authenticity · creativity · fear · fortitude · performance · recovery · responsibility · spirituality

Ready Steady Go

About 3 years ago, when I was living in Cole Valley in San
Francisco, I went for a walk. I was packing to go home for a visit, I remember,
and was feeling overwhelmed, and decided to take a walk through my new-ish
neighborhood. I took a left instead of a right, and walked past a sign, The
Sword and The Rose. Maybe you know it. Maybe you’ve walked right by it. As
unless you notice the faded paint on the cracked wooden sign, you wouldn’t know
to walk into the alley between two buildings. You wouldn’t know that beyond the
trash bins was a gate, through which is a sitting garden, overgrown with vined
plants and a running water fountain with a stone bench. Beyond this is a small
one room shop, that looks like a hobbit’s house, and you have to, well, I have
to, duck slightly through the Dutch door.

Inside is one of those curio shops. There’s a small wood
burning stove that always seems lit, around which are two high backed cushioned
chairs with ancient knitted throws. In the cases are crystals of every color and intention,
ones to wear, ones to put on an altar, ones smoothed or raw in form. The shelves are stacked high with
different types of sage to burn, candles created on different days of the week, jars of loose incense with yellowing labels of handwritten ingredients seen only in spell books.
And in the corner is a small circular table set with a stained glass lamp, a shawl, and two small straw woven chairs. It is here that you can have your cards
read.
And once, I did. Not that day, having walked breathlessly
out of my manic and nervous packing session into this stalled garden out of time.
That day when I was able to collect myself in the mystery and magic of the
darkened, perfumed room. But I knew I would be back.
The man read from Native American animal cards, which I’d
never seen or heard of before. I was not very “into” Tarot before, but I have
learned enough to know there are many paths to the mountaintop, so to speak.
It is my belief that under the right circumstances, and with
the proper intention, we are told, not “the future” or the unknown, but rather,
truths about ourselves. It is my experience that what is revealed to me,
through cards, or meditation, or other spiritual practices, are knowledges which I
already hold, which are simply being drawn out from the shadows, or crystallized
in more accessible terms.
So, when the man drew a card he called Grandmother Spider in
my reading, and told me that this card was the most creative and powerful card
in the deck, I was not surprised, but rather challenged. Challenged to live up
to this truth which I had known about myself, and which continues to be
mirrored back to me and bubbled up within me.
You can go Google the card if you like; it says that the
Spider wove the Universe. Is, in essence, the Great Creator. I don’t deign to
think that I am unique in having this spark (truly, I believe we all have it), but I am beginning to honor its
presence in my life.
Performance. People have asked me what I mean when I say I
want to perform. They ask, Act? … And that’s not the entirety of it at all. I
wrote a poem in August of last year, which I’ve pasted below, called
Pyrotechnic Performance. In my first blog-a-day posting on this website in
November, I wrote about it. (Pulling a Carmen.) And, this morning, I wrote
about it, in my Morning Pages. What do I mean by performance? And why am I called to do it?
I’ll quote here from those pages, because this is the
change of course of the Ocean Liner, this is the portend and promise of the New
Year, and most critically of all, because this is still is my challenge. I have a
financial mess, which means I cannot afford an acting coach. I am willing to
pay $50 for a zipcar tonight to get to New Year’s Eve parties, which I have
rented and am psyched about, but I am still on the sideline of my own commitment to this truth. I know this is
eroding, this stagnation, this hesitation, this fear. To loosely quote
Nelson Mandela, it is not our darkness of which we are most afraid, but our
light. Hiding in financial crises, dead-end (and deadening) jobs, being late,
being “shy,” these are the snakeskins which I am shedding.
Because I want to be available, I am coaxed by this light,
this promise, and as you’ll read, I have a commitment not only to myself to
fulfill, but one to you as well. So, to a new year, to a challenge I am becoming
brave enough to face, and to the undocumented bounty of facing a truth I’ve
known all along.
A Safe and Happy New Year, Friends. And as Bill Murray says
in Ghostbusters, See you on the other
side, Ray.
Performance, A Challenge (12 31 11)
I want to perform. I want to ignite, excite, catalyze, engender, enmorphize. I want you to witness me. I want you to be changed in the witnessing. I want the love in you to awaken and stir as I open myself to you. I want to be there for it. Present. My best, most available self. I want you to fall in love with yourself in the process. Discover the ancient and cavernous depth of your heart. I want to be your tour guide. To lead you where you are ready to be led. I want to change the world, for good. One heart at a time, beginning with my own. And I am becoming Ready. I am ready to transform.
Pyrotechnic Performance: What I want to do when I grow
up.
(8 5 10)
I want to startle your emotions and steamroll you with
feeling. I want to seize and agitate the flames of my inner fuel and fury and
ignite and catch you on fire too. I want to blast you out of your seat aghast
at the wonder that is G-d bellowing through me. I want to own this. I want to
master play and expand this. I want to hone sharpen and broaden the depth of
what I have to offer you. I want to journey with you through the lands of the
psyche and crash you upon the shores of revelation. I want to allow you to lick
and contemplate these wounds as you stagger toward the exit when I’m done. 

I want
to heave you into oblivion and gently reel you back in.
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