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Show and Tell

Updated: Aug 13

In second grade, my classmate Teresa (Vizquera?!) brought pictures and artifacts from her native land, Peru. I’m not sure why she was living in Kansas at the time, or where she moved on after second grade, but I remember the details of that particular Show and Tell moment in great detail. The introduction to South America that I received from Teresa and her mom gave me an instant appreciation for their culture. The bright colors, the gorgeous landscapes and the exoticness of the whole concept was captivating and fueled an excitement that moved through me like electricity. As each slide clicked through, I could feel myself being transported somewhere else. My senses were heightened to the point that it seemed like I could smell and taste what I was looking at as if I were right there. If that wasn’t cool enough, they brought the whole class individual cups of frozen yogurt as a treat while we learned about Peru. Most (maybe all) of us had never tried frozen yogurt before, and….WOW! ( If you can imagine 1977 for a second you will see that it was just catching on in California and hadn’t yet reached Somerset Elementary School in Prairie Village, Kansas. I don’t think there was a better day for me in the entire school year, (and second grade was a banner year for me!)

I would have been 7 or 8 at the time, which coincides with the natural timeline where we start to develop our own ideas about the world and how it works, separate from what our parents, playgrounds, schools and churches are selling to our belief system. In first grade, I might not have paid attention to anything but the FroYo, and by third grade I definitely would have felt some kind of trigger about not already knowing what I was being shown. Somewhere at the end of that second grade year, the wonder and curiosity of my childhood was replaced with the very real need to pretend like I knew more than I really did. Only now can I see how that single ‘trigger’ would drive my thoughts and feelings for a very long time. I think it’s why I remember that specific Peru Show and Tell so vividly. I longed for the feelings that came with imagining something ideal and being able to feel it as if iI were really a part of it – I was missing the ability to easily sustain a lucid dream state.

I wonder how many of us let go of that ability around that age? I know each of my kids did, and at the time, it seemed to me like a natural part of growing up. Now that I’m grown and thensome, I’m starting to believe that, societally, we’ve completely missed the inherent value in that particular skill set. If we weren’t afraid to dream about ideal conditions for fear of ‘getting our hopes up’, we might have more reasonable expectations for ourselves and the people around us. We might have been able to easily identify the growing disparities within humanity that currently have us evaluating our preschoolers for potential leadership or athletic excellence. This is the same fabric that finds privileged parents lying and cheating to school boards in order to ensure that their children have every advantage to come out on top. Meanwhile, a lot of other kids are just trying to get enough food in their bodies to be present and available for learning, period. This contrast strikes a soul chord in me, invigorating my desire to Know Better and Do Better as I learn by challenging my own belief system.

We each come in with a completely different set of Raw Material for our lives, even within the same family. I have not been the same parent to each of my kids, and it took a long time for me to truly recognize the differences that come with our individual perceptions. I’ve always been proud of my parenting instincts and intentions. I thought they were fair and reasonable because I had seriously considered the need/lack from my own childhood into the equation. I studied parenting methods and vowed to give my children all of the things (within reason) I had wished for from my own parents. I was prepared to raise them with love, encouragement and a sense of support/community. The problem? My kids aren’t me! Therefore, the things that I had wanted weren’t the things they wanted. In their teenage years, I couldn’t understand their rejection or resentment because I was busy defending my position and trying to convince them why it was a good one. Hindsight being what it is, I can see where a different approach might have changed their feelings, but I’ve learned to accept that after-the-fact wisdom as part of our human understanding, not something to regret.

My kids were entering their preteens when I entered healing school, so my belief system was getting an overhaul during the time that their hormones were actively seeking balance in an unstable world. We had a newly blended family, unresolved divorce energies from both sides, and a couple of stubborn people running the show (Fred and Me), who didn’t always agree with each other. I can’t imagine where we would all be if we hadn’t been able to regroup around a shared value system. Finding the space to listen to others' complaints (instead of desperately trying to explain myself) has truly changed my life, and I think it has the power to do that for each of us – if we are willing to let it.

I signed up for my school (Core Star Healing) knowing very little about it, but feeling a deep call from inside myself to learn how to relax so that I could help others do the same. My 7 year old daughter had begun to point out the tension in my body and my voice, and I was shocked to recognize how on point she was! I had been living on edge for so long that I didn’t even recognize the build-up of tension that replaced the natural electrical current I used to feel coursing through my body when I was younger. I wanted to get back to the feelings that come with greeting each day with joy and gratitude, but I wasn’t sure how to make it happen. By the time I realized how far ‘off track’ I had journeyed, I lacked the inner confidence I needed to find my way back. I spent three years in healing school apologizing for what I didn’t know, and gradually came to see the Pillar of Ignorance as one of my favorite and most reliable resources. Leaning into not knowing something is liberating because it lets you dive in with curiosity and zero expectations–just a beautiful blank slate for learning and creating.

We are each born with this innate ability, but paradoxically, we live in a profound state of forgetting how to operate it. From the youngest of ages, we are taught about ‘our place’ in the world, and from there we set out to challenge ourselves and the opportunities that come before us. Our individual Raw Material is the sum of what we each came into this life claiming as our own. It’s what we identify with, and how we form our personal beliefs – the things that we Show and Tell our minds about how the world works. When we learn to challenge these beliefs with regularity, we set ourselves up for our next state of existence – being both separate and connected from everything and everyone — at the same time. Cool concept, right?!

I’ll end with my favorite Gandhi quote: “we have enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed”. I think about the context of it a lot, and wonder what an energetic redistribution of power might look like? What if we could give everyone the same amount of confidence and belief in their own value? An ideal consideration, to be sure… but still an awesome feat to imagine for humanity! What we Show and Tell (to ourselves and others) changes as we age and grow. The more truth we allow in the middle, the more comfortable we feel moving through life with renewed appreciation for the behaviors of our Mentors and the conditions of Our Raw Material. It doesn’t change our initial experiences, but it allows us the space to find deeper meaning in the things we don’t easily accept, while connecting these dots within the larger picture of who we are.

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