A day of rebels, poverty, destiny, political fundraisers…and innocence

10 06 2009

When I first was called to this spirit journey, I remember asking someone “When will the next message come?”  Chuckling, she said, “The messages are always there—every moment of every day. The question is when will you be ready to receive them?”

That moment..that wisdom…came to mind repeatedly yesterday.  It was one of those great gifts of a day filled with messages…and stories.  In other words, a typical day where you see how extraordinary the ordinary is.  There’s a months worth of stories in the day, but rather than cage the stories and put them on a shelf , today feels like a day to recount them as they were–moments that simply floated by me on life’s river.

REBEL REBEL I started my day yesterday as I start everyday:  by pulling a Tarot card form my Osho deck.  The card was “The Rebel”…a great reminder of the inextricable link between freedom and responsibility…not “responsibility” as duty, but as “responding” based on the present moment vs “reacting” based on past memories (for you Tarot card readers, the corresponding cared in more traditional decks is “The Emperor”).

POVERTY AND ILLUSIONS I had coffee with a new friend to talk about the “business” of writing.  We did that, but first we got into a conversation about poverty–and how dated the common image of poverty is.  That moment led to questions about why we perpetuate such extreme stereotypes–why do we trick ourselves into believing that “poverty” means you’re a homeless, unemployed bum.  Perhaps, we offered, it’s because stereotypes create the illusion of a wall separating “us” from “them”.   If you define poverty as being about bums begging on the street (vs, say,  the young kids/college graduates who serve you coffee every morning), then you’re safe from the bogeyman.  By the way, play with this idea by inserting third rail topics like abortion or any minority and see what happens.

WHOSE DESTINY IS IT ANYWAY? Early in the afternoon I was chatting with a graduate of a client’s leadership development program.  I asked what she got out of the experience.  ” I realized that my destiny is MY destiny,” she said, spur of the moment.  What a great lesson for anyone whose parents were emotionally AWOL or whose spouse beats them; who didn’t get a job because of the color of her skin or who was laughed at–IS laughed at–because the gods put a woman’s spirit in a man’s body.  One of life’s fundamental questions is “whose life are you going to live?”  There are two answers:  “Life as others define it” or “My life as it, simply, is.”  My destiny is my destiny.  Love it!

(BAD) POLITICAL THEATRE. My day ended with a political fund raiser.  If you’ve never gone to one, don’t.  If you have, you’ll know that Bowie was talking as much about fund raisers as adolescence when sang “same old thing, in brand new drag” in “Teenage Wildlife”!  Fundraisers truly are god-awful affairs–a Brechtian version “Groundhog Day” that always tell the same story, the story of power.  No one looks anyone in the eye.  You’re always looking slightly past the person you’re talking with to line up your next prospect.  Someone who will give you their power…or admire yours (since I have a lazy eye, I was particularly adept at this in my political days!).  So, there I was, watching the actors act out the same lines (some with the freshness of their first time on stage, others with the weariness of one for whom politics has become a job, not a cause).   I’ve seen this show before, I thought.  I left the stage awhile ago and now it’s time to leave the theatre.  And, then, I ran into two friends…which brings me to…

INNOCENCE. These guys–both architects—embody the Zen concept of “innocence”.  Both have owned their own firms for many years.  Yet, each time you see them, it is as if they’re starting their first job.   Every day really is new to them, because–even after years of doing what on the surface looks like the same thing–they have mastered the gift of know-ing that every day really is new.  They don’t sit in the audience and watch the same play over and over.  Nope, they write their own play every day—filled not with old memories, but, rather, with what Joseph Campbell called “the rapture of being alive”.  What a gift…and what a lesson.  A lesson that I could go through life and watch the play I expect to see (it’s always there, after all!).  OR, I can bypass that theatre and go see, hell go write,  new plays.  They may not draw the crowds, but you can’t beat the quality.

Not bad for a day’s life.

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