Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Living on the brink with Mork

"It's like, well, either totally wonderful or absolutely crazy and I'm not sure which," my best friend recently confided. "Have you ever felt that way?"

"All of the time," I responded. "For me that seems to be my life and spiritual journey" even though we weren't discussing her spiritual journey, just a new life interaction.

She can hardly stand this, though seems amused at the paradox. "I'm NOT in charge," she said aloud as if understanding this for the first time.

We come to know this place, in my experience, when we are on the brink of truth, when we are most honest, authentic and trusting our intuition, gut or something beyond ourselves. Often, it occurs when we are breaking away from the bonds of society and deciding for ourselves what fits us best, which non-traditional direction to move and/or taking a leap of faith.

I think it happens when we are closest to God, nestled up in the palm of her hand, letting her breathe into our bodies, minds and souls – the place of surrender. Because we are not in control does not necessarily mean we are out of control. We are remembering to trust, erasing the years of social conditioning.

There is a very fine and blurry line between perfection and madness. I've observed it in people. My father-in-law, for example, was brilliant, generous and kind. Yet he was also a fierce game-player – games of his own creation. When I was an editor, he asked me to typeset a story about a fictitious relative who was a chess champ from Germany. He wanted to get it printed, wagering that if it looked like a real story already, it would. That was well before the Internet, at a time when editors supposedly fact-checked stories. It was published. I watched as he retreated in later years (much too young), stung by the death of friends. He became trapped in his body with few means of communication, yet continued to play games with his courageous, care-giving wife. It may have been his way of surviving, but was hard to understand and know upon which side he stood.

Screenshot of Mork & Mindy episode on YouTube.com
I can't help but think, too, of the early death of Robin Williams yesterday. He is a rarely gifted actor into whose brain I would have loved to travel and marvel at the way it instantly spit out creativity and wit. He was a tortured soul: brilliant, but on the verge of depression or insanity. Sometimes his acting was so insane, it was perfect. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins wrote about Williams' genius in an essay:
"When I was a kid, having problems of my own, feeling unpleasantly different from the people who populated my world, I found sanctuary watching this guy on TV who was celebrated for being a weirdo, for being an oddball, for being silly. He was praised for having a mind that produced delightful absurdities with great speed. No one told him to be quiet. No one tried to make him act like everyone else. He was a hero to me."
Vincent Van Gogh is another sterling example. He tortured himself mentally and physically painting at a rapid pace, selling only one work a few months before his death. Yet, five of his paintings top the list for most expensive art privately sold.

On a more positive note, Albert Einstein was kicked out of school at an early age and labeled unteachable, yet his mother persisted in nurturing his gifts in a manner that suited their growth.

Society often does not recognize paths other than what it prescribes, so we become uncomfortable when we use and trust our intuition, listen for God at work in our lives or take the road less traveled. We are taught to be in charge and compartmentalize our quirks or gifts not viewed as socially acceptable. When we have a gift and the will to express it, being denied that option is gut-wrenching. I have wondered if it can be a gift if there is no one to receive it?

So, I patted my friend on the back, gave her a hug and said, "Welcome," grateful for the companionship.

• When have I felt out of control?
• How can I let myself live in that space?
• What societal partitions keep me from wholeness?
• What are my own blocks?
• How do I feel Spirit with me on the brink of truth or authenticity?

it's okay to say
I listen for God

but, heaven help
me, I have to be 
careful to whom
I tell I get responses

over the edge
some would and
have said

others who have
walked that tightrope
between truth and falsity
heaven and hell
life and death
authenticity and artifice


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  1. Thank you. We could all use a reminder to trust our intuition.