"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."
This Halloween I was delighted when my partner who is deep in a 66+hour/week programmer bootcamp, accepted my invitation to go to a Halloween party. The past few years have been challenging ones for us, and it has been a struggle to mesh my extroverted personality with his resistance to going to parties and events, especially when he is so busy. Hearing the news that he was finally open to spending his precious free time going to two events was surprising and delightful. It most definitely called for celebrating with a couples costume:
Yes, I souped up my Archbishop Desmond Tutu costume from last year (with my tutu) and cobbled together a rendition of the robes His Holiness the Dalai Lama would wear. The Archbishop and His Holiness
recently co-wrote a book together entitled The Book of Joy. So why this costume, as a quirky, visionary version of our best attempt to do a couple's costume?
Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama embody the type of people I know I could be, and that scares the crap out of me! It's comfortable to let the Dalai Lama's mystical status distance myself from him and other religious figures, and to agree that I have every right to spend my youth combatting the onslaught of wrinkles and making sure I am not missing out on the most innovative parties and new restaurants. But the deepest, truest part of me knows there is more I want to experience with my partner.
Many times in the past I have let myself off the hook for having those challenging conversations that can either pull us apart or bring us closer. So many times have I acquiesced in a dispute I have had with him because of my craving of harmony in my home. Sometimes I try to suddenly speak up for myself in my relationship to make up for years of inconsistently expressing (or evening knowing) my deepest desires and it comes out awkwardly and hurtfully, and then I close up and go back to the lull of harmony. I think to myself I can either be one of those couples who is constantly expressing their frustrations in bickering and painful expressions of true minutia, or I can hide behind some vague spiritual path of selflessness, and leave my truest desires unrealized.
When I see their examples of courage in the face of corrupt power coupled with joy, playfulness and wisdom, I realize I don't have to choose between doing good and feeling good. I know we are not fundamentally any different from these spiritual leaders we so admire. We are made of the same flesh as these great figures that inspire us, and when we slow down, and step onto a path of unconditional love and hope, we get just a glimpse of who we could be and how much impact we can have on each other.