illusion perspective sleep creamy water truth verity
illusion peace calm look listen
I came upon little black ducks filling the grass in uniformed diagonals. All were drinking from the puddles- tsa tsa tsa tsa tsa it sounded like twenty kittens lapping at milk, which is a very sweet sound, let me tell you. tsa tsa tsa tsa tsa When the world is too busy, too much, when everything is passing you by, when you can’t catch up, when you feel overwhelmed, stuck, when you want to say wait wait for me, where is everyone going? What about me?
How do you soothe yourself?
I know we all want results, we want to have the tangible, material proof that we are not wasting our time, that we are worthy, that we are going somewhere.
It is stressful when so much of success is based upon illusion for us not to feel like utter failures.
Years ago, the mother of two piano students looked around my music studio and remarked “you seem to have it all together.” She was going through a tough time. I often wondered if I should have told her of my struggles. Of not having enough money to pay my bills, of all the years where I thought-I am not going to make it financially or emotionally. Of all the close calls where I thought- that’s it- this isn’t going to work, I give up.
But that pull of having to seem successful is so strong. illusion
When I was a young actress, I would do anything to avoid people thinking that I wasn’t successful. There were so many times where I let people think badly of me. I was doing a play, A Far Country, in Los Angeles and an actor was passing the hat for someone’s birthday present. Rather than admit that I didn’t have any money, I said I won’t be at her party so I can’t contribute. Oh, the look I received.
In my mind, not having money equaled not being successful. illusion
I was getting married and the cast gave me a present. This actor gave me a long look as if to say “see, we all contributed to you, aren’t you selfish in refusing to put money in the hat. ” And yet, I still couldn’t admit I had nothing. Plus, it didn’t help that this actor was particularly handsome and I thought- I can’t think he is handsome I am getting married! For all my young exuberance, I was shy. If I met him on the street I wouldn’t make eye contact. Later, he lectured me about being polite enough to say hi back to him, and I burst into tears. He muttered something like, “you clearly you have issues,” and hurried off.
Issues indeed! illusion
Things only got worse; he received a bad review, I made a feeble joke, and he said, “I don’t appreciate how some people seem to be delighted in my misfortune.” This couldn’t have been further from the truth, but somehow, everything I said was colored by my money=success embarrassment. illusion
I was buying into the notion that being on top, having it all together, being successful was the important thing- not the journey, not the tiny victories along the way, not the intangible accomplishments. I wanted the illusion that I was breezy and successful.
One thing I know: no one gets out of this world alive.
Which is my way of saying, even those that are at the top of their profession have to work hard. No one gets out unscathed! Go ahead, by all means hitch your wagon to a shining star, look at what people are doing and emulate your heroes, but don’t make the mistake of thinking- If you do not have what they have, if you don’t have the material accomplishments (the awards, degrees etc.) that you have failed.
Have you done anything in your life that you were proud of and no one knew about it? Did you write a poem and it got published in a small press but you think, I am not Mary Oliver, so this poem is worth nothing? Did you do a play that wasn’t very good but you found that you were convincing in the part? You weren’t on Broadway so obviously it didn’t count. Did you do a line drawing that was charming and pleasing to the eye? It isn’t in a museum so it’s not much of an accomplishment, is it?
~slow down, if only for a while~
These ducks didn’t ask anything of me. Maybe the occasional breadcrumb. The gift they give is just being.
Water is particularly soothing to me. What soothes you? Are you divining for your version of water? Sometimes it is a matter of stopping and looking. Or listening, or changing the way you are looking at a problem. Seeing at a new angle can shift your world.
We are so much more than what we do.