For the longest time, I’ve grappled with what I call my ‘cloak of invisibility’. What I mean by that is that I seem to be able to go unnoticed in a crowd. Not intentionally. I’m the one who raises my hand and doesn’t get called on. I can be in the middle of saying something, and another person begins to speak over me, as if I hadn’t been speaking at all.
“Hmm, I must be wearing my cloak of invisibility,” I say, often aloud these days, as my filters are wearing thin with age.
It bothered me for a long time, and I wrote it up to the fact that I’m not flashy or glamorous. I’m quiet, reserved, and introverted. For years, it seemed like that cloak was wearing me. It had gotten heavy and there was a ‘why bother’ somewhere in its lining. In fact, I still recall being at a workshop in NYC with some friends. As the facilitator arrived; he was also a friend as well as a mentor/coach, he was saying hello to everyone outside the building, hugging everyone (remember when we could hug?). I opened my arms to receive my hug as he approached, and this person brushed right by me, saying to no one in particular, “Hey, we’d better get upstairs!” I was left on a NYC sidewalk with my arms open wide. Anything could have happened to me. But it didn’t because, apparently, I was wearing my cloak.
Before it feels a pity party to you, the reader, and it’s not that, I promise you … this past weekend, on a forest therapy walk, I suddenly realized why I’m often invisible and it’s quite the opposite of what I imagined it to be.
I was leading a walk in a very human-congested location. We’re all still ‘going outdoors’ because there are still lots of places we cannot go and gather. Families were picnicking, playing, running, and shouting, throwing balls, flying kites, walking dogs. Our group of 13 walked among them in an invitation called, “What’s in Motion When It Isn’t Me?”, an invitation that comes from my certification training with the ANFT, or Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.
In this invitation, we walk more slowly than we’ve ever walked, stopping to notice everything around us: the grass moving in the breeze, the bark of trees, insects, mushrooms, birds, or the water in the bay. We also notice people, and most people are moving quickly, involved in their outdoor human activities; concentrating deeply on their ‘doing’, while we were concentrating on our ‘being’.
I suddenly realized that we were invisible to the people there. No one noticed us, not even as I played my flute to remind the forest bathers to drop back into presencing. No one noticed us at all.
It was then that I realized how wonderful being invisible can be. What a delight to move among humans so slowly and witness them in their distinctly human behaviors! We were like the wee people, the elfae folk, the Varivae, the Little People of the Light, and others, moving slowly, unseen among them. I’ve never felt that before with a group of people as a group of people. It was magical.
I realized then that, in my own life, I, too, move slowly, I listen, I observe. I am always curious about what’s in motion when it isn’t me. That’s not to say I’m never in motion. I am, and then I am like those humans who cannot notice what’s in motion around them, or the ever-so-slight shift in energy. And mostly, I’m living in the slow place, the place of questions rather than the answers; the metaview and the macroview simultaneously; holding that curiosity where my mind is always processing, working, weaving, imagining. I feel as if I’m having the most intimate conversation with you and you’re probably wondering why I haven’t said anything for so long.
If you relate, perhaps we are the ones who are capable of dancing between the raindrops, who are drawn to the stars light years away as if they are in our own back yard. Perhaps we are the invisible ones as only we can be, noticing, witnessing, being in the questions of life.
I realize that this is my gift and wonder, is it yours, too. If it is, what is the gift you receive when you wear your cloak of invisibility? How is it your superpower?