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Sharing.

Sometimes I feel that posting all of this process is public navel gazing, embarrassing, dramatic and selfish. A lot of people have commented publicly and I thank all of you and are humbled by your support, and your generosity, as regards my truly raw, unedited and decidedly uncrafted words. I write, I edit once for typos and I post. I don't overthink it, because that's not what it's about.

The interesting thing about sharing my story is this: for all the public comments, five times as many people, mostly women, but not all, have messaged me privately to offer encouragement, support, and their own stories, sometimes. Most say a version of the same thing: "I feel the same way, or a different way that is equally problematic, and I struggle too."

My point here is that I think, I am convinced, I know my feelings aren't unusual. They aren't problematic, they aren't even special.

But talking about them is.

The myth of normal, the illusion of perfection, and the sense that growth and change and the pain that comes with them are problems and not an expected, or even embraceable, part of life's journey...well, that's the problem. That's the sickness of our society.

In Richard Rohr's brilliant book "Falling Upward" he talks about the first half of life (building the vessel) and the second half of life (filling the contents), and notes that we live in a radically first-half-of-life culture. In almost every other culture and religious tradition, there is a universal recognition that the contents developed in the second half of life, in many cases, destroy the vessel that was built in the first half. Our souls grow too big for the houses we built for them, too small by half, charmingly innocent symbols of how little we truly expected, and what magic the universe has in store for us. But in our culture, the destruction is not celebrated, embraced, anticipated or even talked about.

If I have one piece of advice, and a request, it's that you turn TOWARD the destruction when it comes, for it will always come, and when you do that, you talk about it.

Bring your pain, your mess, all your ugly and unresolved and shattered, the ruptured and the broken.

Wear it. Show it. Talk about it, and think when you do it: "I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing this for every person in my life who's going through something and thinks they're the only one. I'm destroying the image of "normal", as a gift to everyone around me who is struggling."

The added side benefit is that suddenly, you become free. Free to be who you are, to show up as you. And Goddess, doesn't that feel good.

A bright person I know said last week, "It's amazing, once you put it out there, there's nothing to be afraid of anymore."

And then, all that's left is real. And amazingly, the similarly real people in your life suddenly start appearing in high definition.

It's like seeing color for the first time. It's brilliant, and beautiful, and it even hurts a little, because its got so much mixed-up joy and pain all at once. It's alive, and connected, and unresolvably impermanent, but none of us are meant to do this alone.

Most people, I think, live numb, because in connecting our open hearts to others, we're desperately vulnerable, and completely exposed.

Entering into that exchange takes a lot of bravery and a lot of work, because all that technicolor is too much for most of us to handle. I know it has been for me for a long time, but I'm working on it.

Giving is easy, accepting is hard. So show up with your pain, and your story, and lean on the people around you, and let them give to you. When it's your turn to accept the help, remember that it's a public service.

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