Where Resilience and Authenticity MeetAug 04, 2021 06:00AM ● By Cassie Gaub
I’ve been spending more and more time on social media lately, as a way to stay—or maybe to feel—connected. The other day, in a mindless scrolling loop, a post caught my eye. It was a book exchange that anyone anywhere in the world could be a part of, and, as a lover of words, I was intrigued. Before I could even think, my fingers typed “I’m in!” into the comment box. I was immediately tasked with sending a copy of my favorite book to a total stranger. It was a seemingly simple task. But simple things are sometimes anything but simple.
As I wrote down the information for the stranger, I was paralyzed. My mind began to race. What would they think when they got it? What if they hated the book? What if I somehow offended them with the book I chose to share?
While I have several tied-for-first-place favorite books, the one I consistently recommend is Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle. I first saw it in an airport bookstore and dove into it on a flight from San Diego to Anchorage. I have read many books on a variety of flights, but this one seemed to have a sort of divine timing to it. Its words were the words I needed to read at that particular time in my life, and I fell in love with the book. I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone who would listen. But this time, for the book club, I hesitated.
You see, the author is a Jesuit priest.
I sat frozen for a while. I thought about sending another book or opting out of the book exchange altogether. I didn’t want someone to be turned off or not read the book simply because the author is a priest. In fact, I didn’t want anyone to make assumptions—about the book, the author, me or my beliefs. Ah. That’s where the rub was. I didn’t want a stranger to make assumptions about me.
Then it hit me. I wasn’t actually worried about whether or not a stranger would jump to any particular conclusions; I was worried about whether I was—or would be seen as—“perfect.” I was worried about judgment.
As I came to this realization, I found myself standing in front of my bookshelf, my copy of Tattoos on the Heart in hand. I mindlessly flipped to a random page and saw that I had previously underlined these words:
“Resilience is born by grounding yourself in your own loveliness, hitting notes you thought were way out of your range.”
The words caused me to laugh out loud. Once again, it felt as if the book arrived with a bit of divine timing. Perfect or not, sharing ourselves and being authentic is the thread that has the potential to connect us all. It is the work. The real work. It builds resilience along the way. And after the last year we all shared, resilience feels even more important.
I sent a copy of the book after all; in the process, I shared a piece of myself with a stranger. Turns out, that is what the author does as he tells his beautiful story, and it’s what each of the people he writes about has done, too. No matter what reaction the book gets, I’ll be okay. And being okay with it all is me hitting notes that I once thought were out of my range. ❧
Cassie Gaub is an empowerment and mindset coach, energy worker, podcast host and speaker. Connect on social media @CoachWithCassie and @BestUInstitute.