acting · authenticity · letting go · life · receiving · safety

I Came In Here For An Argument




I’ve been recalling the above-referenced Monty Python
sketch. In the first moments, a customer walks into a room and the man behind
the desk there begins to berate him. The customer stops him, and exclaims, I came
in here for an argument! – At which point, the man behind the desk apologizes
and says, Oh, this is Abuse. Argument is down the hall. (It’s a very funny
sketch, and I do it no justice here – please make liberal use of Youtube.)
I’ve been thinking about what kind of lesson I think I’ve
been signed up for. What ideas I have about what I’m supposed to be learning in
this life, at this time, in this moment. And how maybe the room I’ve thought
I’ve walked into isn’t that room at all. That although I have some ideas and
hopes/generalities about the parts of myself I’m supposed to be working on
right now – the fact is, that I’m not actually the one choosing my courses.
I’ve had enough experience to learn that I have to let go of
what I think this lifetime’s lessons are for other people (that they should learn self-esteem,
compassion, ease, or forgiveness), and I’ve had mild success at that –
understanding that what I would have this person learn this time around may not
be what the Fates or Universe or Gods would have them learn. That although I
very much and fully think that this person ought to learn how to be softer or
to be more resolved, they’re apparently not here on my course schedule, and so
I have to let go, or else be in the pain of trying to manipulate my will into theirs.
However, it hasn’t yet ever occurred to me that I need to
let go of what my ideas are for my
lifetime. But it is now.
Because some of these lessons I’m learning aren’t ones I
would’ve consciously signed up for.
Last night, at my callback for this play, I was asked to
read a scene as the mother to a teenage girl who stood on stage with me. We
read the scene, and the director said it was good, but to slow it down, and
really find the emotional connection in it. We ran it again, and I was pretty sure
I didn’t do that.
I see this morning that I didn’t really trust that I could
convey that kind of emotion, and so I barreled through it again. I didn’t trust
that I could be good enough, or believable enough, or hold the emotion of love,
care, and concern enough to portray it.
So the lesson becomes “trust,” instead of “follow my dreams.” Trusting that if I
slow down, I’ll be okay. That if I allow myself to be seen (a lesson that’s
been on my syllabus for a while), I’ll be okay. Trusting oneself is not an easy
lesson to learn. Trusting in the safety of being oneself is not an easy lesson
to learn.
There’s a phrase I’ve been mulling on this morning: There
comes a point in your recovery when you stop backing away from alcohol, and you
turn around and start walking toward G-d.
Whatever your thoughts are about “god,” the idea, to me, is
that eventually, we move beyond being motivated by fear, and must begin to be
motivated by love.
The idea that I know what room I walked into, what lesson
I’m supposed to learn, is a manipulation based on the fear that I can’t be
myself, that I’m not okay with whatever “is.” To accept the fact that I don’t have the syllabus for my life and that
the Fates will steer me toward whatever lesson
they deem necessary for the goodness of all, means I have
to be willing to let go of my expectations for my life and myself. For all my
aspirations and intentions, in many ways.
To let go, doesn’t mean to abandon. It means to release
control, or perceived control. To let go doesn’t mean to not audition, pursue,
or practice what is in front of me. It doesn’t mean to reject or eject
anything, in fact.
For me, this morning, “to let go” means “to allow what is.”
To allow what is in me, in you, in the cards, in our hearts to BE.
I’ve never had the greatest relationship with the phrase,
“Let go.” It feels like falling. But “To allow what is” feels like releasing
and accepting in a warm way.
So, I will walk today into the classroom of life, and I will
allow what is here to mold and shape me, and I will allow that I am cared for
and need not brace for it, and I will allow that I am safe in the care of these
lessons, and I will allow myself to shed one millimeter of armor between us.
I will allow the idea, just the idea!, that I am actually
totally and completely held, and therefore be able to turn my attention from
clenching and bracing to opening, giving, and receiving. 
Bonus quote: “G-d steers the boat; all you have to do is row.”

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