Comas and Chin Hairs

This morning I had a roaring laugh with one of my clients.  This happens from time to time and it’s always a real gift.  Laughter is, after all, healing.  It is also a universal language of connection.  When we laugh together we get to truly see one another; it’s the “namaste” of being human. But it wasn’t the laughing itself that was so striking about this occurrence, it was the message it accompanied. Rather then tell you of the message, let’s play a little imagination game for more experiential learning.

Pretend, for a moment, that you are going about your everyday activities in the normal fashion, no special planning, no preconceived ideas about what this day will bring.  Suddenly, for whatever morbid reason, you find yourself hospitalized and in a coma, no time to put on different underwear or hide your journal.  hospitalYou are simply immobilized, unable to communicate or explain, unable to hide whatever it is you keep most private about yourself.  [For reassurance sake, let’s also pretend that you will magically make a complete recovery in approximately 3 months time, your health fully restored and that your family and friends have been sprinkled with magical fairy dust so that they are not traumatized in any way by your temporary absence].

What might people discover about you as you lay, helpless, in a coma?  What will they be able to observe about you physically when you are unable to groom, hide, pluck, smooth, cover, or mask it?  What might they find in your nightstand, under your bed, in the back of your closet? What have you written about or looked up online?

Now consider this; what do you imagine others will think of you as a result of these discoveries?  How will they feel about you? Because that, my friend, is the real testament to how you think and feel about yourself.  Those feelings of worry or shame about judgements and mortification, they are your own.

Funny? Perhaps not.

Here’s what is funny….WE ALL HAVE CHIN HAIRS. Okay, maybe not all of us (although my blog has yet to be followed by any toddlers), but many of us do.  Many of us have “toys”—yes, I said that.  We all get blemishes, have moles, scars, fat, wrinkles, stretch marks, stray hairs, and pores.  Our houses get cluttered and sometimes our kids miss bath night. We all have weird curiosities, habits and interests and YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL IN YOURS.

This morning, laughter was an expression of the relief that came with knowing we are not unique in the ways we imagine ourselves shameful or not good enough or unworthy or strange.   These “imperfections” are an unavoidable and universal part of being human beings.  What we do with that information is up to us.

Today, thankfully, we chose to laugh.