Are you drawn or are you driven?
How does one answer, how does one know?
Your essence—your soul—is malleable, flexible, resilient, forever in flow. It calls to you, every day, every hour, every moment; it sends you soft little pulsations, electric currents that enter your spirit, calling your attention to something noteworthy—of sadness and joy, of beauty, of tragedy, of the valuable ephemeral nature of being. And, of your own mission.
It is in your essence that you can be reborn through an illness, perhaps life-threatening; it is in your essence that you are able to reinvent yourself, over and over again, as your spirit demands. It is the phoenix that rises from the ashes.
Your essence is also the psychic shield around you that prevents alien entrance, psychic damage. If under attack, it makes sure you win. If trampled upon in your spirit, you bounce back. Always.
To maintain it two things are required of you: truth, foregoing your most idealized fallacies, and courage to risk an open heart and surrender your favorite, most rugged defenses.
And with each breath you take you are choosing to be drawn, or continue to be driven.
Icarus was driven. We know his fate. Leonardo de Vinci, who stared at a blank wall for months seeing images evolving and visualized the whole picture before he took up a brush, he was drawn.
How do you distinguish between the two energy forces compelling you to act, or not to act?
You know by how you feel. Agitated as opposed to at peace. Tight around your heart or a soft looseness, an effortless surrender. Breathless with tension, or breathless in awe.
Ego versus Self.
Ego’s needs are usually compensatory. Based on some old misperception, believing yourself to be no-good, or not good enough, you attempt to compensate, to feel good, to feel—enough. You attempt by doing, not by being, so it either works for the moment, promising a false sense of wholeness and security, or not at all. The moments it seems to work keep you trying, stuck on a never-stopping, never-ending treadmill, the occasional nature of its momentary success growing, eventually, into a confirmed addiction.
Ego is an inflated balloon full of hot air, constantly concerned about a puncture; the slightest prick can rupture and deflate it. A lot of work, time and energy goes into keeping it afloat; of course, the higher it flies, the bigger it is, the lower it has to come once it’s punctured. Which, ultimately, it always is, since it cannot maintain itself and one gets tired in trying.
The Self simply is. It maintains itself, feeds itself, motivates itself. It’s real
I reconnected with an old boyfriend after many years. All the characteristics that made me leave him then—resistance to change, defiance, denial, a quickness to anger, to judgment—were gone. They all got burned up in his pain of losing his mother. He confronted his greatest fears, he had to. He wanted to survive.
“When you give up the ego, you stop being afraid. You can only lose your ego, never your self. Your self is constant.” He says things like this nowadays. For me it’s worth it to stay around, just to hear some more.
Once you choose essence, life becomes easy, effortless. Low-maintenance. You stop running after things, thinking you’d be happy if only…. You begin to notice and to appreciate the little things—the beauty of a random smile, the magic of instant rapport.
A no-tension life leaves you open, so things you used to yearn and strive for ardently arrive at your door, beckoned by a silent inner voice that has the power to reach and bring forth the seemingly impossible. Magic becomes the norm.
It is living in your essence, espousing your True Self, that you survive, hear your calling, thrive, and keep moving.
As we are meant to do.
You wait things out with patience. You trust the words of Teresa of Avila: All is well, and all is always well. You stop trying to push the river and learn to flow with the flow. And you notice that every now and then, on some mystical timing, you are urged into action—right action. You are called.
Creativity resides in your Essence. People ask me how long does it take for me to write an article. I tell them it takes just about fifteen minutes—or it never happens. First a title pops into my head and cheerfully says: Hello! Then the words follow—rushing, gushing, pouring out…. Seemingly, all by themselves, without prompting, without first staring at a blank page in agony. They just come, as if by invitation only, spurred on by an invisible force, like right now.
In writing this, I was answering a call, and I let myself be led. Amidst all the discordant holiday cacophony, I finally managed to create a silence in which I was able to hear the words asking to formulate, asking to become.
Paying homage to false values, false gods, the voice of Ego is loud, insistent and harsh; that of Essence is but a whisper. You need to be quiet and still to hear the small voice within that becomes a suggestion, and finally inspiration, calling you to action.
The vision of Ego is blurred and limited, only taking in its immediate surroundings that satisfy its immediate, urgent needs. The vision of Essence is far-reaching and clear.
A new year is dawning. Let us be here, really here, and silently watch the sun come up.