I woke last night, from a dream I can’t remember, into that space between deep slumber and awake alertness. My brain was mellow and drowsy, but still conscious.
I had a brief vision of a door, covered with layers of paint, being sanded down with one of those old-fashioned hand plane tools. I understood the intention was to reveal the gloriousness of the bare wood underneath, but the years of texture and colour — rough in places — were also extremely beautiful. I could imagine how the new door looked with a fresh coat of vibrant blue, or red, or whatever colour suited the fancy of the home owner. But the weathering over time gave it a patina that was full of character.
As I became more clear and awake, I realized that the door was a symbol for us.
We are built of raw material which has its own unadorned beauty. Left bare, we may not be all that sexy and attention-getting, but there is a vulnerable yet strong quality to it. It just is — it doesn’t have to try to be anything else. The doorway has a function, providing an entry to the heart and hearth. It says, “welcome.”
But we aren’t satisfied with a plain, functional entry. Over time, we add layers of beliefs to the original material which we think adds to its interest: we start with shoulds, with expectations, with roles, with labels.
We add flashy jewellery to our personalities so that people can make assumptions about what lies inside: wealth, power, fun, humour, fashion.
We want our doors to fit in with all the other doors on the block. Or we want to make our door so different that it stands out on its own. But a plain wooden door doesn’t get much notice.
We feel like we have to entice people to want to visit our homes, because we need to be loved. So we have to make the doorways special somehow.
We add these beliefs like paint soaking into the wood: once they first layer is on, it’s really hard to strip it off without changing what’s underneath forever. But it’s easier to keep adding more paint if we don’t like what the first coat does. Change colours. Cover it with primer. Do some fancy stencil work. Add cool door knockers and door handles.
Our creativity comes out when we try on new beliefs, new identities, new aspects of our personalities.
But the layers keep building, until we have absolutely no idea of what the original door looked like.
Over time, though, the paint will dry out and crack, and the layers will start showing. Do we like the current look, with a few rough spots? Or do we cover it with another coat to hide the imperfections?
Or do we start sanding down through all the layers of belief, one at a time, acknowledging each one and the memories they bring up as we go?
What will be revealed underneath? Will we like the original plain wood door and find appreciation in its simple beauty, or will we be tempted to start painting again?
Keep shining the insight light,