Third Eye

A Love Letter to My First Rainbow Flag

I hung my first Rainbow flag this year. When I started to come out as queer / gay, I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be. I was so eager to live as my true self and to love freely. Then COVID-19 happened. I was stuck in quarantine in my house. Luckily, I could leave my house through the Insight Timer page on queer meditations to start sharing my practice with you. 

When I decided to hang this oversized rainbow flag–that is as tall as me–I thought, “Maybe I’m overcompensating to make up for lost time?” I know today that I am done hiding in the shadows. I am finished with feeling ashamed for who I am and whom I love. It’s one of the most OUT things in my neighborhood. It feels great to see the flag each time I drive up to my house. I don’t care if it is too big. My feelings lately have overwhelmed my senses and others at times. The flag is perfect. 

As PRIDE comes and goes, perhaps for many of you it is just the same rituals each year. Going to PRIDE in your city. Or hanging the same flag. Like an agnostic putting up a Xmas tree or the menorah each December. But we must remember that for some of us–including me–PRIDE is about being brand new in all of this. It’s special. I see all of its colors and I think of how happy I am now. I think about growing into myself. It represents the new, out me in all of my colors and beauty. 

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life feeling ugly. Feeling not good enough. Feeling out of place. Some of this coming out narrative is cliché, it’s lost its meaning. I could have sat at home crying and continued to feel unloved. Because I couldn’t go out and I felt I couldn’t adjust on my own. Or I could have just decided to stay closeted. To stay at home alone with a box of tissues watching the L-Word, for example. Thankfully I didn’t do this!

I am so happy to have supportive friends, a lovely, warm, and encouraging partner, the Insight Timer community, and my parents–all of whom have shared this journey with me. I felt the courage to transition my work focus to better support and celebrate diversity and inclusion, including LGBTQIA+, QPoC, and GNC and trans individuals. Since I first wrote this article, I have come out as gender non-conforming. 

With all of these changes, I confirm that which I always knew about how humanity works. I really do believe that we have all we need within ourselves to heal. And that PRIDE starts with self-love, self-care, and allowing for stillness in your life. I hope we can continue to breathe together. To meditate. To be kind to ourselves and others. I want to continue to grow on my own and with you by my side. In practice with meditation but also breathing into the selves whom we know we truly are and have always been. And to imagine how we might become more ourselves to do more good out in the world and in our communities.

Happy PRIDE everyone. I am so grateful for all of you. 

Dr. Shannon

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