Curing Yourself of an Incurable Disease, Part 4

share the news

share the news

Unorthodox Idea #4

Share the News.

Now that you are juggling firesticks and doing pop-o-wheelies on your roadbike, it might be time to include a few loved ones in your journey.

Letting your family and friends know your plans to “take over,” so to speak, will further bolster your power of intention.  Start with a trusted someone in your life who won’t be tempted to doubt you, laugh at you, or perhaps the worst — give you advice.  Deciding to cure yourself is a soul-infused choice; it concerns your whole being, including the body’s wisdom as well as your deep intuition.  Being asked too early on to give specifics, in a logical sense, of “how you are going to do it” might very well stunt the mysterious powers at play, so who you choose to share it with is important.  Share your great news with the people in your life who have a respect for wonder and experiment; instinct and heart.  If even one trusted friend knows you are a miracle in the making, you’ll have someone to check in with when you need to.

The efficacy of intentional prayers and pointed, positive energy has a tendency to grow bigger than the sum of its proverbial parts.  When you include trusted others in your process, you make space for their innate healing powers too.  So, go ahead and let the ones you love really believe in you.

See you tomorrow for Unorthodox Idea #5.


An Off the Wall Memorial



We lost someone important last week. Personally, I lost my greatest musical love.  I’ve been contemplating the many ways Michael Jackson influenced me.  He infused my childhood with a sense of soulful groove and gave me permission to wear my heart on my sleeve.  He gifted me endless inspiration with which to embellish my own dance expression and opened a door to a whole collection of influential soul artists I might not otherwise have known.  He helped me see the world’s hunger, and he provided both a backdrop and a rhythmic language through which I could connect with both my brother and my dad.  I see, now, the influence will continue.

As is so often the case when someone dies, I notice there is much to savor about both Michael’s life, and, somewhat ironically, the impact of his passing.  Three important pieces stand out:

king of pop

1. Rock with You All weekend long, I noticed people everywhere were celebrating Michael.  Mine was one of 15 cars repeatedly blasting “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” on the highway and around the neighborhood.  There seemed to be retrospective dance-a-thons happening all over the place — in my living room, out my back window, across the street, in the park.  Michael Jackson songs were ringing out on nearly every TV and radio station, in lobbies and elevators, at picnic areas and playgrounds, in stores, on stoops, from farmer’s markets to supermarkets to stock markets.  In song and pulse, these rockin’ melodies seemed to bridge any class, race, gender, religious, or political chasm with a universal appeal more potent than…can I say it?  Obama.  Better than Obama?!  In fact, the past several days of Michael Mania have been of such enormous proportions as to rival his own living days of glory.

Black or White, my friends, this is what we call bridging a divide – let’s not lose it. While it looks different than what I’d ever expect, this is the kind of thing I’ve been aching for for years whenever I hear folks talk about what it was like to live in the Beatles era.  Michael Jackson, dead or alive, has this effect on us.

You can’t not dance to a couple of choice Michael Jackson songs, and if you don’t believe me, then put one on the stereo and look no further than at the person in your family who says they “don’t dance.”  I bet you’ll see a hip wiggle or a toe tap.  Rock with You?  Yes!  That is what we are doing.  We are rocking with each other, across cultural boundaries and political divides that are usually so rife with anger and assumption we don’t know how to go there.  I’d like to think this music, even for a moment or two, helps us see and experience our alikeness.  We Are the World and everyone can groove to Michael.

defying gravity

man in the mirror

2. The Man in the Mirror

Despite the inevitable ensuing controversy about the way he died, the way he lived, who gets the money, what I have witnessed in the real world (outside of the media) is a general focus on celebrating this man’s contributions.  That is to say, while the sentiments regarding some of Michael’s choices range from confusion to anger to outright despondency, what I notice these last several days is a general willingness to let the disappointments go to the grave…along with the man.

