BlissDom was an overwhelming experience on so many levels. An introvert by nature, meeting new people and putting myself out there are challenging for me. I’m not good at being vulnerable, at exposing my heart, and at taking risks. Meeting new people feels very risky to me – what if they don’t like me, what if my hair looks weird or they think I’m just being some annoying interloper? When I step back of course, none of that truly, deeply matters; anyone who is going to be that curt and judgmental is probably someone I don’t want in my life anyway. When I was able to push through my fears, to be vulnerable, to risk, some amazing things happened.
My time at BlissDom spurred some movement around this important lesson. There were some very specific interactions and experiences that allowed me to put myself out there, to risk, and to land safely. These things might seem insignificant to an outsider, but were hugely cathartic for me. I’m learning that in order to feel all of my heart, to live from a place of love, I need to take that risk of being vulnerable. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, we become real by being loved. We cannot be loved unless we open ourselves to it. To open ourselves to love like that means also opening ourselves to pain of equal magnitude and that is what keeps people scared, closed.
It’s been work. Being open, taking the time and risk to tell people how I feel, what’s important, and what they should know. It’s scary. Really scary.
Of the gajillion sponsors at the conference, Hallmark had a whole suite on the upper level. Their suite happened to be on the way to the writing sessions (many of which I participated in) so inevitably I stopped by. The concept of their campaign was simple – Tell Them. Whatever it is you’re waiting to say, you’re holding back, you think is obvious… tell them. They made this easy by offering free cards. After we took the time to ‘tell them’ in the card, they even mailed them for us!
I’ve been blessed to have a mother who is has a very generous heart and has been my biggest supporter and fan. While she has certainly made her mistakes, I now realize that mistakes are completely inevitable in parenting. I am deeply grateful for her, but I never really tell her that. I say ‘thank you’, and even ‘thank you so much!’, but I don’t take the time to tell her what her actions and our relationship means to me. So at the Hallmark Suite one day, between the practically overlapping activities, I took the time to tell her.
My sister and I have not always been close; in fact there have been large gaps of time where we were completely at odds with one another, not even speaking. In the last couple of years, we’ve grown closer and rebuilt trust with one another and our relationship has strengthened. There are no words to describe how grateful I am to have her and how blessed I feel to call her my friend. She’s been struggling with some personal stuff lately and no matter what happens, I want her to know that she is loved, she is worthy of love and that she is a beautiful and amazing person. I wandered back in the Hallmark Suite, found just the right card, poured a little of my heart onto the page and guessing at her new address, sent it off.
When I returned from BlissDom, I wrote on the Hallmark Facebook page that I vow to tell my children that they are perfect no matter where their path in life leads them. I mean it. I know my mother feels that way about me, but my father has never been able to accept or allow me my journey, to appreciate me for who I am. The sadness and pain this has caused is something I never want my children to know. I will now, and always, tell them they are loved and supported.
Now for the fun part. Hallmark is giving away a 10 pack of cards to one of my lucky readers so you, too, can Tell Them! All you need to do is leave a comment, but if you want to go to the Tell Them page and make a vow, I encourage you to. I would love to hear your vows in the comment section if you are feeling brave enough to share.
I will accept entries until Friday night, April 6, 2012 at 10:00 PM EST. I will choose one winner at random and I will announce the winner over the weekend.
Note: check out the antennae of the snail on the left!
Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated by Hallmark for this post, other than the cards that were given out at their suite at BlissDom. My opinions of the campaign and my experiences are my own.