Surrender of Pretense – Part One

surrender of pretense_2“I put on a courageous face and move bravely forward, but I feel lost and displaced.

My heart dies, one piece at a time, behind a gate that rusts away.

I am no longer able to maintain the pretense that all is fine behind my gate of false bravado and politeness.

It is time to let others see the pitted and rusted metal that is me.

It is time to let myself come out from behind my gate.”

This is the prose which accompanies Surrender of Pretense in the book. It describes how I lived my life, until I could no longer continue. Until I gave up my pretense that everything was fine with me, I spent a great deal of time showing the world a positive face, not talking about how I was dying inside, not even admitting it to myself. After-all, I wanted to be liked, wanted to avoid conflict at all costs.

It has taken a  lot of work in my sobriety to come out from behind my rusted gate. Sometimes, I am not aware of what I am feeling and, therefore, cannot speak up about what is going on with me. Other times, I still keep quiet because I want to be liked and I want to avoid conflict. I am, however, beginning to slowly let people know who I am. For the most part, I have found that people are supportive of those efforts, as well as the self that I reveal.

Sometimes what I say has led to an uncomfortableness in a relationship, and yet, I continue to speak up, even though I am fearful to do so. I do it anyway. Eventually, the relationship is strengthened or it fades away. In either case, it is a good way to practice walking through the gate of my fear.

Sometimes, I continue to keep thoughts to myself, to hide what I truly think, who I truly am, as I  believe it would be harmful to another to speak up. Sometimes, I continue to be too afraid to say something. There are those times, too, when I do not feel safe revealing who I am because to do so would invite verbal abuse and I am not willing to place myself in that situation.

In most situations, however, I am mastering coming out from behind my gate, being honest about who I am. It feels liberating and peaceful in my heart. I feels good to be true to myself, to show who I am and in what I believe.

Today’s post has dealt with the pretenses I have kept up, and continue to keep up. Next post, as we continue our journey, I will talk about the surrender I experienced initially and how that differs from the surrender I feel today.

How are the ways you continue to hide behind your gate? In what ways are you afraid to show others who you are? I invite and would love your comments.

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Discover the Magic of the Gates

I returned to that community in February 2004, at the end of the rainy season. joyful hearts-smWalking for hours and hours, from gate to gate, I became lost in time capturing crafted metal, puzzles of brick and stone, and lush, vibrant foliage.

Once I shot  two or three rolls of slides, I took them to be developed, reviewed them, decided there were improvements to be made, returned and shot more, and so it went for days.

I had no idea why I could not stop photographing these gates.

Drawn initially to their beauty, I eventually came to realize that they held great spiritual significance for me. They began to represent the ways in which I had erected barriers in my heart in response to hurts and pains I had experienced in my life. Those barriers prevented me from seeing the beauty that abounded all around me … in others, in myself, and in my surroundings.

They exemplified the beauty and light I wished to experience in my life, yet, could not seem to reach.

Soon, I began to wonder if others felt the same way, if their hearts were closed to themselves and others in response to hurts they’d experienced. Were we all experiencing gates of the heart, preventing us from treating ourselves and others with respect, value and love?

I didn’t know, but in response, I began to journal about the ways in which we, as humans, do not always treat each other well. Return and learn about how my journaling led to the book…

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Why I Photograph Gates

Cloak of Friendship

“What do you do?”  I am a photographer.

“Oh, so you do weddings.”  No, I shoot gates.

Every time, the eyebrows go up, a puzzled look crosses their face and they repeat…gates?!!  Yes, gates… wrought-iron gates. Oh, they say and nod in a knowing way. Sometimes, I think they are nodding because they think I am off my rocker and they are humoring me.

Who in the world photographs gates?

I do! Why? Because they speak to me.

For me, gates are portals, openings into a world of healing, a reflection of a personal journey, a walk along my spiritual path. I discovered this passion quite by accident…

How it all started…

Sitting on a boat in Northern California, I looked across the bay and realized there was a community I had not visited. As I was preparing to go on a road trip and didn’t know if I’d ever return, I decided to visit.

There in that hilly community, I discovered my gates sitting on the properties of grand and aged mansions, quietly unused. I fell in love with the reflection of light on the wrought iron and the lush foliage.

I vowed that if I ever returned to the area, I would shoot the gates and create a portfolio of them. Three years later, desire became reality, as I returned to that very community.

Return and shoot the gates with me…

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