Chapter 7: The Gift of Disappearing

Chapter 7: The Gift of Disappearing

This Chapter will be the subject of the March 16 meeting in the Buxton Room – 7-8pm.

Turn sideways into the light as they say the old ones did and disappear into the originality of it all. Be impatient with explanations and discipline the mind not to begin questions it cannot answer. – David Whyte, Tobar Phaedric
The Gift of Disappearing is tied to our humility.  Elnes writes that pride falsely inflates our sense of self, while shame “artificially deflates” it.  In the middle, anchoring us to our true natures is humility.  In cultivating our humility, through allowing our false sense of selves evaporate, we “disappear” until only the most authentic of our natures remains.

Elnes considers in depth the poem Tobar Phaedric by David Whyte.  The poem arises from St. Patrick’s holy well in Conmel Ireland.  The concept is – do not approach life with an agenda putting yourself and your immediate needs first – overly proud.  Conversely, don’t sell yourself short – crippling shame.  Rather than standing squarely in front of opportunities and choices, turn to the side & with palms turned outward honoring the blessing of this life.  Do not allow the events of life, or individuals in your path shrink the size of your true potential & what God has intended for you.

Elnes writes,

While Whyte’s poem envisions standing in a place of fierce beauty and ancient holiness to evoke a revelation of our identity, such revelations can come to us in places that appear quite ordinary. The key is to refuse to let any situation or circumstance mark you in a way that does not reflect your highest identity. You must disappear. Instead, stand “as a child” (reappear) with your palms turned out to accept an identity only in situations or circumstances that call forth the very best within you.

How have you failed to “stand as a child”?  How have you succeeded?  How close can you come to really disappearing in this way?

Living into the mission that God intends does not mean the sailing is going to be smooth.  Being as close as possible to our authentic selves, neither prideful or carrying shame, will keep us on the mission’s path.  “[M]istakes made while trying to be ourselves, not someone else, bring us closer to our place in this world, not farther from it”, writes Elnes.

When you make a misstep, are you overly harsh with yourself?  Do you prevent yourself from acting on the next guidepost God provides because you are too busy beating yourself up?


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Posted on

February 12, 2016

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