authenticity · community · growth · love · recovery · theater

Spiritual Echolocation

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I am not the best
judge of my progress or my abilities. But, even though I can’t rightly see myself, I’m beginning to notice that I am hearing
it from others.
And this in itself feels like progress: At least I’m hearing
it.
There was a time when I described compliments as one of those
bug zapper lamps people hang on their porch. The bugs merely get within range
of the lamp and they get zapped dead. Same with compliments for me: Anything positive that was said would get deflected before it even got close to
touching me. None of that here, pew! pew!
I’d said that you can’t receive a compliment if there’s no
complementary place within you to receive it. If there’s nowhere it fits
within your own understanding of yourself, then there’s no way that it can be
accepted. There’s no ring of truth, because you don’t believe it yourself.
Time passed, and I’ve become more able to receive positive
feedback about certain things, because I have begun to hone and cultivate the
place within me that is receptive, the place within me that believes you
because I believe it myself.
That said, there’s room for growth.
This week, I’ve had several experiences where I’ve been told
about my progress and abilities, and even though I can’t quite feel this, I’m beginning
to recognize that I believe them, I
believe others are seeing this, even if I’m not myself.
Hence, spiritual echolocation. I can’t see it myself, but I
believe in the feedback I’m receiving – so there must be something to it.
I know that feeding off external validation is not the
way to walk about the world, but what it’s doing for me is giving me hope that
one day I can see it. There is an
existence of a cave wall. Others are telling me so. If that is truth, there is
hope that I will see it, too.
On Friday night, after the first act of our opening night of
To Kill a Mockingbird, the director came
backstage. He was beaming. He was so glad and proud of the work I was doing
on-stage.
I was dubious. But I thought Wednesday’s preview night
went much better; it felt better
.
He told me he was the only rightly judge of my performance,
and Friday night, I was better.
Whether I felt it or not.
On Saturday morning, I went for my semi-regular voice
lesson. And at the end of a phrase I’d sung, my teacher applauded and cheered –
he even gave me a high five.
“Did you hear that?” he asked, delighted.
No, I didn’t. I can’t hear myself.
The noise and buffer between what is and what I perceive is
loud and thick.
“We’re going to have to record you more then,” he said. “You
have to get used to hearing yourself.”
This morning, I was on the phone with my mentor, and I
reported these incidents to her, as I begin to parse out these places where I’m
being told one thing, but I’m hearing and sensing another.
She, too, had told me that I’m farther along than I can
feel. And she gave me a metaphor (because we all know I love those!):
She told me I am a tree creating deep, deep roots. A solid
foundation. And you can’t always see that growth above ground, but it’s
happening.
We were talking (again) about my questioning of where and
who I am this lifetime and where I’m going. And she said, some people have
really gorgeous foliage, and weak roots.
We’re doing the work now — early, some might say — that others
come to in mid and later life. Creating a root system, carving out the rot,
cleaning the wounds.
Like a field of asparagus, you don’t see its heroic work
until one morning you turn, and the whole field has sprouted green, fully
formed, like Athena.
I am not used to
hearing or seeing myself clearly. I’m not adequately armed with the ability to
track my own progress. And thank god for other people, then!
But I do feel the promise and the hope of their reflection.
I am beginning to hear what they’re saying instead of zapping it, because I’m beginning to uncover the place within me that believes it myself.
I’m starting to open to a truth that’s been, and is, hard
for me to swallow:
I am worthy. 

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