A few years ago a spiritual teacher told me something that broke me. It wasn’t so much what she said but how she said it. As I have spiritually evolved I understand what she meant at the time. She said in a very stern and patronizing tone, “You have a huge ego! You need to let go of it before it destroys everything along your path. Because of your ego you will hurt so many along the way.” I spent years analyzing that statement, tearing it apart, placing the words in different context, and even as much as researching to see how I could live a life completely without ego. That last part can’t be done. Unfortunately (and fortunately) ego is what makes us human. I don’t know what happened after my move to the mountains but she stopped all communication with me. I reached out to her after fifteen years of friendship and she just “had to let me go.” That, alone, was a huge bruise to my over-sized “Ego.”
We are the sums of reflections that others see. My gray hair to some women is a sign of me letting go of my femininity. To others it is a form of liberation. My optimism to some is unnerving, and yet to others a quality of endearing perseverance. Every aspect of our lives is a direct perception that aligns with another’s reality. It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time. I don’t have to do anything catastrophic. All I have to do is be a mirror of something they don’t like and, bang! it is all that’s needed to be disliked, judged, criticized and scrutinized. I try not to take it personally because I love people. I enjoy them. I want to be liked and accepted. It is important to feel a connection of love, trust and joy with another.
However, that specific statement has been returning for the past few months. I’ve not shared this with anyone about its visit. When my son left home in January the statement arrived in full force. During the first disagreement in a new relationship it displayed its claws. When the summer passed and certain family members hurt me deeply the statement once again embraced me. When I had to set boundaries with friends as they began overstepping limits with my young daughter, once again I wore the statement as a neon sign on my forehead. You get the picture…ego has been consciously present with itself about itself for itself. The ego wants nothing more than to be in a one-person play with all the attention. I get it. I try to keep it in check. Unfortunately I often fail!
Here are the questions I ask myself many times: Does Ego also get recognized for the good it brings? Is there a fine line between Ego and narcissistic personality disorder, if so then do we all border on selfishness and narcissism? Is Ego another word for pure arrogance? Does Ego know it is too big? Is Ego misunderstood or lost in translation and what looks like a big ego is really a determined trait? Okay, you get the picture. There are many more questions. I am certain you can add some of your own from a curious point of view.
I am fortunate. I have the ability to translate my thoughts and emotions into a written article, blog, story or poem. I can rarely verbalize exactly what is going on inside but give me paper and I can let my spirit share away in details. Perhaps then it is divinity working through me and not my ego. I don’t know! I only know that in person I am not eloquent enough to make a clear and concise argument. Perhaps Ego only works through verbal processing. I think not!
I once met a total stranger who told me that I was constantly battling an internal war. This was shortly after we moved to Asheville. He was a homeless man in downtown. I gave him some money and he held my wrist and looked into my eyes. He said, “You worry too much what others think of you. They can’t see the love you have because their light is dim. Don’t let the war of acceptance go on forever.” I gently retrieved my arm and placed my other hand on top of his. I stared into his beautiful elderly face caressing his rough skin and said, “Thank you, sir! I needed to hear that. God bless you for such a lovely message.” I walked alone fighting the tears while returning to my big ego and how it was such a horrible thing. Once again the statement that arrived from a motherly person turned and stabbed my chest. It prickled and I gasped for answers. The words from the stranger (and divinity) were forgotten as Ego made itself present through personal home movies inside my head as I continued to walk for a few more hours. Instead of people watching I began to feel sorry for myself, letting Ego win one more time. And, I truly despise this! I couldn’t grasp the message from the man because I was so deeply wounded in negativity. Do you think that perhaps Ego won? Hmm!
I deal with a fear of hurting anyone. I have a hard time thinking that because of me someone is going through the same emotions I went through with my spiritual teacher. On this cold morning I have decided that I need a sabbatical. I usually take two or three during the year. It has been eight months or so since my last one. I need to check my ego into a place of quietness. It needs to be mended and nurtured in many ways. I don’t know how long I will be gone. It is a matter of reaching in and healing parts that I have put off for many months. Everyone needs and should have a retreat of sorts.
May you be aware of how much the Divine embraces you! My wish for each one of you reading this is to look within and check your inner most thoughts, emotions and be truthful. Be wholeheartedly truthful with yourself and spirit. I plan on traveling a nice spiritual journey. God bless!