The Burden of Ego Lifted

Humbled and inspired –
the burden of ego lifted
from me in a moment
and understanding came –
Hush. It’s your turn to listen,
to let yourself be supported,
to let someone else share
her talents and gifts with you.
And Love gifted me
with the expression of beauty
offered by another
of Her children. Blessings
abound and surround,
here, now, all around.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

So, like, when did being bitchy become a good thing?

“Rudeness is merely the expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.” – M. Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel

So, like, when did being bitchy become a good thing – a thing to be proud of? I posed that question to a young friend the other day. I’d seen someone wearing one of those “Proud to be a Bitch” tee-shirts or something, and I found myself wondering about it – wondering when rudeness became something to brag about. My young friend gave me an answer that I thought was kind of profound. My friend said that young people get their cues about what it means to be an adult from older people – they hear older people cussing and swearing, see “grown-ups” driving aggressively, observe their frustration with work, and their impatience with life – and, because they want to look like “grown-ups”, too, they copy what they see and hear. The only difference, my young friend said, was that young people don’t have the life experience and history, yet, to go along with their cussing, frustration, and impatience – they haven’t really “earned” the right, yet, to swear and be bitchy.

My friend’s thoughts about bitchiness sent me all kinds of directions. I had to wonder, for instance, what kind of example I’d been for young folks. How many youngsters had learned how to be rude and impatient and frustrated by watching me? Now THERE was a humbling thought. Ahem. I quickly moved on from that one to other ones…

What is it that makes us, as human beings, proud of our anger – proud to have “told someone off”? I decided that was all about ego, really – wanting to prove we are somehow better, braver, stronger than other people. And THEN I thought about that and came to the conclusion that a) in my own experience, yelling at other people has never seemed to convince them I was right, or changed their ideas about stuff, and b) it doesn’t take a whole lot of courage, really, to spout off one’s opinions and beliefs, and cuss and swear and be rude.

It is my belief that it takes a lot more chutzpah to love – it takes a lot more courage to trust in  each other’s good will and humanity, than it does to scream obscenities at each other. In fact, when I think about it – the times when I’ve been the rudest are the times when I’ve been the most scared that I wasn’t going to “get my share” or I was going to be left out somehow, or forgotten or over-looked or harmed in some way.

And something in that last paragraph just made me think of a time when I found myself trying to break up a fight in a parking lot – one guy sitting on top of another punching his face bloody, banging his head into the concrete, and a ring of other guys around them – I found myself in the middle of the circle trying to yank the one guy off the other one, screaming, “Stop it! You’re going to kill him! Stop it!” Instinct (and, in retrospect, a kind of foolishness) had put me in the middle of that circle – there’d been no thought given to what I was doing, and so I can’t claim any special kind of courage there. But – and here’s the part that still gives me a kind of awe when I think about it – after security guards had hauled away the brawlers I stepped back and found that another woman – the parent of one of my former students – had stepped into the circle with me. I remember saying to her, in a kind of wonder, “You’re here, too!” And she said, “I wasn’t going to let you stand here all alone.” She HAD thought about what she was doing – she HAD made a conscious choice to put herself in harm’s way for another human being. She hadn’t screamed. She hadn’t yelled. She’d just stood there beside me. Now THAT was courage. Oh gosh. I’m tearing up right now as I think about it.

“There is too much animal courage in society and not sufficient moral courage.” – Mary Baker Eddy

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi
“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.” – Gandhi
“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.” – Gandhi 

yelling

Humbling Experiences are the Best!

Pretense stripped away. Vanity ripped all to shreds. Left with who you really are, and discovering that’s enough. Yeah. I have had some experience with this. 🙂

humbling experienced

Sharing the Light

Keep on shining that light… 🙂

keep shining your light

 

Keep on sharing your joy, shining your light,
and hoisting your brightest sail.
Some may roll their eyes and snicker
and belittle and bail
from the celebration you’re giving,
the wonder you’re living,
pronounce you full of yourself, and hope that you fail.
There’s a word for what those folks are feeling,
and it has nothing to do with you.
Don’t hide your light for those who don’t want to see it.
Keep shining it for the rest of us who do.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Go into the arts…”

??????????photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. – Kurt Vonnegut

***

I love the Vonnegut quote above.  It expresses really well how I feel about the creative arts in my own life. I’ve come to feel that art is the purest expression of Soul, and I’ve found that the older I get the more important the expression of Soul has become in my life.  Photography, singing, writing – these things help me stay focused and help me stay sane. Literally help me stay sane. Looking back, I think photography was a big help in pulling me out of the whatever-that-was several years ago. When I’m out taking pictures I’m always looking for the magic – for the beautiful and joy-filled – for the “idea of truth”; and the other things – the things that would distract me from the beautiful and good – are stilled in my thought. When I’m out and about with my camera, the dialogue of mortal mind is silenced for a while, and I’m on a vacation from it.

In photography there’s that moment when the photographer spots something remarkable and captures it – to get that moment the photographer has to have appreciation for the beauty around her- she has to be able to recognize it when she sees it. And then the photographer takes home that moment and downloads it to the computer and does the art thing – crops and contrasts and highlights and saturates and leaches out the color until the artist in her recognizes that something has popped out that’s just perfect. And then she gets to share that moment with other people – gift an audience with that moment, too.

The audience is a huge part of the art – the people who read the books, or listen to the music, or look at the pictures, become, themselves, a part of the expression and experience.  When the audience members laugh or gasp at the right time during a play – they are working with the actors, helping them create their expression.  When the artist’s audience applauds or writes a review – laughs and cries and feels and learns because of the art – the audience becomes a part of the artistic endeavor, too.  🙂

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create.”  I’ve found that when what I’m seeking in my work is applause or personal recognition – when I’m creating something to show-off and impress – rather than to share and express – the work never turns out quite right. It’s lacking something genuine in it. Something real.  It’s a stilted, self-conscious, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, SELFED and ridiculous thing.  It really stinks.

But when the work comes from the inspiration of Love (God) – from the beauty, joy, and kindness I see around me and just HAVE to share with everybody else – then it’s real. Then it’s WORTH sharing.

Whatever furnishes the semblance of an idea governed by its Principle, furnishes food for thought. Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause. Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive and should promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal. – Mary Baker Eddy

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