Do you have a part of you that you wish you could get rid of?
Do you have a part of you that it would feel SO amazing to just put them on a permanent vacation?
Perhaps you feel it gets in the way of your Art. Maybe you’ve even given it a name, like:
Maybe it’s a voice in your head that slows you down when you really want to GO, or speeds you up and causes you to get overwhelmed when you really want to just take it slow or watch Netflix.
It can be really frustrating, right?
You may see you are not where you want to be with your Art, and all you have is this pattern of disappointment and it can be super easy to just BLAME this part of you.
That’s what’s wrong, right?
If this was FIXED and just went away, all would be perfect!
So, how come every time we try to banish this voice away, it just comes back, sometimes stronger than before?
Will this cycle ever stop?
Last weekend I had a first.
I did my first ever weekend-long silent meditation retreat.
I’m a practicing Zen Buddhist. Zen saved my life after a devastating year of loss back in 2013, and I’ve been practicing ever since with the Mountains and Rivers Order, mostly in Brooklyn at the Fire Lotus Temple.
This meditation retreat is called a Sesshin and means, “touching the heart-mind”.
I’ve been wanting to do a Sesshin for two years, so this was a long time coming and I entered the temple last Friday very ready. Ready to sit. Ready to be with myself.
It’s been an intense time for me, and feels like it’s been non stop for longer than I can remember with moving to NJ last year, planning and getting married, planning a huge online event for thousands, and then creating four more big events and workshops culminating in a full class of my signature program for professional artists, the Fearless Academy.
Did I mention in the middle of all this I also sustained a nasty calf injury, and got incredibly sick?
Did I mention during this time of stress I couldn’t dance or do yoga as stress relief?
Did I mention I’ve had a cough now for over 5 weeks?
Oh….and I’m also family planning.
Just a few things going on.
In the face of all this, I was VERY ready to just sit in silence. I knew I needed space.
The first night was a healing balm and I slept deeply Friday. We woke up at 4:20 am and I was on my cushion by 4:55. This was where I wanted to be, and I could feel my whole body and mind relaxing.
But there was something that was plaguing me….the real reason I was here.
When I had face to face teaching with my teacher, I sat down across from him and said,
I have a question about my inner taskmaster.
He smiled right away and said,
Ah yes…..also known as the Controller.
I immediately felt myself tighten. I hated that word.
My teacher spoke into parts of himself that come up for him, and he referenced his inner Protector, which is him as a young boy on the streets of NYC with a knife. He shared his Protector is fierce. Then he asked,
What do you think your Controller wants?
She wants to know everything is going to be ok.
My teacher looked at me, and said,
Are you sure?
He started to ask me if she actually wants love, and I could feel myself getting even tighter. I thought of my incredible husband, and how much love he gives me. I could feel myself inside screaming,
She doesn’t want LOVE, she just wants everything to be in order and OK!
I was getting even tighter. This was hard for me. Control had ruined my life, my former marriage, and so many aspects of my professional career. In the face of my divorce, and losing everything the biggest lesson I desperately wanted to learn was how to LET GO. Trying to control my ex, my career, and people around me was exhausting and ultimately tore my life in two. Clearly it didn’t work.
I didn’t WANT her here anymore. She had ruined so much in my life.
Can you relate?
My teacher spoke into how his Protector will always be there. And as I sat there struggling, he asked me,
If your Controller doesn’t want love, then why is she such a bitch?
And then I got it…..I was actually making my Controller wrong. I was saying she doesn’t belong.
Oh my gosh….she actually did just want to be loved.
I went back out into the Zendo to sit with the others and we chanted the Identity of Relative and Absolute. My voice completely lodged in my throat as I couldn’t speak,
Each thing has it’s own intrinsic value
And is related to everything else in function and position
My mouth was forming the words I knew by heart with no sound…tears were streaming down my face as I realized,
My Controller has her own value.
She allows me to get things done.
She helps me with discipline and organization.
She helps me with deadlines, and is really the reason I have built my business to six figures.
AND she is related to ALL the other parts of me!
She is related to my creative goddess, my Zen practitioner, my feminine flow….
and they all co-exist inside me.
They don’t cancel each other out. I can have her there WITH the others. She’s doing her job and they are doing theirs and it’s the unified effort that allows me to create the life I want.
All having their value.
And the reason I was suffering so much, was because I was making her wrong.
And I thought of what I have said to all of you so many times,
It’s not about cutting off pieces of yourself and making them wrong, it’s about bringing all of you into wholeness and integration. This is where you will have your greatest power as an Artist and create the greatest connection with your audience.
Perhaps I say this to all of you, because I need to hear it again too.
So, what part of you have you wanted to banish?
If you stepped into that part, what do you think they want for you?
What are they here to help you with?
If you could bring love and acceptance to this part, and allow it to work WITH your other parts, what would this free you to be, do, or create this year?
What if your greatest work actually came from using ALL of you?
Did you know you actually have a team within you now to pull from?
What if you knew HOW to use them effectively?
Start with love.
It can really be that simple.
“Seek Delight in All”
Your Creative work is an expression of the whole.
Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography