Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Leaving the Village Behind

Have you ever felt alone in a crowd, isolated though you are the centre of attention? Have you longed for social success, fame, status, only to be disillusioned when you found yourself obliged to subscribe to a club whose members didn't really know you? Have you experienced joy while still searching for truth? Worldboy feels like this. He needs to replenish his spirit, unfortunately he doesn't get the nourishment he needs from those around him. He needs to escape to the country. He's going crazy at this party, it's too loud, it's too late, there are too many people needing his attention, too many people shaking his hand, placing their hands on his shoulder demanding that he smile back.

The misty, quiet, dark forest is calling him.

The story of Worldboy is a long traveller’s tale about escapism. He is not really going anywhere in particular; rather he is running away. He is an astronaut, the ultimate runaway. The classic runaway story always ends in Hollywood and Worldboy knows he’s a star. Sadly, this story often ends in loneliness and ruin too.

Why is he running away? Essentially, because as a child, his boundaries were violated. He was manipulated, stripped of his right to essential privacy and respect. His parents didn’t give him the space to grow into his own person, unmolested, unpunished, confident and yet still open. So he disappeared into a black hole in his mind only to emerge much later as a remote, unreachable star.

He is beautiful and talented but he is more the magician than the artist because he is afraid of his own original gifts and would rather play with perceptions and manipulate reality than put his true self under the spotlight. Sadly this myth making leaves him suffering a sense of unreality, that no one really knows him. All the applause and appreciation is valueless because he knows that he has cleverly manipulated his audience with mirrors, showing them only a brilliant reflection of themselves. He is not really the star skipping down the yellow brick road; he is the shy, fearful man behind the curtain, manipulating the machinery.

Nobody knows him, though they might think they do, and he feels he’s lost touch with himself. He feels as though he’s in an endless orbit, his feet never touch the ground. He’s been everywhere but he’s going nowhere. His endless travelling and vast knowledge of the world have inspired him and filled his heart with beauty and his mind with wonder, which he longs to share with someone but is too afraid to. His being so out of reach has become a trap. Having once had his privacy violated, he has locked the door and thrown away the key. He hates to be pinned down, to commit to someone. He is shy of obligations, careless and distrustful. He’ll make you wait, he’ll make excuses, he’ll be delightful but evasive. He is an actor and to him, you are mere scenery. He perceives other people as weak and needy so he tears away their clutching hands and shrugs off their embraces. You will soon find he has discarded you like old clothes. He is numb; to you he seems cold or selfish. He is vain but self-conscious. Beauty and luxury are the fuels that keep him going. He loves beautiful things, spends a lot but saves little. He values what is superficial because he hates his need for love. In space no one can hear you scream. Joy that is only ever experienced alone dissolves into bitter tears and poisons the soul.

If The Defender, The Hollow Man, is a narcissist, then grandiose is perhaps a word that would apply to The Star. He doesn’t mean to be cruel but eventually he drifts away or people drift away from him. Escapism is the theme; isolation and a sense of unreality are his main complaints. He voraciously consumes experiences and excitement to feel something. He has trouble respecting your boundaries, yet he is nervous of being touched. He has a body image that is unrelated to the state of his body at any given moment and his weight and level of fitness has varied markedly over time. Mostly he feels detached from his body and wishes he were somebody else. He will fail at tasks ordinary folk find quite easy, since they respect routines and deadlines. To earn his affection you will have to pass many tests of your patience and forgiveness, he doesn’t believe you when you compliment him. He is always aware of all your faults and imperfections and will subtly remind you of them. On the other hand, if you work for him and you do exactly as he asks, devoting yourself tirelessly to achieving the best in what you do, he will adore you. He likes nothing better than top class service and is very appreciative when you have done a great job. Let him down, though, and he will never forget it. He doesn’t like to be second-guessed and hates surprises. Kindness surprises and embarrasses him. If he allows himself any introspection he will admit to feeling frozen. He has emotional stage fright. He is afraid of allowing you to really know him because he believes he has nothing to offer, (and he will be abused or abandoned again), so he prefers to act as though nobody is good enough for him.

