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Sunday, January 4, 2015

UNEARTH THE TREASURE WITHIN YOU

I read an interesting story yesterday on the BBC News site about how thousands of ancient coins were discovered, buried beneath the earth. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-30654568)

The coins, dating back to the 11th century, had been buried in a lead bucket, just two feet below the surface of the earth.

As a writer, I thought about this story and what the unearthing of these coins meant to me metaphorically.

I compared the coins to the vast treasures buried deep within all us, hiding below the surface of the hard exterior shell we’ve built around ourselves - the shell we believe protects us from the outside world - the shell that shields us from insult, embarrassment, and injury to our pride. The "insecurity shell,"  I call it.

Do you know the shell I'm talking about? I'm certain some of you do. Perhaps you began building yours the first time someone told you that you couldn’t do something because you lacked the talent, or the money, or weren't smart enough. Or maybe you began building your shell when an unthinking parent or teacher told you that you you'll never succeed in life if all you did was write, or paint, or sculpt, or act, or write poetry.

It’s a safe place when you close up - shut off your creativity, your inherent mode of expression, and your talents rather than suffer the embarrassment of hearing words of discouragement from those around you.

Young children don’t have this problem. They haven't developed the adult sensitivity we inherit as we grow older. They’re free from the sin of humiliation.

Every summer my family and I packed the car and headed out on a vacation from Brooklyn to the shores of Long Island. I remember one trip we took when my son was about five or six years old. As part of each vacation, we’d stop at a toy store and I’d purchase a “vacation” present for each of my two children. We were in Sag Harbor at a toy store when my son chose a Roman warrior outfit complete with a plastic helmet, shield, sword, and breastplate as his vacation gift. I bought it for him, thinking he’d wait to “dress up” when we got back to the motel we were staying at. But instead, he dressed up in his outfit as soon as we were outside the store. At first, I was somewhat embarrassed as he paraded around the streets of the town in his outfit, pretending to slay imaginary bad guys. But eventually his childlike innocence won not only my heart, but the hearts of the people we passed on the street as they watched this child of nature doing what kids do - just being themselves and having great fun at it.

In the dawn of 2015 why not cast off the shackles of insecurity and unearth the treasure that’s buried inside of you. Yes, you. You have a wonderful gift waiting to burst forth into the sunlight if only you’ll look for it. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find it straight away. Keep digging. It’s in you somewhere. You just have to keep looking. You’ll find it when you crack that shell you’ve built around yourself.

Take a bite out of life. Expose the inner child within you - the one that’s been locked up for many years. Take a chance. You'll be amazed when you find the gift you’ve been given. Share it with the rest of us. Like the coins, it’s a priceless treasure just waiting for you to unearth it.