I just finished reading Jo's blog post on struggling with going plain in the U.K. As someone who finally made the leap across the fearful chasm to plain plain dress I would like to extend a hand back to those teetering on the brink on the other side. I've seen many people express some degree of fear and anxiety when they begin to contemplate this change. That fear in itself can be used by God to teach us - what are our relationships truly based on? How does approval of others drive us and the fear of disapproval confine us? Do we conform to our "group" unthinkingly just to feel a part of that group? How does this fear of nonconformity keep us from being the powerful channel that God needs in this world? How does it feel to be considered strange? Have you truly learned to rely on God for the comfort and support that you need to step out of the crowd to do His work? Can we feel deeply what it is like to be thought of as unacceptable and can that make us more empathetic with all the dis-enfanchised people and groups in the world? Do we feel the need to say "But, you don't know me! I'm not like that!" Isn't this the way millions of marginalized people feel - people of color, LGBTQ's, the poor, the mentally ill, the homeless etc.

These are just some of the random thoughts and feelings I have had on this amazing journey. The ramifications of being plain have been much more far reaching than I ever imagined. I had no idea these issues were going to come up. I was just following a strong urge, or call, to look "Quaker" - a white cap, dark long dresses, a kerchief. I am very happy this way. I'm old and cranky enough not to have to explain to myself, though my fear of being approached by old acquaintances and being asked to explain is still alive within me. I did have to make a gradual transition, I guess to adjust my own self-image and grow into the new life. But I wanted to raise some of the above questions and would like input from others on their own journeys along this path.

Blessings,

Barb

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Warm Greetings Barb: 

Before Consciousness. . . yes, we do what it takes to fit and be accepted by those around us.  We don't question it. . . we just do it.    That's why there's so much unhappiness in our world.   People think they can fill the hole in their soul by buying the next thing . .  or taking the next trip . . . or  having more money, power, fame, friends,  or (fill in the blank).   

After Consciousness - -  we pause to think before we act, and ask:  what is really happening here?. . why am I doing this?  Why am I agreeing to such nonsense?   Why would I want to participate in that?  Why would I want that type of person for a friend? 

Initially these are hard questions. . . and the hardest are those we ask about our own selves, and the revelations they bring to our awareness are quite often shocking.  But that is why we are here. .  to wake up and see the error of our ways. .  and to not repeat that anymore.   To grow in wisdom and knowledge and strive for a higher way of thinking and being. 

Its not just as you say "marginalized" people who feel this way.  Indeed when I listen to the conversations of those around me. . I'm saddened to discover it is most of the human condition. . . but they will not see it; they cannot look at it, because it is too painful to admit they are lost.  

Until we become conscious we are all lost in some way. .  and upon awakening it becomes easier to let those things go that we needed to be a reflection of who we used to be.  And when we are no longer that we no longer need the trappings to prove we are that.

My question always then is. .  Why do I see it - - but not my friend, who I always thought to be so much like me?  . . or some other such question.  .there are many.  Mostly I am greatly relieved for my awakening.  Its much less stressful than having to play the game, or act one way in public and another in private.  Now I'm just me. . . take me or leave me. . but this is who I am. 

The journey of becoming plain was for me, the journey of becoming Real, and that is what I wish for all.   To let that guard down. . . and just to be who we really are. .

Most kind regards,

Chris

Jenna and Chris - Thank you both for your beautiful posts. They were both meaningful to me. If anyone wonders why go plain there are many things here, feelings, inspirations, that would not result from just buying used clothing at Salvation Army. It is a very different experience.

Barb

You said it Barb!!!   There is most definitely more to it than that. .  even our best words, thoughts and phrases cannot explain it. . but as humans we communicate in words, thoughts and phrases. . so for now, they have to do.  Thank you for bringing up this thought-provoking question. 

Peace and blessings,

Chris

Barbara Smith said:

there are many things here, feelings, inspirations, that would not result from just buying used clothing at Salvation Army. It is a very different experience.

Barb

I keep coming back to Quaker Quaker...and leaving...and coming back....why?? What is here that I'm longing for and can't seem to find. I'm not settled in my own skin (at 49) and can't seem to resolve it.

Barb, your questions resonated so much in me. Why am I such a wimp to try to please others and it always leads to me not pleasing my inner self and my Lord?

Thank you so much for your insights.

Beverly

Dear one:

Though you want to believe that most are settled in their own skin, the reality is, they are not.  That is why people search.  The answers are really so simple. . but one must be willing to see Truth.    When you cannot see it. . . you feel unsettled in your own skin.   The answer then is. . .do what YOU need to do. .  first and foremost for yourself.  Let others do for themselves.   Trying to please others is mostly a useless game at best.  And you will be the loser in the end.  

You do for others because you want them to see you in a good light. .  but they mostly will not anyway. . .because they see thru their eyes, with their vision and with their limited understanding, which does not match yours. 

Peace to you

chris

Beverly said:

I keep coming back to Quaker Quaker...and leaving...and coming back....why?? What is here that I'm longing for and can't seem to find. I'm not settled in my own skin (at 49) and can't seem to resolve it.

Barb, your questions resonated so much in me. Why am I such a wimp to try to please others and it always leads to me not pleasing my inner self and my Lord?

Thank you so much for your insights.

Beverly

Thank you for that confirmation, I struggle too much with pleasing others..is it vain to want others to see you in a good way? I value your reply.

Chris Beauchamp said:

Dear one:

Though you want to believe that most are settled in their own skin, the reality is, they are not.  That is why people search.  The answers are really so simple. . but one must be willing to see Truth.    When you cannot see it. . . you feel unsettled in your own skin.   The answer then is. . .do what YOU need to do. .  first and foremost for yourself.  Let others do for themselves.   Trying to please others is mostly a useless game at best.  And you will be the loser in the end.  

You do for others because you want them to see you in a good light. .  but they mostly will not anyway. . .because they see thru their eyes, with their vision and with their limited understanding, which does not match yours. 

Peace to you

chris

Beverly said:

I keep coming back to Quaker Quaker...and leaving...and coming back....why?? What is here that I'm longing for and can't seem to find. I'm not settled in my own skin (at 49) and can't seem to resolve it.

Barb, your questions resonated so much in me. Why am I such a wimp to try to please others and it always leads to me not pleasing my inner self and my Lord?

Thank you so much for your insights.

Beverly

Dear one:

It is not so much vanity, as Human. .  to want another Human to see us in a good light.  But that means they must be at your same level in all ways. .  and that is mostly and usually not possible.  Do you see?    So we do things to get something from them in return:  their appreciation, their approval, their love, their acceptance. . . being a part of the family. ..  being a part of society. . . .whatever it is that we want. . known or unknown to us.     Still, doing this Does Not insure acceptance by them. . . in fact it often causes contempt because they want you to keep giving. .  and them to keep receiving. 

When someone is equally on your level. . . there will be a reciprocal relationship without needing to vocalize this desire. .  but that will only happen when the parties involved are equally aware and conscious. . . and sadly, mostly that's quite unusual.    The parties in the relationship have to be equally mature. . . and beyond ego.  It quite rare. . .even among highly educated people.  (What they consider higher education.  Usually it limits them.)   

So that is why it remains a struggle for you. . . the people you want to please are not as capable as you of giving back as they are of receiving. .  .so you remain unfulfilled, and this will continue, because they are unable or unwilling to grow. 

Always first fulfill your own needs. . . and know it is not wrong to do so.  We must first take care of ourselves.  Only then decide what you are willing to do for another. . . but do it only without expectation of anything in return (that's quite tough) because most who you are giving to are unable to reciprocate the way you want them to. 

Truly listen to what they say and observe how they act.  Sadly, many never really grow up. . . and remain child-like even into adulthood. . . which is not acceptable.   We are here to grow, learn and progress beyond what we think possible. . . (not materialistically, you understand). . . but if another cannot go beyond the basics, how can they ever progress beyond even that. . they cannot. . . but you can. . . so it can be sometimes lonely.    Still it is beautiful in its simplicity.  

