Saturday, April 3, 2010
Shedding the mask(s)
I've been pondering the idea of how an introvert lives in community.
This forming theory was tested with a group trip to a lodge over spring break. Don't get me wrong, it was a wonderful time and experience. Shared cooking, laughing, no worries about kids because there was always another parent around.
One of my fondest moments was in the kitchen preparing a dinner, and cooking stirs my soul (no pun intended), while someone I had just met did all of the hard-core chopping. And another gave periodic massages! It freed me to do the creative thing and my faithful chopper said she was happy for the job. I felt I really got to know her as she wielded the knife, creating a meditative staccato, and I merely concocted the fruits of her labor.
I only strayed away once on a solitary walk, but did some contemplative work, often interrupted as I sat near the fire ring, not very far from the cabin. Yet it was often a welcome break as people were genuinely interested in what I was doing. It was thoughtful and caring. Perhaps because it seemed I was the only one doing "work."
In between laughs and stories, there was some intimate sharing.
It was the right amount of time: three nights and four days. I returned home physically wiped out, however. Everyone else in my family was buoyed by the trip.
Why is that? On some level, it's frustrating. But I have learned that my introversion (ok, I am just over the introvert line in Myers-Briggs profiling and can do the extrovert-thing quite well) is so finely linked to my energy levels and how I feed myself.
Summer is one of those times with kids home 24/7 that zaps me. Also countless snow days and long holidays with continual family visiting. All joyful events and occasions, but a painful physical reality for me.
It's the silence and being with myself in that space that balances all of the rough-and-tumble of group dynamics. Yet in the vortex of the contagious activity, I forget to take that time.
Sometimes I wonder if it's a mask I wear in groups that tires me. I often think I have dropped my masks for the most part. [Someone recently said to me about myself that "what you see is what you get" and that is how I intend to live.] Perhaps, I haven't entirely.
What is that remaining mask? One that doesn't want to disappoint, create waves, leave the circle? Or one that has always drawn its identity as the helper (my enneagram type) and can't quite be shed that even if it would free me?
Takes a lot of energy to wear that particular facade.
• How does my introversion/extroversion work in community?
• How have I learned to balance that with my personal needs?
• Am I aware of how that affects others as well as their own dynamic or similar struggle?
• What masks do I continue to wear? Especially in community?
• Which ones can I put down?
It's so effortless
that I don't even
see it happening
that "on" switch,
It's worked so
well in the past,
What if I could?