Remember the Wizard of Oz? Dorothy is almost to the Emerald City, where she will get help. While crossing the Field of Poppies she succumbs to a spell and falls asleep.
We aren’t Dorothy crossing a field of poppies. Instead we ‘fall asleep’ watching reruns on TV or surfing the web. The surrounding comforts of our life lull us into complacency.
You must stay conscious for your journey. The tests in the new world are training to be alert.
Tests are not meant to support who we are but to remove the masks we are wearing.
The challenges ahead touch on areas we have protected and resisted changing. (Which is what makes it a ‘challenge’ to change.)
So if you catch yourself in a grouchy mood and grousing, “I don’t have to deal with this.” … ahhh you are in the right place.
An example of a test for me in the New World of being a widow: I wanted to learn how to play cello as a means of settling into this world with new rules. Here’s a description of the beginning lessons:
The muscles in my arms and hands are taxed holding the bow and cello, elbows pointed outward, the concentration of balancing and holding a bow against the strings, all the notes are in the bass clef (which I don’t read as easily as the treble clef), and fingering down the neck of the cello is going up in sound not down like on a piano (which I am accustomed to) and where to put your left hand fingers on the neck, there are no fret marks (like my guitar) and a fraction off either way is the wrong note … drawing the bow across the string with just the right pressure, keep the bow at the proper angle in both relation to the the strings AND the bow hairs on the string need to be at a certain angle … by the time I have done all this, my right hand that is holding the bow is cramping and I am being told by my teacher to hold the bow loosely, don’t grip AND to relax my shoulders.
I haven’t even played a note yet.
This doesn’t include carrying my music books and cello into the music shop. I sit with 6 kids waiting for their lesson.
I am 58 and I feel like an 8 year old.
Yes, this is an outer experience and the outer growth would be me playing beautiful music on my cello. For inner growth, I thought it would be ‘learning cello filled new gaps in my life.’
But the inner growth was ouchingly more. I had to recognize that I am set in my ways. I protect who I have become and I really don’t like not knowing how to do something – especially in front of someone. I struggle with the critical voice in me that is telling me I look and sound – clumsy and stupid.
Being conscious of the struggle, I can shed old preconceptions (mask) of who or what I should be at ‘my age’ and to dismiss a kind of confidence that cuts me off from learning. This is where I pass the ‘test.’ It’s not about playing cello.
My example, or whatever example you might have, is merely a test. An ordeal is coming that makes the test look like a warmup exercise.
But first in the New World there are classic characters to recognize; Mentors, Allies, Shapeshifters, Enemies, Shadows and of course, a Trickster.
To the Readers: As I write these posts, I must be engaged in my own internal journey or the blog becomes flat rhetoric. Writing another biography or having a teenager in the house again would be so much easier.