Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moving ego off the stage

Perspective is EVERYTHING and God gives us a dose of it every once in awhile to humble us and call our attention to what really matters.

The past two weeks have embroiled me in working to save our neighborhood school. It's been an incredible journey and one in which I could see Spirit at work. That hit a snag Sunday when I opened my studio to discuss possibilities and one loud group took center stage announcing that the only way to go is to support the efforts of two children to tear the building down and create a park. They aim to raise $1 million. The park idea is lovely, but I don't believe the expensive tear-down is. At least, I desire to explore ALL of the options first. The park group believes, second hand, that they have been exhausted. But I know artists imagine things in a completely different and transformative way. My shamanic counselor has taught me a solution is never either/or (save or tear down), but a "whole rainbow of color choices."

After a three-hour meeting Sunday, I returned home exhausted and with anxiety about all that we had just accomplished. That lingered through the wee hours, even though I kept telling myself to let God handle it. I was buoyed yesterday by two conversations with out-of-the-box thinkers with a genuine concern for the community.

One of those was late in the day and I arrived home late and ready to unwind. I barely had my boots off when I heard a gusty knock at the door ... one that demanded to be answered. I complied and lit up to see two of my Artsy Fartsy girls ... two who have stuck with me three years. They had been shopping out in the cold for four hours -- one only dressed in a sweatshirt -- and wanted to warm up and ask for a ride home. I gave one a clean pair of dry socks and we sat in the living room chatting about their after-Valentine's Day bargains. One got a text that it was time to be home. As I led them through the kitchen, they were enticed by the smell of the cooking meatloaf. I wished it had been ready then and I could have fed them. Instead, I ferried them back to one of the stores where they had forgotten a package. "If he doesn't give it back to me, something's gonna go down," one crowed. "How about I go in with you, just in case." "Good idea," she agreed. "Now, don't embarrass me or I'll act like I don't know you," I teased.

We successfully retrieved her bag and I drove them to warm homes. Their visit and the ease of our relationship dispelled any coldness in me from the weather and the fate of the building. The art I make in the building is about the kids, not where we do it. I told them the project and its tear-down were rejected and they were excited. "Where will have Artsy Fartsy if not there?" they both chimed in. "We have lots of temporary offers, but I am not worried about it. We'll figure it out."

I slept incredibly well and even braved the extreme cold to do laps in an 84° pool. I sailed into the studio for a full day of writing when the phone rang. My mom had tripped last night, broken her hip and they were in a hospital awaiting surgery.

OMG. Could a building or any petty conflicts about it come before her?

People, God says pretty clearly, come first. Even before my Do-Gooder reflex and how I hope things could be in my community.

I needed the reminder – thank you, Wise One.

• How do I let myself get carried away?
• When do I need to be jolted out of my ego-centered world?
• How does God give me perspective?
• What spiritual practice can also grant me the larger view?
• What is my prayer for the wisdom of perspective?

Dear One,

Whom I love with
all of my heart

Who knows me
better than I can
ever pretend

Please continue
to guide me
even when I resist

When ego is
front and center

Remind me
what matters

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