The World Sees Your Goodness
It’s a peculiar thing, isn’t it? To be made of the same stuff as stars and clear quartz, orchid stalks and the soft soil of the earth, and yet still doubt our own goodness.
It is odd, isn’t it? To be a species that worries, time and time again, whether we deserve to be here at all. It must simply be a part of our hard wiring. We were given minds that like to turn things inside out, and so we turn ourselves inside out, time and time again, seeking what always seems so buried.
It’s normal around this time of the year to fall into a slump of self-doubt. With the goals we set at the beginning of the new year still stuck at a distance, the ground we’ve covered so far begins to feel insignificant. Like a mountain spied from the top of the nearby crest— it seemed an easy thing, from such a vantage point, to simply walk straight ahead and reach the next summit! But back down in the obscured valley of rhododendron and rose thickets and daily to-do’s, you realize that perhaps that peak was a bit farther than it seemed at first glance. In such moments of frustrating bushwhacking, it’s easy to turn our blades on our own selves.
I cannot know for certain, but I think humans might be the only creatures on earth that doubt their goodness. We must be the only beings that measure their self-worth by things like how many steps it takes to get to the top of a mountain. We turn ourselves inside out in order to find our worthiness, and often turn the world inside out in the process. When what we are really seeking is just confirmation that we are worthy.
It is easy to see the goodness of a quiet wood. The innate dignity of a deer nosing in the snow. The virtue of an oak on the field edge. And yet we struggle so deeply to see the same natural inheritance in ourselves.
As humans, we get so involved in our doing, forging ahead in our quest to be worthy of this existence, that we miss the most miraculous reality of all— that we already exist. That we have already been given permission to share the same space as bobcats and oak trees and wild geese. That we have been invited to be a part of the wider story of goodness and nonjudgement that flows through the world. And that we can join that story by allowing ourselves to be received, and seen, once more.
Everywhere, at every moment, we are being seen and accepted by the wider world. Go for a walk down the street. The trees there do not begrudge your existence, they accept you as fully as the wind embraces the sun. Watch the spider respin her web in the corner of your bedroom, she embraces you as she does the lamp glow. Go home to your pets, or your houseplants, and let their exuberant welcome flow straight into your bones. Let the stream of that goodness infiltrate you to your core. This is how loved you are.
Have you been a bit down or out of sorts lately? You aren’t alone.
Maybe this new year has brought a fresh crop of worries that you won’t live up to your potential. Or that your voice is not needed in the wider conversation. Maybe the thing that you were hoping would shift, hasn’t yet changed. And so, as this month draws to a close, you feel the larger possibilities of life begin to narrow.
Or perhaps you fear that you simply aren’t bright enough, talented enough, caring, daring or compassionate enough to be in this world.
You might worry about these things. I know I do. Meanwhile, as Mary Oliver so beautifully penned, “the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes.” Meanwhile, the wider world has never once doubted your belonging. Meanwhile, the stars and orchids that dwell inside of you are waiting to show you just how worthy you are.
Need help seeing this once more? Keep reading for my four cherished practices for allowing the world to rush back in and illuminate your goodness.
How to Let the World Show You Your Goodness
1. Go for a walk and nibble on a pine needle
Pine is a powerful medicine for continuance and evergreen hope throughout the deciduous world. In winter, when all the earth is dark leaf litter and bark, pine shines with green light. High in vitamin C, pine needles invigorate the spirit when darkness seems to have invaded your thoughts and help keep the body healthy and glowing throughout the wintertime. Zesty and bright, pine enlivens the senses, including the sense of our own self-worth. Just find a tree near you and ask permission to take a needle or two. Then munch as you walk. Nibbling on pine as I move my body never fails to help me shed anxiety and bring me back to the present moment.
2. Speak your thoughts aloud to the natural world
As Brené Brown says, shame is like a gremlin, we must only expose it to the light to loosen its grip on our insides. To try this exercise, I recommend getting yourself to a private place in nature. You can sit by a body of water, a tree, or even a particular stone. Once settled, speak out loud all of the things you have quietly been thinking about yourself (the things you feel shame for even entertaining in the first place). Say anything that comes to you and then note how you feel now that you’ve spoken them aloud. Be open to the ways in which the world might be responding to you. In the quiet, you might notice a particular sensation drifting on the breeze. That sensation is nonjudgement, and it is the very stuff that makes up the lifeforce of the world. Let the nonjudgement, the gentle acceptance, of the earth in completely. Cry, sigh, laugh, sing. Allow the healing in.
3. Try this writing exercise to shift your perspective
This writing prompt comes from Caroline Myss and her book Invisible Acts of Power. To begin, write down all the reasons you doubt yourself. Be as real and raw as you can. Once you are done, go back to this paragraph and write the name of someone you love at the top (this could be a human, a pet, or a beloved being of nature). Now respond to this paragraph as if you were writing back to this person. What would you say to help ease their mind? Let the depth of your love for this being fill you from tip-to-toe. Afterwards, reread what you wrote aloud for your own self. Let the wisdom of your own words deep into your heart.
4. Take Crocus Flower Essence
Crocus flower essence is my favorite for loosening hard inner places of self-doubt. When you feel like a pattern of self-criticism has calcified within you and you aren’t sure how to shift it, turn to crocus. Like the first bud of hope springing from winter snows, crocus helps to ease self-judgement and embrace ourselves exactly as we are. I like to begin taking crocus flower essence before the first flowers arrive, right when that winter tiredness begins to set in, to help me keep hope bright and alive. (Visit in the shop)
Take a deep breath. Tell me your sorrows. And I will tell you mine. And the world will absolve us both. For we are so perfectly worthy, and beloved, exactly as we are.