“Uncover your soul.” This is one of the opening lines in a TED talk I heard recently. It stopped me in my tracks as I was running [trotting slowly] through my neighborhood, and made me pause along the waterfront to take in the view and hear her out.
“Her” is Elizabeth Lesser, a co-founder of the Omega Institute, who was speaking about one of her first careers as a home birth midwife in “Say your truths and seek them in others.”
This first job of hers taught many valuable lessons, one of them being (and there were many in this short, extraordinary talk): each of us comes into this world with a unique spark.
Through years of delivering babies, she got an up close and personal look at these little souls, noticing that every single one of them had a wild soulfulness that made them light up from within. But as we age, she notes, babies become fully-formed adults, and we learn to cover up our souls, layer by layer, conforming, doing what our culture tells us we should do, hiding parts of ourselves along the way.
It made me think about who I’ve become over the years: the layers I’ve added to conform and achieve, the armor I’ve worn at work, the masks I’ve worn to hide my vulnerability in relationships, and the things that fill my time that move me away from what lit me up as a kid.
But this blog has helped me peel back many layers. It’s where I’ve learned to stop hiding my creativity, where I’ve confronted the fear that I’m not artistic or good enough to share it with others. That’s why this talk hit me: it gives me more permission to keep digging for that spark from my littler soul, giving it what it wants: more time to indulge in painting, putting pen to paper when I feel the urge, not putting it off for when “I’ll have more time to focus,” allowing me to be more authentic, instead of shying away from sharing what makes me come alive.
And funny enough, I’ve started doing the same thing to my home, peeling back its layers, returning it to its former self. I’ve been cautiously restoring it, focusing on small things first like replacing fixtures that didn’t fit the style of the 150-year old building in favor of those that feel authentic.
L: Nope. R: Yes please!
And now it’s on to bigger projects like my kitchen, as I peel away the plastic, the linoleum, and the unnecessarily-large refrigerator, replacing them with wood and butchers’ block, porcelain and clay, making decisions that are in line with the original soul of the building: restoring, peeling, uncovering.
With each change, my home gets closer to how it was meant to be. And while it’s not pretty (proof to the left), bearing through it and being uncomfortable along the way seems to be the only way to go. Slowly, carefully, I watch as it’s stripped of its layers, revealing a more authentic core.
And just like that, so am I.