The infamous Joseph Campbell’s famous phrase was “Follow Your Bliss”. Joseph Campbell is quoted as saying, “I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat-Chit-Ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture.”
Campbell’s focus was on Ananda, or Bliss. His reference to the Sanskrit terms in a movie called, Finding Joe, got me thinking entirely about Chit, or Consciousness.Chit, pronounced aloud, sounds very much like the word shit.
Now, I promise you that I say this with all due respect. No offense meant and I hope none taken. In the moment that I realized the similarity in pronunciation, I had a moment of Chit.One of our favorite American (perhaps universal) expressions is, “Holy shit”. Since watching Finding Joe, I am convinced that what we really mean is “Holy Chit” or “Holy Consciousness”.
Think about it. You just realized that you are on the wrong bus. Holy Chit. You just learned that your best friends are getting married. Holy Chit.I have to admit that if I liked the expression before, I am in love with it now. It is reverently designed for a moment of consciousness that requires an exclamation. It is not a vulgar, improper expression or expletive. Rather, it is a moment of Consciousness and we've honored it so by placing the word “Holy” in front of it. We've just been spelling it wrong all these years! (Holy Chit!)I’m sure I’m not the first person to consider this and I won’t be the last. I never could figure out why we would want to make shit holy and now I get it. I really get it. A moment of divine consciousness. So it can never be anything but Holy Chit from now on and spoken with the reverence it deserves.
The next time your teenager mispronounces it, feel free to correct him or her. The next time someone yells at you, “Holy shit, what do you think you’re doing?” realize that a moment of consciousness has been activated and actually start thinking about what you’re doing. It’s a moment of consciousness, a blessing.
Now, if I could only find the true meaning behind all the other expletives we use every day, I’d be a happy woman, and then again, maybe some expletives are just that, designed not to provoke any thought or consciousness and no further explanation is needed.
Everything I do – my entire purpose in this life - is about being seen … andbeing heard for who I really am.
As a little girl, it was best that I was seen and not heard. No, wait. It was best that I wasn’t seen AND wasn’t heard. If you grew up when I did in the early 50’s, parental punishment was still pretty much left up to the imagination of the parent, and not a contrived taking away of an electronic communication device, like a cell phone, or a gaming device, like an X-Box or PlayStation. Back then, punishment was real. Parents got angry, and there wasn’t anything to take away (television only had about 10 channels so what would have been the point?) There wasn’t anything to take away except perhaps our self-esteem, which, as it turns out, is a lot harder to give back than any X-Box or cell phone.
I remember being punished most often for the times that I was most like myself … not because I did horrid things … but because I was too exuberant; too loud; too excited … too afraid … and so, after a while, I stopped being most like myself. I learned to be quiet, be still, and be indifferent.
Did anyone else have that experience? And so, you know that what it does to our souls is force us to choose betweenbeing most like ourselves and being loved and accepted. What (No) child should have to make that choice.
As we grow older, that shell, or veneer we’ve built around ourselves starts to feel like the real deal. It grows thicker when we get to school, where the best shell wins, and my shell can beat the crap out of your shell, or my shell got invited to the prom, so you better work on yours. It begins to be you, and me,and all of us, until we can no longer differentiate between who we really are, and the veneer that we’ve built around ourselves for the sake of being loved and accepted.
One of the first awakenings that something is wrong happens when someone has the nerve to diss your veneer. Can you imagine? “Hey, I don’t like you.” And you’re thinking, “What do mean? Me? I’ve worked hard to create this person; this façade. How could you not like this image of moderation and mediocrity I’ve created?” Well, my veneer doesn’t like your veneer. So there.
Another awakening is the sheer exhaustion from the God-awful strength it takes to keep up your veneer … even when you think you’ve got it on auto-pilot, it takes a tremendous amount of energy - maybe not to keep up the veneer, as much as repress your true soul; that gleeful, eager, sometimes too loud, being; that wild, untamed child that lives within you still, despite the fact that you haven’t fed or watered him; you haven’t kissed or tickled her, or traded hugely grotesque faces in the mirror that your mother or father promised you would get stuck that way if you kept it up.
