When I was in high school studying to be an actress, my father told me to “take my work seriously, not myself.” And a few years before that, when I was in junior high, he encouraged me to raise my hand in class and not worry whether or not I had the right answer. “Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself,” he said.
These were great words of advice. I ended up making a fool of myself on a regular basis, and while I often did take myself far too seriously, I always took my work much more seriously. But that was only after I found a connection to my soul. It was only then that I could see there was a difference between my personality life and my soul life, or soul consciousness, or higher self.
Now, my higher self, my soul consciousness, do you think it cared a fig about my silliness and making a fool of myself? It didn’t even agree with me that I’d made a lot of mistakes, a lot of ‘errors.’ From the perspective of soul, I was having ‘learning experiences.’ Things I thought I’d done wrong, my soul disagreed. My soul doesn’t know from right or wrong, up or down. It only knows love and acceptance. When I visualized all those Xs, those Xs for Wrong and Unacceptable, my soul said wait a sec, aren’t those lines just crossings? Like the way you used to cross the Atlantic Ocean all the time? Back and forth, back and forth. Crossings. Nothing wrong in that!
People have called me brave because I risked being laughed at when I wasn’t trying to be funny. Yet it took its toll, and hence my father’s words to me, because I was a desperate approval seeker. Or at least my personality was. My physical self.
The key, of course, is to come as you are, be who you are with love in your heart, and allow others to be who they are, without needing them to be any different.
Ultimately, it’s not about me, it’s about you, whatever it is you make of my work. This was true when I was a performer and a director said to me, “I don’t want to see you cry; I want you to make the audience cry.” As an actor, I was a vessel for the playwright’s words. His or her representative. As a painter, I was a vessel for the art spirit moving through me. And now, as a writer of memoir, I’m an interpreter. What’s done is done. It’s over and done with. All that’s left is my perception. The memories, and the perspective at which I chose to observe them. Which is to say, I made it all come right in the end.
That bears repeating. I made it all come right, in the end. But that was because I went left and right. Into the shadows and darkness, and out the other side. Seeing both sides, the light and the dark, and knowing they are one.
Just as the X is really a Plus sign too, just a little askew. I straightened up the X, and made it into a +