Our meditation studio had been open just a few months and we were wrapping up Gina Vance’s Mind/Body Journeys class — held every Friday afternoon at Soulstice. David’s face was an upturned mixture of awe (this happens a lot in Gina’s class), but also some measure of disbelief and consternation. I knelt down next to his cushion, asking how he was feeling.
“Well,” he said, “I just realized something. I realized I’ve been working at my firm for over a decade and I don’t know anyone there. I don’t really know any of them, and none of them really know me.” Boom. My heart sank and I could feel -viscerally- the emptiness of a long unending series of rote, disconnected days and interactions. How is this even possible?
As our community has grown and we welcome more people, we’ve learned that this is sadly not uncommon. Across most of our relationships — work, personal, family — it’s not unusual for people to operate exclusively on the surface… People can go a lifetime without ever really knowing — or being known by — the people they spend most of their lives with.
At the studio we call this “Being Seen” = Being Seen requires work and a practice, and is one of the bravest undertakings we can make in our lifetime. What do we mean by being seen?? It’s allowing ourselves to be fully known, open and honestly ourselves, and being willing to overcome the risk of judgment, criticism and vulnerability to get there. It’s living in symmetry and alignment, developing the capacity for the ‘outside’ visible part of ourselves to beautifully match the ‘inside’ invisible part of ourselves. “Being Seen” means allowing others to see our authentic selves — our light and shadow, our strengths and weaknesses, our bright futures and our broken pasts — and having enough trust & faith to know the people who earn a place in our lives will still love & respect us once they know the total, complete us.
Why do so many people stay hidden?? It’s safe. It’s known. It’s secure. If no one knows me, they cannot hurt me. There’s no immediate risk. It’s easier to bounce. But by staying hidden we’re taking a greater risk of never really living our lives, never knowing our true capability, and especially never deeply connecting nor loving the people in our lives. Staying hidden keeps our lives small, our ability to feel the full spectrum of emotion restrained, and thwarts our growth and development as human beings. Year after year of inauthenticity dulls our spirit, suffocates our soul and causes us to lose our sense of self, our purpose and calling. If a relationship, job or situation does not allow for you to have preferences, expectations or express your feelings and standards without fear — if it establishes hiding as the default and norm — then it is too small for you.
“Being Seen” means doing the hard work of knowing ourselves and opening ourselves to others, to growing and evolving. Being seen means becoming aware of our light and shadows — our strengths and weaknesses — and still trusting we are still completely loveable.
What’s on the other side of Being Seen? Everything. Imagine moving through your life without any masks… of being able to feel free and comfortable in your body always — in all settings and company — and be exactly yourself. No pretending, no roles, no worry of having to be anything other than true to your highest self.
You don’t need to wait for the wisdom and regret of old age, nor the pain of loss or heartbreak to wake you up to who you are. You just need to surround yourself with people and practices to help and allow you to get there…. Somatic practices, massage and bodywork. Meditation, breathwork and subtle movement. Yoga. Warm, authentic community. Loving presence. All of these practices help us develop self-awareness and self-discovery, ground us into our bodies and help connect our head & our heart.
Once you are solidly in touch with who you are — mentally, physically and emotionally — the more comfortable it will be for others to know and ‘see’ the authentic you. You will be clear, straightforward, open, trusting and real. Easy to read, constant, and effortlessly in integrity. Just being in the presence of authenticity is contagious and inspiring; doing nothing more than simply being yourself in your thoughts, words and actions is the best way to inspire openness and allowing in everyone around you.
Is there a downside to Being Seen?? Living life authentically means a willingness to trust, lead with your heart and stay open. Doing so means opening ourselves to risk, disappointment, and occasionally being taken advantage of... It can mean having our hearts broken, being judged or criticized and occasionally failing spectacularly right out in the open. It takes a lot of guts to stay true to the person you can become when life provides so many other easy alternatives and places to hide.
‘Being Seen’ and growing in your own authentic power can mean letting go of people, situations and relationships that are unable to grow with you. Losing people, changing jobs and letting go of relationships can be so hard, even when we know it’s necessary to becoming ourselves and living our greatest story. Once you’ve awakened to who you are you’ll naturally be drawn to people who are also conscious, and they will be drawn to you. Being around people who are hiding, unclear in who they are, or inhibiting their own evolution will be increasingly uncomfortable to invest your time and energy. Have faith that the universe will feel your rhythm; trust that fate will place you into situations and bring people into your life that will be on your wavelength, match your resonance and continue to foster and inspire your growth.
Growth, awakening, consciousness = it can be lonely and testing and painful. Finding your tribe — a warm, loving, accepting community — is vital to your unfolding and opening. Not everyone you meet in life, nor every situation is meant to be forever. Trust that the people who really see you will still be there as you evolve into the beautiful human of depth and authenticity you were meant to become. Especially when it gets choppy, murky and hard to see beyond life’s storms — stay in the water and let your practices, your deeper knowing and your tribe inspire and sustain you.
At Soulstice our hope is to create interdependent and diverse offerings to help catalyze and support your self-discovery and personal healing. A place where you can feel completely free to be yourself, begin where you are and given the tools and practices for your own self-empowerment. When you find your authentic self and voice, you will inspire the growth of everyone around you — every part and facet of your life… your work, your friends, your family, your lover… will blossom in unexpected ways. The bravest thing we can be is our truest selves, and our talented, caring team is here to support you in your journey of discovery. Beginners are invited and always welcome — join us!