The process of life

(This first appeared as the message for Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church Newsletter for April.  I thought it might be of interest.)

I have been enjoying American Idol this season.  All of the contestants are really, really good.   It has been years, O alright decades, since I had voice lessons but I am impressed with the maturity of the voices I am hearing.   Simon Cowell made a comment tonight that was really quite profound.  He told one of the contestants, one of my personal favorites, to not allow the process of the competition lead her away from who she is.  She tried something new. It was a risk.  It was a good risk.  I thought it worked for her.  But Simon’s comments were important not only for the contestants but for all of us as well.

There are a few singers who have learned early on that if they do a certain thing, the audience is going to love them for it.  It is great to know that the singers have those skills but when those skills become the standard to the performance it not only grows stale, it becomes false to who they are.

If Simon were to offer his advice as a piece of spiritual wisdom, he might have said, “Do not let the process of living lead you away from who you are.” These are important words and hard to follow because we are always in relationship with our environment.  Peer pressure is the best example I can come up with that exemplifies what I mean.  We want to be liked by others.  We want their approval.  Nothing wrong in these two desires but the way peer pressure works; we sometimes surrender who we are in order to be liked by the in-crowd or to win approval from that in-crowd.  And it is in the doing of things that we know in our heart of hearts is not true to our center that we find ourselves being led away from authenticity.

But it is not only peer pressure that is part and parcel to the process of living.  It could be disappointments that we faced.  It could be emotional woundedness that we never quite were able to resolve to satisfaction.  The process of living can result in residual habitual behaviors that tamp down the joy that life has to offer.

The first Sunday of April is Easter; a day where Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Taken just from its metaphorical meanings, it signals that even the most insurmountable defeats do not need to be so.  New life, new possibilities, new opportunities to be our authentic selves abound even in the face of insurmountable defeats.  And so it is with Simon’s advice to the young performer. To follow the leadings of the process that the institution of the performing arts demands can be a process that leads to the tomb or if kept true to her integrity can be one of exhilarating resurrection.  The process of living does not need to wear us down.  If we remain true to who we are, maintain our integrity of self, we might find our very souls being lifted up.

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Published in: on April 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm  Comments Off on The process of life  
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