A few hours ago, I received an email from a good friend letting me know that my Instagram photo was triggering her and that she needed to unfollow me so it would not pop up on her screen.
I had taken that pic on my way to the corner store last week while wearing a soft green face mask, and I liked the way it looked. Something about being "veiled" reminded me of dear friends I met across the world, and well, my hair looked darn good, too.
But the photo had triggered her, and while she was in no way asking me to remove it, she wanted me to know why she had unfollowed me. Seeing my face wearing a mask made her feel uneasy.
Two thoughts showed up for me, pretty much at the same time.
1) well, go ahead then.
2) no way do I want to make you feel uncomfortable. It's not worth it to me.
Either way, I was really happy that she had taken the time to tell me. True friendships give us permission to share our tender spots, and I love that.
I swapped it for a photo of me eating ice cream and my hair in a frizz.
Then I forgot about it.
An hour later, I miss a call from another friend about some business. I listen to his voicemail, and before getting down to his reason for calling, he lets me know that he had seen a photo of me online and that he thought I really looked amazing, and that he loved how I was "celebrating my wild hair." He then went on to say that he almost left a comment on what a hottie I was but figured that it would be a bit creepy. Good call.
I call him back, we take care of the business part, and then I ask him if he was talking about my photo with the mask. "Hmmm... " he says. I don't remember a mask. "I just know you looked great."
Still, on a hunch that it might have been the infamous pic, I text it to him, and he responds with a "Yes! That's the one! I had not even noticed that you were wear wearing a mask."
Oh, I love this.
So, putting aside the whole social media batch of weirdness (it started sounding odd while I was writing this. What a strange world... ) I am gleaning a few gems from this morning's interactions.
Gem #1 - I love having relationships where we can share how we feel, not necessarily asking for a change, but just saying, "Hey, this feels uncomfortable to me." Even if we don't always know why. It's also pretty great to take the time to do this instead of just disappearing.
Gem #2 - I love being able to choose to make a small change that will make someone feel more at ease, without feeling as though I am submitting. I think that for right now, this is a pretty great tool.
Gem #3 - We all make sense. Once I asked my friend what had triggered her, one of the things she was able to explain to me was that she was feeling isolated already and so that seeing only half of my face on her screen felt sad to her. If I had not asked her, I would not have known, and I could have made assumptions. Yes, we all make sense all the time. The trick is to feel safe enough to share that sense and to have friends curious enough to ask for it.
Gem #4 - We all see things differently. My woman friend, when looking at that photo, saw mostly the mask and how it was taking away our connection. My guy friend did not even remember that there was a mask. He saw my eyes, and he saw my hair. And bless his heart, he found the whole thing pleasing (yes, he did say hot. I am going to bless his heart twice just for that).
Right now, a lot of us are fragile and tender. Things are inflamed, and we are more likely to be triggered. What a great time to be each other's soft place to land.
What a great time to be safely vulnerable to each other.
What a great time to pay attention to what matters and what does not.
These days, I start most mornings connecting with people.
Mostly, listening. Fear, worry, angst, so much of it.
I offer the little bit that I can and then I take care of me. I meditate, I write, I move.
What I notice most in hearing this fear energy is how much is fed by a seeming inability to stop watching the news, listening to the data, talking about it. Basically: making it go VIRAL.
Last night in taking a distance walk with a good friend who happens to be a nurse, I talked about this a lot. And I got excited enough about it that I decided to make you a little video.
I hope this speaks to you and that you will do whatever you can to keep your MIND healthy, too.
PS: For those of you who are receiving this in your inbox, HERE is the link.
"Every time I read your blog I am so profoundly happy I did. The truth you speak is just mindboggling. The real, real voice you have. It makes me almost crazy how much I love your words and your way of telling stories that cut to the quick- and I never have the words to really say how much this all means to me.
You put out so many heartfelt blog pieces that touch my heart and move me down the right path at the right time. Pure beautiful magic girlie. I love you for this.
Thank you for digging in there and finding the gems of wisdom and then just sharing them out as if there's an endless supply ... which with you, there is."
"Thank you for sharing your wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating experience with the world."
"Thank You Laura for sharing, for teaching and spreading loving kindness. "
"I think I love you. You bring good things into my life, or remind me of things I love and know, but have let go of."
"Laura, you are so good for me. I laugh and sniffle and get the shivers when I read your essays. Thanks so much for letting all your wonderfulness run around loose."
"Heart-achingly beautiful, your words and how you reveal your truth."
"Thank you so much for who you are and what you share with the world. Your mere being transforms lives as it has transformed mine. This particular post did to my heart what water does to parched soil."
"Thank you for your gentle words that are packed full of wisdom. I have been struggling with the concept of what words can do to another person when they are negative words. Your words are the flip side of our word power, and shows how delightfully powerful kind words can be. Thank you."
"Once again Laura Lavigne takes you on an adventure of the heart. She has a way of pulling you right in the car with her. Asking you to consider changing a fear to taking thoughtful action. Whether she's teaching a class, leading a retreat or heading for a happiness sprinkling, Laura will invite you to shed old ways of thinking and be completely authentic. Join in!"
"Essentially pure love.
I enjoy how Laura is kind to herself and to us other humans who dance in and out of each other's lives. "
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You can count on Laura for warmth, humor, charm, and a lift to your day and your heart. She inspires me to be braver than I am, and to love the world out loud. She's a gem, and a generous one at that!"
I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.