The most important dreams often hide, underground, in dank cellars of our minds where we have to have bravery in order to go there. The largest risks often take residence one floor below: out of the reach of our usual five senses.
I see dreams and risks hiding in the eyes of people who live life via a metaphoric remote control. It is a seemingly automatic response as simple as arriving at Columbus Avenue and Mount Vernon Street. “I am at this intersection and I always turn right, so I turn right.”
Then there is the remote control button that says, “It isn’t polite to win, so aim for second place so others won’t get mad at you for shining as brightly as you do when in a competition. Smile widely and congratulate the one who deserves to be the winner, which obviously isn’t you. It never is, after all. Don’t forget this rule!”
We each have our own, unique and personalized remote control devices which feature our own, unique world view.
My biggest risk in life was one of those buried deep ones, living in a distant space deep inside me. It was cultural, too, this risk, that told me to be who others expected me to be, especially those I had chosen to love or was related to by birth. I had a remote control button marked, “Bury your hopes, dreams, desires, fashion choices, career choices, how I spend my lunch hour choices underneath your own wishes and instead keep the hopes, dreams, desires, fashion choices, career choices, how to spend lunch hour choices of other people alive and aloft instead.”
I tried to be what I thought I was supposed to be as dutiful wife and church member, a county bureaucrat, a caretaker of those who could not take care of themselves.
I tried to be the perfect mother – only cloth diapers, only breast feeding, only attached parenting, only the cutest outfits with matched hair bows, only live in the background position.
What I didn’t realize is how risky it was to pretend to be who I wasn’t and how that impacted who I was meant to be.
I had to experience some pretty severe circumstances to wake up.
And I had to experience some pretty severe circumstances to stay the course of instead of being what everyone else told me to be and instead being myself.
Writing this today is sort of like making a confession. It is like apologizing to this me of March 6, 2013, for the years invested in being that other person.
It is like the me of March 6, 2013 forgiving that other me, and making way for the ones still living in the cellar to come up to the surface and ignore the repetitions of those who used to rule the point of breakthrough. The compassionate, grace-filled me even manages to delight in those other versions of me, knowing there are no "wrongs" there are only "rights."
Adrienne Rich reminded me in my morning reading "Writing is renaming." so today, I am renaming this risk - to be the true and sometimes turbulent me - is completely safe to continue to take. It is the most important risk and the risk I need to take daily, as a spiritual practice.
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