The above is a photo of Oregon Grape, a plant that grows in NW Washington state where I grew up. Finding a plant with so many berries and such a vivid coloring of leaves was rare (mostly the leaves and berries were just boring green) and magical. A childhood friend sent me this photo for Christmas and unbeknownst to her I had just born fruit of my own. Through the years she has been present for me at crucial moments so it was appropriate and heart warming to receive this image.
There are many forms of bearing fruit—children, projects, art works--- they are all worthy of celebration. When an accomplishment includes personal growth it has a particularly solid feeling. In early December I was interviewed on Valeria Koopman’s podcast, “The Freedom to Feel”. My topic was “Belonging” and I talked about subjects that my book, Note by Note goes into detail about: Facial difference, hearing disability and learning how to “belong in my body”. Afterwards I felt the glow of accomplishment and the release of energy that comes with changing a pattern. The pattern I was changing was hiding from the world. Even though someone might look at my life and say “Oh you did so many things”, I was actually bound up and blinded by defenses and I rarely felt the peace that can accompany consistent efforts of breaking lifelong patterns. Its been a long journey to fully own my desire to ‘come out’ and contribute to groups through teaching or through music.
In watching it I could see why I had resisted being seen---I do look different. At first I felt a little shocked (When I don’t smile in the mirror very much it is easy to hide my difference from myself.) But then I saw my smile on the screen (the expression I resisted so strongly when I was a teen) and how appealing the asymmetry of my face became. Surprise!--the aspect of my face that I thought was the worst actually was the most charming!
In my words I could hear the clarity of my thoughts and importance of my experiences and felt sad for all the times I chose not to speak/be seen and how that deprived me and others. There is a lot of talk these days about not compromising your ‘dream’ your ‘self’ but I had always deep down thought that didn’t apply to someone like me with a ‘crooked’ smile. Maybe I need to rethink that and just give what I have to give: bear my own unique fruit.
Link to Podcast:
Kristi Magraw is known for having developed a unique synthesis of Eastern healing (Five Element theory) and Western ways of working with the mind, called the Magraw Method, which she established in 1979. This method uses metaphoric language and release techniques to help people heal physical and emotional pain.