Finding the Strength to be Weak
In Saturday’s post I told you that I feel intimidated by the talent I see and experience when I attend a quilt show. I hate to admit that I come home feeling defeated and discouraged, but I do.
I’m still learning. I’m still in that “gawky stage” we call being human. By the time I graduate from the gawky stage into the svelte spirit I long to become, I’ll be beyond caring and outside this earthly plane.
In the meantime, I’m still plodding along, still growing, still stumbling, still imperfect and full of earthly cares, woes and vices. And that’s okay.
Yesterday, I confided to Margie Horton at our Art Quilt Group meeting about feeling overwhelmed and fearful. I finished my whine with “…and I call myself a teacher…!” She understood what I was talking about (she has been there, is there and/or will be there again), BUT one thing that she understands that I didn’t is that I’m not just a teacher, I am a Fellow Traveler. Once you become a bored, know-it-all, demanding tour guide, you lose the magic of discovery that is The Journey.
I am not a teacher because I know everything there is to know or even because I am an expert in any certain area of quilt making. I do not know the one right and true and only way to be or do or to accomplish anything.
I am a teacher because I am a Fellow Traveler on the road to creative expression. I want to create an expression of love that I can share. I want to find a way to express the gratitude I have for the seen and for the unseen. I want to pour joy into cloth and thread. I want to bring life and love into being through my own hand’s labor—through lap quilts, through pillowcases, through purses and church banners.
And I want to help others to do the same, that’s why I teach. But the only way I can help others on their creative journey is to fully experience the journey myself—and that means all the journey: the fears, the failures, the falling down and the getting back up and the joys, the triumphs and the mystical.
Too often I hear students say, “But, So ‘n So said that we have to do it this way or it’s wrong…” Or, “Miss I-Know-Because-I-Won-A-Big-Ribbon said that I would never get anywhere because I don’t have the right _____.” These ladies are feeling intimidated, fearful and inadequate. Ouch!
Let us, as teachers in quilt making and in Life, work to help others feel the magic, the love and the joy in their journey. Let us be warriors together and become guardians of the road.
Last night I happened to read (synchronicity lives!):
“If you are a strong-willed and accomplished person, you may often give the impression that you are invulnerable to feeling inadequate or insecure or hurt.
“This can be very isolating and ultimately cause you and others great pain. Other people will be all too happy to take in that impression and to collude in propagating it be projecting a Rock of Gibraltar persona onto you which doesn’t allow you to have any real feelings. In fact, you can all too easily get out of touch with your own true feelings behind the intoxicating shield of image and aura. . .
“If you are truly strong, there is little need to emphasize it to yourself or to others. Best to take another tack entirely and direct your attention where you fear most to look. You can do this by allowing yourself to feel, even to cry, to not have to have opinions about everything, to not appear invincible or unfeeling to others, but instead to be in touch with and appropriately open about your feelings.
“What looks like weakness is actually where your strength lies. And what looks like strength is often weakness, an attempt to cover up fear, this is an act or a facade, however convincing it might appear to others or even to yourself.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go There You Are