Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What Dr. Phil Was Said to Say

Did the Dr. Phil-like comment at the end of my last blog entry rub someone the wrong way? Or did it act as a wake-up slap just to me?

I worry about what to say and how to say it a little too much sometimes. Frequently, I censor half of what I write. Other times I'm ready to jump right into the fray and Paul slows me down and forces me to reconsider the wisdom in alienating half our reading audience. Frequently, I try to do the same to him. Once, when I was about to cure myself of the fear of being too honest, I got a Marketing Newsletter from a self-proclaimed expert who warned her readers not to give in to using blogs as a way to say what's really on your mind. Her mindset was that you should stay on message -- your marketing message -- ALL the time.

Kind of like what we see George Bush and many other political candidates do. "What's your opinion of thus and so, Mr. President?" "War on terrorism, no new taxes" would be the response. Stay on message, stay on target. Don't think your own thoughts and, certainly, don't make the mistake of expressing them.

Sigh.

Spiritual counselors and healers are supposed to be all warm and fuzzy, everything is love and light, makes you feel good, like everything's all right. When it isn't, not from our limited human perspective at any rate.

But neither do we intend to add to the milieu of despair and disrespect and discouragement, fear-mongering and outright crap most of us are exposed to every day-- especially if you watch TV and what passes for news night after night.

People who really are afraid that negative entities are ruining their lives can't handle hearing that all they have to do is "change their thoughts" and they'll go away -- even if it's pretty much the only way. It sounds like the healer is saying "It's all your fault. Your thinking is to blame. How could you believe something so "stupid"?!" That kind of thing.

That's not what I meant to say.

But what's the difference between someone who is afraid they are attracting negative energies all the time and someone who is afraid of everything they eat? What's the difference between being "chemically sensitive" and thinking you're vulnerable ALL THE TIME to psychic attacks?

We see this scenario in our spiritual counseling practice from time to time and it's really starting to get me mad. Nobody likes to believe they created a painful and absolutely unworkable reality. Nobody deserves to be told "it's your fault, it's all in your head." I don't want to be told that either.

But there's a thread that binds all these scenarios together and that's the idea that there are lots of people (myself included) who, at least for a brief period in their lives, were forced to give up what for others would constitute a "normal" kind of life. I get really angry about that. I think that's why when Paul and I went to the Gay Pride Celebration in Santa Cruz this past weekend I found myself in tears for half the day. So many wonderful, unconventional and oh, so human, expressions of how a person can be. Uncensored, unfettered and free. But maybe, given the Gay Pride Movement's example, it's important for many of us to realize that "normal" isn't what it's cracked up to be. It keeps people fettered, holds them down, holds us as a nation back.

Thank God you brave beautiful people out there are out of the closet at least on Gay Pride Day. It gives some of us hope. Maybe we could be so proud of who we really are, too.

A lot of us have parents who tried to teach us to be "safe" by scaring us out of any adventurous thing we looked like we might want to do. "AAAGH!!! GET DOWN FROM THERE!!" my mother screamed out the window at me one day. I don't blame her for that. It must have been gut-wrenching to see her baby walking tightrope style across the top of the swing set. But I've been afraid of heights ever since... just like her... and I wasn't until that day.

That's how the imprinting happens. Innocently. For the "best." But if I had had a circus mother she might have said "Hold on, baby. Let me get a mattress for you to jump down onto before you go across." My mother never would have thought of that.

Deepak Chopra once wrote: "One thing we can do is make the choice to view the world in a healthy way. We can choose to see the world as safe with only moments of danger rather than seeing the world as dangerous with only moments of safety."

Or you can insist that the world IS a safer place by working together with people like yourself to ensure that this is so.

At some point, you have to know that you deserve to have this. Because if you give in to feeling like there's something wrong with you and spend your life hiding yourself away for being different—because you have a non-hetero sexual orientation, because you get sick from toxic situations the rest of the world accepts in stride, because you're more sensitive, too awake, too unwilling to go along the status quo, or because you are physically, emotionally and spiritually UNABLE to go along—then you might as well not exist. Maybe being proud of who you are—like you deserve a parade—is where the real healing begins. And if you can embrace this test, the set of life experiences this situation creates -- the gay lifestyle, the chemical-free environment, the inability to have a "normal" job, a "normal" way of life (and the resulting freedom to do what you might not otherwise have had a chance to do)—then you may get to live a life that is bigger and braver and more exciting than you might ever have expected for yourself.

Braver?

Like walking on top of the swing set. Unafraid, and more capable than the average suburban captive I was brought up to be. When I swung on my swing in the backyard, higher and higher, over and over again, imagining myself as a great circus performer perfecting my craft so I could leap off at the highest point possible without falling down (my mother never caught me doing that) I never imagined there would come a time when I'd be afraid to do that very thing.

That kind of bravery is something we all deserve to have.

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