Sometimes I want everyone Out.Of.My.Space. It feels like everyone’s encroaching, everyone has an opinion, there are so many shoulds, and it’s not even my own anymore. It’s a canvas for the world to define. Then I picture myself spinning in a circle with my arms out, ripping the encroaching walls to shreds. Spinning with a burning torch, making a ring of fire to mark MY SPACE.
But then I remembered the picture book, The Conquerors. How the people who defended their country lost to the stronger general, while the tiny country that accepted the invaders with open arms not only stayed intact, they were able to spread the joy of their way of life.
I like people. I want more people in my life. I don’t really want to chase everyone away. I want to invite them in. What if my burning circle of fire isn’t so much a defense as it is a definition? This is MY SPACE where I am in control. In this circle, I am in charge, I am the only authority. Anything from anybody else is merely a suggestion, a comment card. Anyone with a raging, authoritative opinion clearly has issues because this is my space and they have no authority. I can easily brush them off.
And what about someone else’s space? If my space is mine, then their space is theirs. I don’t expect to have any authority. I can instead come in with genuine curiosity, to explore and see what works for them and learn and take ideas for myself. That feels really, really good. I don’t have to worry about stepping on anyone’s toes or being offensive. If someone takes offense, then it’s probably their issue and not something I’m doing wrong.
All that’s left is to show up in my own space and be authentic. Which is what everyone’s been saying all along but feels so hard, impossible, vulnerable when it’s a should – but now it feels easy. The hardest part is looking at and owning my own mess. But since I own it, I can clean it up (or not) on my own terms and not worry about being judged for it.