It took me quite a few years to realize that when I retired from the stage and screen, spirituality became the next best way to avoid being the self that I had so much unconscious aversion for. I was doggedly devoted to fixing all the things about myself that I deemed to be unacceptable. I really turned the volume up on this quest when I followed the inspiration to become an ordained minister. I went to war against my humanity, and wanted nothing more than to float slightly above the earth, shining my divinity upon every situation. As noble as this sound, it had the effect of creating an unending internal conflict between the organic self of my humanity, and a “Disneyesque” version of what I thought I was supposed to be. In short, I was still avoiding being who I am in my divinity and my humanity. After much unsuccessful striving and self-enforced suffering, it finally dawned on me that I was here in this realm for the experience of incarnation- an incarnation that was to include the wholeness of me, and not just the parts that I thought were the most “Godly.” I found the truth within the Carl Jung quote: “ I’d rather be whole than good.” I began to see that “good” is an image that is more constrictive than expanding. Trying to play the role of perfect spiritual person kept me locked in the analytical and dualistic mind, and blocked the experience of compassion and acceptance so integral to spiritual emergence.
I am so grateful to be at a place in my evolution where I am finally allowing the “me” that I am in wholeness to lead me to the experience of my authentic self: a self that is as one writer observed, “too true to be good.” I am here to be real, and in that experience of realness, my Truth is revealed. I don’t want to play any more roles, even if that means I am not widely accepted by the masses of this world. I want to know at depth my Oneness, yet in order to do so, I must first become one within my self. I choose Presence over pretense, and intimacy over imaging. I am aware that I am not my thinking, my emotions, my perceptions, and my behaviors. And yet those are all parts of the human experience. Making them wrong and trying to suppress them doesn’t lead to an authentic spiritual experience. It is the underlying unworthiness inherent in the human condition that leads to unconsciousness, and that unconsciousness then leads to unskillfulness. Pretending it isn’t so does not heal this. Healing occurs as we welcome and embrace all of the parts of ourselves that we have resisted and rejected. It is our wholeness that leads to our realness, not the splintering off of the dualistic mind. It is our fullness that leads us to the experience of our authentic self, not our role-playing and posturing.
I have long loved the fable of The Velveteen Rabbit. If you have not read it, or have not read it in a while, I highly recommend this masterpiece of common wisdom. It is a story about becoming real. It is a story about acceptance and inclusivity. It is a story about wholeness. It is a story about appearances being only a part of the picture. And it is a story about love. Deep, abiding love for exactly what is.
While this is the month for masks and costumes, I intend to simply become more of myself. I intend to place my focus on playing the only role that isn’t a role: the whole, authentic me. Now I see that’s who and what I’ve always been called to be. It feels really good and really true to finally get real in my incarnation. And it feels really good and really true to let you be all of who you are as well.
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