Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
It felt the encouragement of light
We all remain
- Hafiz (Sufi poet, “It Felt Love”)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the courage it takes to express our true selves. It’s something I’ve struggled with most of my life. I grew up in an environment, a society, all too ready to tell me who I was, who I should be. So many of us do. There’s no shortage of people with strong opinions, no shortage of advice on how to live our lives, no shortage of other people’s lives to emulate.
It takes a great deal of courage to turn aside from well-traveled paths, to listen deep in our hearts to our own inherent beauty. To trust that gut wisdom that nudges (or sometimes kicks) us off the path we’re on, that asks us to stretch beyond our comfort zone, to believe in our own unique worth apart from others’ opinions.
What is it that makes you yourself?
What do you love passionately above everything else?
What makes you sing and dance (even if only inside) with the sheer beauty of it?
What inside you wants to be expressed?
Whatever it is, go do it, go live it, go express it. Even if the idea of doing so terrifies you. Even if you feel like doing so would be jumping off a ledge with no wings and no one to catch you.
The world needs your particular kind of beauty.