Giving a Good Gift

I've been talking with many people lately. It comes with the turf of overseeing a community. However, I've been talking with people both inside and outside our community, as well as those who oversee other communities. I have been left with a general impression: People are restricted from being themselves. There's lots of talk about authenticity because it's cool and post-modern to do so, but it isn't really practiced or really welcomed as it should be. Many people I know who aren't a part of a community are afraid that as soon as they approach one, then expectations will be heaped on them and that they'll have to hide or even eliminate parts of their personalities, life-styles or ideas. Even those a part of community are afraid of being found out or have to perpetually fight for the right to freedom of expression. And their are many people overseeing other communities that fear being discovered and have to conceal whole parts of their personalities, preferences or thoughts. This goes for our inner life too. Serious doubts and questions must be given room! Of course, as a community it is healthy to provide a safe place for people to be authentic. But it has to be safe for all people. If there are people hurting others, this has to be addressed immediately because community is about mutual love and service. We intend to help, not hurt. I feel the constant pressure to be all that the people want me to be. The pressure is enormous. Fortunately, we here have great respect for each other and my authenticity is quite free. In fact, I can't imagine it being any more free. It's been hard won. And I'm grateful. I hope theirs is free too. It's a gift to be able to discover who you are and to grow into that... a gift to oneself and to others. And when the Other asks for us, it is a gift to give what we actually are rather than the image we have spent years craving and morphing ourselves into. Check out my tees HERE and my art HERE.

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