I sat there staring at the screen on my iphone. Brian was helping me make a three-minute Yoga Break video for work at Georgetown University. Three minutes turned in to two hours of re-dos. Why? While I’m used to being up in front of groups and facilitating; while I’m getting used to recording my voice for podcasts and reading my poetry (out loud!); while I’m used to writing and sharing my heart with the world — I am NOT used to being filmed. I am not used to being “seen” – seen by unknown future viewer.
“I’m not perfect!” I thought – knowing this is crazy. Knowing there is no “perfect.” Knowing the irony of creating a video about aligning ourselves with our true nature…and wanting to be perfect. I sat there watching take after take, silently critiquing the way I moved my head, wondering if my voice was too gentle, wondering if I’d put people to sleep…critiquing every inch of myself. I started thinking, “I’m so……”
“Beautiful,” Brian looked up at me, having no idea the war that I was raging against myself in my head. “Lisa, you are beautiful.”
Brian sees deeply but his first card that he plays is usually to deeply regard someone in silence. I don’t mind (most days) because I see what he sees in his eyes. Today, it was as if this deep place of stillness within him was overflowing with deep, deep love and the words rising up could not be contained and needed to breathe the air, to be spoken and given life outside his inner landscape.
Here I was, for hours, pointing out my imperfections. And here, Brian had been watching me – so deeply admiring me.
Brian who has seen me in big t-shirts and pjs. Brian who has seen me radiant in my wedding dress. Brian who has undressed and laid next to me. Brian who has seen me yelling, frustrated, at wit’s end. Brian who has seen me leading, dancing, doing yoga – for crowds and in our kitchen with children jumping on top of me. Brian who has seen me in dazzling moments – writing, leading. Brian who has seen me being about others, praying, embodying compassion. Brian who has seen me through many bad hair days, feeling insecure, and totally at a loss. Brian who has seen me…becoming.
And still…he says I am breath-taking.
That’s when I “saw” myself.
I saw the “past me” as a young girl – my strong, athletic body, my insecure thoughts, my passionate heart, tenacious, anxious, achieving, on edge, always a poet and a learner, always deeply connected to something bigger than myself, I saw me in Latin America where I lived for years – where my heart was broken open by love, by poverty; where my body was broken; where I walked with the divine so effortlessly. I saw me dating and marrying Brian – filled with delight and a deep sense of “returning Home.” I saw me in labor and nursing my children – my changed and tired body, stressed out, alone, struggling and then finding our groove as parents, healing, settling.
I saw the “now me” – growing into the woman that I have always longed to be – who I have always been. No, not having “arrived” yet but I see my “becoming.”
I saw the “future me” – an old woman, sensual, content, still, with long flowing gray hair, clear eyes, a gentle smile, and embodying softness , compassion, delight, and my prayers.
Yes. In that moment I saw “me” in Brian’s eyes and his overflowing, deep admiring love for me. And I saw – I see – myself as beautiful. I am becoming my poetry. The poets I have read, the poets who have accompanied me in my life – Hafiz, O’Donohue, Rumi, — in my own feminine, sensual ways. The poems that I have written. And the poems that are still writing me.
This is the power of being seen – over the years in everyday ways. First my mom “saw” me. Now my husband sees me. In them seeing me – seeing my beauty—I have come to see Me.
~ Because sometimes we need others to truly see us in order to come back to seeing our Selves.
~ Sometimes we need others to reflect our goodness and beauty in order to see it for ourselves.
~ Sometimes we need others to keep reminding us of our goodness in order to believe it deep in our bones.
We ALL have this power.
We have the power to truly see our dear ones with eyes of deep love and regard and weave some knowing within them of how beautiful they are.
Our eyes have the power to mirror our children’s goodness.
Our presence has the power to say, “You matter.”
Our words have the power to heal deep wounds between family and old friends.
Our embrace has the power to communicate to a soul sister, “You are not alone.”
Our tone of voice has the power to encourage, uplift and inspire children who aren’t even ours, coworkers, strangers.
Our everyday pauses with the people we love have the power to weave a thread of tenderness and gentleness into the fabric of who our children, aging parents, partners, sisters, brothers are.
Our touch has the power to quietly, sweetly and tenderly reconnect with our beloved.
Not “perfectly” in every moment. Not every single second of our human existence. But just our everyday “perfectly imperfect” love and presence have the power to speak what all of us – young and old – long to hear: “I see you and you are beautiful.”
And… we have the power to get into our vulnerable, tender hearts, and ask one of our dear ones to slow down, sit with us, and answer, “What do you see? Please tell me. I need to see my beauty, my goodness.”
Lisa A. McCrohan
MA, LCSW-C, RYT
** Friends, I’m glad you are a part of this community. I hope today you are inspired to live with more delight, compassion, and connection in your everyday life. Visit the Barefoot Barn for more information or contact me about mindful coaching, psychotherapy, workshops and retreats.