I hope this helps. .

Peace to you,

Chris


Beverly said:

Thank you for that confirmation, I struggle too much with pleasing others..is it vain to want others to see you in a good way? I value your reply.

Chris Beauchamp said:

Dear one:

Though you want to believe that most are settled in their own skin, the reality is, they are not.  That is why people search.  The answers are really so simple. . but one must be willing to see Truth.    When you cannot see it. . . you feel unsettled in your own skin.   The answer then is. . .do what YOU need to do. .  first and foremost for yourself.  Let others do for themselves.   Trying to please others is mostly a useless game at best.  And you will be the loser in the end.  

You do for others because you want them to see you in a good light. .  but they mostly will not anyway. . .because they see thru their eyes, with their vision and with their limited understanding, which does not match yours. 

Peace to you

chris

Beverly said:

I keep coming back to Quaker Quaker...and leaving...and coming back....why?? What is here that I'm longing for and can't seem to find. I'm not settled in my own skin (at 49) and can't seem to resolve it.

Barb, your questions resonated so much in me. Why am I such a wimp to try to please others and it always leads to me not pleasing my inner self and my Lord?

Thank you so much for your insights.

Beverly

Beverly - All I can say is that my life line is being in God's will. And that is all. Over the past year I have learned that to have peace I have to learn to step carefully along in God's will, or in what I feel is God's will. If it isn't I feel discomfort and an unsettled feeling, and if it is I feel peace, a peace I am becoming more and more familiar with. It is a long learning process though, and does NOT mean that I am never uncomfortable around people staring at me, or gazing in disbelief etc! But in spite of that feeling something undefinable pushes me along and won't let me sneak into a hole, or change my dress. It is hard to explain - I can feel a peace in spite of simultaneously feeling that it would be easier on everyone if I just went back to my jeans, or whatever. But i can't cause I know I would lose the precious peace of being in God's will, which I am now addicted to!

So it is just, for me, a matter of making the life and death decision of which is more important to me, what others think, or what God thinks? I would not always have answered as I do now, but now I can't live any other way.

Does that make sense?
Barb
Beverly - All I can say is that my life line is being in God's will. And that is all. Over the past year I have learned that to have peace I have to learn to step carefully along in God's will, or in what I feel is God's will. If it isn't I feel discomfort and an unsettled feeling, and if it is I feel peace, a peace I am becoming more and more familiar with. It is a long learning process though, and does NOT mean that I am never uncomfortable around people staring at me, or gazing in disbelief etc! But in spite of that feeling something undefinable pushes me along and won't let me sneak into a hole, or change my dress. It is hard to explain - I can feel a peace in spite of simultaneously feeling that it would be easier on everyone if I just went back to my jeans, or whatever. But i can't cause I know I would lose the precious peace of being in God's will, which I am now addicted to!

So it is just, for me, a matter of making the life and death decision of which is more important to me, what others think, or what God thinks? I would not always have answered as I do now, but now I can't live any other way.

Does that make sense?
Barb

And it is beautiful to live in your truth. . . .as it should be. 

Barbara Smith said:

Beverly - All I can say is that my life line is being in God's will. And that is all. Over the past year I have learned that to have peace I have to learn to step carefully along in God's will, or in what I feel is God's will. If it isn't I feel discomfort and an unsettled feeling, and if it is I feel peace, a peace I am becoming more and more familiar with. It is a long learning process though, and does NOT mean that I am never uncomfortable around people staring at me, or gazing in disbelief etc! But in spite of that feeling something undefinable pushes me along and won't let me sneak into a hole, or change my dress. It is hard to explain - I can feel a peace in spite of simultaneously feeling that it would be easier on everyone if I just went back to my jeans, or whatever. But i can't cause I know I would lose the precious peace of being in God's will, which I am now addicted to!

So it is just, for me, a matter of making the life and death decision of which is more important to me, what others think, or what God thinks? I would not always have answered as I do now, but now I can't live any other way.

Does that make sense?
Barb

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