn’t speak English the way you do (or whatever language you speak), that somehow equates to their lack of brightness or awareness of the world or right to be heard. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I know you know this.
I’m not sure how much of this I have ever believed, but I won’t assume I’ve always had it figured out or that I haven’t at times been close-minded. Regardless of where I have been, this feeling of sadness came over me. Suddenly I was deeply aware of the lies that attempt to keep us down and divided.
It led me to think about my younger years, and I know that some of you will relate to this. I was (and am) intuitive, sensitive, driven by values, and vocalized that often. (I am human, and I’ve fucked up a lot, too, right?) Also, I was not great at multiple-choice tests or reciting a textbook back to anyone. I was never good at following rules that didn’t make sense to me. Also, my brightness, because it lives outside of measurable boxes, has been dismissed and at times torn down. My gifts were never called gifts. In fact they were called a nuisance, a joke, ridiculous, unclear, or lacking of scientific evidence. As if the ability to tap into the heart and soul of people is something to overlook. Yeah, right.
But the other day, I sat in the car, and I cried because I used to believe it when people told me that I didn’t make sense, or that I wasn’t bright, or that I was misguided or that I set my standards too high. That I was silly or dumb or unaware of the way things worked. I used to think the “smart” people with degrees under their belts and the high-paying jobs in corporate know something that I don’t know, and if they think my way of being is ridiculous, then maybe it is. After all, they seem to understand how to exist in this world, and I have yet to do so.
(^ this is younger me talking)
Now, at this moment, in the now, I know better, though I am still figuring it out. But I know that my gifts and your gifts- though perhaps not taught or valued in specific classrooms, are something to be proud of and to use. I understand that intuition, connection to nature, hearts, psychic abilities, art and voice are of God, are divine, and are tools. All of which can help the collective.
Did we learn to silence these gifts because they would empower us, those like us, and maybe even everyone? Did we learn to be quiet and dim because our gifts could help set us and the world free?
Were/ (Are) people afraid of freedom and strength and high vibrations and value-driven humans who speak their truth and share their hearts??
I’d say yes to all of this, in some instances.
I think I was crying in my car an hour away from home because I was grieving for myself and everyone. For all the times we quieted our gifts and voices for the lies and manipulation. I cried for the years spent away from the deep connection. Tears fell for the years spent in shallow waters in an attempt to fit into the world, a world that doesn’t always have our best interests in mind. I sobbed over the years spent neglecting our hearts because we heard it would not serve us. Ha!… Neglecting the heart? Sweet, beautiful heart, pumping for us…and we’re taught to neglect it. Wild.
But let me tell you, the crying helped. It helped me to move and rinse some of the confusion and frustration from my past and present.
It made space for me to see a bit more clearly, and stand more confidently in myself and my place in this world.
And now I stand here, a little more connected, more empowered, more in love with my neighbors and myself and you, who are kind and intelligent and full of wisdom and gifts to share.
I see you with your brilliance, your gifts, and your kind yet fierce heart. I’m aware of some of the nasty things you’ve experienced like discouragement, dismissiveness, even name calling, for I am you, and you are me. Our experiences are aligned.
I have felt you and your senses perked up and paying attention to the world. I’ve noticed you when you feel that something isn’t right, even when large groups of people are attempting to normalize it, whatever it is at that moment. I see you wanting to speak up, sing out, move your body, make your art, tap in, tune in, and live fully as you, in love. I see you rising above the lies and misguidance.
So, I write this as a reminder that any system that attempts to tear us down, divide us, silence us, define us, call us crazy, or lost, or out of our minds. Anyone who tries to dim our light or put us in a box, or attempts to measure us based on metrics and rules created by ….who exactly? Does not have the final say and does not define us or direct our paths. We each get to decide where we stand and how we feel about ourselves and our gifts and how and when we use them. We get to create the rules and lean into our truths.
Please know that you’re not alone. You have support, even if you can’t always see it. The universe wants you just as you truly are.
Cheers to all of us who kept going, kept following our truth even without support, even when it was messy and didn’t make obvious sense. Cheers to all who grew silent; may they rediscover their voices and gifts.
May we continue to move in love, in connection, and in intuition. And May we stay connected to the hearts the way we naturally do.