Last Wednesday was "Pink Shirt Day," 24 hours set aside in the actually very cool effort to raise awareness about the harmfulness of bullying. At work, there was a concerted involvement in promoting this event, including the opportunity to donate and also order a pink t-shirt that could be worn on Pink Shirt Day.
Frankly, I've never seen myself in pink. It's not my favorite colour, except for on roses, and believe me, I'm no rose. Thorny maybe. Thankfully they didn't have any t-shirts my size, so I conveniently ordered one for my wife, who also doesn't wear pink much either, but she wasn't there so I kindly used her as a way to be involved (an easy way out at her expense, actually) and save my own sense of masculinity. Oh the tangled webs we weave. But please, not in pink!
Well, to my surprise, last Tuesday the Human Resources person turned up with a pink t-shirt my size. There is no escape sometimes from the things that stretch us into new worlds. It fit great, and it has the shape of a heart all across the chest that is made up of words in a sort of sky blue scattered throughout the form of the heart. The list of words include care, understanding, value, smile, respect, generosity, patience, compassion, thoughtfulness, etc. There's a bunch of them, an entire bouquet as it were, all very good.
So… I realized that I had to wear the shirt on Wednesday. But I was only going to wear it as an undershirt, covering it with a green checked affair that is pretty funky but which I really like and which gets a lot of compliments. The green and pink actually looked good together, and besides, I was going to offer meditation instruction at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. (thought the colours might get me a little street cred with the students.)
As I started my little dharma talk, I got up and warned the students that I was going to do a strip tease. Just a little, "GP rated" attempt. So I started to unbutton the crosshatched shirt to reveal the dreaded pinkness of my undershirt with all those wonderful words in blue in the shape of a heart.
I realized, isn't this the spiritiual path? To remove, however timidly or begrudgingly or hopefully or enthusiastically (sometimes seemingly all at the same time) the criss-crosses of our thoughts, however green and funky and cool, but perhaps more often not so green, not so funky, not so cool? To acknowledge our hearts, the colours of our vulnerability, the care, compassion, respect, smile, compassion, thoughtfulness, etc that can lie so often buried?
Don't tell anybody, but I'm wearing that pink t-shirt right now! Under a sweater, but still...