Today we're celebrating superpowers. But not the kind of superpowers like leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Nope. The everyday extraordinary kind of supehero superpowers. Like how Andrea Scher describes 'em:
"To me, a Superhero is someone who invites her wisest, bravest, most alive self to come out and play, every day. This doesn’t mean having all the answers, being unshakably strong, or performing dramatic feats of heroism.
It means being someone like you – and someone like me. Someone who is anxious and uncertain, oh, say, 50 – 80% of the time. Someone who wants to live a juicy, full, courageous life — but doesn’t always know how. Someone who understands that vulnerability just might be the greatest superpower of all."
I'm with Andrea. I love recognizing the superpowers in those of us who may not be wearing fancy capes with our muscles bulging like Superman. But nevertheless, we're overcoming huge obstacles every single day merely in our intention to be fully awake and alive.
This week, Andrea launched her fabulous new website, Superhero Life. In celebration of this launch, she invited some folks to blog about our own superpowers. While you're reading my superpower story, be thinking of your own!
I know my greatest superpower thanks to my dear friend Laurie Wagner, who kindly pointed it out to me on my 41st birthday (seven years ago!) after I'd been sobbing all day, feeling like a complete loser. I actually can't remember all the things that led to that moment. But I can guess some had to do with splitting up with my husband. And others probably had to do with the publisher telling me that "no, after all, they weren't going to publish my book." Or maybe it had to do with a general sense that no matter how hard I tried I just plain couldn't keep up with the Joneses. Or anyone else.
I was deflated. I was tired. I was beaten down.
In order to buoy my spirits, I was hanging out with Laurie and two other wonderful friends, Kirsten and Maya. Maya had cooked a delicious meal that was as nurturing as it was tasty. Laurie had filled her colorfully tiled tub with steaming water, lit a candle, and given me some soothing smelling soap l so I could soak away my weariness. And Kirsten was meticulously baking a gorgeous lemon pie.
I've never liked cake, but have always adored pie. And wow — Kirsten was going the extra mile with this birthday pie. She'd used only the freshest of ingredients, had carefully measured out everything, and painstakingly created the most intricate and lovely of lattices for the top.
As she slipped the beautiful pie into the oven to bake, I stole away to soak in the tub. I remember listening to the comforting clatter of dishes and that low tone of voices from the other room. I remember feeling open and raw — you know how that is when you've cried yourself silly? I remember drying off with a plush towel and feeling the flush of warmth from the kitchen hit me as I stepped inside and sat down on a chair, awaiting the pie. I felt warm and soothed and loved. I felt so grateful for my friends' love and care. I could feel the beauty of the day seeping into my spirit like an elixir.
I sat in the kitchen and watched as Kirsten picked up the oven mitts and opened the oven door. I watched as she carefully slid the pie out of the oven and into her mitted hands. I watched as she calmly stood up. I watched as she started across the kitchen and headed to the counter. I watched as the pie toppled out of her hands and fell to her feet, splattering somewhat, but mostly plopping into a few messy hills of lemon pie.
Everyone was flabbergasted. It happened so quickly. We were stunned at the sudden loss of our beautiful birthday pie.
I quickly grabbed a plate and a spatula, knelt down, and began scooping the parts of pie that hadn't touched the floor into the plate. "It's fine; it's perfectly fine," I said. " It's just changed from pie to lemon tumble, er … crumble. We can still eat it. It'll taste just as great." I scooped up as much clean pie as I could and made a little sculpture of lemon goo pie mess on the plate and carried it to the table where the others were sitting. Got any candles?"
As we all sat, laughing now, and tasting our "lemon tumble pie," Laurie grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said: "I want you to know that this is who you are. You are the girl who can scrape the fallen pie off the ground and turn it into something delightful."
Laurie's insight helped me see that even though my squirrel mind wanted me to think that I was all about disappointment, and despair, that the truth was, I had a hidden superpower that enabled me to turn those dark places on their heads and find a place of celebration within them.
Yes, my marriage to my husband ended. But the relationship didn't. Seven years later and we still live together, raising our witty and wonderful son in a home full of laughter, love, and joy. Yes, yes, that darned publisher changed its mind about my book, but I simply self-published the book, and in the process learned what it meant to create my own successes. Yes, sure, there are always the jaunty Joneses with whom I can't keep up, but when I'm dancing with my beau wearing a knock-em-dead outfit that I got at a San Francisco thrift store for just $22, who the heck cares what those Joneses are doing. I'm having too much fun to notice.
My superpower is the ability to conjure up celebration, even in the dark. It doesn't always happen as quickly as it did with that fallen birthday pie, but I trust that I can make it happen.
You know the best part about our superpowers? We get to use 'em for ourselves sometimes, but mostly we get to use 'em to help others. And as I'm writing this, I'm thinking that Andrea Scher is gathering a whole community of hundreds of people with amazing superpowers. Imagine what we can do for one another — and the world at large. The joy could be staggering.
You've just heard about my superhero power. And if you visit Andrea's new website, you can read about hers. But what about you? Got an idea of one of your superhero powers? I'd love to hear!
I'm going to do a random drawing from the comments and choose one person to receive two weeks worth of customized audio boost messages. These are verbal "attagirls" or "attaboys" that arrive when you least expect 'em to cheer you on and remind you of the superhero you really are. Wait til you see how powerful these messages can be!
Please leave a comment below by 12n PST on Wedneday the 19th to be entered in the drawing. (If you don't have a Facebook account, you can also email me your superpower comment! I'll throw those names into the hat, too. And yep, it will be an actual hat for the drawing!)
Here's to our collective powers!
P.S. Don't forget, I really want to hear your thoughts about your own superpowers. If you're reading this via email, click here to leave a comment via Facebook or click here to email me. Otherwise, if you're live on the blog page, just scroll down!