Last September I had lunch with Mr. Jumpshot in Venice Beach after swimming with an Elephant Seal and losing my bikini bottom in the surf. It was an eventful day – all that happened before noon. Something very subtle but profound happened that day as well. I started to become conscious of my Ego.
Mr. Jumpshot is an Emmy award-winning writer. His mind is like a highly evolved version of Mouse Trap. Each stimulus that makes its way inside trips a mechanism that creates a thought, weaves a joke, expresses a realization, and then shows the absurdity of that realization in one simple sentence. After the laughter subsides, those in his presence are left to ponder, when all they expected to have to do was laugh. Some of them are pissed at the added work. I give thanks. If I were able to create holidays and have the whole world celebrate them, I would create a holiday in honor of Mr. Jumpshot’s brain.
He would prefer I honor his jump shot.
While I admire his brain, and the brains of so many other creative smarty-pants, the brain (or mind), is giving me a whole lot of push back these days. Just when I’m getting all OM-ey, it heads into hyper-overdrive. You’ve got to be better, work faster, hike longer, stick up for yourself more. You’re not good enough to manifest, you’re not capable.
Mr. Jumpshot said something to me during lunch that seemed out of place with the topic of the conversation in that moment. Of course, I can’t remember what we were talking about, but I remember this particular statement clearly, so I assumed it was a message meant just for me. He mentioned, in passing, how using the word ‘I’ too often when writing is narcissistic. The reader may be offended or turned-off.
Holy Nightmare – that is not something I want to do. I mean, that is not something to do. Or, …mean, that is not something to do.
The posts I wrote after that were worked over like a sumo wrestler giving a shiatsu massage to reduce the use of the word ‘I”. It felt like I was scrubbing out emotions, main characters in my story. But I was more concerned with eliminating any identification with a trait like narcissism. I was concerned with being judged. Wherever possible I removed the I.
Apparently I removed the ‘me’ as well.
About four months later I received an email from a reader who said that she felt like I had checked out on the blog. And then she said, “You’ve lost your voice.”
Mayday! Mayday! Woman overboard!
I busily went about summoning forth me. Looking for my voice everywhere. Where is it? How am I going to say what I need to to say? I mean, How will what needs to be said be said? Panic set in. This blog is keeping me upright. I don’t know how I’ll make it if I don’t have the kittens in my corner. I mean, Progress will be lost without the kittens!
I didn’t want to be viewed as an egomaniac. Out went the ‘I’ like bathwater, my emotions the baby. But in the last several months I’ve eased up on the need to squelch the ‘I’. I was spending so much time thinking about the I that I was afraid I’d create the very thing I was trying to avoid – an obsession with I, I, I.
Instead, I’m focused on neutralizing my Ego. And accepting the fact that writing about what I am experiencing requires me to be okay with the word ‘I’. I is not bad.
His Giant Mistake started out as a blog about the ways in which I am dealing with my husband’s infidelity and our divorce. As many of you have pointed out, it’s moved far beyond the initial massive undertaking. That near-death experience (without the whole near-death part) launched an excavation of my being, which has led to many epiphanies and discoveries, some uncomfortable and some beautiful.
I’ve taken on challenges that intimidate me, I’ve owned up to thoughts and feelings and bad habits that are deeply personal. I’ve risked being judged because to be honest was a much more pressing need, and I’ve trusted that you all know my intention is to heal and hopefully inspire others organically, through our interactions at HGM, to embrace the idea that we create our reality. It’s up to us to make it magical. And that we are loveable simply because we are alive. And that the actions of another do not define us.
Discovering infidelity and then moving through divorce can kick-off a time of great self-reflection. That’s been my theme since the Pocket Call. After nearly two years of focused efforts, a spiritual emergence is in play within me. I’m on a quest for enlightenment, apparently. I want to let go of ‘how things ought to be’ and embrace how life is unfolding in the present moment.
I want to do less thinking.
Stephen King once said, I write to find out what I’m thinking.
I write to find out how I feel.
At this moment I’m feeling like my Ego has overstayed its welcome.
Mr. Jumpshot’s comment stayed with me. I reflected on the simple snippet of grammar guidance so frequently one would think it was an undiscovered fragment that spilled out of the Burning Bush and into Moses’ hands. But I had no idea why I was so taken with his words.
Until today. Looming ahead of me during this entire journey was a showdown with my Ego.
The Ego likely presents itself in different ways for each of us. For me, mine loves to judge others who are less evolved. See?! Before the Pocket Call I’d latch onto a grievance and run it like Secretariat. But this race had no finish line. Customer service was a favorite playground for me. I literally took it personally if I wasn’t thanked or if someone didn’t greet me when I approached the counter to pay for something. If I had an issue that required me to call a customer service number I began disliking them before I got beyond 1-800. They were them. I was the one wronged. And they better make it right. Because I am all they should care about. I am the customer. I assumed it was going to be an aggressive interaction before it took place.
And so it was.
In the last two years I’ve matured. It comes as no surprise that people go out of their way to help me these days. For instance, I recently booked a trip to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of the son of Barbie with Brains. Somehow I booked the trip backwards. Instead of flying to Vegas and then back to San Francisco, I was flying from Vegas to San Francisco and back. I called the airline and explained the situation, expressed that somehow I flipped the cities, but I needed to change it. And I couldn’t afford to pay a penalty.
