If you have never seen ‘die himmel über berlin’ – loosely translated into English as ‘Wings of Desire’ I highly recommend it. The same story got weaponized by Hollywood as ‘City of Angels’ with Meg Ryan and Nick Cage. Go for the original.
The core twist of the story is an Angel who decides to become mortal. He appears in the human world with an ancient suit of armour and clothes as his sole posessions. He sells the suit of armour to get some money as he begins his human existence – following his heart.
This is however not a movie review or a spoiler. Just go see the movie…
We all have our version of the suit of armour that we carry around. It is built of all the ways that we interact with others. Our expectations of how they should be and how we should be. What is ok, what is not. What is right and wrong. What gets out and gets in has to get past this barrier. It creates our experience of the world.
There is nothing wrong with armour – in the right circumstance (motocross, fighting a forest fire, in an actual fire-fight) body armour is important, useful and life-saving. As a strategy for living however it has some shortcomings.
WE ALL WANT TO SEE AND BE SEEN
Intimacy and connection are profound human experiences. Our culture is bathed in a mythos of romantic love being the one place that this experience is fully available. The divorce statistics tell another story. Even in this place, dismantling the armour is an intentional act – no accident.
Armour is heavy. It takes energy to maintain. And – key to this writing – it does not work. If what we want is a richer, deeper, more vibrant, effective and involved experience of life – the armour is directly in the way of that. If you want stable, predictable, limited – by all means keep it.
If you keep your armour on in one place in life – you are actually keeping it on everywhere. Take it off and you take it off everywhere. This is a game-changer.
Two questions: – firstly; ‘What is your armour costing you?’ – your bonus question; ‘Who would you be without it?’
If you answer to the last question is some variation of ‘I don’t know’, then we are in rich territory! And here is where I will take a leap.
YOU NEVER EXISTED ANYWAY
I assert that our armour as we have constructed it defines who we are. If you remove the armouring, then who you are is just an expression of life in the moment. The ‘self’ the armour has been defending – indeed the armour has been defining never existed anyway! You get to be all of you, in life, in the moment, right now. You get to experience and bathe in it all. In the heart of life.
The flip side, the armour has also been defining your world. Taking it off and the experience of life shifts profoundly!
What would be possible for you in your life, your relationships, your family, your friends, your career, your business if you really allowed yourself to open up to it all?
It is a practice.
Where are you defending? What are you making impossible?
As an exercise – list 10 ways that you armour yourself against the world – in your life, your relationships. Choose one. Change it. See what shifts. Rinse and repeat.
Working with someone who specializes in armour removal may be beneficial…