Today’s Soul Report:
For awhile something was gnawing at me. Something big, but not big enough for me to see. A shadow, where every time I tried to turn around and see it, it would be behind me again. It wasn’t until I decided to get real honest with my journal and get real drill sergeant like and demand I see, declaring my readiness to see it- that I did. But first, I had to invite an experience into my life so I could see what it was that had been eluding me.
Arrogance runs deep
The culprit- arrogance. Arrogance runs deep, and comes out in many subtle ways, often barely noticeable, but since working with my own, I see it more clearly and see how subtle and deep this trait goes. It is destructive in its ability to separate and leave the other or others isolated, and it is sly, like a fox. It keeps weaving in and out so we don’t see it operating in its myriad ways.
Here are examples of some of those ways:
The experience I invited into my life was a conversation I never quite felt got finished with Marianne Williamson. I wrote a blog, and in this blog, I was sharing my experience with my inner perfectionist- how she talked to me, what she demanded of me- and I addressed her as Sergeant Williamson, seeing her as a combination of a spiritual teacher (I picked Marianne Williamson) and a drill sergeant. No harm done, at least not in my mind. I picked MW because she is a woman. I almost picked Wayne Dyer, but he’s a man and I wanted to make it relatable for me so I could work with this part of me that was making my life confused, miserable and inauthentic.
Ms. Williamson was adamant I was being catty. That I was harsh, and somehow she must have offended me or I would not speak so badly of her. Well, in my arrogance, perhaps a bit of courage, and the desire to take full advantage of an interesting opportunity to stretch, I tried to make spiritual teacher extraordinaire understand I was NOT talking about her. I wanted to have an effect on her evolution, and also really wanted her to let go of this story because it was not true, at least as I wrote it, so to move this further, I stood face to face with her after one of her Monday night lectures, something I would not have thought about if it had not been for one of her adoring fans telling me I must. I must talk to her. “It would be fun. We can go together,” she said. So I went, and the adoring fan never texted me back. The face-to-face exchange with Marianne was just as it was through Twitter, which is where she first contacted me and email, where she contacted me again.
There was no getting through to Marianne. She just would not get that I was not talking about her, and looked at me quizzically when I told her my process (naming it) of outing one of my parts that creates dysfunction in my life. I guess I was naive. I guess I thought I could have a conversation with someone who talks about God, love and forgiveness with some openess. Well after this meeting, I felt pretty good. Empowered. I stood my ground because I can’t nod my head with something I know isnt’ true. And I thought that opportunity had run its course.
A few days ago. My husband is a fan of her page and made a comment. Being curious I went to her page to see what he said. I don’t even know what he said, but I ran across a comment from her- “People can translate for themselves, and I appreciate those who don’t project all kinds of stuff onto my words that I didn’t say:)” I couldn’t help myself- and I told her “I know how you feel.” She responded, and said she would try and remember that, and also wondered why she (meaning me) is so intent on attacking her all of the time.
From here, a two day conversation began. Not with Marianne. We never heard from her again, but with some of her most loyal fans. In this exchange I saw many different and subtle aspects of arrogance, so much so it brought out my own- mostly in the form of the rebel who is going to call your shit out as I saw it. What I saw are some of the signposts I view as arrogant:
Subtly number one: People telling us their title, and we didn’t ask. Example, I am a psychologist. A doctor. A filmmaker. From said psychologist, I was told that I wasn’t in a very creative and intuitive place when I picked out the name Sergeant Williamson and if I were I would have not picked out Marianne’s name or Wayne’s. Which, brings me to…
Subtly number two: Giving advice when we didn’t ask. The ancients taught, do not teach unless asked. I didn’t ask for this woman’s advice about my writing (or Marianne’s when she told me she had been doing what she does for 20+ years and should really watch what I write). She was not at my writing desk as I wrote that post, and actually, the moment MW and the drill sergeant merged was one of brilliance that only happens when in the creative space.
Subtly number three: When people say “Been there. Done that.” I tend to be honest about how I feel and what I think and where I am in my evolutionary process. This said, I leave myself open for people to give me a lot of, “been there, done thats,” (and that advice I didn’t ask for) Oh, I used to compare myself to others; (which was said and assumed by a loyal follower from this exchange). Oh, I used to care what people thought of me; Oh, I used to be afraid but now I am not- “Been there. Done that.” Great. Super. Is that helpful though? Or does it increase their superiority and cause further isolation? Why say it, other than to prove you no longer struggle, to let us all know what step you aren’t on in your evolution. And if you are so over your stuff, can I now ask you for your advice because I want to be over mine too?
Subtly Number Four: It’s my way or the dumb-way. This exchange had me pretty much hating new agey, spiritual mumbo jumbo, and I used to be kind of into it, but I think I may have been into it because it was the only thing I thought was there that sort of got me. But, most of it isn’t deep enough. It’s too much about the end result- where we are all singing Kumbaya, and not enough about what it takes to get there or gives space for those who aren’t. For me if I am not authentically feeling it, I am not going to preach about it. And for me the only way I can authentically feel it, means I have to dig within myself and find all the obsrtuctions to my authentic joy. Have I had those moments? Yes. I think so. But I’m not done. I can’t speak on the eternal, authentic anything because my focus is to know thyself, or as Volatire says, to culitivate our own garden and this is ongoing, a process. But see, I’ve been arrogant about all of this. My way is the way, preaching my anthem of- please don’t waste your time preaching and pretending all this love and joy when you have so much darkness inside, that is being projected all over the place, that you aren’t owning. As much as I would like it to be everyone’s anthem and deal with stuff, I can only own it for myself. It is what works for me. If others want what I have in my garden, I will share, but the last few years, I’ve been lost in my own arrogance; my attachment to other’s evolution and feeling the pressure to help it along as if this is my duty, my “calling,” more than tending what I used to tend best- my own garden. And yet, I wasn’t out there enough pushing that either, to get people to go my way or the dumb way, which brings me to this lesson:
The fear of arrogance also runs deep.
My husband said recently, if I want to get my teachings, words, writing- basically myself “out there,” I am going to have to find my swag. Be a little cocky even. Oh, God no- how I could I? I resist being arrogant like that. There has to be another way….I would imagine most who are out there, had some swag/arrogance- or perhps a whole lot. Even Gandhi had swag in his own way. He put himself out there and was devoted to what he believed in. So, probably not too much wrong with some swag. But I was afraid of using it and how it might make me look. The fear of being arrogant was a bigger culprit, it would seem, and it wasn’t helping me not be arrogant. It was making me blind to it. We often become what we fear, and our not looking at what we fear doesn’t make it less dangerous or real.
I invited Marianne, along with some of her loyal fans, into my life to be mirrors of my own arrogance, and my fear of it. To bring out what was gnawing at me, so I could see it and name it, which is only the tip of the arrogance ice berg, and..
The lesson in arrogance will continue…
Today’s Soul Tip:
Seeing and naming what is deep within is only the beginning. This battle/learning opportunity is not over. It is on-going until I get all the way through it. What I have learned though so far is it is important for me to call out the arrogance. To understand it is a fierce opponent. The fear of it, worse. I don’t have to fear my arrogance, therefore I may begin exposing it, playing with it, at the risk of looking more arrogant than ever before. But I am not ready to own my pure humility, and my rebel certainly isn’t going to fake it.
There is more to the story- and if my focus is to cultivate my own garden, and everything in it, then the story will continue to unfold, and I believe it might have something to do with courage. I hope you will stay tuned…
The Soul Reporter