This covers day 29 of 30 for the Hypnotherapy Project, which I'm collaborating on with Los Angeles-based hypnotherapist Greg Beckett. You can read more about this experiment, what motivated it and what we hope to accomplish here; you can read all of the entries in chronological order here.
As I've mentioned before, most people wouldn't know it to look at me, but my self-esteem usually hovers between weak and non-existent. I've made up for my shortfall in this area the way I suspect most people like me do, with a combination of bluster, good face and lotsa hustle.
But I'm finally realizing the need to address this core issue of lack head on. I mean, I can continue with the tap dancing, but Jesus God, it's exhausting, and I suspect that energy could be put to more productive use. Besides, using the team or "hive mind" theories of advancement (the latter of which is maybe more appropriate to a discussion about sub-personalities), isn't it just way more efficient to utilize all of your resources? If I'm really interested in moving things forward, wouldn't a few extra bodies help?
So, how to get there? Well, first you get that 98-lb. weakling, self-esteem, in my case, into training. There's no end to methods for tackling this, but they seem to boil down to two: (1) do what you can with what you've got; and (2) act as-if about the rest (I can't find it right now, but Steve Pavlina has a terrific podcast about using as-if to get you from where you are to where you want to go).
One critical component of moving forward is support. I've got a few things already in place, a file of You Go, Grrrl! emails and suchlike to sift through when I get down, and a short list of people to call on when I just plain need comforting. But these are relics of places I've been, and chroniclers of events I've been through; how does one get to the next step? How do you stay "up" as you turn your attention to the big places you want to get to when all you have is this poor, 98-lb. weakling to escort you?
Apparently, you solicit the support of the people who are already there: your heroes and idols, the people you admire who are farther (waaaaay farther) down the path you'd like to travel.
For the record, I had no idea what Greg was going to do on this last day together. And, like many of our experiments (including, if I'm honest, this whole Hypnotherapy Project itself), I might not have agreed to it had I known what the getting-there would be like. A lot of this is really hard emotional work, even if it does leave you feeling great afterwards.
On Friday, he put me under and brought me to a large room. And one by one, all of my heroes and idols came to me and said a few words: some, of encouragement; some, of advice; some, just a "hello". Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King. I met old teachers and bosses, leaders whose skills I admire even more now that I'm learning how to lead. I met Oprah and Barack Obama. And at the very end, my core of support, my parents and my paternal grandparents, whose approval and admiration meant more than anyone's to me, came out to greet me. I'm weeping now as I write about it, but believe me, I was weeping more then, and from the start. Wave upon wave of love and support and the power of the ages swept over me; it's a good thing Greg picked a Friday, is all I have to say.
Well, of course, that's not all I have to say. I have to say this: we are not alone in our quest. We are supported, all of us, by some invisible (but no less real for it) web of energy that flows between us now, and through us to all people of all time. It's right there, right there, all the time, ready to tap into whenever we need it.
The trick, of course, is letting ourselves do it. It's so easy to get closed off as we navigate through our super-sped up world. It's easy to be a grownup and hard to be an adult who accepts that a part of herself is eternally childlike. But I am, and you are. You are still that child inside who, hopefully, had a time of wonder and wide-open imagination. And if you did, you can go there anytime and experience the greatness of the All-That-Is.
I don't live there all the time; I'm not sure if it's a good thing to do that. But to know it's there, to understand that at the core, we are love and love is all that matters, and to live with that knowledge all the time, well, I'm not there yet, either, but I can start to see what it will be like.
And it is the most beautiful, beautiful thing of all.
Photomosaic by MontanaRaven, from 36 Flickr photos by other contributors, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license. For the record, I couldn't link directly to the Flickr page with that image, so I created a workaround URL; it says http://xrl.us/wonderful, but it redirects to her Flickr page.