expose-yourself-stand-out-from-the-crowd2

More than 2 decades ago I started writing.

My goal in the early days was to figure out how to burn the filters—how to push back the parts of me that sterilized and edited things, the parts of me that shaped words and stories to make them palatable for the world.

It’s taken on many forms, made some waves, built many things, been beautiful and really ugly….  most certainly it’s landed on a fair number of deaf ears and disinterested souls.

In recent years I’ve had the weird, painful, insanely awkward and yet amazing and joyful opportunity to be published, posted, quoted and shared.. Sometimes perfectly, sometimes with the words reconfigured in a way that the piece now conveys exactly the opposite of my original intent, sometimes totally against my core beliefs, sometimes edited significantly better than how I wrote it in the first place, inviting me to see even more beauty.

Almost a year ago I started this website because I was looking for a way to be in service, be my brother’s keeper, help my neighbor and my world ( not realizing exactly how much it would actually help me ) … This has been a platform for me to start conversations, shed some light where some folks don’t always find it, invite people to see the world just a little differently.. a way for me to be in service and give back, which is all I really want for my life anyway.

It’s never edited, it’s nearly always unfiltered and rushed and I like it that way.

Often I take an essay and clean it up further, use it in other places, but here, it’s the first draft, from the heart, the authentic real deal…. Good and sometimes really bad…  I try hard to only share my experience, strength and hope, not teach or say what you “should” do—rather I just talk about what works and doesn’t for me, how I see things.

Often I’m happy with the result. Sometimes I look back and am literally horrified.

The practice of being ok with both has been life altering for me.

I never once thought about what it would turn out like.  I just started.  I find that life works the very best by grabbing momentum and running with something, looking back later to figure out what it all was for, where it’s really going.

I like to connect the dots after the fact.

I didn’t expect what has happened.. the viral explosion of readers…   On any given week, I have a stalker, numerous new daily followers, someone hating on me via posts and email rants and then, just in time, someone ridiculously claiming I saved their lives.  I’ve had people so angry I was actually scared, and I’ve had so many people come up to me thanking me for something I can’t even remember writing.. Humbled beyond what these words could ever convey.

Often, I will write something that I think is so profound—a deep and personal essay that means so much to me.. that I envision really resonating with people..…then……. nothing.  It’s like everyone died and I was somehow left behind.  Other times, I’ll write something that I consider lame at best and I get huge feedback, thousands of hits, it goes so viral I’m awed….  It’s so weird what resonates with people, after all this time what hits home with the world still eludes me…

What it’s all taught me has changed my life dramatically.  I’ve learned how to drop my expectations and learned how to find my authentic self no matter what others think.  I’ve learned how to be crucified and not take it personally— I’ve found the good in people and been reminded over and over again that God is in everyone.   I’ve been told so many times that I’ve saved someone’s life— and I get to remind them that nobody has the ability to do that but themselves—that they should take the credit.. Perhaps I opened a door but they walked thru and its in the momentum and action that is worthy of devout praise.    I know that I’ve helped people, and I know I’ve hurt them… I’m such a better man as a result.

I am so absolutely certain that to have, we must give… and I believe that giving, being kind, loving one another—it doesn’t require form or structure, there are no rules.. This platform is my way, but there are countless ways and the way doesn’t’ even matter—it’s doing it that does.

When I’m stuck in a moment of deep concern for our world, I have to remember that when people open up and stand up and take a seat in the room and represent what they believe, when we get off our cushions, out of our pews and walk boldly into this life and reveal ourselves to the fullest, when we finally expose the light even when all the shit becomes visible too, that’s when we change the world.  It’s what Nelson Mandela spent his entire life representing.

I guess what I’m saying is, Expose yourself so others can see God.  It’s so painful, and so amazing…….. within all of us ~ are all of them.

 

other Essays on the benefits of exposure:

Writing saved me 

Writing Changed me: Five steps to have it change you