We're back in the work zone this morning, with three workmen hammering away at the front of the house, removing the last of the old shingles.
It's a bit like a snake shedding its old skin, or the softshell crabs who walk away from their shells; the house feels a bit vulnerable and exposed with its shingles off, even though we now can see -- having watched the other three sides of the house get transformed -- how lovely it will look when they're done.
What is it about us humans, that makes us so sensitive to appearances? It's a bit like getting a bad haircut: you know it will grow out, you know those who are dear to you don't love you for your appearance, and yet there is that awkward self-consciousness as you wait for resolution. How is it, we wonder that we can be so... well... shallow? And what are we afraid of? Are we reluctant to have the underlying truth about us be exposed? Or are we just terrified of being different, of standing out in a crowd, not fitting in?
... which is silly, isn't it. As it says in today's reading from Promise of a New Day, "We are all different. Success in life probably has more to do with expressing our uniqueness fully than with suppressing it and trying to resemble everybody else. Who is "everybody else," anyway? We can't respond authentically to the moment if we're concealing the truth. The truth for us involves our own unique package of qualities, our own experience and energy, our own way of looking at things."
My reading this morning in Welwood's Toward a Psychology of Awakening had a similar point: "Individuated true nature" (that which makes us unique and different) "is the unique way that each of us can serve as a vehicle for embodying the suprapersonal wisdom, compassion, and truth of absolute true nature."
That which sets us apart need not be a source of shame: we need to learn to see it as a source of blessing, an opportunity, even a vehicle for expressing the larger truths of connection. The authors of Promise of a New Day offer an affirmation for us to use today:
"Human beings share many characteristics. One of the most important is difference. Today I will cherish these differences as one of the bonds that joins me to others."