Thursday, April 5, 2012

in the empty moments


What do we really want to know about someone? There are so many ways we can define ourselves, but do they tell others anything about what really matters, about who we really are?  If you've ever scanned the ads on a dating site, you'll know that they don't - you can know all sorts of things about what someone does for a living or what they do in their spare time without getting any real sense of what that person is like.  I've found it so hard to know what to write for this post, because everything I thought of to say about who I am seemed superficial or misleading.

The words of The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer kept running round in my mind. If you’ve never read these wonderful words, I encourage you to seek them out and read them. Her words explain how I feel so much more eloquently than I ever could:
‘It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing......
‘I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.......
‘I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon “Yes!”.......
‘It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.......
‘I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
What tells someone who we are is not the face we present to the world, the hobbies we have, the children we nurture, or the living we make.  These are outward expressions of different parts of us, of course, but if - heaven forbid - these things were all taken from us, the essence of who we are would remain.  When I get to know someone properly, I want to know who they are 'in the empty moments' and I want them to know that about me.  This isn't something that can be rushed - it takes time, and acceptance, and a lot of listening, and it can't be done with more than a few people in a lifetime.  It makes us very vulnerable when someone knows us like this, but it's what we all long for - to be truly known, recognised, accepted, and loved.

This has been a tough post to write; the choice seemed to be to settle for some small aspect of who I am which wouldn't really say a lot, or to reveal far more than I feel comfortable doing in such a public space (but I think what I've said here tells you something about me anyway). It was difficult to choose pictures too - in the end, I chose a photo of my own that says a lot about the connection between two people who really know each other: their hearts touch.  And this one by Stephanie Mull seemed perfect; it simply says 'you are unique'.

gilly of the camera points both ways

Unique
unique by stephmull

6 comments:

Maria Ontiveros said...

Such a thought provoking post and beautiful images. What we are - at the core - is very hard to express. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Rinda

Kirstin said...

This is exquisite, Gilly. I will be thinking about your words and images all day. x

Susan said...

Great post Gilly. I love to read your words and see your images and thru them I think I get to know you a little more each time....and I like that.

Kim Stevens said...

I can't even begin to say how much this touched the depth of my soul....because I feel so much of the same way as the words you quoted. I'm not into what someone has, what title they hold, and yes, who they know. I've been trying to finish writing something about kindness and the way we treat each other and I see that we all have these incredible layers and that most people don't ever get beyond them to the inner parts of who a person is...."in the empty moments"...those four words are so profound. Thank you for this, truly! Kim

Anna said...

Gilly, you always cut to the core of the matter with wonderful insights. A perfect post and glimpse into your soul. The images are meaningful accompaniments. Thank you!

Fiona Jones said...

Loved your post...x

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