As we drop our judgments and just dance — emphasizing the best of this person, what illuminates for me is the imperfectness of every life.  In truth, we’ve all had our bad moments.  Some have been worse than others, sure, but we all have things we’ve said or done that we’ve regretted.  With less than the whole world watching, (!) those regrets are a little easier to get through.  I’m not defending anybody, but rather celebrating what I see: individually, we seem to be choosing empathy over anger, songs over sadness, and jam over judgment.  (forgive me that one — I couldn’t help myself.)



3. Will You Be There? What has me smiling in earnest the last several days is the way in which we are, truly, memorializing this man, the way it ought to be.   In fact, this might be the best darn funeral I’ve ever attended.  Why?  Because we are letting him go out the very way he lived.  We are, in effect, being with this man — his contributions, his words, his rhythms, his moves, his history  — and loving him for who he was.  We are letting ourselves feel something; letting ourselves go there, specifically, thoroughly, joyfully, and mournfully.   We are mourning him by shaking our booties.  Mourning him by singing along.  Mourning him by re-visiting the ways in which he touched us, as if for the first time.  It is painful to look back over the old photos, to re-live the super-human dance moves, to see the changes, and yet, it is who he was…and who he was is what we need to experience in order to let him go…and to let him live on.

All this fanfare has my wheels spinning about exactly the way we, as a culture, could memorialize each other.  If only we would be willing to cry hard, laugh hard, and love hard — as we say goodbye, in particular, and as a way of letting go.  If only we would remember each other the very ways we were present in each other’s lives. For Michael, it comes in the form of dancing, and singing, and literally, remembering the time in music and video.  For someone else passing on, we need only look at who they were when they were living to find clues about how to both grieve and celebrate their lives, whether it’s embarking on a camping trip, preparing a feast of signature foods, reading some favorite books, or any other of the thousands of ways we humans make our mark on the world and on each other.  I hope we can see, with this exuberant example, the ways in which therapeutic healing is so available to us in death when we look no further than at the person who has passed.

Thank you, Michael, for being human, and for doing your best.  Thank you for providing such a unique and powerful example that makes mourning you so damn FUN.  And thank you for living on.

peace out

peace out

(Take a look at this one last clip and watch his feet!)


Total Surrender

in plain view

enough said

Monday night, I had the good fortune to be sitting in the balcony at an intimate solo acoustic concert of one of my favorite performers, Sam Beam, of Iron and Wine.  Alone on the stage with only his sister singing backup, he played the 9-minute song, “The Trapeze Swinger.”  (The version linked here features a different special guest).  You’ll see, the song is cyclical and totally repetitive.  It goes around and around like a ferris wheel — a simple little melody and Sam’s colorful, nostalgic lyrics.  The only words repeating are the plea, “please, remember me.”  It is 9 minutes long, so, if you are able to listen to the song concurrently, it should take you through the rest of this blogpost, and then some.

pause….pause….pause….. I’ll give you a moment to work that out….

The song itself is riveting, yes, but what has had me up at 5:00 a.m. the last two mornings was the impact of the performance. It was urgent and breathless; raw and guttural. It rose and fell, earnest and sad and hopeful, and totally in the moment.  There was a split second when I could literally see him enter the space of the song– letting the realness of him inhabit it, and then letting the realness of the moment be shared.  It was, as one of my beloved clients says, total surrender.  It was so captivating to see, it seemed we all held our breath, while this human being made his heart visible…for 9 whole minutes.

plain as day

showing up

9 minutes, my friends, of total surrender.  It’s available to all of us, and I do witness these little moments — but rarely for more than 3 or 5 seconds.  I’m talking about total presence when someone finally offers up the truth in their heart. A simple apology (“I am so sorry I hurt you”); a sincere and direct compliment (“you are radiant”); a request for help; a genuine thank you; an uproarious laugh; a long and full embrace.   Every time, they fill our eyes and our hearts, and then, almost immediately, we started dabbing away at ourselves with tissues and apologies. This one, though, was 9 minutes of someone baring his soul.

