News & Blog
EGO vs SOUL
Dear Ones –
Here's a photo I thought you might like: last night at dinner with Pastor Rob Bell and Iyanla Vanzant, after Oprah's The Life You Want Tour…all of us tired and happy and warm with the friendship that has grown out of this amazing event.
I wish I could share with you every moment of wisdom from these great people (and I will try to share more, over the coming week) but here is one beautiful lesson I picked up over the weekend.
A woman asked Rob yesterday how you can tell the difference between when your soul is talking to you, and when your ego is talking to you.
Rob started with an explanation of the ego, as a force that is never satisfied. Nothing will ever be enough for the ego — not enough money, not enough praise, not enough shoes, not enough Facebook likes, not enough donuts. (He didn't say the bit about donuts, but you get the point.) And when the ego DOES get something it wants (success, attention, a swimming pool), all it can do is crow about it.
Like: LOOK WHAT I DID!
As for the soul, though, all it wants is joy and light and love…and excitement. When you are living the life that your soul wants to live, you will wake up each morning and say, "Oh my god, I can't believe I get to do this today!" (Whatever "this" might be — write this book, work in this garden, live in this house, see this friend, eat this food, raise these children, walk in the woods with this dog, go to this job, visit this family member, etc, etc…)
There is a place in our lives for our egos. (As Martha Beck, another great teacher always says: "Don't leave home without it.") You need some ego, to shore up your boundaries, to give you a sense of self, to keep some fire in your belly.
But don't let your ego make the big choices for you. Because it will do nothing but forever demand more, more, more, more. It will always say, "We don't have enough yet."
Look for the things that make your soul say, "I can't believe how lucky we are to have this!"…and try to surround yourself with as much of THAT as you can. And don't sacrifice the things that make your soul come alive for the things your ego demands.
Last night's dinner was a soul moment for me. I could not stop smiling. I could not stop hugging everyone and for some reason I really could not stop eating off Iyanla's plate. I could not stop thinking, "I can't believe I get to be here with these great and good people."
Love to you all,
READY AS I'LL EVER BE…
Dear Ones –
I took this photo at 6am this morning in Seattle, getting ready (in the green dress you all kindly selected!) for the 7th stop of Oprah's The Life You Want Tour.
Let me tell you something about life on the road. Some days you are more confident than others. Some days it flows out so certain, so easy. But other days, you have to dig a bit deeper, to find your power.
I've been distracted over the last few days by myself, in a way that isn't necessarily helpful. (My friend Rayya and I call this state of mind "feeling our humanity," and it usually means: processing some pretty hard stuff.) Not to go into great detail, but twice in the last few weeks, I have lost my temper in ways that took me by surprise, and humbled me. Both times, it was in professional settings, and both times I felt like I was defending myself or holding vital boundaries, but I lost control of my emotions, and I lost my perspective, and certainly went blind to the holiness of the other people in the room. I didn't start screaming or throwing things, but I didn't love the way I acted — this is not at all the person I strive to be — and I have been processing some serious shame this week over having failed to rise to my highest self. I certainly did not BRING THE LIGHT, as I always strive to.
So when you're in that place, feeling that you have let yourself down, and then you have to go on stage (as I've had to do three times this week) to dispel life advice to others….well, sometimes you can feel a little shaky on your feet.
And yet, and yet…that "humanity" I've been feeling so hard this week is also the humanity of connection, of honesty, of the reality of life in a human experience. We've all been there. We are all working through our stuff, fighting our way to the light, trying to move on past our shortcomings. So I try to bring that truth to the stage, too. Like: We are all in this hard but magnificent game together.
I read a lovely quote recently from the actor John Cleese. He was asked who his hero was, and he said, "Most people. Because everyone is doing their best."
What I will try to bring to the stage today (beneath my words) is an awareness of this truth — that it is not always easy, that sometimes we let ourselves down, that our humanity can sometimes feel cracked and heavy and deeply flawed…and we might not be where or who we want to be yet…and still: we are all doing our best. We rise and do our best. That's the heroic part.
So now I'm gonna dry my hair and put on my SPANX and stand tall in my own boots and my own truth, and go speak the best and highest love I can to a giant room full of beautiful beings. All of us, feeling our humanity.
It's not perfect…but it's so, so perfect.
If these two can forgive each other, surely there's hope for the rest of us, right?