Saturday, October 9, 2010
The last dog-and-pony show
The NBC comedy 30 ROCK is a favorite here; it makes me happy because I think Tina Fey gets away with murder, mocking the network and its parent conglomerate. Her humor is absurd, out-of-bounds, lets the air out of everyone's balloon. In this week's episode, a new form of trial by ordeal was required of applicants for page positions. This involved singing, dancing if one so chose and, in general, whipping up a frenzied, desperate one-man version of a dog-and-pony show.
I have exhausted my capacity for tap dancing.
In every literal and figurative sense, it is no longer possible to put on a good front, sell anybody anything, please anyone for whom nothing is good enough, reinvent the wheel, pretend I don't care when I do, show up when I am depleted or try and read your mind.
There comes a time when all that remains is what you see is what you get. There will be no performance today. How can one quantify the essential good that has been lost on attempted perfection, even attempted adequacy, while the true self wrapped herself in a dusty cardigan, locked her arms around her knees and wedged herself in next to the stove. It is a shadowy spot, no one would look there for a shiny object.
While this information came to me somewhat later in life, that does not mean it is a product of age, or not only of age. It is the result of awakening to the fact that, regardless of testimony and evidence to the contrary, it is possible to be enough by simply being.
Being is not a passive state, it is not lumpen or sniveling or apathetic. Being is the birthplace of who we really are, it bears the hallmarks of humility and awareness. In being there is no self-promotional quacking but there is clarity about what we do well. Being is a sort of promised land where there is no longer anything to prove. It is the retreat from which we send out our genuine expressions of self without judging the forms they assume. From a state of being we are able to allow. We unfold and emerge, as surprised as any when we see who appears.
What I know is that, for me, chasing money produces no reward, lifelong habits of an undesirable nature seem to take another lifetime to change, I wish I had let intuition guide me all those years I mistrusted it, someone is going to be disappointed and either will or will not get over it, too many broken promises will result in your being downgraded to acquaintance status and all the items I had to shove aside in the back seat of the boat-sized red convertible from last night's dream mean something.
Being can leave us breathless, but not in the same way as flat-out, desperate tap dancing...that is just out of breath. We have the opportunity to become our own source of wonder, while enjoying the role of startled onlooker. We are the microcosm, we are the mythic Lost Cities of Gold, we contain the still moment at the heart of the cosmos, we are the impossible. And if we so choose, we can keep wearing the dusty cardigan. It is familiar and wears like a benediction.