Where Does Your Brilliance Lie?
I’m a big fan of seeking wise counsel, and from just about anyone who will give it: friends, paid professionals, parents, postal workers, kind-looking strangers. My feeling is that you never know what bit of wisdom someone might have to share. And though it so often feels that no one in the world has ever been in our particular bind or funk, chances are someone has. Someone, somewhere has felt the way we do before.
So I wrote to a stranger––two of them actually––who had made creative, good-looking lives for themelves. I peppered them questions, and sent those missives out into the dark recesses of the internet, preparing myself for silence.
But both women responded to me––and with kindness and consideration, to boot. At the risk of sounding florid and cheesy, I was really touched by their willingness to chat with some random stranger. I think of all the times I keep my head down and my blinders on, so focused on walking my own daily beat. Go to work, go to the gym, come home. Eat dinner, call my mom. Watch TV, look at shoes online, crawl into bed. It was so refreshing to reach out of my own bubble and into someone else’s, to listen closely to their story, their choices.
And so I listened. But both of these women quickly turned the questions on me (snap!). One question, in particular, has rung in my head for days: Where does your brilliance lie?
Does that question make you feel fired up and inspired, too? (And maybe a touch nervous?) Your brilliance. It’s not just what you’re good at––it’s a piece in you that shines bright. Each of us––yes, you and you and you and you (and me, too)––has a resplendent smarts about her. It might be buried under some insecurity or fear or denial, but it’s in there. Maybe it’s already out in full-force, each day in your life––hat’s off! That, I think, is the goal. To know it, to name it, to claim it, to live it. Your brilliance––whatever it is––has enormous value. Unfortunately, I think we are all to often in the business of undervaluing what we can offer this world.
Because isn’t that the thing? I think of Mary Oliver, whose poem guided me this week like a north star. She built a life around her brilliance, and offers it up like pearl, each day. Her brilliance is also her offering.
And so I reflected a bit on my own brilliance (and I will fully admit that modesty is so much in my bones that it’s hard for me to even write that sentence. Practice.) What is my offering? I’m awfully proud of this community right here: that what I try to put down in words feels welcoming, warm, and thoughtful. And I hope that anyone can drop in, new readers and old friends, and instantly feel some familiarity and some comfort. I hope, too, that there might be a spark of inspiration or gratitude that you can carry right back into our own life: that you will stop and notice the changing leaves outside your window, or look into the eyes of someone you love a little longer, or give yourself whatever it is you’re craving––a tea break, an Etsy perusal, a deep, easing breath at your desk, a bouquet of flowers, an early bedtime, a rare steak. That’s my brilliance, I think: keeping my senses wide open like an aperture, chronicling them, and sending out those feelings, of gratitude, of joy, of wonder, out like little waves of light, from my life to yours. Pass it on.
Now you. Don’t be bashful.
Photo: Lori411 on Etsy