February 13 – What Is Not Expressed – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
What is not ex-pressed is de-pressed.
It seems the more we express, that is, bring out what is in, the more alive we are. The more we give voice to our pain in living, the less build-up we have between our soul and our way in the world. However, the more we depress, the more we push down and keep in, the smaller we become. The more we stuff between our heart and our daily experience, the more we have to work through to feel life differently. Our unexpressed life can become a callus we carry around and manicure, but never remove. Experience can in effect lose its essential tenderness and poignancy, as we mistakenly conclude that life is losing its meaning. To a man unaware of the cataracts filming his eyes, the world seems dimmer, not his seeing. How often do we find the world less stimulating, unaware that our heart is diminished because of its encasement in all that remains unexpressed?
Let me give a personal example. I have, for many reasons, including issues of my own making, forever felt invisible in family or group settings. Initially, this stemmed from fearfully pleasing a self-centred mother at all costs. It led to years of unexpressed hurts and rejections that accrued into a callus that guarded the heart within my heart. I am and have always been a very open and emotionally accessible person, but at a certain depth, my core could not be touched. Though this started with Mother, it affected the level at which I could relate with anyone.
Eventually, this was not enough. I realized the world was not losing colour, but that I was screening the deepest emotional colours out. That I state this so calmly and clearly in one sentence hardly reflects the difficult and slow, elusive way this awareness pained itself into my daily consciousness. Rather, it emerged in me gradually as I began to acknowledge and voice the feelings of invisibility I have carried all my life.
Whatever your own example, it seems our authenticity is tied to what is de-pressed an what is ex-pressed. Just as flowers need healthy root systems in order to blossom, feelings can only express their beauty when they are rooted cleanly within us, breaking ground in some manner, sprouting outside us. It is that delicate paradoxical inch of ground between surface and deep, between flower and root, between what is allowed out and what is allowed in, that continually determines whether we are living our lives or not.