I confess that I’ve been thinking about introductions lately, impressions, if you will. As the ball drops, and the new year begins to blossom, each one of us is likely to be faced with a host of expected and unexpected meetings; some more literal and others more figurative. Come as they may, meetings are almost always followed with introductions. After all, they head essays and papers, commence novels, and begin lectures; why shouldn’t we be plastering hello my name is stickers on our foreheads? We introduce ourselves on first day of school, of high school, of college, and at the first day on the job. Even when we’re dead and in the ground someone else will introduce ourselves one last time for us. We don’t even need to lift a finger! We drag out the feigned expressions of interest and exquisite shows of curiosity, while we slather on the niceties for just long enough to make it to I’m fine thank you and how are you? What follows that really doesn’t seem to matter anyway.
While we’re getting dolled up, beating back the five ‘o clock shadow, and stuffing ourselves into that suit that’s one size too small, it doesn’t seem to occur to us that we’re busy creating an image of ourselves that is completely alien; an image whose purpose is to please and to placate; to win approval. Grandma said an awful lot to me when I was a child, but one of the things that stuck is when she told me that we can please some of the people some of the time, but we can’t please all of the people all of the time. In fact, there is only one person who we are capable of pleasing all of the time, and yes, you’ve got it, it’s yours truly. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I’m not very fond of introductions. I find the notion entirely ridiculous. You won’t have me cut and dried until I’m pushing daisies. The daisies may certainly be cut and dried.
I have a fundamental belief that we, as humans, are infinitely more than the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Our worth can not be measured. Period. Just because you’re struggling to pay those student loans, or were fired, or Mr. Right walked out the door, means nada. These events have everything to do with what you’re thinking and what you’re believing that you deserve, and absolutely nothing to do with the boundless, perfect, soul that is your true self. You have unlimited potential.
One of the most moving introductions in my life, if you can call it that, didn’t come to pass in the way you would normally think. I was with a French friend of mine, backpacking across South America. We had arrived early at La Quiaca, a small border town in the far north of Argentina, on the doorstep of Bolivia. Upon arriving at customs we were informed that the Bolivian government had issued an indefinite border closing at that site, barring all persons from entering the country. It was at this time that we met a young Dutch couple who had found themselves in the midst of this mess, and to make matters better, possessed nearly no knowledge of Spanish. In English, I explained the situation. We spent over 6 hours at the border together waiting, hoping that the Bolivian officials would let us pass. There was no such luck to be had, but, in afterthought, luck of a different kind.
The couple had no pesos in their pockets, having rationed their money to get them across the border, and my friend and I, who had decided to backtrack south and enter Bolivia through Chile, paid for their bus tickets back to the largest town. It was only on that bus, after we’d bought the tickets, and after some eight odd hours, that we thought to introduce ourselves. We didn’t even know each others’ names. We traveled with Benny and Inger for close to a week, and then bid them well on their way. We met them, in the truest sense. We met each other as we went along.
In a way I have learned to give up introductions, impressions, and expectations. In a way I’m still learning, because ultimately, they don’t serve in the end. Letting those things go is an ongoing process, a process of release, and of learning to trust, but I believe undoubtedly that my life has become richer through it. When we start to shed the proverbial shroud, our inner light shines through and suddenly we begin to find ourselves exactly where we ought to be: a miracle. You see, I am continuously letting go of those self-imposed labels that I used to show to the world, because I realized in time that I could not be labeled. I was born naked. I am not for sale, and you aren’t either. You are more than your present circumstances. Good luck.