There is a lot of light in my life. Opportunities realized. Relationships flourished. Challenges met. Hard-won victories. These events have come with time, connection, relationships, hard work and a sense of conviction and tenacity. Yet with all the personal self-development work I’ve done, continue to do, I have recently found myself hijacked by primal fears. I’ve noticed a recent force of voices from my past. The voices of a life conditioned to second-guess my choices. The voices that compromise my self-assurance. I become self-conscious. I step into my shadow side. I hide. I deny myself, repress and marginalize. The shadow side that takes me off course is my egocentric mind.
A coping mechanism that works well for me is to take a break from over-thinking. I switch my mind off. I watch television dramas. I enjoy watching courtroom, cop and medical dramas. I am drawn into the mysteries of the human psyche.
The characters and stories engage me, giving me a needed reprieve from the real world. The real world!! How ironic! As I watch these shows, I find that the characters feel real, familiar. I learn so much about people, language and human behaviour. In the process, I learn about myself. I find inspiration. I find brilliance, genius. A genius that sparks my own inner creativity.
As passive watching switches to active listening, I hear a fascinating exchange. The dialogue draws my attention. I rewind and watch the same scene, several times. The scene goes like this: An attending surgeon tells an assisting surgeon: “Back in the O.R., pretty ballsy move pushing an attending aside. Someone with a fragile ego would have chopped your head off.” The assisting surgeon responds with a tentatively spoken: “Sorry?”, to which the attending says: “Never apologize”. There’s admiration in her voice.
I am struck by the phrase: “Someone with a fragile ego…” A Fragile Ego. How interesting!! I feel the truth in the concept of ego being fragile. Beneath the bristle of an ego voice, there’s a sense of insecurity, a self-important reactive quality.
Marina Abramovic, Serbian performance artist, said: “Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.”
The birth and mindset of creativity comes with an inner authentic voice, devoid of the posturing of an egocentric mind. Quieting the noise of ego-influenced voices. Being in the stillness of our true selves gives much more space to create; to connect, engage and transform.
As I feel a greater sense of alertness enter my conscious mind, I feel myself focus on what’s most important. There’s a spaciousness that’s more generative and inviting. Wise words from Muhammad Iqbal, British India’s poet, philosopher and scholar: “The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something.” Being alert, focused and present feels stronger than anything the fragile ego could offer.