Breakdown Imminent


*If I can beg of you to stick with me through some dry bits at the beginning, I have a fun little breakdown about two-thirds of the way down this post.

Ah, the beautiful and handsome energy of the Hierophant calls to me with lessons aplenty… Since he is the teacher, I have a few questions for today’s Tarot card from Lyn Thurman’s “Writing the Wisdom of Your Soul” October 2014 writing challenge. The questions he poses to me are, “How will YOU teach your legacy? What knowledge can you pass along? What of your experience can you share?”

For the past several years, I have been consumed with ideas of sharing my experience. I have struggled with what to share, who to share it with, how to share it, and worrying whether I have permission to share it at all. Permission from whom? The World. My community. My family. Myself. Everyone. You’re never going to get consensus on a question like that, though, I have learned. The best you can do is to act with the best of intentions and as whole-heartedly as possible… And accept the consequences. It feels a little dictatorial, a little presumptuous, to decide for myself that my experiences belong to me and are mine to share, whether I have permission from the other actors in my personal little life drama or not. There’s a difference between sharing one’s perspective and the illegal activities of libel or slander. I know that but it’s still a specter that haunts me and my efforts to let my ideas out into the world.  

The cool thing about having a teacher or guide, tutor or mentor, is that some of that permission is implicit in the contract of the relationship. If a life coach tells me it’s okay to seek out the best way to share my story and (s)he’s supporting my learning process as I go then I don’t get stuck – I assume a lot of my questions have answers even if I don’t know what they are yet. Still, though, I get hung up on trying to figure out exactly how everyone who is part of my story, those people I know personally who are characters in my teaching parables, will react when they are able to see or hear how I have perceived things that we have experienced together. Maybe that’s because I have been flattened more than once to find out that someone else has had a completely different experience of me than I would have ever dreamed!

What are my greatest fears of teaching my message? That no one cares to listen. That I’m pedantic and utterly boring. That I have nothing new to add to the conversation. That I’m a stuck-up, elitist, obnoxious, pain in the ass.

Heh… Like Elizabeth Gilbert says, my fears are boring. Why? Because they’re just like everyone else’s!

So what am I here to teach? And how? And to whom? And how will it be of the “greatest service”?

Yeah… I don’t know exactly. I’m writing a book. I’m cooking new foods. I’m exploring multiple means of creative expression. I’m having conversations. I’m raising my children. I’m exercising my voice.

And, help me Hierophant, I’m learning.

And? I’m dancing around the subject of “What could I teach?”

I could teach left-handed people how to crochet. How to use fresh, whole food ingredients to prepare a meal (I’m particularly fond of one-bowl meals). How to write a short story. How to balance a checkbook. How to keep a daily-ish journal. How to make a beaded necklace and matching earrings. How to research just about anything. How to create a kick-ass Excel spreadsheet. How to start a blog. How to create pockets of time for your passions. How to choose a properly ripe banana (lots of brown spots). How to hate making lists like this because I’m suddenly so hyper-critical of anything my brain throws up as a possible topic that I’ve left far more off the list than I’ve chosen to add. How to turn off the nasty, cruel, ugly, dissident voices of shame that live in your (my) head.

I think what I want to teach, what I think I should be able to teach, is something like “Balanced Discernment.” I can certainly give my own personal examples where I am capable of achieving this and personal examples of where I have failed abysmally at this. It looks like a course where you begin delving into your own strengths and weaknesses then finding ways to align them up as partners so they can complement one another rather than seeking ways to cancel one another out.

And where the hell did this corset come from? This corset of formal thinking that’s been constricting me so that I am bound and segmented, body from mind, heart from root, earth from sky. I feel panicky and I need to remove it yet I know that turns it into a trap where I’m stuck, flailing and miserable and teary-eyed. Or is it a lovely decoration and I’ve just put it on wrong? (And how did I flip so quickly from the stilted prose to more lyrical, metaphorical language? Oh, yeah, Amy Palko helped.) I get afraid of speaking up in truth then I cope by clamming up, damming up my flow of words, pretending that I can only regurgitate those things I know will sound sane and helpful and normal.

I can teach other things. How to check the fluids and other things coming out of your body for signs that you are not well. How to juggle the juggernauts of genius and insatiable passion. How to indulge in sensuous overload without scaring the neighbors (too badly). How to find subconscious boobies and yonis in your art. How to travel the wilds of memory and still make it home in time for dinner. How to be okay with imperfect everything. How to make great tea. How to surprise people by challenging their assumptions. How to piss people off. How (and when) to apologize for pissing someone off. How to burn bridges to the ground in flaming conflagrations. How to build bridges, farms, and gardens in your dreams. How to gut out the bad shit and still enjoy the shit out of the tiniest little wonders.

Yeah, I have stuff to teach. I might just be better off talking/writing my bones out until they are bleached and dried then letting people take what they need rather than trying to figure out what I think they might need to learn and constructing a proper course out of it.

Eh… Guess I’m still learning, learning, learning.