Continued from Sunday Blessings!
My sister brightened my world enough to see them [angels]. And she is the brightest one of all in my life. While I have Courage, my sister has Inner Strength. She has it in spades, and it’s that gift she has that lights the world and makes it seem doable, when she’s around.
Part 2 of 2
So that’s why I’m talking about “Celebrating Inner Strength”. It’s different than Courage, and is something I need to work on. People have said that I am one of the strongest people they know. But I don’t feel that way at all- as I did when I was a child, I feel weak. In contrast, others seem to be so “strong” to me.
On the other hand, I’m usually good in emergencies. I have an “inner knowing” and it is insistent and undeniably loud in those instances. It immediately imprints an image in my mind of what to do and I do it. I’ve learned not to question it. I’ve helped people and have also escaped some very frightening situations that way- and when I haven’t listened to that “knowing” inside of me, I do regret it.
Inner strength is like courage, I’m realizing. But where courage is a moment of action, a sprint; inner strength is of endurance, a marathon of resilience. It’s being courageous every day, even when you don’t feel like it. Some would call it self-control, discipline, will – but since I am more focused on spirituality, I believe it goes deeper than that. It’s a gift of the Spirit, given or cultured, as I see almost everything.
According to yourdictionary.com there are a few definitions of inner strength. I suspected it was a multi-faceted value. Inner strength: integrity of character (this explains why I feel I need it for my other values); resoluteness of will; mental resistance to doubt or discouragement. That’s the one. The last definition. That’s my definition of inner strength that I need to work on.
So I shall define my value of inner strength as: “everyday courage demonstrated by mental resistance to doubt.”
This above quality is what I truly need to work on. When I’m at my corporate day job, I sincerely love to give encouragement to others. I believe in kindness, and it makes me happy when I can help others to believe in themselves.
Do you know why? It’s rather selfish. I am giving to others what I hope to receive myself, one day. There have been people, in the past, who believed in me. It is one of the most treasured gifts anyone could give me. But those people are so consumed with their own lives, rightly so, and what do I really need? An entourage of adoration? Groupies? No. 😀 That’s not the answer.
Like I’ve said in my other writings, what we need comes from within, in order to achieve our desires in the material world. I have to be the big girl now, even when I feel small. I need to develop inner strength inside of me- belief inside of me. I’m so full of doubt, and somehow I need to find a way to hold my own hand and say “It’s going to be ok. Take another breath. Good. Now take another step. Good….. Again.”
No one would know it unless a minefield had been tripped upon like in my last “day job” position. Where the insecurities become so great, like ghosts from a hidden locked closet, they come pouring out, and no matter what I do, it seems I can’t round them back up and contain them in that closet again. I feel lost and powerless, and my balance is so off, that I can’t even find my wisdom anymore. The only three things I can hold onto at that point are my conviction (in values), integrity (who I am and what I stand for), and courage (taking the risk to defend who I am and my right to “become”). And thank goodness for these gifts that comprise my compass, because they carried me through.
But other gifts of the spirit, like inner strength, could really have helped to weather the storm and regain my balance more quickly. When that position ended, my head was held high, and I had nothing to be ashamed of. But really, I’m a perfectionist, and am always thinking of how I could have done it even better.
Is it the Inner Child in me that is so afraid? I think so. She does not have the tools to reason and realize that she is no longer in danger. She has an adult in her that has studied enough law, and found enough courage that she now can take on the bullies, let alone, everyday “what-ifs” and fears—but she doesn’t know it. And that Little Girl inside of me….is bereft of everything she needed then and didn’t get. No wonder she is terrified. She doesn’t know she has me.
How do I let her know that she is safe now? No matter what? How do I let her know that she doesn’t have to be perfect every day? That she doesn’t have to win a crown every day to be ok? That she can get up, breathe, smile, show up, pet a horse on her lunch break, instead of a tan bunny, and when things get real bad, pretend she is back inside Le Mont Saint Michel in Normandy behind the sacristy pillar, where no one can see her, but she can see them? And she is safe.
Well it happens to be that I’m writing a screenplay where a large part of these questions are explored called “Prelune”. But for now in my everyday life, I need to find it, live it, and then I can verifiably write about it for the film. One of the first cardinal rules about writing is: write about what you know. So it would be a good idea to learn it first, don’t you think? Can you tell I’m stuck at a point at the screenplay? Yep. I’ve got to learn my talk sometimes before I can walk it. It all ties together.
Most of all I need to develop it for myself. I can’t always depend on people anymore. People are too busy trying to survive in this upside-down world we live in today. I understand.
Well, before I hone it down to the answer in my soul, let’s see what some of my heroes have to say.
“I was smart enough to go through any door that opened,” says my brilliant comedic, STRONG Joan Rivers, one of my beloved heroes. OK, so in other words, Joan just went with it. She didn’t second-guess herself to death. She said, “OK” and that acceptance gave her the everyday courage to walk through the door. She didn’t know what that door meant. She didn’t think of big hairy monsters, or if that was the “right” door to take. Maybe there is no “right” door. Maybe it was just a door, and she took it instead of just standing there.
“Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it,” says Tina Fey. You mean, Tina, that you are not responsible for everyone? They are responsible for themselves, and I can shake off any feeling that to fulfill my life purpose I must always be giving to someone else? That perhaps what I am only to “give” is my “thing” for anyone or no one to enjoy? That THAT is simply enough? Maybe so. I have held the mantra “I am enough” now for many years. But has it sunken down through the layers to my soul where it has become a conviction? Perhaps not.
