LIVING THE SOULFUL LIFE
FAME, PEDESTALS AND POWER
By Scott Kalechstein
Hello, and welcome to my divinely-inspired article. You have been blessed to find these words. I am a famous writer, a fully self-realized being and an expert on deep subjects that somehow have eluded you, you poor thing. I know secrets about life and living it fully, secrets you would do well to learn. I enjoy perfect health, changeless love, and oceans of prosperity.
You are a reader, a seeker, one who is, letís face it, less evolved than I am. You have insecurities about yourself, and it is my good pleasure to expose them, exploit them, and sell you my products. Generally speaking, I have myself together and I write to help you get a life.
Yet there is hope for you, dear reader! If you purchase my amazing new book, you will feel empowered, achieve total success, and never have hard times again. If you take my workshops and tithe to me regularly, you, too, might become all together. One day you and I might do lunch, and we can chat incessantly about our perfect lives. My advice? Read this article as the gospel. Obey it, do not question it, and you will be well on your way to someday making the reservations for our lunch!
But enough about you. Letís get back to me!
I am a superior human and an authority on spiritual matters, a pillar of strength without weakness. I donít have bad moods or disappointments or lose my temper.
Yes, you have just been in the passenger seat of my ego trip. And if I were to deny that a part of my psyche has been tempted to take such a ride, then Iíd be in danger of being driven unconsciously to act it out. When I acknowledge my shadow, it is much less likely to cast its command over me. I want to be honest with myself about my egotistical tendencies, and the wounds behind them, so I can keep them in check.
There was a time when I didnít have this awareness, and I did act it out. I had relationships with women who looked up to me with adoring stars in their eyes. They handed me their power and I took it. Wondering why I kept attracting this Ďteacher-studentí dynamic, I eventually had to look within and tell the truth to myself about my own insecurities. I was wanting to be propped up like that because my self-image was secretly very low. It was many years before I was willing to attract (and be attracted to!) a woman who was in her own power, and didnít have me on a pedestal.
Power trips, whether acted upon or not, give me temporary relief from the lack of authentic self-love. Power trips mask my sense of powerlessness.
Many years ago there was a spiritual teacher in my life, a special man with special powers. He lived in Sedona, a special place, and I had the special privilege of staying with him and his family numerous times over a five-year period. I had hopes that by just hanging out with him, whatever specialness I thought he had that I didnít, would rub off on me. I often felt extra-insecure in his presence, comparing myself (unfavorably) to him.
Once he took me hiking, and as we were close to the top of a mountain, my fear of heights surfaced very strongly. I stopped moving and just froze. He encouraged me to keep climbing, to feel the fear and to move forward anyway. I backed down from the challenge, going for safety and survival over his invitation and guidance.
I remember silently shaming myself for choosing security over the adventure of overcoming a fear. I imagined that he was judging me for staying in my comfort zone and I felt bad about disappointing my special teacher. I remember hoping that someday I would be as spiritually evolved as he was.
Five years after that experience I ran into him again, in San Diego. He had suffered some kind of breakdown. His wife had left him and took their son with her. He told me he had been in a mental institution for a while. Lethargic from medication, he confided in me that he was stooped in self-hatred and severe loneliness. I felt shocked. This was my teacher, one I looked up to!
That evening I took him to a healing group, where he was saturated in love and support, and felt grateful that I had a chance to give something back to one from whom I had received so much. But I also experienced the encounter as lifeís sober wake-up call, cautioning me about separating myself from others by putting them on pedestals.
I wonder how prevalent this kind of thing is. Maybe it exists in epidemic proportions. Maybe most of the self-help gurus and experts who speak at conferences and fill the best-seller lists are in the same boat with you and me. Maybe every human being you have ever excessively admired has been just as human, imperfect and vulnerable as the rest of us.
A number of years ago a popular guru was caught with his yoga pants down, as it came out that he had been sleeping with several disciples. Thousands of his followers were heart-broken and disillusioned. People were forced to see the inconsistencies in the one whom they had thought had no weaknesses. Although many simply turned to someone else to look up to, some of them used the experience for empowerment and gave up idolatry altogether.
Seekers evolve into finders when life strips away our security blankets, such as the illusion of a Perfect Human Being in whom we can blindly and wholeheartedly put our trust. The stripping away may first invoke a sense of despair, but a descent into darkness can be just the tunnel we need to lead us away from habitually giving our power to others. Facing despair can leave us face to face with the God within, thus ending the game of seeking forever.
This culture promotes having heroes outside of ourselves, which is a sure way of keeping our own golden natures hidden from sight. Fame glitters, and it catches many eyes in this culture, but it is not gold. Putting a fellow human on a pedestal is an effective way to hide your personal power and magnificence from yourself. Pretending to be small is just as much of an ego trip as inflating yourself above others.
The only way that I will ever be comfortable up on a pedestal is if there is room for you and my mother and the entire human race. There we will worship and praise and learn from each other equally, with everyone acknowledged as heroes and stars, teachers and students. This may cause a much needed wave of gurus turning in their robes, (as well as send the sales of People and Entertainment Magazines plummeting), but the true gurus will retire in celebration, knowing their purpose, which was to render themselves useless, has been served.
I am not the giant of my fantasies, nor the dwarf of my fears. Somewhere in between these extremes is my humanity, and in my acceptance of that, there is enough peace and happiness to last for a lifetime.
Scott Kalechstein is a regular sort of fellow aspiring to live authentically. In
addition, he serves as a singer, songwriter, speaker, humorist, recording
artist, minister, and workshop leader. You can visit him in cyberspace at
www.scottsongs.com His music recordings are full of joyous, life-affirming
songs for adults and children. To contact Scott email:
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