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“Choosing The Path To Be Real”-Revised by Sherri Rosen

I was thinking about The Velveteen Rabbit today. Have you ever read it? It’s a children story about being real. I didn’t know about
the book until I was around 40 years old.. As a matter of fact at that age I began buying myself lots of children’s book
that I connected with. You see I don’t remember reading any children’s books when I was very young and I don’t remember ever
being read to by my mum or dad.

So why have I brought this all up? The Velveteen Rabbit! This realness stuff!!

Perhaps because I grew up in a family that never liked to deal with the truth and never liked to deal with being direct. I used
to get so confused because I would hear a story told by mum and dad, perhaps when they didn’t think I was around, and when
I repeated the story back to mum and dad, they would say “we never said such a thing.” So that was totally confusing to me. I thought
I was crazy and confused.

So here I am with wanting to be real. The first time I read The Velveteen Rabbit to myself I felt like I had come home. It was a declaration
that it was okay to tell the truth. It may sound strange reading this story at age 40, but it wasn’t for me. It was an affirmation that it was okay
to tell the truth. And since that time or maybe it was even earlier and I didn’t know it, I have chosen the path of being real.

Here is one of the quotes from The Velveteen Rabbit that got to me. I feel this quote is so appropriate for children and adults.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
? Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

This quote hit me right in the heart! Wow! It’s okay to be real! Wow! It’s okay to tell the truth! But there is much more to it than that: I will tell you why: It sometimes feels like a shitty path, because
when I began to walk in the direction of being real, being direct, telling the truth, I began to see how many people lie and they lie all the
time-sometimes in subtle ways. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I know I must lie in order not to devastate someone or truly hurt them.
Sometimes lying is the appropriate thing to do. But for me opening up, being vulnerable, being real, has been an ordeal and it’s not over
yet. Why has it been an ordeal? Because I didn’t realize that I would be walking around in a world of folks living in denial or of make believe.
I just wanted to be real so bad I was willing to pay the consequences. And there are consequences. Imagine being open, being real in a
sea full of lying. It hurts, its painful, it takes great courage and I never know what will happen next. Does this make me better than anyone?
Hell no!

I’ve also learned to be alone, not to depend upon others for my salvation. I’ve learned to be discriminating on who will and won’t be in my life.
I am learning not to take things so personally including myself, and I have learned to have a wonderfully intimate relationship with myself.
I’ve also learned that when I look in the mirror I love who I see (not all the time, but most of the time.) I’ve learned how much fun I am to be
with and how kind and caring I can be. I’ve also learned that I am very sensitive and can feel other people’s pain and have the ability
to be compassionate with myself and others and also have the ability to know it’s their pain not mine so if I have taken it on I just let it go.

So I’m speaking a lot about being real and telling the truth, but I realize I still haven’t given any specifics and if anything I need to be specific.

So one day I walked into a group of strangers. It was a new meditation class that was beginning in my hood. We sat and meditated for about l/2 hour
and then we did a bit of walking meditation and some inner body sense work and we would then sit in a circle and share our experiences. This time we shared there was about
20 of us. So this was about the 4th or 5th time I had come. So I begin sharing something very vulnerable about myself and the next thing I
hear is this elderly woman commenting on what I said. Supposedly we were told in the circle we are all supposed to say I when we begin to share and we are
supposed to talk about ourselves and not anyone else unless they have helped us in what they have said. So as this woman was making comments
on what I had said, I also must add she never speaks about herself. Ever! So right there and then I can feel this hot energy building up in me because
she ain’t sharing about herself she is just basically telling me to get over it and actually minimizing what I shared with the group. So this hot
energy is within me and I have to make a decision. Do I open my mouth and say something to he and get real or just let it alone and allow this heated
energy to travel through me and let it go. So I decide to let it go but it keeps coming back. So a few days later I call a friend who is in the same group for feedback and when I explained to her she got it! I also realize that on this path to be real I must have discernment when it’s appropriate to speak
the truth and when I should just keep my mouth shut and not say a word, and just work it out myself. And if I find I am holding on so tightly
it’s a good idea to reach out and call a friend who doesn’t have the same kind of vested energy in a situation that I have.

So with all of this honesty that I’ve been committed to in my life I also see that in online dating, many of the men that I have
met are quite dishonest. Most have not worked on themselves. Sometimes it makes me feel all alone, because it is a lonely thing of believing
in being genuine and honest and then being with a guy who doesn’t even realize that he is lying to me. I need to give an example of this one:
Okay, say the guy has a great photo up online, then when I meet him he doesn’t even look like his photo, or he lies about his age, or in his
profile he says he wants one thing, like a serious relationship and we get together and I see he wants something casual. Yikes! Another waste
of time. But I’ve learned to see through this sea of lies. How? I can just tell now by me being completely upfront in the beginning and telling
them what I want, which is a serious relationship and one that has a friendship before sex. Well, do I get rid of them real fast, but that’s a
good thing for me because I am not wasting my precious time or there’s.

And, in walking this path to be real I have come to terms with living with uncertainty and never knowing what will happen next. I learned that a long time
ago when I took a workshop with Buddhist nun and revered teacher Pema Chodron. When sitting in a private session with her during this workshop
she looks at me and says “Sherri, I think you are now ready to live with uncertainty!” And I answer “yes, I think you are right”! A whole new world for me.

As I am writing this piece I believe I realize that the path to becoming real has chosen me and I know that this is the only way I can live with
who I am. It isn’t easy and like I said it feels shitty at times, but I couldn’t do life any other way. How about you? Have you made any choices
about your life? Any choice about being real?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 8:27 am and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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