This morning our regular spiritual director, Michael Bernard Beckwith, was out of town at the Awakened World Conference in Rome, Italy. Rev Arlene Campbell filled in and gave an amazing talk. Her theme was that “normal” is nothing for us to aspire to. “Normal” means conforming and contorting yourself into an established mode, set up by people you don’t know, in the name of mediocrity. It requires denying your own individuality and quirkiness, the very gifts given to you by Divine Intelligence to share with the world. Arlene invited us to reclaim all the put-downs and complaints people have had about us over the years and recognize them for the spiritual gifts that they are. For instance, if you have been called “too sensitive” (and I have), it is because you have a great love for people and care about other people’s feelings, as well as your own. The alternative is the “normal” world where people’s looks, character, and very lives are judged, disparaged, and held up for ridicule – all for the sake of entertainment. It may not be normal to be offended by “non-reality T.V.”, but it is healthy.
The other normal Arlene touched on was the “family normal”. We all have this to varying degrees. Our parents may not have been exposed to higher consciousness spiritual teachings so they may have taught us out of their own pain. Arlene was told as a child that she “smiled too much”. I have been told that I’m “too nice”, “not real”, “too much to myself”, and various other more serious insults, all with the message that who I am is deficient in some way.
The reality is that what makes you different makes you special. These characteristics are your gifts to the world. Yes, you need to learn to use them appropriately and with wisdom, for the good of humanity. But, no, you do not need to change them just to please other people, especially those who are content with mediocrity and conformity.
As artists, conformity is your greatest enemy anyway. You can only create new and special art if you agree to mine your own soul and your own experiences for universal themes that can help and inspire others. To shut down that process just to be normal is blasphemy against your own Spirit and against your art.
I hope you dedicate the upcoming week to not being normal.
Now, go follow your bliss…