There is always a choice to be made: We can listen to the voice of love or the voice of the ego. Gerald Jampolsky, MD
As part of, This is My City, a project run by the city of Calgary, the shelter where I work opened its doors last December to provide a space for a group of actors to write/rehearse a play on homelessness. The objective was to give them an in situ experience upon which to build a play that would increase awareness on the human condition while experiencing homelessness. Masks played a vital role in the production and they brought in a mask maker to teach them, as well as clients, how to make a mask.
Yesterday, I received the link to a short documentary on one of our mask-making clients. You can watch it here: The Invisible Project.
After I saw it, I went in search of Tom, the man being interviewed. He dropped out of the art program around Christmas time because he felt the other artists were not respecting his work. Yesterday, he sat in my office and watched it, his eyes filled with tears. I could see the pride settling upon his body. He knew he did a good job. He knew he spoke well.
I told him we'd love to see him back in the art studio and he hesitated.
"I don't know," he said. "I miss it but nobody wants me there."
"Is that true?" I asked him.
"Well, they didn't welcome me back very much last time I went in," he replied.
"What if it isn't about their welcome versus your desire to be someplace you enjoy?"
"Do you think they'd let me come back?" he asked.
"It isn't about them letting you back. It's about whether or not you want to come back and participate."
He paused awhile, picked at a thread on the sleeve of his sweater. "I don't know. I don't think they like me."
Ah, the fragile ego of the artist.
It is a recurring theme I witness all over the shelter -- and in my life. We encounter discord and take it to heart. Except, it isn't really our 'heart' that responds or holds onto the discord, it's our ego.
In my life, there are countless times when my ego counselled my heart to harden up, to take offence, to tuck itself back into its shell and be on guard. In the past, those times were much more frequent than the times my heart has lovingly counselled my mind to be still, to breathe, to open up and step to the other side of anger/discord/ disagreement. To not take ownership of someone else's words, actions or feelings. In those times, my ego counselled me to hold onto what someone else had said or done as 'truth'. To bite into it and keep chewing on it as if, the more I chewed the more it would make sense to me, or give me meaning.
As I have moved beyond my limiting belief that other people determine my worth or value or even what happens in my life, I have opened my heart up to possibility. To love. To my 'Self', that Divine essence within and all around me that yearns for harmony and has the power to create it.
In my opening, I create more of what I want in my life. Peace. Love. Harmony. Abundance. Respect. Integrity. Trust.
In my opening, my heart centers my ego in love, balancing every choice with the truth: I am 100% accountable for everything that is happening in my life. I allow everything that is happening in my life to lift me up or pull me down. It is my choice.
The question is: Are your choices lifting you up today? Are you soothing your ego with the voice of love?
PS: The space you see the mask making taking place in, is the Wild Rose Studio at the shelter.