The cave dweller, ego creature covered in the unkempt hair of despair has needed care. Sometimes I say, “I was raised by wolves,” because it is kinder to those who have to listen to me than for me to unload my story.
The most effective tool that has helped to deal with the squint- eyed dark dwelling drama beast, was reading. I was drawn to it as if I intuited that books, narratives, biographies could show me a way out.
As a teenager, I stacked books against my chest and lengthened my arms so I could get them all home. Biographies of pioneer girls who had shown inordinate courage in the face of a hostile land; stories of great female role models like Marie Curie and Golda Meir fell into my out stretched hands. Sacagawea was perfect for a 6th grade girl living in the Columbia River Gorge. The history of Lewis and Clark surrounded us. I found role models that were focused, strong, reliable, dedicated to solving problems.
Who knows, in life, what is cause and what is effect? The books and I found one another.
At times when life was challenging, I had my cupboard full of role models and I could imagine myself to be the teen aged girl reloading rifles in the besieged fort, increasing the morale of those around me until help would arrive. I was drawn to extraordinary female power of one sort or another. And it helped me survive all of the stories my ego creature could possibly hiss to me.
Lately, I noticed that the books I am reading, the documentaries I watch all seem to build an architectural form of a lesson.
Judith Orloff is a psychiatrist with unblemished medical credentials who is also psychic. She has “come out” and lets the world know that her intuitive powers are one of her tools. Her success as a writer, teacher, lecturer and a doctor are based on her ability to be authentic and straight forward.
I love it when she says she is suspicious of those who waft about in robes waving wands while sprinkling pixie dust. One does not need to be unbalanced or a showman to be intuitive. We all have it. The work in life is to maintain balance. Her books speak to me of how to grow the intuitive gifts I already have and at the same time maintain my love of calm, cleanliness, solitude and order.
Doris Kerns Goodwin’s beautifully written Bully Pulpit allowed me to be encouraged about my life. Theodore Roosevelt was very sickly as a boy but he decided to make himself strong. His father built a gym in the family home and Theodore worked assiduously on building himself up to radiant health. He read on average of a book a day because he was constantly curious and drawn to a path of self improvement. But it was not a harsh regime. He was just mesmerized by life and let his joy lead him. At one point, Goodwin explains that Theodore was undertaking a new disciple. I believe it was sword fighting. He was abysmally bad at it for years. He was wretched at it for years. And yet he kept going until he became skilled.
I thought of how quickly I become discouraged and close the door if I do not immediately succeed at a new task. I am short changing my future self.
This evening I watched a documentary about David Bowie who was told in the 60’s that he was too quirky and outsider to ever have a career. The music and the idea that was so clear in his head drowned out the voices of those who criticized him. He had a sense of what he wanted to be, to say. In an interview, he said that the way he was that day was David Bowie, but he was moving toward becoming “myself.”
So the recent teachers have reiterated to me that those around you can feed back to you the limiting self concepts that they are locked within. They may say, “You can’t be psychic. It is too weird and you won’t be respected.” They perhaps will hold up the mirror of disability and illness to lock you into that model of yourself. The critics and the specialists and the keepers of the scrolls may chant to you that you are too unusual or out of step.
But the glory of these three people who are so different from one another is that they pursued the imprint of who they knew themselves to be. They stepped out and exposed the power of publicly becoming so strong in authenticity that they have inspired me.
The ego has weakened its negative hold on me when I surround myself with others who did not chose the victim path; the lesser, the safer and the more disasterous path. And, finally, if we are going to choose a life to enable us to fit in….why not fit in to our own bodies with health, fit into our own spirits by honoring the inspirations, fit into our own truth by taking the risk to stand up in our endowment. Let it shine out.
Life becomes less crowded when the ego is quiet and the voices feeding back a smaller life are stilled. There is only you, the joy that calls to you and the excitement of finding out who you are. Thank you Judith, Theodore and David!