I’ve had to unsubscribe from a slew of newsletters from some of my favorite writers over the past couple weeks. At first, I wondered if I am too insecure, to weak to celebrate other people’s creativity, even people I admire, respect, and want to emulate.
Do I feel threatened by the sharing of their noteworthy links, well-written essays, and life updates appearing in my inbox, when my own ritual of writing is barely surviving in this season? Am I envious of their seemingly successful careers? Could their productivity be a constant reminder of the time I just don’t have right now as a mother of four young children?
Yes, to all of the above.
In the name of inspiration and learning from others, I unfortunately, somewhere along the way, lost myself in the steady stream of human ingenuity coming at me on the daily.
We live in age where sharing is extremely sexy. Whether it’s sharing the behind the scenes of our Monday routine, sharing a photo of the cookies we baked, the gorgeous hike we went on, or sharing the best books we read this year, everything has potential to be “given away.”
Furthermore, if we don’t make public our useful expertise, our exciting project, or risky undertaking it somehow feels invalid. And if we don’t go and share other people’s work or writing, their beautiful product, their compelling brand, or remarkable service than we’re labeled as stingy or indifferent.
So much emphasis on sharing, turns this needed virtue into a gnarly scam. Do you feel it too? I contribute my creativity, hand out information or insight, or extend myself for the sake of getting a prized return.
As a result of our culture’s tendency to make giving glamorous and sharing the next best secret to success, I’ve found myself intentionally swinging in the opposite direction.
I’m hoarding the moments within my own home for myself and friends who walk through our front door.
I’ve tiptoed off the stage of social media and discovered the delight in offering my words to those of us wandering the wilderness and winding through the backroads.
I’m extremely conscientious when it comes to lending my learned wisdom into this wide world, when I know an actual sweaty hand to hold along the way is what most of us need.
I hesitate to offer anyone another interesting link or practical resource, no matter how useful it may be, because usually it glues us to our phone for an hour of hiking unnecessary rabbit trails when we could have been stomping through forests or dreaming under the night sky.
In the sequestering of my soul, in receiving life’s moments as they arrive, in putting limits on what I let escape out of my hands and heart, in all of this sacred restraint I’m returning to myself and my unattended secrets.
This is the sacrament of keeping to ourselves- where not sharing is actually caring.
Suddenly, what’s in front of us is simply ours for the taking, for cherishing, for gathering into our arms and holding it close to our heart.
We’ve been sold a false narrative.
There’s actually no rush to publish, to shout from the rooftops. We can hit pause before passing it along. We can soak in the tub awhile longer without having to turn every experience into a headline or a story or an email.
We can ruminate and contemplate and let the glory of being alive and human in this world seep out of our bones in its own time.
Please don’t push yourself to share, instead inspire us to receive and linger in the life we’ve been given.