I bet all of us have a moment, or two, where we are full of doubt, feeling unsure of ourselves, and don’t know what to do. In a recent interview with Brandi Carlile, Brene Brown described that moment as the middle school kid with the heavy lunch tray looking for a place to sit.
My palms sweat just thinking about it.
Those moments where I want to belong but don’t know how or those moments where I seek affirmation and don’t know if anyone will respond. The sense of isolation is strong and the fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or shamed is real.
The lunch tray kid, in some form or fashion, lives in all of us.
As we mature and become adults, we find ways to ignore, compensate, or suppress our lunch tray kid. We can go months without hearing from her. Then one day she pops up and all those old insecurities and fears come rushing to the surface of our mind.
What we need in those moments is a good friend. The equivalent of the first kid who smiled at us and beckoned us to sit at their table. The kind soul who saw our distress and wanted to alleviate it. The person who understood our plight and responded with compassion and empathy.
When we are met inside a place of fear, we learn how to navigate the pain without moving into a place of shame. When we do not get met, and even worse, when we get rejected, we internalize a belief that we are bad or wrong.
I have so much compassion for all the lunch tray kids who think they are bad or wrong: who, in that moment when they needed it the most, do not get met with kindness and understanding. Which is why I appreciate Brandi Carlile’s statement from her interview with Brene Brown.
There is nothing more real or practical in this universe than mysticism.
Remember that it’s usually sitting right smack in the middle of grief…And I find that my faith comes from doubt, just like answers come from questions. And healing comes from grief, and it’s something you can’t know unless you feel it at different times in your life.
Brandi Carlile reminds us our experiences of grief, doubt, and insecurity are the ways we find our healing, our faith, and our strength. Our lunch tray kid is our teacher. When we offer compassion to her, we understand we survived something bad or wrong. When we befriend our lunch tray kid, we learn we are not bad or wrong.
Mysticism is the belief that when we connect to the Source (however one defines it) through contemplation and self-surrender, then we are able to gain knowledge without using our intellect.
In other words, we will not receive the answers or the consolation we seek by “figuring something out.” Mysticism does not involve data collection or analysis. Rather mysticism is the art of being with the mystery — of letting go of assumptions, controls, and outcomes.
So the next time your lunch tray kid comes for a visit, smile at her. Offer her a place to sit and ask her what she needs. Meet her with the compassion and empathy you wished you had received that fateful day so long ago. Only then will the answers come.
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.