Sam Beam has a lovely soul, I’m sure, and he crafted a beautiful song through which to share it, but what occurred to me is this: sharing is not what we think it is.  Sharing yourself, I realize, is really just showing up; inhabiting the moment.  Sharing is releasing the attempt to control what others might think of us, because that’s none of our business anyway.  Sharing is not needing to look a certain way and just allowing others to witness us, exactly and imperfectly as we are.  Sharing isn’t about giving; it’s about being. Total surrender.

What occurred Monday night was Sam showed up and his essence filled the whole auditorium.  There was so much energy generated in those 9 minutes, we were drenched in it.  Drenched in the beauty of him, and moreover, drenched in the possibility of our own beauty. If he can be this raw, this tender, so can we.  What would happen if we allowed — even encouraged — each other show up the same way?  To surrender to our own humanity?

uncensored beauty

uncensored beauty

It makes me think about why we love babies so much. It’s that we haven’t censored them yet.  They are exactly who they are — nothing more and nothing less.  Not dressed up.  Not deciding to act a certain way.  Not concerned with what people think.  Just purely themselves — perfect and hilarious and not-the-best-timing, and human.  We have no way to “tell” them how to behave — and we can’t control them.  So, they take us under their beautiful raw spell and we fall victim to its simple and painful beauty.  Potty smells and food on the face and loud screams.  All perfectly fine, and even more, we’ll rearrange our whole lives around them.  We will sit and marvel at the glorious unfettered wonder that is human life.

Who are we when we aren’t censoring ourselves or “trying to come off” a certain way?  Moreover, where does this liberated baby go?

Witnessing it — pure presence of heart — for 9 minutes Monday night felt like a gift from the gods.  If these moments of pure presence of heart are so wonderful, why are they so scarce and shortlived?   What are we so busy doing?

Exchanging niceties, feigning interest, hiding our pain, taking stands, holding tight to what we “believe” versus feeling what we feel, saying “you” instead of “I,” busying ourselves with what’s “appropriate,” suppressing laughter, competing with each other, making plans, changing the subject, cutting short our moments of celebration, filling our conversations with details we’ve rattled off a dozen times already, shooing away compliments, half-listening, holding in our gratitude.  This is how we fill our phone conversations; our time together.

blooming brightly among the weeds

baring all

Remember when Cuba Gooding Jr. won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Jerry Maguire”?  As the Academy tries to get him off the stage to take a commercial break, he gets louder and more effusive and more animated, and more physical in his acceptance speech — taking over the music and the stage with a mission to express his gratitude.  Every other winner politely says “thank you this and that” but Cuba lets it all hang out, as though it was his last moment on earth and he wanted to be sure to express how he really felt.  And, wow, not only was it okay that he did that,– he had the entire audience on their feet!  A standing ovation for pure, raw authenticity, as if to say, “thank you, Cuba, thank you for taking this in, letting it impact you, sharing your true self, and reminding us we can too.”

So, if we give standing ovations for authenticity — for total surrender, then what are we doing avoiding it so often?  If we would only — even for a few minutes, 9 minutes, a day — speak from our hearts, what impact would it have on the world?  On our lives?  On our relationships?  I’d dare to say, we wouldn’t need much.  I’d dare say, we would simplify our lives and release ourselves from regret.

Picture this: If we had heart expression available to us — if we made it safe for everyone to exist from their heart-center and we, ourselves, could have access to the feelings and pure emotions that resonate and live in our hearts  — what would our lives look like?  Who needs a better TV or another pair of shoes when you have ripe, juicy, authentic heart expression available to you?  Who needs elaborate plans or protocols when you could have the truth of the matter?  Who needs excuses or complaining or blaming or any of the things we do to avoid knowing what’s in our hearts when right here, right now, you know you’ll get a standing ovation for total surrender.  A standing ovation for total surrender.  A standing ovation for total surrender.  Thank you, Sam Beam.