“You can DO it!” is Mary Kay’s answer. Growing up, taking care of her Daddy who was a tuberculosis-in-remission-patient-at-home as her mother worked overtime at a restaurant to support the family, these were the words Mary Kay heard from her mother through the telephone every day. But words aren’t enough- she also witnessed her mother providing daily for her family around 1920, when not too many married ladies did such things. So this launched Mary Kay’s way of thinking, “I CAN!” which became a shared thought system, which became a small company, which became an IPO-company, which then in turn, was rebought by private shareholders, so that, get this–they could better LIVE the values the company had been built upon. Yeah, not too many companies do that these days. I have first-hand experiences of those who LIVED her values of “Go Give”- but I will save those for another day. Mary Kay is one of my biggest heroes, and though I never met her, she feels close to my heart, like a benevolent, wise, Grandma-Angel (though I don’t think she would like the word “Grandma” at all. 🙂 ).
Marianne Williamson, who is one of my favorite spiritual thought leaders, has a lot to say on the subject of inner strength, so let me step aside as she says her peace, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson, author of Return to Love.
Marianne Williamson, whom I did get to meet, emanates a calmness as she so steadily rests in everything she believes. But she also worked in corporate when she called herself a “girl in a patchwork dress” trying to make it in a specialist culture. Needless to say she is not in the corporate world now, but head of her own programs and non-profits.
I’m still in that corporate day-job world, and I think this is where the conflict lies. It’s possible to shine if you are in a leadership position. But anything less than that, the corporate world, I believe, has become a dog-eat-dog world. It is a fear-based world that demands their employees to drink the koolade, or conform; if you don’t, you’re noticed, and you’re out. It’s group-think or you’re out. Are you shining in an area that our leaders said wasn’t important? You’re out. Our company leaders own you and we will tell you where to shine, and when. We will also tell you how to look (get that girdle if you are plump), how to dress (fashion-plate), what to eat, what not to eat, who you can be friends with, and who your enemies are (anyone they had greatly esteemed, and then fired). After all, you are LUCKY to be working here; when people tour our building, they see you as a celebrity and you are not just our employee—you are OUR brand.
I am God’s. I don’t belong to anyone else, no matter how much they pay me. They pay me for my work, not who I am.
So those philosophies don’t sit well with me, when I have my own brands, and copyrights to my songs, etc. It’s just that my life took an unforeseen turn with a few disasters mixed in, where I am required to help support certain members of my family, and other bills that are the “right thing” for me to do, according to my conscience and health. That’s Life. And I’ve chosen it to be my life.
And while I have been a very small celebrity, I’ve been a celebrity nonetheless, and I know it means nothing. To esteem notoriety is to buy into a lie: a lie of “nothingness” signifying a projection of a myriad of things a person feels lacking within himself. And yet…how our world loves it and people starve for it.
So, I can’t control the corporate world, or how it has changed. I can control the talents, contributions, and smiles of encouragement I give in my every day role. But invariably the fears of shining—knowing that there is so much more to me and yet I have to hide it—creep up in each position. People find out what I do, or I’m stupid enough to tell them, and then look out. “Fasten your seatbelts”, because a show of insecurities and who’s the Bigger Queen Bee is about to begin.
So is it, at the root of my lack of inner strength, the knowledge I don’t fit? Just like those 4th grade days of Brumbies and My House of Trees? Then where are the teachers who talked of great things? Where have they gone? And my sister, though she doesn’t live on an island anymore, she’s on the mainland again, she can’t meet me at the back of the field everyday to play, and embolden me with laughter.
I can’t seem to find these teachers as easily as I used to. I find them here on the internet: the writers, the indie musicians (those who don’t buy into the idea that they just need to be “discovered”), the great thinkers who podcast encouragement (like Deb Scott, she rocks), and the entrepreneurs who know the corporate world is a jail of their soul. But they are not in my every day world. Why is that? Do they have to hide too? Or have they found a way to be seen, and be who they are? This….is what I’m striving for.
A thought forms. It’s a frightening thought to me, because I don’t feel up to it. But is it the answer? The answer within? Please don’t think I’m “all that” when I say it, because it’s a thought that even scares me.
Am I…..have I….am I…becoming….the teacher? A teacher? Maybe even the teacher-within I seek? The Course in Miracles say that we all become Teachers. The Catholic Church says that we all are saints.
The movie, “Bruce Almighty” says BE the Miracle.
So, if my not being able to find teachers IN my life, does that mean I need to BE the teacher? Shit. Am I ready to be that kind of teacher? I still want to be taught – I don’t want to be the teacher!
If that’s the case, let’s get a few things straight. I’m going to make mistakes. My lessons are gonna be works in progress. I haven’t discovered everything-far from it. I’m learning along with all those who are reading these words. I’m nothing special. And when I say the “teacher-within” I’m saying that I’m relying very heavily on the Holy Spirit. OK?
Maybe the fact that I don’t feel strong is because I’ve been living in a house of cards that I don’t believe in. And it doesn’t believe in me. I’ve known how to act through it, and to hide. But I’m so tired of that. It’s costing my soul, my passions, and my time. It’s costing me my life.
This question of inner strength isn’t finished for me. It will be ongoing as I learn more of it. But I think I’ve explored it enough for now to come up with a hypothesis:
In order to have true inner strength, every day courage, without continual doubt, you must believe in the world you are a part of. And if you don’t believe in that world, you must create a new one, first in one’s thought, and then in reality.
So how do I do that? I have no idea yet.
Except- go through open doors, do my thing and don’t care what others think, know I can do it, and above all don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and at the same time, don’t be afraid to shine.
But I do know this. When I asked my sister for her quote on inner strength she said, just show this picture. She’s like that.
Just cut the crap.
How I love My Sister, My Teacher.
Carry a song in your heart and Light in Your Soul.