Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you say I am?” I need to look in the mirror and ask the same question.
For decades, the underlying tone of my apparent high self-esteem has been “I’m not good enough” and “I’m less than you.” Only recently have I glimpsed what’s true about this … it’s nonsense!
I’ve spent time with some powerful leaders. Long ago in San Francisco, I was in the same room as Werner Erhard for three days. He’d wear a white open-necked shirt and dress pants and sit there being impossibly handsome. Words poured like honey from his lips. I was terrified.
Twenty years later, I was on a three-month silent meditation retreat in Massachusetts. For six weeks of that time, I was in the same room as Joseph Goldstein, one of the pioneers who brought Buddhism to North America in the 1960’s. He was impossibly tall and spoke with the quietness of a master. I’d tremble when he was near me in the lunch line.
Patricia Albere is the founder of the Evolutionary Collective and has brought the transformational Mutual Awakening Practice into the world. I’d see her in live online group sessions and have heart palpitations in the comfort of my living room. My 1-1 interactions with her were marked by a distinct shortness of breath on my part. She was the founder, she was famous, she was smart. And I was not any of those things.
So there’s a rich history here of being “less than”. Smallness seemed to suit me. Except it didn’t! In my better moments of mirror gazing, I’m seeing not a cowardly lion but a fierce spiritual being, not Caspar Milquetoast but a rejuvenated Clark Kent out on an evening adventure. Enough of being itsy bitsy. I’m a partner with you (and you and you …) in making this world work.
Who do I see looking back at me in that mirror? Here are some quotations that move me … to action. May they vibrate in your chest.
Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.
You could say that Helen didn’t have the eyes to see. But within her beat a visionary heart.
Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.
Zora Neale Hurston
Oh, Zora, you soar above the pettiness of the narrow!
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
That’s right, Mister Buddha. I’m totally deserving of the goodness that comes my way, just like each of you is.
A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Out there, a healthy mixture of smiles and frowns comes a’calling. In here, I get to choose.
You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.
In 2002 or so, a lovely teacher wrote this on the board as her “Thought for the Day”. It hasn’t left my side since. The words come in handy when my small voice chimes in with “You should be flamboyant like Lara” or “You should be a computer wizard like Peter.”
A healthy self-love means we have no compulsion to justify to ourselves or others why we take vacations, why we sleep late, why we buy new shoes, why we spoil ourselves from time to time. We feel comfortable doing things which add quality and beauty to life.
I love watching The Masters golf tournament on TV. I love venturing into spiritual discussions with some folks who don’t seem interested. I love singing “O Canada” in rooms where few do. The reactions of others are simply … there, and are not a danger to me.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Howard Washington Thurma
I love discussions with kids about life in all its immensity. Perhaps the shine in my eyes touches the warmth in their heart.
Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I want to be a teacher in the Evolutionary Collective. I will create what I need in order for this to happen. And the stars will align.
Seems like a logical progression