Having suffered emotional manipulation and violation of his boundaries as a child The Star must make a commitment to pass beyond his obvious limitations. Escape is taking you away from mindfulness. It is delaying your progress. You need effective strategies to ask for what you need rather than manipulating other people, for saying no rather than lying or misleading other people, and for coping with interpersonal conflict while maintaining suitable personal boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.

“Share the Joy” means find what you truly value in the world, and what is original and good in yourself and offer it to others without expecting anything in return, but just for the simple pleasure of openness and joyous intimacy. Use the technique of mindfulness to examine how you feel and what you truly value. (Recognise your needs and boundaries). This will take you in the opposite direction from everywhere you’ve ever been before, so it will be difficult and uncomfortable for you. Your mindfulness may last only for a second or two. You will try to escape again. Persist and you will be able to gradually tolerate longer periods of mindfulness before you are defeated by the pain. The commitment you must make is to know your boundaries and develop the self-confidence to commit to yourself and commit yourself to others rather than letting your fears control you and isolating yourself from others.”

The Moon’s lesson for us is:

Value what is real. Don’t be superficial. Vanity, envy and escape are self-defeating. Gain by sharing your true inner beauty and true genius with those who can appreciate it. Use your creativity for genuine good. You are truly original, so develop the sensitivity to inspire and manage others in a way that elevates them and brings honour to yourself. Don’t be condescending, seek out the gifts others have to offer. Stand for truth; leave liars alone. Develop genuine attachments. Value your gifts; they came from the Sun. Your joy will make you beautiful. Those who share in it will honour you.

You may be surprised to find that your gifts are not what you thought they were. You may have to apologize for your dishonesty and jealousy. If you have learned from The Defender to be authentic, you will find it easier to know what is of value in your life and experience. You will need skills to help you distinguish what is genuinely valuable in yourself and your life from what is a deception or a distraction. You will also need to apply these skills to others so that you are not wasting your efforts in trying to appeal to, or accommodate, those who don’t value your gifts and your originality. You do not need to be ashamed of what makes you different and unique. Conformity is not a virtue. Practice visualizing yourself how you would like to be. Begin by abandoning the things that have become obstacles to your achieving this vision. Perhaps you have invested too much commitment in the negative beliefs you hold for yourself and others. Changing your belief system is the first step towards changing your life. Become open to new possibilities. Commit to doing things differently. It’s what you do that counts.

It is a risk to hoist your flag and declare your commitment to something or someone. Risk it. Stand for once, naked in the spotlight without your tricks and special effects, and if need be, suffer the slings and arrows. Then don’t be afraid to reach for the ring, climb to the higher ground, don’t be content to be a crowd pleaser, stake a claim on something and risk it all. If you hear the sound of applause, even if it’s just one person, know that you deserve it. You are unique; give that gift to someone. With confidence you can be open; be vulnerable, (since you have established your boundaries), and you will be beautiful. The most beautiful thing you can do is to humbly place yourself before another and honour them with the gift of all your life experience, giving them the appreciation you had only ever given to all the beautiful objects you found throughout your journeying. Standing there, unadorned, let them touch you, for if they find you beautiful, they will take you in their arms, silently, without a word of flattery and you will not run away.

Yet the forest still calls you. To ascend to the next level, to become The Adventurer, Endymion, the hunter, the Moon's favourite, you must choose freely to leave the village and take the road into the forest, not to escape, but on a quest of discovery, not to return to the castle at the centre of the village until you have acquired the spiritual gifts hidden within the forest. The strength and wisdom you will need will be bestowed upon you by Selene, The Moon.

You will become Moonchild, Endymion, The Moon's cherished lover and a shepherd, an immortal reader of the stars, a nocturnal child of the heavens. This is your next adventure.

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