There are just three quick qualifying questions.
- Can you eat fire?
- Can you walk a tightrope?
- Can you juggle?
Wait, what? I thought I won the LOTTO. I’m not looking to join the CIRCUS. You must have the wrong number.
Nope. You are definitely the lucky winner! Did you not read the fine print when you chose to play? Of course, you have to join the circus to win the lotto. Ask any of our winners. You wanna touch the sky? You gotta testify–you can do these three things.
Umm, but I can’t actually do ANY of them. And no, I did NOT see that there was any fine print. To be honest, I don’t even really recall getting a ticket. I guess you’ll have to give it to someone else.
Ma’am, please do not hang up. Usually, we have to do just that. Most people say they’ll be willing to answer THE CALL. They think we mean, simply, pick up the phone. Absurd, but folks want the easy way out. When they find out what’s required, they almost always hang up.
You certainly don’t have to claim your winnings now. We can always call back later. This isn’t our first time trying to reach you, but, since you still seem to be on the line, let me ask you a question. Aren’t you curious?
What it would be like to not be so blindingly bored of what you know you know you know. To not be driving a million miles an hour asleep at the wheel?
THIS is how it begins… if we are willing… to ANSWER THE CALL.
Distrust. Defiance. Denial. Dread.
Qualifying questions? Really? Show me the money! No? Yeah, I didn’t think so. It’s another scam. I wasn’t born yesterday. Click.
That’s how it goes. The alarm will go off again at 6:00am tomorrow morning in your own personal Punxsutawney Falls. Until you wake up.
It’s a hero’s journey.
Everyone gets the call. Not everyone’s up for it. It’s unreasonable, unbearable and wildly unpredictable. It cripples your confidence. Crucifies your coveted comforts. And tears the covers of loving kindness off your closeted rage. Oh yeah, and… it’s a volunteer job.
The circus is real. Capes are for closers. Step right in…
People will piss you off. It’s guaranteed. All types of kindness criminals. Dream vultures. Peacock posers. Trust scorpions. Energy leaches. Endless sources to spark our pain. Fan the flames of where we’ve been. And when you get blazing mad, there’s only one thing to do.
Eat fire. Let it burn you up. And up. And up… until finally– it burns you out. Leaves you free. And then, from the ashes of what held you down– you rise up. And up. And up.
Rise UP into the phoenix of your becoming.
Easy to write. Harder to do. I’ve found three basic rules that help a lot. I fight each one, every step of the way. Throw up ALL varieties of excuses, caveats and reasons why in this particular case, I should do something different. I’m always wrong. Finally, after a few decades, I’ve learned to rebel, resist and sit my ass down.
Rule One: Never underestimate the opportunity not to say a fuc*’in thing.
One of Joe’s old school, Mad Men Creative Directors offered this piece of advice. I absolutely love it. Especially after being on the receiving end of bad behavior.
It will always seem like the pitch perfect opportunity to right wrongs, punish unjust actions, call out unacknowledged deception, set the record straight– and let self-righteousness reign supreme.
Don’t. Not even a little. Not even with an its bitsy passive aggressive wink. High horses, soap boxes– get off them all.
Do whatever mundane tasks prevent you from picking up the phone. Eat ice cream till your stomach hurts. Run till you need bunion surgery. Feed the deer. Pet your dogs. Overanalyze your kids screen time. Be bratty. Jump around on the hot coals of your discomfort.
Rule Two: Dismiss the messenger. Receive the message.
I read this in Michael Brown’s book, The Presence Process. It has changed my life. It is hard to see the person that’s sabotaging your joy, infiltrating your sanity and pretty much ruining your life as a messenger.
Dismissing push notifications– easy. Dismissing finger-flipping road ragers– maybe. Dismissing the messengers of your misery– umm, not so much. Not without at least placing a little broken glass under their tires.
Dismissing the evil perpetrator of your happiness feels like an act of personal neglect and self-betrayal. The opposite is true. And, if you can do all it, which for me usually takes weeks, the next part feels like a glorious sunrise buffet of beauty, grace and rebirth.
The feeling that person brought up has an emotional signature that can be traced back to an original pain and it has a message. Once you get it, the weirdest thing happens. The person you couldn’t stop thinking about and kind of wanted to kill, becomes the catalyst of your next incarnation.
Rule Three: Ask yourself one question.
“I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.” –Albert Einstein
Why does this question matter so much? Because the trajectory of our life depends on our answer. The universe feels so cruel sometimes. Looking up often makes me feel like looking back down again.
And yet, despite what humans may be doing, I believe in my deepest heart that the universe is patiently trying to show us all– the way to love.
Beautiful as that may be, we are still, very much, in the circus.
No safety net. No baton. No going back.
Dangerous as hell. Countless factors beyond our control. The only reasonable thing to do, in a situation like this, is jump. When you come to the end of your rope, let go.
We must risk falling to fly. How else do we get free of fear? How else do we soar to new heights if we aren’t willing to imagine what we can’t yet see.
The man without imagination has no wings. – Muhammad Ali
It takes balls. Yes, those kind. Big ones.
Because, in this last part, you are constantly out of time. Not late, like Alice in Wonderland. Or unconscious, like Dorothy in Oz. Or brainwashed, like Neo in the Matrix.
In order to juggle invisible energies, you must step out of the linear confines of time. Out of the soldier marching minutes. Out of the artificial construct of dead lines. In order to collaborate with time, we have to simultaneously be both in it AND outside of it.
There is you. There is the moment. There is the universe.
There is a closet full of capes. And THE CALLS keep coming.