When I told my good old friend M, (who is featured somewhat prominently in the book) about my forthcoming publishing deal, she did not hesitate in her response.
“Well, well, well. . . “ she drawled, sounding bemused, “Won’t this be an exercise in keeping the old ego in check.”
She knows me well. She knows my struggles. She knows my ego. She even knew my alter-ego when Gabriella, the ethereal hippie-chick/butterfly shape shifter surfaced all those years ago. But that’s another story. . .
“Your ego is just an idea implanted in your mind. It is poisonous. Your ego keeps driving you madder and madder.” Indian mystic Osho, said. I’ve studied and read and spent many an hour on the meditation mat and prayed in great and sincere ernest for help about it and my ego remains as strong and intractable as ever.
I have been confused about this issue my whole life. My mother extolled the virtues of pride. “Take pride in your appearance.” “Be proud of who you are.” “Have you no pride?” Sunday school teachers and preachers warned of the inevitable fall that would follow. . . . A battle waged in my young mind between the forces of insecurity and snobbery. One minute I was the lowliest of losers, ugly, unlovable, stupid and hopeless, and the next I was so much better than everyone else! Never able to find the land of middle ground, I dwelt in a black and white world. Either/Or. Either it was this way or it was that way and there were no alternatives. Finally, finally, I am learning that the middle ground is so much more hospitable. And it is vast and wide. There is so much more room there than I ever imagined! Room for all kinds of ideas and all kinds of ways of being and my ego is very attached to judgement, so here in the middle ground, it has to let go a little and that gives me room to expand – to breathe – to become, instead of being stuck in who I think “I am”.
Having people say that my writing is good makes my ego puff up and I can sense it wanting to strut and crow. Instead of trying to force it down and silence it, maybe I can stand in my own power in the middle ground. Nelson Mandela said these beautiful words.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
May we all make manifest the glory of God that is within us. Namaste