No Birthday Cake!
It’s my birthday and there are no calls, or gifts, no party or even, my nemesis, that big beautiful sugary-icing birthday cake.
But whooow there, cowboy, calm down!
Don’t feel bad for me just yet.
It is not because everyone on Earth forgot my birthday, it’s because early yesterday morning I sent out this message to all of my family and friends
I will be unplugging and going into solitude all day tomorrow for a full day of regrouping, refocusing and renewal. The phone will be turned off as well. Thanks for understanding.
A full day of The 3 Rs
Every now and then I feel the need to use the day of my birth as a way to commune with my spirit and this year I am in big time need. The past few months have tested my strength, I have felt lost at times, sad at others. My search for meaning and a new purpose had me promising to create courses that would impact people’s lives and help them build a better tomorrow. But, in the process my purpose became dim.
I have two goals – First, I want to help people with Multiple Sclerosis have a positive, can do attitude, I want to introduce Art as a healing method…and Second, I want to reach young teens, mostly girls, who are still trying to figure out who they are and how to listen to their inner voices and follow their dreams.
These are my peeps… the ones that keep me up at night wondering how HOW, HOW to make a difference for them?
After writing the note, I had a full day of teaching to do. One of the joys of my life is to sit in front of a class of smart, curious, charged up students who really want to learn. I was teaching a university class called, “Myth in the World.” Lots of introspection, self analysis and discussion involved. And sadly, yesterday was our last class.
After most of the students had gone, a young woman walked up to me and told me I was her hero. (we had talked about The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell) She said, “I want to be you.” (I took that to mean later on in life when she finishes her degree. Etc.)
But wow! I was floored! What a heavy responsibility there.
In all modesty and fairness, I have to admit, it is not the first time I have heard that or some variation of it, from students, both young and old. Each time I mentally give the same response.
“You do NOT want to be like me!”
But her saying that confirmed one thing; how much I really needed this 3R day. The words smacked me upside the head, and I had to face the fact that something I was doing or saying, or the way I was doing or saying it, resonates with people who find it inspiring.
I get the jitters just typing the word inspiring, because I so WANT to be inspiring, I WANT to be relevant, and I want to be useful.
But I also want to know what it is that they are connecting to, because you see, if I can figure out that missing piece, then I can finally create what I have been wanting to start… an offering that motivates my peeps.
And so today I have been sitting. Meditating. Being alone with myself, listening to my inner voices, and as the day grows long I am still here, waiting for answers.
I told my sister last night about the student, and she gave me a sweet, but definitely biased speech about how I AM inspiring and how I have done so much with my life, etc. (My sister, bless her heart, is my #1 fan!)
She said, “It’s because you are FEARLESS!” And I knew she had that all wrong, because truthfully I am scared of well, a lot.
“Okay then, that means you’re courageous” She answered. “You go ahead and do things even though you feel that fear.”
“Yes, I do”, I thought, but I would call it more fool hardy than courageous. Save that badge of courage for the guy who rescues children from burning buildings. I am no lioness.
I am the other big cat.
Tigers go on the hunt alone, they are determined and stubborn, and even though they love solitude they are not unsociable. They are playful and self-sufficient at the same time .
Sadly, though, my Tigger spirit has been waning recently. Not much bouncy fun happening here.
The Question is: What took the tiger out of my tank?
So I continued to sit.
Late in the afternoon I started thinking about my first attempt to create one of those courses online…and, what a dismal failure it was. Not that people didn’t sign up for it, or even begin to work at the modules. They did. No, I have no one to blame but myself for this one. The Apothecary Cards
The concept was good, people with MS could creative their own affirmation or positive message cards to put on their table or fridge. To inspire (that word again) and encourage them to keep pushing even though life with chronic illness is difficult.
For sure, I was really on to something cool.
But all the way through the stages of Week One and Week Two there was an annoying little niggle that kept me from even completing what I had offered.
How sad. How tremendously sad.
And, what a lost opportunity for everyone. I said I wanted to help and instead I came off like a flake.
I thought about that class a lot, and in a moment, I realized what went wrong. I was not being AUTHENTIC! I was not doing ME. I was copying the style of a mentor, using her directions and style. Her delivery was seamless, and she had it so polished, (which I guess, is why I was stealing it…instead of trusting in my own gift.) I figured hers was better.
So in essence, The Apothecary Cards, BECAME her course, and I wasn’t invested in it at all.
I may be different, unique, eccentric, etc. (Words people use to describe me) but dang it, that is who I am. Too late to be a different version now. That train left the station ages ago.
And if I can’t be true to myself, then I am not really sharing anything of meaning, am I?
Wait for it~~~~~
My AHAAA moment had arrived!!!!!
After that little revelation I started envisioning my courses as MY offerings. Giving me the chance to do the things I do best, like listening, supporting and encouraging. Oh naturally there is art involved, there is ALWAYS art involved…and deep digging spiritually too, but I knew my task was to save the courses to save the courses with a hefty dose of Gypsyfay!
Obviously, this means I am back at square one:
- Start over
- Figure out what my PEEPS want from me,
- Why they would take classes from me, and
- What is important for them to learn.
Now I feel better.
Still no cake.
Oh well, there’s always next year.