In My Skin

Posted by Everyday Leader Share Your Voice


Some might say that today is the end of the world.  I would say that it is just the beginning… first blog seems auspicious and  equally daunting.  However, my first attempt was really this time last year when I thought about making manifest my visceral connection to all of the changes that Fall brings. This part of the seasons, I thought I owned, since the months of September, October and November embody human shifts, growth spurts, and invariably change better than any other.  Little did I know that I hadn’t even scratched the surface-the REAL surface, that is.

So, over the course of this last year real change came for me.  It came in the form of old family wounds, new found anxieties, career upheaval, a fleeting yet omniscient gift of new life, and lots of physical pain to mark each and every occasion.

But change isn’t the crux for me here.  Despite its kick in the pants, the real issue for me is an even more banged up and bungled part of the human condition than anything change can deliver. And  it is shockingly simple,  yet oh so foreign to us. How do we learn to ,,live in our skin” as opposed to merely dwelling ,,under our skin”?  To embody the body, mind and spirit in both good and bad times?  To treasure it in a state of rapture and to likewise, embrace it in its cycles of pain? To navigate the flux honestly?   And to present all of these phases with faces that accurately and authentically reflect who we really are at all times?

After one of  numerous ,,new” doctor visits, I  ran into my weekend Trader Joe’s buddy and TJ employee, Wade.  Now to know Wade you have to know that the very sight of him sparks joy.  He is exuberant, charismatic and FULL  of all countenances evoking merriment.  That is not to say that life hasn’t dealt Wade some pretty hard knocks.  In fact, he has suffered with debilitating pain that has remained undiagnosed to this day. The difference for Wade is that through all of his art and acting and creative binging (enough to make any ,,normal” person feel downright right brain sludgy!) he transcends it!  He walks with it and unabashedly flaunts it-the good, the bad, THE UGLY!  And in the most unapologetic and graceful way he declares it his, thereby including the world in his Wade-ness rather than slamming the door to our evolving as true.

I also received a letter from a dear friend this past weekend that sealed another deal in the commitment to lead  and live a WHOLE life.  My friend Kris had just returned from a year long sabbatical in India which she hoped to claim her for a lifetime.  As fate would have it, she met and fell in love with an Indian man and plans on building a bi-continental life with him.  For now she is in a state of abeyance, waiting and watching for opportunities to be with him, all the while trying to re-inhabit some small part of her old life.  So, as the ferry to Friday Harbor is docking and the old stirrings of both anticipation and butterflies well up, she says to herself ,,if I’m just ME then everything will be ok.  I don’t have to do anything else.  Just be me.” And just like that she exhaled and dove deep  into her own skin.

And the last little gem of THIS MESSAGE  to emerge and bare light, was witnessed  during our own hometown folk festival last weekend.  Music, the universal language would surely transform us, I thought.   Immediately, I was struck by the myriad of opportunities presented to literally explode in joy at this festival to honor the world.  It mattered not whether through the innocent play of a child, the mirth of a music maker, or through the manic mayhem of inconceivable crowds, it was pure and it was good.  And, yet, for the numbers who did partake, there were certainly equal parts exhibiting some form of stunted spiritual restraint that pains the soul. When do we get to live in our own skin if not now?  Will it take some cultural, economic or spiritual revolution to call all of us on our half lives and inauthenticity? 

For now I welcome in me  the mover, the shaker, the saunterer, the scholar, the observer, the guru, the clown, the kook, the strange, the foreign and ALL things yet mentioned……and to the best of my ability I pledge to inhabit them all.

Some say it’s the end of the world.  I say it’s just the beginning.  So, let’s start now.  Inhabit yourself!  Let’s all tap on our hearts til we know who we really are and be it!  Don’t we all long for the exhale that is ours, as well! 

…..longing for the exhale…….ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  

-Holly Rhode

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