How naked are you prepared to be? asks Dominic Miller in The Balls to Stand Naked (http://www.monday9am.tv/archive/play/29), an inspiring short film by Nic Askew. In the film, world-class guitar player, Dominic, inquires into the meaning of life, offering a personal perspective on what happens when we arrive--when we achieve a certain level of success in the world--and muses about the power of our own nakedness--of truly being who we are...
Remember Come As You Are parties where people were invited to come in whatever clothing they happened to be wearing at the time of the event? A cultural novelty of bygone times, people were welcome to arrive in anything from business suits to birthday suits. Although the events were often used as opportunities to dress in the wackiest clothes imaginable, the parties were an invitation for people to get together without having to worry about appearances, often stretching the bounds of social convention and proscribed self-conceptions. The underlying concept was that people could come together with fewer pretenses, free to express themselves without the judgment present in everyday experience.
Life is one big come as you are party. Even when it sometimes feels like we're crashing the party, we are all invited. We just have to summon the courage to show up truly as we are--to express ourselves, speak our minds, live our values, and do what matters regardless of what's expected. To embrace the fullness of being who and how we are--to attend to what is most honest within, between and among us--is to arrive fully naked at the threshold of joy even in the midst of suffering.
We've probably all known and admired people who are able to be themselves, no matter what the circumstances--people who are comfortable in their own skins, who show up consistently as they are without pretense or apology, who speak their minds with candor and diplomacy, who stand for and stand up even when they're sitting down. We call them poised, confident, and self-possessed. Self. Possessed.
Possess is rooted in the latin words, potis able, in power and sedere to sit. A self possessed is a self able to sit, seated in power. It is a self possessed by something greater than self.
At least, that's how I think of it. In our greatest moments when we fully arrive as we are, we do not possess ourselves, but seat ourselves in something much more powerful. We are perhaps possessed by Self with a capital "s," or Spirit-possessed.
Sooner or later, we come as we are despite ourselves. After all, we can’t really arrive as we were or show up as we will be…sooner or later the truth of who we are is revealed to us and everyone else. The real challenge is showing up as we are lovingly and consistently, complete in our incompleteness, soft with our rough edges, knowledgeable of our ignorance... to know and delight in our still becoming. Indeed, the most possessed people are those who surrender to the knowledge that they are free to discover themselves and each other anew with each moment.