"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
(The following is the "meat" of an email I sent to an online friend, and I really liked the way it came out so I wanted to post it here as well.)
mime Function: noun
Etymology: Latin mimus, from Greek mimos
1 : an ancient dramatic entertainment representing scenes from life usually in a ridiculous manner
2 : Isn't "ridiculous manner" how most of us live, after all?
It seems to me that a lot of us are in the same spot. We have incredible low self esteem, which logically we know is undeserved, but emotionally we feel it is very, very much deserved.
We look like diamonds and on the inside we feel like cubic zirconia. At least that's how it is here.
We feed that horribly wrong self image every single day, by glances in the mirror, double entendres, wrong assumptions. At the end of the race we are beaten to a pulp and feel that this is justified.
There is a saying that if an archeologist digs for a city, he will always find that specific city.
Not because archeologists are incredibly lucky, but rather because they are making a wrong conclusion based on a wrong assumption to begin with. ANYTHING becomes evidence of the city. Broken pottery is broken pottery from Troy. Stones are bricks from Troy. Ceramics are ceramics from Troy. Gee, I guess we really DID find Troy, even though we're in Oregon!
You can see how wrong it can get, and I am at least as guilty of this as anyone else, if not WAY more so.
There is a movie I fell in love with a couple of years ago called Allegria. This film is a love story/fable based around a circus troope. in the film, the main character, Frac (who is in sort of the Romeo role) is a mime.
But not just any mime.
His facepaint is tattooed on.
He can never stop being a mime, not even when he talks and does "normal" things. The facepaint defines him.
As the film progresses you notice that with only one exception, not a single one of the performers in the circus ever appears out of costume, not even when the circus breaks up and they scatter to the streets.
There is one scene that I will never forget. The ringmaster of the circus gathers the performers together, then he takes a stick and draws a line in the sand. He asks one girl to step across the line and come to him. She does.
"Do you know what you just did?"
"No," she replies.
"You just stepped from the darkness into the light. And what do we do when we step from the darkness into the light?"
"We do the show."
Life is that way, too, for most of us. Our face to the world is not our true face.
But really, what IS our true face? Is it the beast that we feel inside us, that we want to hang our names on? Or is it rather the mime's paint tattooed on our face?
Something inside me screams that it is the beast. But I am starting to see that it might really be the facepaint.
A former therapist told me once that I had "performance orientation." In actual English, this meant that she thought I was fixated on my performances in front of other people, and not on who I really was. She was 100% correct, too.
As a matter of fact, she was so right that when I sat back and looked at myself, I had been dancing on the stage so long that I had forgotten who I was offstage. I immediately began to search for that offstage person, the elusive "real" me.
And, you know what? I'm starting to come to the conclusion that perhaps that "real" me is pretty close to the one on the stage after all.
The tagline for Allegria is short and powerful: "If you have no voice: Scream. If you have no legs: Run. If you have no hope: Invent."
Invent. I like that approach.
All of the time I fall into the trap of thinking that my thoughts actually define reality in some way. I think that God is distant, so He is. I think that I am repulsive, so I am. I think that something is hopeless, so it is.
But you know what? Whether God stands right next to me is NOT dependent on what *I* feel about it! Whether I am pleasant to be around is NOT determined by my personal self worth! And things are not hopeless just because I don't see the outcome I want.
Granting myself the power to define the reality around me is the most despicable form of self pride I know of, and I do it all the time.
Things are what they are. My task is to simply see, and see truly, what they are.
After all, what do you call a person who dances on stage? A dancer. And it doesn't matter if they think they can dance, does it? It only matters that they do.
If we act tenacious, then we ARE tenacious. How we feel does not matter.
If others think we have a good sense of humor, then we DO have one. It does not matter if we think we are boring or not, THEY are entertained.
If others think of us as gifted and talented, does it matter if we think of ourselves as defective and damaged goods? We are not damaged and defective to them! Instead, we are valuable!
See how it works?
Of course, if you do, I should admit here that I haven't quite figured it out that clearly myself either [insert big grin here!]
God give me strength to face a fact though it slay me.
Thomas H. Huxley (1825 - 1895)