You Can Wear Your Goggles if You Want To

Last week after lunch I was driving through a quiet neighborhood admiring the homes, when suddenly a woman in a bathing suit and flip flops, a towel wrapped around her waist, stepped into the street with a stop sign in her hand.

I looked around. No school in sight, certainly no crossing guard uniform, but this was definitely an official stop sign.  So I dutifully stopped, curious to see what would happen. Within seconds I was rewarded by the sight of a long line of 6-year olds, walking hand-in-hand, two-by-two, dressed in all kinds of swimming attire.

As they trooped across the street, I was struck by how individually each child was dressed. Here came a girl with short dark hair, sporting a pair of cowboy boots and a smart two piece bikini; there was a tiny boy with manly boxer trunks, planets all over them; next a  boy wearing light-up sneakers, and a girl with old-fashioned white sandals.

But the most arresting sight to me was a little long-haired blonde girl in a one-piece no nonsense bathing suit, the curls of her hair peeking out from beneath the straps of bright blue swim goggles. The goggles firmly in place on her face, eyes intensely peering through the blue lenses, she walked with clear purpose, looking ahead to their destination: the gate in a fence on the opposite corner.

OK, now stop right here and answer this:

When was the last time you marched across a city street, wearing only your bathing suit, hand-in-hand with someone who may or may not be your best friend, WITH YOUR SWIM GOGGLES ON? And ditto for wearing your cowboy boots with whatever you pleased or insisting that every piece of clothing you own has planets on it.

Well, you may have graced the neighborhood with your unique outfit just last night, but I haven't had the occasion to do so recently.  Seeing those kids got something going in me.

First, I was definitely jealous. I remember having a major fight with my mother and being late for kindergarten because I wanted to wear my frilly dress-up socks to school and she adamantly refused to let me. Goggles would have blown her mind.

But the whole energy wasn't really about socks vs. goggles, of course. Something much bigger was grabbing my attention here. What was so appealing?

Here it is:

These children were expressing themselves, unselfconsciously and with freedom. They were walking in the world, living in the moment, looking forward to a great swim. They had staked their claim about who they were and were wearing the clothes to reflect it.  And they had no awareness that in a few short years they likely would not be crossing a city street in their own unique costume with the same unlimited abandon.

Which has gotten me wondering. What would it be like if we all wore swim goggles, cowboy boots and bathing suits (or the equivalent of our true self-expression) as we went about our work and daily tasks?

Would the world fall apart? Would business not get done?

Or would we feel the joy and creativity and experience of the amazing results that happen when we're permitted our own true expression? 

And how about this:

Rather than concentrating on wearing the right uniform, and deliberately maintaining the image that we're supposed to present, wouldn't it be more valuable and expansive if we used that same time and energy to concentrate on those goals and expressions of spirit that are closer to our hearts? Wouldn't the world have to change for the better if everyone was truly living from their soul?

I understand that "free expression" can be tricky.  I did have a flash of concern one day when I walked into my bank at  Halloween and the manager greeted me dressed in a full devil outfit. Hmm… he was taking care of my money?

But I had a pang of envy when I saw those children crossing the street.

I want to live more like that.

Don't you?

I challenge you to do one deliberate thing in the next week that reflects your true and free spirit. Break out and give the world a bigger taste of who you really are inside!

And watch for me as you drive down the street. Maybe I'll be the one in the blue swim goggles.

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