Archaeology of the soul
What is your name?
Looking inward is like dusting off layers and layers of mental noise and dust with a soft brush, working my way ever further down through the traces of lives lived until I finally can unearth the pieces of the clay pot that is me. I keep brushing, slowly, until I have removed all the last remnants of sand and dirt, and the broken pieces lay before me, clean and clear and ready to be put back together.
The puzzle of reassembling that which is broken is the next natural step in the process, but something stops me from doing so. Was there a reason for breaking the pot in the first place? Did it break because it had fulfilled it’s purpose? I realise that breaking the pot didn’t truly break it, it just altered it’s form. All the pieces are now new entities, new shapes, which in themselves are perfect. The clay pot was perfect, and now the pieces are perfect. In fact, they are liberated, they no longer have to fit together to create the vessel. They are free to become new things, to serve new purposes.
Keep calm and… squirrel!
No, really. What is your name? Say it out loud and watch what happens. Say it again and now really listen to your inner response. Is that your name? Is it really your name? Is your entire being vibrating along to the sound of your name, or is there a tiny voice deep inside of you that says “Liar!”?
Now say your name again and pay attention to that tiny voice.
What would you rather be called? Is there a different name that is more attuned to the sound of who you are? Would you rather be called by a song? Or by an image? Do you even have a name? Do you really need one?
I am a potato.
Let me explain.
I am spending significant amounts of time these days with the teachings of a couple of taoists, one of them being Alan Watts, whose lectures and writings resonate with me in a profound way. He had a very special gift of conveying spiritual philosophy in a way that made it accessible and understandable to the so-called everyday man, clearly narrated and intersped with a large dose of humour.
In his book “Still the mind” he writes about how mankind in it’s arrogance sees itself as the epitome of existence, of being the most highly evolved beings on this planet and as such in danger of loosing it’s humility towards other beings.
I am enough
Letting go is, at least for me, one of the hardest things to do. It’s so easy to get caught up in my own perception of how things should be and forget that micro management rarely yields the desired results.
I adhere to the belief that there is a force outside of me that has the general oversight of the comings and goings in this life, but I also believe that in addition to the karmic nature of my physical existence, there is a high degree of co-creation on my side as well. This co-creation, however, only really works when I let go. I used to say that God has a wicked sense of humour, but in later years I have come to view what I interpreted as God’s funny way of teaching me a lesson, as rather the results of my attempts at micro managing my contemporary existence.
I’m spending mental time with a couple of taoists lately and I don’t know who of them it was that said it, but it was something to the effect of “you become what you are”. That sentiment gave me pause.
You become what you are.
Am i an ape?
I never amounted to much. I know that is not strictly true, but what I mean is I never got to do all the things I pictured myself doing when I started down this path of singing. I envisioned myself singing on the great opera stages of the world, being praised by critics and peers alike, but it never happened, and now I’m starting to think it’s too late. Several of my colleagues are doing all the things I dreamed of and I always found it difficult to rejoice for them. I was intimidated and jealous of their successes, because it only cemented the fact that I did not have what they had. That is obviously something one is not supposed to admit to, but I have promised to be absolutely truthful about everything, and this is the truth: The success of my peers intimidated me.
This, of course, does not only limit itself to singing and career, but to all aspects of life. I always struggled with my weight. Slim people intimidated me. I was often told in my teens that I was ugly. NOT by any members of my family, but by the kids I was surrounded by. In fact, it was first when I left Norway and moved to continental Europe that I started thinking I could actually at times be perceived as pretty. So, beautiful people intimidated me as well. Being ugly meant that I was alone a lot when my girlfriends began having boyfriends. Being ugly also naturally meant that I did not have any boyfriends. People in relationships intimidated me.
Feeling the feels
I suspect I‘m not alone in having a flurry of random, orphaned quotes swirling around my brain at any given moment. Some of those quotes are short lived, but some have staying power and pop up out of nowhere from time to time. You know what I‘m talking about, right?
When I was a kid I would watch movies on VHS (yes, I‘m that ancient) over and over again until I could recite them backwards, which was something I actually once took upon me to do during a particularly long and boring drive from my hometown, crossing about one million mountains, to go visit my grandparents. My poor dad, who had to listen to it, just let it wash over him without commenting. I‘m telling you, that man has the patience of all the saints in heaven combined, how he did not explode is beyond me. Maybe I‘m the reason he has high blood preassure?
Breaking down and rebuilding
Recently I read somewhere that,
“it is both a blessing and a curse to feel things so strongly”.
Yes. This is true. I don’t know how many times I have had this exact thought run through my head.
The highs are incredibly high, the lows can be incredibly low and everything in between is incredibly profound. What saves me is that I am an optimist, through and through. My mother always maintains that she is an incurable pessimist. Well, I suppose I got all her optimism, because I am an incurable optimist. Sometimes even to my detriment, but I’d rather go down an optimist than survive as a cynic.
I have broken down. Again and again and again.
I got up again every time. After every set back I told myself it was to be the last time I broke. But then I broke again. Slowly I stopped telling myself what was beginning to feel like a lie. I didn’t believe myself anymore, I knew I would break again. I also knew I would get up again.
What I started to see, however, was that every time I fell, getting back up got easier.