It lives and waits, despite the neglect.
Our untamed soul, our wild child soul waits for us. If you’ve ever had a dog as a pet, you know their waiting, and their welcoming: it doesn’t matter if you’ve been gone 5 minutes or 5 months. The joy just flows from their very being, and they don’t apologize for being exuberant, loud, or oh so very excited that you’ve come back to them. Sometimes, they even pee they’re so excited – right in front of you.
So waits our soul, for the sound of the car pulling into the driveway, the sound of the door knob turning. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been – it waits ready to show its joy – unashamed, knowing that its pure love is your true self – exactly as it was when you were a child, before you learned you had to choose between it and love and acceptance.
And now that many of us have reached an age, where those who came before us may no longer be with us; or may no longer hold provenance over us; the veneer doesn’t feel quite as reassuring as it once did, like a support garment that rides up in all the wrong places (souncomfortable), and we wonder who the veneer is for anymore. As if suddenly, we are aware of a voice; a tiny voice calling our name. A voice inside us, asking us to come out and play. And we let that veneer drop, smashing into a million pieces on the floor (and no, we don’t have to clean it up); That voice is louder now. Come out and play! Take that first deep, clean breath and run, skip, and twirl to join it, all the while singing a made up song at the top of your lungs.
I was lucky enough to have someone really see me; hear my voice, and take the marksman shot that cracked the veneer wide open. Who will do that for you?
Will you? I hope for the day that each of you can say, “See me for who I really am; hear my voice. I am love and acceptance. I am me for the first time in a long time, and I’m here to stay.”
I'm currently enrolled in a Game Changer Intensive through the Pachamama Alliance. The question about privilege and repression was asked in the most recent discussion forum. I want to share my response here, because it feels very important at this moment in time.
It began with, "Are you ready?" Here is my response:
I'm not sure if I'm ready for this, and ... I'm going to write anyway. (with deep respect to Lynne Twist, who I heard say something similar at the Bigger Game Expo in 2013: "I don't know if I have the answer to that, and I'm going to speak anyway." So brilliant.)
I remember being about 8 or 9 years old, and making a trip with my parents to Mexico. Typical tourists, we had our photo taken in a cart with a gentleman dressed in a broad sombrero and a sarape. After the photo was taken, and I began to step down from the cart, a young boy approached me and held out his hand. I thought he was offering his hand to help me out of the cart, so I took it and stepped down. It was only years later that I realized he might have been the one looking for an offering. I had no idea that people, children, begged on the street to sustain and survive.
I was raised in a relatively upper middle class privilege, and never knew that others weren't living the same way. There was no spoken gratitude for what we had, or any instruction that others did not have the same privilege as we did; I grew up in such total naivete, that it still astonishes me, especially since my parents were first gen. Americans, lived through the "Great Depression" and two world wars. How could there not be gratitude??
I also remember being a few years older, pre-teen perhaps, watching television with my mother and my maternal grandmother, and my grandmother made a comment about the "number of Negroes (her word) on tv". Too many in her opinion. I still remember turning around to look at her, and at that moment, truly knew how narrow-minded she was, even hated her at the moment, not having the skills to understand that she just didn't know any better, as I wished desperately for another family.
This would have been mid 1960s. The representation of any minority on television was scarce at best.
How did I know that what she said was so morally and ethically wrong? I just did.I just did. My heart ached when she said it, and rejected it. I wasn't influenced by my family's prejudices and for that, I'm so grateful. They were all allies in me finding my voice, my own opinions; my own knowing about who we are to each other and how we can be connected.
I'm not sure I answered the question in the forum, and I know that this Game Changer Intensive is for me; to really explore my voice and how it shows up in leadership in the world. So, I express my gratitude to any one who reads this, and wants to reply. And if not, I know it's my journey, my work that shows up here, and that's really what matters in the end for any of us, isn't it?