This is a Yiddish story of “Mr. Goldberg the Tailor.”
There once lived Mr. Goldberg, the tailor. One day a man walked in to try-on one of Mr. Goldberg’s suits. The man said, “Mr. Goldberg, this suit looks very strange. Look at it. This sleeve doesn’t fit at all.” Mr. Goldberg looks at it very seriously and says, “You are right. For this sleeve, you need to put your shoulder like this and your hand like that.” “OK,” the man replied. “But other sleeve doesn’t fit at all. Look at it.” Mr. Goldberg looks at it and says, “You are absolutely right. For this sleeve, put your arm this way and hold your shoulder like that.” “OK,” the man replied. “But what about the right side of the pants? It looks very strange.” “You are right,” Mr. Goldberg replied. “You just need to turn your right leg a little bit inward like this.” “OK. But what about the left side of the pants? It looks strange.” “That’s no problem. For that side, you put your foot little outward like that.”
Now the suit looked fine and the man walked out of his store pleased. As the man was walking proudly down street wearing his new suit, along comes a couple. A woman exclaims to her husband, “Wow! What an amazing tailor! For a man of his condition, the suit fits him perfectly.”
As children, we all have learn to contort ourselves to fit into the survivor suit in order to survive and procure love in the family system and culture we have born into. For too many of us we are still wearing our survivor suits. We wear it at the expense of betraying our essence. For too long we have been contorting ourselves to get love and be accepted. And the price has been too high.
The Swedish psychologist, Carl Jung, said, “We all wear shoes size too small.” We are walking around with shoes that are too small for us and they hurt. God tells us, “Take ‘em off.”
Theologically speaking “Original Sin” is a refusal to be yourself by hiding in shame. As the story goes in the primeval story of creation in Genesis, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit of “the knowledge of good and evil.” Consequently, their eyes open and awaken out of their blissful trance state into consciousness. They suddenly realize they are naked and cover themselves up with fig leaves in shame and hide. It is important to note that it is not human who asks, “Where are you, God?” It is God who asks, “Where are you, Adam? Why are you hiding from me?”
How can we give ourselves permission to be who we are? Here are nine permissions that I came up with that I offer to myself and to others.
- You have a permission to be who you are.
- You have a permission to make mistakes.
- You have a permission to ask for what you need.
- You have a permission to say “No”.
- You have a permission to think freely.
- You have a permission to speak your truth.
- You have a permission to be great and powerful.
- You have a permission to laugh
(ever loudly at yourself and at human condition).
- You have a permission to be happy.
I am of the belief that the more human we become, the more divine we become, just as Jesus was fully human and fully divine. And to our amazement we discover that God loves and accepts us as who we are despite ourselves. I think one of the hardest tasks is becoming who we already are, fully human and fully divine.
Deep within, at our very core, there is a voice, a voice from our souls. This voice is the guiding wisdom that we all have access to. The 15th century Spanish mystic, St. Ignatius of Loyola, described the root of human discontent, unfulfillment and dis-ease as “Being out of an alignment with God’s deepest desire for your life.”
When we attune to our Soul’s voice, the Voice of God, we gain access to that Voice. Learning first how to listen to that Voice is the first step. And then acting from it. I believe this is the key to making a shift from “human doing” to “human being”. It is the ground from which your purpose, value and ethic arise organically and effortlessly. You cannot not be who you are. You will experience a profound sense of rightness all the way down to the roots of your being. This is your truth. The truth about who you are and why you’re here to do and be. When you touch this truth, you experience it like a tuning fork sounding from the core of your being that reverberates out to all areas of your life affecting others and the world.
“What is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
~ The Summer Day, poem by Mary Oliver