Often, between the here and there of places, intriguing things happen.
On my way home to my family for the holidays, I had a two-day stopover in Cancun. On my last morning, I walked into "Cafe Por Favor" and saw a wall of hanging books. These books weren’t holding back. They were wide open and revealing themselves.
Well usually when you look at a collection of books, it’s not like that.
Usually, books are facing away from you, closed shut, covered with either hard or soft cover, safely stuck on a shelf next to others, and perhaps hidden down some random aisle in some offbeat section, hoping like hell their title is enough of a golden hook to snag a curious spirit who wanders by.
Or maybe not, maybe they are looking away, hoping nobody tries to open them so they don’t have to risk being known. Maybe they fear their pages are blank. Or written in some language nobody will ever understand or accept.
Either way, books are normally waiting and withheld. Not wide open and willing.
But these books were different. They were leading with the soft guts of their pages. The only thing I couldn’t see was their protective covers. And I couldn’t read the titles, the shortcuts. I had to actually look into the things. Or, rather, I couldn’t help but to want to.
So that got me thinking about people, about strange us and how we ache to be known. To be witnessed in our own weird little amazing ways.
How deep down, I think most of us want someone (or anyone or lots of someones) to pour over our pages and think they read like poetry. We want someone to not only notice the words we share, but the ones hidden between the obvious lines. The ones we didn’t write, on purpose.
We want someone to appreciate the texture of our paper and to ignore or accept the old dog-eared corners… and and we want them to dog-ear a few of our pages that they want to return to, again and again.
We want them to either appreciate or look past our plot twists, or perhaps to meet us somewhere inside of them, and walk with us.
Maybe we want them to dare to be our plot twist.
We want them to love through the full-bodied fallibility of our character, even the traps she sets for herself, the ones everyone can see long before she does.
We want them to notice the subtle subtext and to appreciate the atmosphere of our presence, even when our mood changes too often and without warning, and throws the whole scene.
All the characters. All the subtexts. All the atmospheres. All the moods. All the wayward and winding plots. All the pages that trail off in middle of the paragraph. All the torn and crumpled ones. All the blank ones. And the rewritten ones. And the ones we can’t manage to keep between our flimsy covers, even when we try.
We want them to say yes to all of that.
Shiva Temple, The Yoga Forest, Lake Atitlan
And we want them to read the whole damn thing cover to cover… and to get us.
And at the same time, we want them to know that even when they’ve read us 1000 times, a 100,000 even, hell a million, and they’ve memorized whole sections of us, they’ll never ever be able to get us.
We have to be read like an unsolvable mystery to be understood at all.
But we want someone to try to get us, anyway. And we hope they will let us in enough so we can do the same.
And I have a hunch the real magic happens when we can, above all, regard ourselves that way, when we can love ourselves that way, and everyone else too.
Open, willing to be known and curious to know, fascinating and poetic in our multitudes, and yet still - even to ourselves - a mystery.
So I liked that about those books in a coffee joint called "Coffee Please" - the way they opened wide into the world, willing to bare themselves. The way they said, “Start here, right here, smack in the middle of me. Pick a page."
Join me and a group of women in the circle in 2018. Let's dare to be open... and let's promise to always be mysteries too.
Much love xoxo