Is there anything you can do? I would really appreciate it.
When she put me on hold I said this,
She’s going to talk to her Supervisor who is going to say, You may fix it for her.
She came back on the line and said, My Supervisor said I can change the flights this time without a fee, but make sure it doesn’t happen again. Okay, sweetie? Then she rebooked my flights, and we had an entertaining conversation about attending weddings, missing flights, and before I knew it, she talked me into leaving 6 hours later so I could go for a hike in the desert and save 35.00 dollars on the fare. She went over, above and beyond what the manual dictates.
Reorienting myself away from a me versus them to an US results in everyone getting their needs met. She felt so good and light by being able to help me and I expressed deep gratitude. Excellent vibes all the way around.
The Pocket Call and its fallout has humbled me. I used the phrase ‘near-death experience’ before somewhat in jest, but the changes in me brought on by the discovery of The Genius’ affair are probably somewhat similar to those who have a NDE. In addition to being humble and grateful, I’m more gentle, more open, more affectionate, more appreciative of those who share this planet with me. I don’t take things for granted. I treat myself with more respect and love myself. I’m compassionate. Even when it comes to The Genius and The Happy Dance Chick.
That’s a huge shift from a Type A chick plowing through life untethered, confused, dissatisfied, often unhappy, not grateful, impatient and judgmental, right?
Yet with all that growth and maturation, I still find myself running pretend conversations in my head with The Genius, and worse, doubting my abilities to support myself and the dudes, create a career out of my writing, and live in the 3D without taking on the stress and emotions (energies) of the planet as my own, leading me to be unexplainably anxious.
In the past two weeks I’ve done something I haven’t done during the last two years – I’ve been exploring the teachings of spiritual masters, if you will. (I don’t really have the lingo down.) Before this time I made a conscious decision to turn inward for my guidance. To work out my intuition and find my own way. And to rely on the wisdom of the kittens. I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by a lot of conversations I couldn’t comprehend and then become disappointed in myself when I failed to implement the teachings. (Say it with me – EGO AT WORK!)
Then Liberation Day – July 4th. I craved guidance and was led to Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer. I listened to talks about manifesting abundance and creating a collaborative relationship between my spiritual body and my human body (stick with me – I promise to not start speaking in tongues). I’ve accepted that a daily meditation practice is essential as I commit to living a compassionate and spiritual life in the 3D. And now I am realizing that my mind is the last great inhibitor left.
Nothing else can stand in my way but my own egghead.
Eckhart Tolle said this: Facts are neutral. The Ego likes to make things right or wrong.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, I like to make things all about right and wrong. Everything from wondering if the lifeguard thinks my stroke is wrong to how The Genius thinks he’s always right. There’s a right way to cook garlic and a wrong way. I can’t do it because I don’t know how to do it the right way, so I’m sure to do it the wrong way.
Fear of failure is fearing doing something wrong. And being judged for it. The Ego is the one that judges. The Ego finds fault. The Ego likes to create separation. Me. Them. The heart doesn’t complain about others, The Ego does.
The Ego likes to gossip. It’s the way it rises above others. It finds it interesting. The Ego wants to talk about the popcorn and how it’s too salty or too buttery or too stale. It thinks the popcorn is interesting, while I want to want to watch the movie. As Eckhart Tolle says, Interesting is of the mind.
Awe inspiring is of the heart. Our lives, the lives we are creating, the scripts we have written and edited and are now seeing acted out on the big screen, are awe-inspiring.
The popcorn is a distraction.
It’s heady stuff, if heady is the right word to use in this context.
I haven’t digested it all, for sure. But I know that freeing myself from my Ego will free me of all this thinking that goes on in my brain, which drowns out the song in my heart. I can’t hear the music if I’m focused on being judged for using the word I. Or if I’m judging myself minute by minute.
The ‘I’ is not the problem, The Ego, however, is an issue.
My heart has been open and ready for my full time residency for awhile now. All it takes is surrendering. Being less focused on thoughts and more focused on compassion, freeing me to do the very next thing that needs to be done without pre-judging it and post-judging it and judging myself. Even though I feel centered and grounded, and proud of my accomplishments over these past several weeks, I still can hear the white noise of The Ego running non-stop in my brain.
It has to stop. Now.
As with being vulnerable, surrendering can have a weak or negative connotation associated with it. But when I say it to myself now I smile. And I sigh with relief.
I’m ready to surrender. To release my Ego. Judging others or myself is pointless. And harmful to me. Stress and anxiety are illusions. Problems that The Ego creates so it can rub its hands together and start solving away, but not before creating another problem to take its place. Restricting me to, That’s interesting or that’s frightening instead of That’s Awe-inspiring.
‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.’ So said the great philosopher, Lao Tzu.
I’m shining a light on The Ego, illuminating the grip it has on me. The wise ones say that when you recognize it’s there it ceases to exist. I’ll let you know if they’re right.
PS: I posted some pics on Facebook of Mt. Tamalpais that really need to be seen. If you like them feel free to like the page. It’s a place where we get to play in real time. The last of the queued comments will be posted this weekend. Apologies for the delay. They’ve all been read and are appreciated. The Dudes have my undivided attention now that summer is here, so I’m adjusting my schedule accordingly. Thanks for your patience.