Last week when I launched this blog, I invited you into community. It has been my dream for a while now, since the days when I operated a women's center in the late 90's, to be involved in a day-to-day community of "women on the path." I also invited you to take a Vow of Transparency.
Within a few hours, I received a soulful e-mail from a dear, blogging friend who expressed some hesitancy about taking such a Vow. Here's a snippet of what she said:
"I'd love to join you over there. I just have one question before I do. How are you planning to keep it "girls only"? I ask only because if I'm invited to be transparent, I'll be 'all in', no holds-barred, capital "T" transparent. There are things I'll be comfortable sharing with a room full of female strangers, but less so if I know men may be sitting just on the other side of the curtain, if you know what I mean. If it's a public site that's open to men as well as women, I'll visit and share, but perhaps be less open to being completely transparent.
I guess I felt that, in order to participate fully and, yes, be transparent, I first had to share my concern. The internet is a big place with little in the way of secrets."
I am soooo happy she told me this. Because, you know what? By her sharing her heart in this way, she was being—Ta-Da!—transparent! Open, honest, real.
She did so tenderly, very aware of how I might perceive her concern as criticism, or put a damper on my enthusiasm about this new blog. In fact, it did the opposite. It bowled me over with excitement about our possibilities here. Thank you, C, for your transparency!
C's comment also made me realize that I must be very clear what I mean by "transparency."
Transparency, to me, does NOT mean spilling our guts to anyone who will listen. It does not mean filleting ourselves open in front of others—just because. It does not mean opening ourselves up to the extent that we risk being hurt or criticized.
I struggled with transparency while I was writing Your Truest Self. I did not know how much to say, how honest to be, what to share of my journey because I am a sensitive sort, and I really did not want to be bashed or shunned. I asked my dear mentor, Sue Patton Thoele, about this. (Sue represents Truth #5, "I Cultivate Compassion for Myself.") This is what she said:
"Don't cast your pearls before swine."
Then she added, "Of course, people are not swine, don't get me wrong. What this means is be open and honest with YOURSELF, but don't put yourself out there if it's going to cause damage to your soul."
I loved that!
In my writing, I chose not to cast all my pearls, just a few. Just enough to make my point. There are some things that are just too sacred, too tender or raw to be shared. It is absolutely fine to hold them close to our hearts and nurture them, savor them, in private.
The Vow of Transparency, as I speak of it in my book is this:
Take off your mask. Look in your own mirror, in the privacy of your sacred space.
Take a good long look at you.
Your wounds, your patterns, your compulsions & addictions.
Also look lovingly at your gifts, talents, your wonderful heart.
Your honesty will heal you.
Truly, without taking this Vow, we may never embrace our truest selves.
So here is the deal. I cannot keep lurkers away, peeping Toms and Thomasina's who want to read about our "stuff," so share wisely. I do believe with all my heart that we are creating a safe, sacred space here. And this is what I will do to safeguard it:
~I will monitor all comments and edit out those that may be harmful.
~Right now, comments are open. If I have to change this to foster safe sharing, I will.
~Each morning I intentionally create a sacred space for us here. I light a candle, say a prayer, put on healing music. I hold you in my heart and thought and then I write ...
~You can e-mail me personally about anything at all using the Contact button and I will answer you. Your correspondence will be held in strict confidence. As a certified spiritual director/mentor, I am bound by code of ethics, just like a therapist or clergy member.
Is there anything else, in your opinion, I can do to support our Vows?
So, now if you feel up to it, and you still haven't chosen a new "name" for yourself, and wish to formally join in, please do. Click here to learn how. Once you do, your name will be logged in (in the right hand column on this home page) as "Voices in the Circle." This list is in place of a Blog Roll.
If you do not wish to do this, that is absolutely fine. No worries. Read on, make a comment, enjoy good company. And you can still take a Vow of Transparency, on your own if you'd like! We will support you—1000%.
I welcome your thoughts .... and your presence here.
Love and blessings,Jan