Podcast: Play in new window | Download
About that lecture I was going to do at the metaphysical fair last month: I’m happy to report it went really well. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t get the projector to play my presentation, and nobody seemed to care that I’d left my good shoes in the car.
Turns out, I was great on the fly and did just fine with what I had. For an hour I spoke and fielded questions about the energy of oneness and how we’re never truly alone in anything we do because we’re all connected.
After finishing my talk, I floated back to the hotel, high on the experience of having connected with new people who offered lots of positive feedback. I was happy to know that I’d been able to teach people about a things that meant a lot to me. I was passionate and engaging and it showed. I could hardly sleep because I was even more excited about the next two days that would be filled with readings and the chance to connect with even more new people. That next morning I was up with the sun, but little did I know what a rude awakening it would be.
I returned to the venue and took my place among a gallery of readers. There were rune casters, reiki masters, past life regressionists, divination specialists, energy healers, trance channels, psychics, mediums, animal whisperers, tarot readers, spirit drawing artists, aura photographers and … me.
For more than two hours I sat and watched as people filed through the room only to flock to all the places I wasn’t. I ran the range of emotion from detached to perplexed, upset and back again. When that got boring, I went inward and asked myself some hard questions, starting with, “What the … ?”
The longer I sat, the worse I felt. But rather than give myself to a downward spiral, I went straight to the top: I called the event organizers and asked them to help. I’ve been sitting here, I said, my voice as thin as a playing card. No one’s stopped by yet. What’s going on? I tried desperately to beat my embarrassment back and be receptive to whatever they had to tell me. It’s hard enough asking for help sometimes, and it’s something else when you’re asking strangers. But, in public. In a strange town. At a psychic fair.
They listened as I vented and they shared with me what good things they’d heard about my work. They told me how welcomed I was and how committed they were to making sure my experience was a good one. They embraced me into their loving community and introduced me around. My tension eased. Then they looked at my space and at each other before saying I needed a sign. “People need to see who you are,” they said. “They need to know what you do.” Oh.
That night, I went back to the hotel, brainstormed a bit, and finally got it together. More to the point, it was the sign that helped me get it together.
I think everyone should have a sign.
As I sat down to work, I quickly realized I’d only been identifying myself relative to everyone else with a generic, “I’m not one of them.” It was as if verbally distancing myself was going to set me apart in some kind of special way. It didn’t. Now I ask you, what kind of marketing strategy was that? In truth, it was my subversive way of saying, “Yeah I’m here, but it’s not what you think.” Uh, yes it is, folks. What I wasn’t saying was, “Keeping my distance keeps me safe.”
Part of the so-called safety in maintaining our distance and not participating—in any area of our lives—means we’re never expected to truly produce, and if we do, we’re free to be vague, should anyone try to pin us down on the fine points. Put another way, we never run the risk of risking anything if we don’t allow ourselves to be seen. The other safety in not defining ourselves for ourselves means we get to avoid all of the messiness that too much up-closeness requires. It means, we hope, that we can get out before things get too serious. In my case, I hadn’t realized my own internal conflicts until I sat down to make my sign and commit my intentions to print.
By the time I’d finished my work, I was surprised to find the oft contentious parts of me gravitating toward center for what felt like the first time. Gathered around the table, my inner critic had begun an exchange with the artist in me, refining my words, smoothing lines and placement to create something new and uniquely me; my religious observer had embraced my inner mystic, and together they celebrated the truth I’d been steadily approaching—the certainty of oneness and love; my college-educated coed and certified clairvoyant put their heads together in honor of their ongoing education; my giddy young girl and wisdom-seeking self reveled at the promise of a new adventure.
More than likely, you won’t be asked to make the kind of sign I did. I never expected I’d be creating one either. But, even if it’s a project you do on your own, and nobody ever sees it, it’s worth it to engage in the act of writing up your strengths and committing them to the page—any page. If you had to create your own mission statement, what would it be? What gifts do you mean to bring to the world? You may be surprised at the parts of you you’ll meet in the process. I sure was. Me and my selves, we came out from our corners to connect across the distance. It was a completion that put me at peace; it made me hopeful. What better sign is there than that?
– – – – – – –
You might also like:
Who Do You Think You Are?