Our Secret Hidden Strength

What have you created that you secretly hope might be good? What have you created that you love, and which makes you more nervous than you’d like. Maybe you’ve shown it to a friend and they liked it. Of course, you haven’t shown it to anyone else. Or you’ve shown it reluctantly, (secretly hoping the next person will hate it), but they like it too!   

That thing that you’re desperately trying to hide and others inexplicably love is close to your Tender Strength. A Tender Strength is a thing we love but which we feel shame around. 

Maybe we were teased about it at some point. Maybe we never share it because we might get teased. It’s something that falls into our shadows but we can’t quite forget.  

The hard part about Tender Strengths is the shame and vulnerability we feel. We would have to be true warriors to stand up for them. We feel so unsure. Any criticism, any sideways comment might move us to hide it for good.  

The clear part about Tender Strengths is that others love us for them. They want more tender strength from us. They ask us for them, though we likely refuse.  

The clear part about Tender Strengths is sharing them would be easy if we could embrace and trust what others tell us. 

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Instruction, Experience, and Experimentation

A few weeks ago, we were given two butternut squash halves. A cousin’s Instacart order had gone awry. Somehow we got squash.   

We didn’t want to toss it.  We didn’t know what to do with it.  After boarding the squash in our fridge for two weeks a decision was made: soup. 

We found a recipe that was rated well. It called for shallots. We had onions. A google search it was fine. 

Four cloves garlic. All the butternut squash, roasted.  A little maple syrup. It sounded like heaven. It came out okay.  

Last fall, I read “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” by Samin Nosrat  She performed a kind of alchemy. She condensed the considerations of cooking to four words. 

With salt, push the edge a little, (to taste), until the flavor pops.  WIth acid, the same thing same thing.  There was no acid in my soup’s recipe!  I brought Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar to the rescue. And added creamy ricotta cheese as a garnish to cover the fat. (The soup was toasty warm).   

I’d never made a butternut squash soup before. But I had good instruction and I had  experience and experimented with them. The soup was excellent.    

It doesn’t turn out that way all the time but:

Instruction + experience + experimentation + time (eventually) = excellence 

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Your Guardian Voices

When starting from “I don’t much know what this will look like,” the second step, is often the hardest. 

The first step is exciting but doubt often accompanies the second, which may sound like, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Or shame sets in, which may sound like; “Who are you to do this?”  

These are admirable voices guarding the barrier walls of what’s familiar and safe.  Call them Resistance or Gremlins, if you like, but fight them at your peril.  They are jujitsu masters. Tussle with them and you’ll yourself pinned down inside your barrier walls, never taking another step.  

Even in naming them The Critic, or Lizard Brain can lead to a problem when you think they are outside you, other, attacking you. And once you’re imagining them as an outside force, you’re fighting them already.   

Remember these voices protector of things you value deeply.  If you don’t believe, try asking what does the thought “I don’ know what I’m doing,” show about me that’s really cool? Isn’t it really saying it would prefer you do what you know you can do well, with competency?  

Do you value doing good work? Isn’t it awesome you have a voice that wants to protect you from doing work that’s substandard?  

But work that is fresh and original lies on the other side of the fog of uncertainty.  Show your respect for what that voice values.  Explain you’ll momentarily risking substandard work to reach work that is excellent and unique, not merely good.   

What about the voice saying; “How dare you!?” Maybe it value’s humility.  It thinks you may become grandiose. Is humility something worth valuing? (I think so too).  If the two of you decide it’s something you value then continue with the work and agree you won’t let it got to your head too much if it’s good.

Knowing your guardian voices are protecting something you both value allows you to continue forward together.   

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Don’t Much Know What This is Going to Look Like

“Don’t much know what this is going to look like,” is a perfectly acceptable place to start from.

It may be the only place to start from.

Now, take a step.

The next one will follow.

There’s always fog on the path.

Learn to move with, and in, uncertainty.      

It isn’t easy.

It is a skill which can be learned.

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The Songwriting Secrets of Major Chords and Keys

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