Many years ago, I took a class on team building with a company I worked for.  My then boss was a participant, or so he promised. But he couldn’t pull it off.  He sat outside the circle of his employees – a power position – and when one of them moved his things into the circle during a break, he took over teaching from the hired trainer.

I found it annoying. His voice grated and later I found it annoyed other people too. He couldn’t see himself, this man who preached self-awareness.  He couldn’t see that he wrapped his power around him like a thick winter coat protecting him from vulnerability.

I’m reading a wonderful book, A Student of Weather, partly set in the flesh searing cold of a Saskatchewan winter and it strikes me that vulnerability is like that. Being wide open to life, to this moment, unmasked, unguarded feels like skin exposed to the relentless burning of ice. It is no wonder we wrap ourselves in anything we can find to hide our nakedness.

My boss wrapped himself in the power of his position. For years, I wrapped myself in the power of my intelligence, and worse, in the pretence of not caring. You can wrap yourself in anything: intelligence or stupidity, beauty or ugliness, success or failure, a job, a talent, caring, benevolence, anger… We can hide behind almost anything. The first trick is to become aware that what we’re doing is hiding.

The second is to do something about it.   Continued…

2 replies
  1. says:

    Nicely put Catherine. It’s made me look at some of the hiding I do and how I don’t always show myself to other people. Most importantly, your piece made me aware to the fact that I am hiding behind certain things. Thanks. Herbert

  2. stuart greene
    stuart greene says:

    Ahhhh…I was about to write ‘interesting’ but that would be hiding!!… I like it, especially the bit of wrapping his power around him like a thick winter coat….. how warm and safe that is… and yet so desperate and alone. To pretend that it doesn’t matter, and in one world it doesn’t… but in another, …my heart bleeds! What is reality,… to be in such a place that has space for all, denying none…. slowly I build my house there…

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