Once upon a time, in a land just a few blocks away, I had the unrequited desire to be a drag queen. The lesbians could make no sense of it. “You can’t be a drag queen. You’re a girl.” I was undeterred. I had had a lifetime of people telling me what I could not do because I was a girl. The desire, however, remained locked within me until one day one of my straight friends showed up at work with the perfect outfit: white leather/ black spandex short-shorts and halter top, with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses to match.
Under the cover of Halloween, I made my drag debut. I was disturbingly hot. Let me assure you, however, that being a drag queen requires a lot more than just looking good. Not everyone has the cojones to pull off dancing, lip synching, and keeping the beat. In heels. One night wobbling around was enough for me.
Or so I thought.
Along came the Hunger Games, and who was I pining to emulate? Not the amazing Katniss Everdeen (though she fascinates me in her inability to make sense of the world she has been thrust into and her inability to be other than who she is). Nope. Effie Trinket.
Effie of the big hair and bigger flower, perfect make-up, and strangely chastely sexy outfits. And those eyelashes? To die for. Except those lashes were $20. And I am cheap. Three Halloweens come and go and I am frozen, unable to go forth and shop, despairing of ever finding the perfect outfit. But those eyelashes . . .
I confide my secret to a woman at work, and before lunch, she has sent me a link – $3.99. Those eyelashes are mine. Just this Saturday, I found the perfect dress and shoes to go with those eyelashes. (You know I had help–thank god for the women in my life with feminine sensibilities and aesthetic taste.)
Effie has pervaded my soul. I want more. Who needs Halloween?
It has occurred to me over the last couple of weeks that two seemingly disparate phenomena in my life at the moment significantly inform each other.
In last week’s post, I talked about my tendency to take on the emotional care of other people–like I know what they need. So I’m working through that (once again) at the same time that I am immersed in a series of classes at CSL that have me looking at God and prayer. It strikes me that I’m just a jumbled mess around both of these things–in basically the same way.
I have participated in too many relationships as if I were God Itself–the wound savior; the source for people’s happiness. Sometimes I have taken on people’s pain because I could feel them wanting something that, quite possibly, they were not even aware of wanting, and sometimes I have taken it on because I wanted something from them. This was the only way I knew to be worthy of a connection.
So here I am grappling with all this stop-caretaking-people stuff at the same time that I am studying prayer. Damned if I haven’t fallen into the same trap with prayer. I’ve been going at it like I am responsible for making the thing that people desire to experience manifest for them, instead of just getting to the heart of it and holding my knowing on the truth that it is theirs already, just waiting for them to choose it.
I still haven’t gotten this all figured out: caretaking/loving in regards to people; knowing/willing in regards to prayer. But it occurs to me that one of the obvious lines in regards to people is listening. Just listening, no fixing. It is time to trust the people I am engaging with to find their way (or to find somebody else who is happy to oblige them by doing the caretaking they are after). Finally, there is trusting that my own value has nothing to do with how well I take care of other people’s needs, with how well I anticipate them so they don’t even have to ask. The truth is that all I could ever be is the band-aid that keeps people from really seeking out the healing that is available to them from Source.
So here’s the deal. I am going to get to the heart of both of these issues, and when I do, I am going to suck in the biggest breath of freedom you ever saw, and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Don’t ask what the world needs–do what makes you come alive.
I sometimes have to get really out of sorts before I realize I need to change something about the way I meet the world. A few weeks ago, I dropped into a pretty big funk before I realized how much I pattern my life around tending to what I perceive are the needs of others. I’ve run into this pattern repeatedly and I’ve done a lot of work to create a different one. Yet the old pattern snaps back into place like a stretched rubber band when it is let go.
Last week in our Science of Mind Principles class, I created a prayer to stop feeling responsible for other people’s emotional wounds, to stop responding to the pull I feel in my body when I sense someone wanting something of me that I don’t want to give. This is a messy process. I have to feel that people do not matter to me so that I can cut myself free from these patterns. I have to get all righteous about how I’m being invaded, how no one sees me (waa fucking waa) so that I can turn my focus to what I want. I have to get people off me psychically so I can breathe.
I pulled friends, colleagues and family into this movie even though they had no idea of the supporting roles they had been cast in. It didn’t matter if they fit their roles perfectly. It didn’t matter if they were speaking completely different lines than the ones I was feeding them. What mattered is that I surrendered to the chaos and anger swirling inside me; that I breathed through the shame, embarrassment and guilt that I felt; that I chose me; and that I made a change that needed making. For me.
Truth is I’m still walking through this, trying to sort it all out, figure out where the lines are between loving and care taking in any given situation. I’m determined to get free from this. Maybe someday I can do it more gracefully. I would love that. For now, I am grateful to my supporting actors. I hope you do not know who you are. After all, it ain’t about you.
The Lord’s Prayer lost all meaning for me at an early age. Mindless repetition will do that for a gal. I eventually blew it off as not really having anything of value for me. Then Dr. Chris assigned us the task of rewriting it in the prayer class I took with him. Funny how this prayer fits so well in the spiritual tradition I have embraced as an adult.
We were also asked to formulate our current concept of God. As Chris stated it, “The most important decision for you to make in your spiritual life is to determine what kind of God you are praying to.” It will influence how you pray and what you pray for–and therefore the results you will receive. I’m not completely satisfied with what I have formulated so far, but I do know that I have a completely different concept than I did as a kid. And in truth, I’m thinking I’ve got a pretty good start on how I experience God right here in this prayer.
Sustainer of all life, source of all good, which resides within each of us, we recognize you with honor and love.
We express your essence, seek your guidance, love and serve as you, thereby manifesting heaven here in earth. As it is your nature to do, so it is ours, for there is no separation between us.
Provide us all that we need to sustain our life today.
Forgive the limitations we place upon ourselves as we forgive others who do the same.
Lead us constantly into what is right and most high for us and keep us focused on choosing our good.
You are our source and we depend on you alone. We do not make anything happen but hold ourselves open and receptive to the good that you supply as a matter of course.
And so it is done.