There are countless female goldfinches who show up at my sunflower and nyjer seed feeders. Right now, I’m looking out my living room window and one lass is poking her head in to dig out the good stuff. I’m thrilled to have so many birdies come by to say hello. I’ve been to some areas of the world where birds seem to to be downright rare. So I am blessed.
Female goldfinches keep their glory muted, with brownish feathers. I don’t love them any less for their inconspicuous nature. But every once in awhile a guy swoops down for goodies. And he wears his heart on his luminous sleeves. My heart soars even higher to see the shocking yellow. We humans seem enthralled with brightness, even if many of us don’t clothe ourselves in that way.
Lest you think that vibrancy lives only in the male realm (and I doubt that you’re thinking that!), consider Senegal. My visits there have been about wild splotches of colour dotting the brownish land. I was surprised to see how many men dress “Western” – t-shirts and shorts. When they pull out their cell phones, I feel right at home. But hold on. The women festoon themselves with wild bandanas and long flowing dresses. The 80-something lady you see here is the real deal – red, mauve, brown and pink, along with sparkling earrings and bracelet. Plus her speech was animated with sounds I didn’t know.
Guess it doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl
You can fly through life wearing the palette of the heavens …
if you want to
Bookends, it seems. Two days ago I wrote “Fill The Room!” This morning, my love of tennis took over. I feel this surge of energy coming out .. blasting out! And tennis analogies speak loud.
I’ve never really blasted. Mostly I’ve embraced, which is lovely. I’ve marvelled at the players who can build a point, and finish it off with a medium speed ball that’s just beyond the fully stretched opponent. The sweetness of artistry, not the crudeness of blunt force.
I love watching a player caress a “slice backhand”, hitting with a long left-to-right stroke so the ball skips sideways when it reaches the opponent. It’s so hard to return. Again, tennis as an art form. Or consider the “drop shot”. The other person is way at the back of the court and you cozy a soft shot that barely gets over the net. The element of surprise is a formidable weapon. Or … when the opponent rushes to the net, hit a long, looping ball over their head – a “lob”. Properly applied, the ball lands just inside the baseline – virtually a sure winner.
Ahh … Picasso.
But today I’m not in the mood for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I want Lebron James dunking the basketball over a member of the other team, slamming it down with his teeth gleaming. I want the speed, the passion, the fierceness.
So today I smash the tennis ball! Delicacy be damned. “Hit the ball hard, Bruce! Pick an empty corner of the court and give ‘er. You can even yell if you want.”
My home is sturdy, and verges on soundproof. I now have two choices for raising the decibels. Or I can do them both till the cows come home. “Grrr!” some more.
I’m taking an online course with souls from all over the world. We meet live as many as five times a week. It’s astounding to see all those faces on my computer screen.
Today, just before we were to be paired up for a practice exercise, the leader gave some instructions. I didn’t understand them, but then – Poof! … there I was facing another human being.
An image came to me of a male elementary teacher. He was standing in front of me with a yardstick in his hand, ready to smack my fingers. A voice roared: “You did it wrong!”
Later I decided to share with the large group about what I had gone through. The leader was coaching me to stay with my experience, without conceptualizing or telling a story. As I struggled to find what was true for me, I felt myself dying again: “You’re no good. You’re too afraid of the teacher’s disapproval. All these people are watching.” And I shrunk.
The teacher kept trying to bring me back out but I fell deeper into the hole. I was grinding through the moment – so different than talking about a previous grinding moment. “I’m so embarrassed.”
Bruce was disappearing, and not in a transcendent way. It wasn’t a case of losing something and finding something sweeter. Of saying goodbye to the ego and then rising into rarefied air. No. I was just plain lost.
So, Bruce, what’s true?
At times, I struggle to stay with what I’m experiencing
At times, I get scared so easily
At times, I shrink under the eyes of others
At times, I wallow in seeing myself as “less than”
But you know, Bruce, something else is true
You’re willing to be visible
Through the warts
Through the fear
Through the not knowing
Through the public viewing
Through the words stumbling out
Through the heart sinking to the floor
Through the desires for approval
Through the not making sense
Through the “wrong answers”
Through the tightness in the throat
Through the blushing
Through the pain
I’ll take it