SERVICE IS FREEDOM FROM THE BONDAGE OF SELF - Blaine Hummel
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SERVICE IS FREEDOM FROM THE BONDAGE OF SELF

“One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts.” -John O’Donohue

The Universe had her hands on my shoulder in 2017 and gave me a hefty shove forward into the unknown. I have written about how my life has been transformed over the past year – being seriously injured, quitting my full-time job as an attorney, and going to school. But, these external changes are only the outward trappings of a deep inner turmoil which has gnawed at my soul for years. As much as I tried to stay in the “comfort,” I had no choice but to jump headlong into the dangerous wilderness of my own heart. And yet, my work has just begun.

I have long struggled with the incongruence between who I presented on the outside and the entirely different person I am on the inside. In many respects, I think we all encounter this conflict. I believe our inner work is seeking to resolve this conflict and move toward an integration of all aspects of our personality. So, lately, I have been ensconced in the deliberative process of determining who I really am and discovering my true self.

In the past, I resisted most forms of service to others. Fortunately, as I have begun to open up, my reticence has shifted. In particular, my experience panhandling as part of my coursework and my subsequent encounter with a homeless man who simply wanted a pair of socks to avoid the cold weather, were deeply profound and moving. I felt moved to make a small change.  And. together, we raised $500 to buy socks for the homeless which was no small feat (ha! I couldn’t resist the pun).

I promise I have a definite point to this post, but I want to relate a little story first. The other day, when the bitter (by Houston standards) cold moved in, I was eating lunch at Whole Foods in the Galleria. There was a homeless man who was sitting at a table to keep warm. And, in all honesty, he was making me uncomfortable. A man at the table next to me, got up and went over to the table where the homeless man was sitting.  At first, I thought this was going to be a confrontation.  Instead, the customer engaged the man in conversation and gave him money to buy a warm meal. This was the simple reminder I needed. When I finished eating, I approached this man and introduced myself as well. His name is Ricky. I asked him if he could use some socks and he replied affirmatively.

We went down to my car and had a brief discussion in the few minutes it took to get there. I opened my car door and handed Ricky a bundle of nice wool socks. I do not have the words to describe the look on this man’s face when I gave him the socks. The best description I can come up with is a mixture of shock, gratitude, and appreciation. But, there was something much deeper. He opened his arms to embrace me and we exchanged a big hug. He understood that I saw him as a fellow human who just happened to be in need, not as someone to be discarded. It was a magical interaction.

I believe there is no greater power than seeing another person for who they are and acknowledging that true self with love. I have seen the profound effect this has had on others and on me. We all long to be seen and accepted for who we are. But, the nature of human experience seems to be that we project an image we want others to see while hiding our authentic selves.

Awhile back, I created a Facebook group for You2 which resulted from a fleeting insight I had in my multicultural counseling class.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I felt compelled to start something.  Now, I would like to take the concept one step forward. So, now we come to the point of this post – and it is a big one I approach with much fear and trepidation…

My express intention for this year is to create community grounded in the concept of authentic self-expression through the establishment of a non-profit organization. I am not exactly sure how this vision will develop, only that it will come to fruition with hard work, persistence and your support. I have a great group of people in my circle with diverse talents and interests.  So, I will be reaching out to you to jump into this journey with me.  And, I hope if this general concept strikes you, that you will reach out to me as well.  Together, we will make a difference.

Namaste.

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