Note: I published this last week in my Red Thread Cafe Letters, and got quite an interesting response – I got in some trouble…but most of all I got letters from folks who felt seen, acknowledged, celebrated, understood, and yes provoked to view the way they show up in life as a blessing when it has been referred to as something to overcome. So forgive me in advance. I don’t mind being controversial, but I really don’t like to offend. The outpouring was so big I though I would share it here too so forgive me for the duplication if you have already seen this article. It is a bright Monday morning and I am off to paint – will show you this week what doors of my heart I have been opening. Today I have to hang a show in Sebastopol, and I never hang a show without some wet paint involved. If you want to receive the Red Thread Cafe Letters, sign up and get a free poster as well. Love, Shiloh
I am fascinated by how beauty and tragedy sit side by side having tea as if it is the most natural thing in the world. A note from a writer in Japan tells us that there is no looting, there is food left on doorsteps, candlelight and sharing stories in the midst of great tragedy.
This alertness to two worlds has me mining for proverbial gold in the two natures that live within us and how easy it can be to live one or the other, and let the other suffer in the silence. Can’t we be our whole selves and still be loved?
We worry that we cannot both be wild and holy like the Saints, because we are all so concerned with looking good and being OK. Being OK is often connected with survival – if “they” see how strange we really are, they might not like us anymore. This is often true. But not always, and it is well worth the risk.
What’s much worse is not being who we truly are. What happens when we allow ourselves to be fragmented and shut of parts of who we are for years at a time? What if we really do have a dual nature?
What if we really do have two sides that forever long to be integrated – a journey for which we don’t have the map.
What if the so-called ‘inner critic’ has only been able to rule the roost because we have cut off one side or the other? We have shut our good girl or bad girl alternately in the closet and feel guilty as we lock the door on either one? Shushing her while we have company or go to work. OR, even in the privacy of our own teahouse we don’t let her out. (hint: paintbrushes are magic wands that invite both sides, so beware)
I remember in high school doing an essay where I said I wanted to be both a nun and a solid gold dancer. I was aware of my dual nature then. Artist seemed like the safest place for the two parts of myself to be integrated.
Is ADHD just another word for genius who sees between both worlds and doesn’t know which one to choose because the toolbox provided does not fit the slots we have to work with?
ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination.
Sounds like a regular day in the life of a mystic to me. The challenge is staying attuned to those mystic visionary tendencies we all have, and not let them label or drug us to death before we solve the mysteries of the universe no matter how full spectrum our methods might appear.
What happens when we allow ourselves to be fragmented like this – not inviting and living into an integrated life? Well what might happen is we might have a mid-life crisis where we wonder how we got here… and who has been driving anyway?
When folks have MANY facets to their lives, we are often told we are distracted or fragmented and that we need to “FOCUS”. Focus pocus. Sure focus gets things done in a more timely manner on a timeline someone else set up that equals results someone else wants to measure as success or completion. But for those of us who are renaissance women – those of us with many interests – what if we want to bake cupcakes and save the world? What if we want to be a little barefoot and pregnant wife and run for congress too? What about us? What if we want to ride the freedom train instead of a high speed jet?
Are we not FOCUSED because ten ideas come in at once??? Doesn’t that mean we have the makings of a visionary instead of a madwoman? The forced focus with the support of well meaning normal people can often steer us into the wrong direction. How long before the lawyer finds her way back from the courtroom to her position as the raw food chef like one of my girlfriends did who started Raw Woman Sanctuary.
Let me stand for and dance and pray for the reality that we can indeed integrate the fullness of who we are and we don’t need to cut off or isolate parts of ourselves any longer. Now it will not be comfortable and some of our friends and family won’t like it one bit if you let your armpit hair grow or start chanting or take up painting. But you have to choose you because the secret is that once you choose you – you get to do your work and the work is usually something life saving for you and others. When we don’t do our work, our part of the red thread – we get into trouble with living lives that do not match who we are.
Let’s start by looking at how we can integrate our sides – shall we? Start with opening the closet door and inviting both sides to do a jig in this bright Equinox Full Moon.
Promise them a legendary life with chocolates and whiskey and prayer. Promise to listen to both the saint and the sinner self.
I am. I promise.
Cross my heart.
From The Red Thread Cafe,