Which do you feed?

hungry monsterIf you’re trying to satisfy the ego, that’s a Sisyphean task.  Oh, sure.  For a moment the hungry monster ego feels gratified and happy when you knock em dead in an audition or win some coveted award/contest/game.  The ever-expanding Python-like ego smiles broadly, burps, and looks really pleased—for about an hour.  Kinda like Chinese food though, anything that feeds the ego just does not last.  Gotta keep feeding it. Filling it is not gonna happen.

The heart, however, is easily and sweetly satisfied.  And, oddly, what feeds the heart is open heartabout sharing and giving:  sharing one’s creativity, helping someone else with their creativity, offering a helping hand, contributing to others.  The heart says, “Here.  Here’s what I have.  Let me feed you.  Oh, good.  You like it?!  You think it’s wonderful?!”

And, in that moment, that dangerous moment of hearing someone thinks it’s wonderful, the ego races in and snatches the food away from the heart because it does not have a clue about sharing.  “Gimme that!  They liked it!  It’s mine! I need more applause!  More validation!  More approval!”

Being an artist is so treacherous in that way.  The loud, hungry monster ego is always there ready to leap in.  And if it doesn’t get what it wants, it cries.  It stomps its feet.  It has temper tantrums.  “I didn’t get enough!  I didn’t get that part!  I hate this world.  I’m going to retreat and never come out again!”  And, the poor little heart is trampled all over by the feet of the dragon ego as it races into isolation.

It is so difficult not to fall into the trap of wanting to GET love rather that knowing life is best when we SHARE the love we have.

The good news is that the heart is unbelievably resilient.  It will come back to life in the smallest places.  All it needs is a little room and it is ready to give and to share.

Love the poor ego.  Embrace it.  Hug it, but don’t feed it junk food.

Instead, feed your heart by sharing your light today.


freaked outWhen I have a problem, the first responder thoughts in my mind are not helpful ones. No. They start rattling off the worst case scenarios immediately.

Like a couple of days ago. I woke up at 6 AM, got out of bed, and wondered why it was so cold in my house. I looked at the thermostat. It was 62 degrees. Oh, no! The furnace was off. Again! I’ve had the furnace fixers here five or six times over the past couple of months. Ever since I had the big, old oil tank dug out of my yard and a new oil tank put into my house, I have had problem after problem. I don’t know if these two things are related.

I stood in the hallway shivering. The first responders in my head hissed, “This is the last straw! You’re going to have to buy a new furnace! You can’t go away this winter like you planned! What if the furnace goes off, and the pipes burst?! This problem won’t be fixable. You’re going to have to sell the house!”

Trembling with cold and fear, I called the emergency service, dressed in fleece, and made a hot cuppa tea.

After a few sips, the more helpful second responders showed up. They said soothingly, “Katherine. Wait til the furnace guy gets here and see what he has to say.”

By the time the repairman came, I was able to answer the door like a sane, calm home owner. I showed him the furnace room where the metal, fire-breathing dragon lives. He pressed a button. The dragon stirred to life and started breathing hot air.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said, “I’m guessing it’s the (whatchamacallit). I’ll replace it and see if that works.”

He’s guessing? I was about to get upset when he continued, “But here’s the good news:  the part I’m replacing is under your service contract. It’s an upgraded version. Your old part looks like something from the early 90’s or maybe even the 80’s. The new version has a brain in it, so if the furnace goes off again, it will tell me what the problem is and how to fix it.”

A brain?!!! I thought. My big, old, dragon now has a brain?! Amazing. The nice man left. I danced around my house singing, to the Scarecrow’s tune from Wizard of Oz, “La la la la la la la. Now my dragon has a brain.”

Three days later. I wake up. The house is cold. I look at the thermostat. Uh huh. The furnace is off. Yet, again. But, I’m on to those First Responders. “Hush up,” I say. “It’s going to be fine. If I have to get a new furnace, I will. The Big Whatever is looking after me. It’s a whole month until I leave for Florida.  It will be fixed. The furnace has a brain and will tell the nice man what went wrong.”

I don’t go right to the phone to call the emergency service. I wait for business hours because there is no emergency, really. At 9 AM I call the number I now know by heart. I drink my third cuppa hot tea. The knight in the shining truck comes. He opens up the dragon and starts tinkering with it.

I ask him the dreaded question. “Ummmm.  Do I need a new furnace?”

“Oh, no!”  he says. “This one is top of the line! It has a lifetime guarantee. If it can’t be fixed, they’ll replace the whole thing.”

Wow. I had no idea. That is such good news! I drink my tea and smile as he replaces the motor and fixes the Z Dimension, whatever that is, because the dragon’s brain told him it was an ignition problem.

Now, here’s the thing. You may not believe this, but I have noticed during the passing of my many years on this planet that when I can ignore my nasty First Responder thoughts, when I can release my fear, and give the problem to The Big Whatever, somehow, amazingly, the problem shifts in the real, material world to something much more benign, manageable, and even good.

I know that sounds like “magical thinking” but I have seen this pattern in my life many times. It may not be easy to do, but whenever you have scary, ole First Responder Thoughts in your head, see if you can turn them into the reassuring heroes they’re supposed to be.

And let me know how it works out.