I'm in a play for the first time in 12 years and I don't know how I feel about it yet.
Over the last few years I've been spending more and more time on stage, teaching and lecturing, but I am working just with a few notes and the knowledge in my head. I'm not up there pretending to be anyone other than myself, and I have grown very comfortable with it. I love being in front of an audience and having the immediate feedback that 40-50 faces can give you. I love the look on a person's face when something suddenly makes sense, or when just two or three people in a crowd laugh at a subtle joke; even better when the whole group laughs! That immediate interaction feels like an evolution of the stage-work I did in my teens and twenties.
Now I am back in a theater I spent many an hour and day in when I was younger. I still remember which stairs creek and how to avoid making noise during the show. I can see everything that has changed these past twelve years and what has stayed the same. I miss the people who have gone. Some faces stay the same and the feel of the theater is unchanged, but I have changed. I have changed immensely these last ten years and being back in this place with it's captured memories and forgotten energies is bringing back thoughts, fears, and insecurities I thought I have overcome. Petty jealousies and hidden doubts I thought were long gone have reared their ugly heads and shown me how much work I still have to do on my spiritual path.
This time has also highlighted some of the weaknesses and forgotten pieces of my current life. How I have tried to push aside frivolous fun and "work" that is not for obvious spiritual or monetary gain. It seems odd to put those two things in the same sentence, but when your job is psychic work and teaching they start to fall together sometimes. I can justify a class or social gathering that I might otherwise pass up if it will be with others in the biz, or might bring new contacts and opportunities where a purely social night out can seem like a waste of time and money.
Have I forgotten how to have fun? Do I no longer do things because they are fun and joyous, but only if they have benefit (ignoring that enjoyment and happiness are benefits)? I don't know, and I'm a bit worried about that.
When I was asked to be in this play (I didn't audition, the director called me out of the blue), I felt guilty about accepting. I should be doing something "productive." As soon as I identified that feeling I said yes. It had the feel of a lesson that needed learning, but I'm still not sure what the lesson/test is - and what is the correct response. When I first checked my calendar and had no conflicts with either rehearsals or performances, I thought it was meant to be. Now conflicts are appearing and I am afraid.
What if the lesson is that I must choose between my spiritual work and business and having an outside life? I cannot accept that. Life should have choices besides survival. Fun and outside exploration have to exist in life, but what if the lesson is to turn away from distractions? That doesn't feel right, but it lines up with a reoccurring fear.
This past weekend I was talking to a friend who had recently traveled to South America to meet with John of God. I was struck by his descriptions of how the entire community worked together, partly unconsciously and partly by design, to bring you the lessons and answers you sought. It wasn't always a direct answer from the prophet. It was words and omens from all around you, often where you least expect. By the time you left you had your answer, but probably not what or from where you were expecting.
Since he told me about his experiences I have been looking around me and noticing how much that happens in my life now, and how often I try to ignore omens and messages that I don't want to hear, but the other day I got an e-mail from the play's director that stopped me.
Stopped me in every way, for a moment I don't even think the blood moved in my veins. The phrasing he used was so similar to the way I talk in my readings that there was no mistaking it for anything but a Message. "After all, you are not expected to give up everything for art, just most of it."
Substitute God for Art.
There are times I feel like I have given up so much in this Spiritual Journey. There are times when I feel I have been given so much in this Spiritual Journey. There are times I am terrified about what else I will have to give up in this Spiritual Journey.
All the time I am thirsty for what else I will be given on this Spiritual Journey.
Will my fears get the best of me? Do I have the fortitude to do what will be asked of me or will I chicken out? What are the lessons I am to be learning here?
I know that it often takes much time to understand the lessons and tests on our path. That will not keep my from wrestling with them and struggling for clarity.
The first lesson, and oft repeated lesson, is you take yourself wherever you go. I find myself talking about my work and practice during rehearsals. I share about yoga and psychic readings. Were ever I go, there I am, taking this new focus and life with me.
Addendum: We open tomorrow and I am still learning. Once again I see that I am still a jealous, vain, and often egotistical person. I am harshly critical of myself and others.
I have endless patience for those struggling to understand themselves and open their eyes to the world around them. I am deeply curious about how people work and why they act the way they do. I have great compassion for people who care, and none for those who don't. If you don't really care about what you are doing, be it reciting a monologue or moving a bit of scenery – don't do it. As Cayce said (paraphrasing), Do what comes to hand – and do it with mindfulness and grace.
We open tomorrow and I am watching this episode of my life with great interest, intent on understanding it's place in the greater arc of my life. It may be that this has only been a visit to my past, highlighting what has changed and what hasn't. In all likelihood the ending, the message is still to come. A growth opportunity. Another %^%$*&# growth opportunity.
I shall endeavor to take it with grace.