Bring it on…it’s time to play!

http://www.nbc.com/the-island (this is a new NBC show that will air in May. My son Matt Getz is one of the men featured)

Lately it seems like I’ve thought a lot about how I handle criticism. I’d always had an intense fear of it, although I guess I hid that pretty well behind a confident exterior, since when I mentioned it, people often looked surprised.

There are a million ways to avoid being openly criticized by others, but the one thing they all have in common is the “masking” of our true selves. Whether we try to duck under the radar of life by keeping quiet, develop thick skins; telling ourselves that we don’t care what others say about us, or use some other “technique” to handle the awful emotions that we fear are bound to surface when we are being criticized, none of these ultimately work. They are all based on fear and the deep belief that we need to “protect” ourselves from the assault/enemy/unfriendly “other”.

It was a stunning revelation for me to see that the thing I was afraid of was not what would be done to me. I wasn’t afraid of being hurt physically, financially, or spiritually. I was afraid of my own feelings (and my own hidden beliefs and thoughts). I was afraid of the way that I would feel if I was severely criticized. I was afraid that those feelings would cripple me…so I crippled myself by avoiding them.

I can remember getting really offended when someone said that my cat, Fred, was fat! Well, he is fat. But the feelings of defensiveness and anger that arose in me were quite unpleasant when I perceived that statement as an attack. The meanest and cruelest things that were ever said to me were simply my own thoughts being externalized. When I was unaware of this, I was always on the defensive. I wasn’t looking at life as if it were a friendly playing-field, I was looking at it like it was a battle field and my role was to avoid getting hurt.

The only mind-set that truly works for me is to face this fear of criticism head-on, and to welcome it like a friend. I’ve begun to look at life as if it were a game; a wonderfully interconnected, immensely spiritual, mind-blowing, game, where I am just one of an infinite number of “players”.

When I remind myself to do this, I feel a great excitement bubble up as I think about the day and I can sense the “bring it on!” energy, that feels like a great life-giving fountain.

My prayer today is that I show up fully ready to play (I’ll also hold that intention for you if you’d like me to).

 

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond“. THE GUEST HOUSE by– Jelaluddin Rumi translation by Coleman Barks

 

11 thoughts on “Bring it on…it’s time to play!

  1. Love this idea, Mary! Holding you in playful thoughts today, and would appreciate your doing the same for me. We’re getting spring showers here, so your post may be my cue to go jump in some puddles. 😄

  2. Just yesterday , and lately , in fact, I’ve had things happen that really have troubled and shattered my seemingly fragile existance. Ai realize that there is much I do to buttress myself with my defenses that don’t always work. At times I feel so alone in my pain and then realize that the world can be /is so trying for many. It is how you respond to those feelings of inadequacy and fear , that makes the difference. Seeing ” the world” as a friendly playing field , with its competitions, surprises , and challenges is a new thought to me! It’s always, perhaps because of my deafness and other emotional challenges seemed something to fear and do battle with., something that was against me. That I did not have the skills to cope with. Oh.. Please do hold that intention for me Mary , and my friends who are readers here. Today I will breathe a new breath of courage and go on.. The Rumi quote is one I’ll wtite out on my mirror, I am so thankful to be reading it.
    Oh, and I’ll be watching the show your son is featured in. You must be so proud of his interests and life adventures. How fulfilling it must be to you have such a courageous, talented son .

  3. Oh, how FUN for you and your son, Mary! I don’t have TV, but maybe I can still watch it somehow or someday so I can see the great man you raised. He seems like a great person – but how is he managing living in Venice and dealing with the whole film industry? One of my friend’s sisters is a writer there and says how cutthroat it is and so false. Matt must be truly grounded to survive it all. I will pray for him as he embarks on this adventure!

    I loved your piece today – something I struggled with for a long time. My favorite piece of wisdom that I try to remember (though, being human, it depends on the day and moment and mood) is from Ruiz’s ‘The 4 Agreements’: Don’t take anything personally. Hard not to sometimes, but sometimes it is! I guess I try to look at where it’s coming from, esp. if I know the person. I just figure there’s a wound that was never healed somewhere. I have also had to look within to see where my wounds have not healed when I feel some slight that has been spoken, so that I lessen my judgment and criticism of others. As they say, with age comes wisdom (or it should!).

    Aren’t we just a wonderful bit of work in progress? LoL

    Have a wonderful time with your ‘game’!

    Big Hug!

    ~ Wendy

  4. Dear Mary, thank you for this timely post. I have been struggling lately with physical challenges and becoming lost in the land of negative, fearful thinking. Your post and the Rumi quote are reminders to let go and remember that there is always a spiritual, divine foundation to life and when I focus upon that, my troubles can be absorbed into the light of consciousness and the Great Field of Awareness. Congratulations for you and your son on his successes! Much love to you.

  5. Thank you for this timely post! It has helped me to overcome my fear of joining my colleagues in a fundraiser run/walk because I was pretty sure as a short-legged walker I will be the last one over the finish line. Silly me. The important thing is that I was asked and encouraged to be a part of the team! I’m ready now to play. Blessings to you Mary for your supportive thoughts.

  6. Mary I really enjoy your posts. I’m up at my trailer/vacation home & my car is having work done for the next few days. So I’m “stuck” here. I’ve brought up enough things to keep me busy for a month and have my dog to keep me company and my husband will be here after work. Thanks to your wonderful words of wisdom I am bless3d to gave this time to get my bills & papers organized, do some crafts & knitting or do some housework if I get the urge. Thank you for your many posts of wisdom. 💖

  7. Loved the posting, but I really want to comment on how excited I became reading all about the show your son is going to be on. I just watched all the videos with the interviews of all the participants and also read the brief bios. Interesting concept and VERY interesting men to watch on the show. Has it already been filmed to completion or is it still in progress prior to the beginning air date in May? It will be quite an experience for all of them and for all of us who will be watching. Also curious as to how they found/selected all of the men.

  8. Amen, Mary, you sure hit on a sensitive issue today and I confess to doing all that you’ve done in trying to avoid being criticized. I flew below the radar, kept my thoughts to myself, smiled through all kinds of nasty stuff that happened in my life until one day I decided, it was time to start dealing with the, if you’ll pardon me, sh*t that has happened in my life. And of course there was criticism, particularly from two young female members of the family. But then, in growing older, I also began to look at what was my stuff and what was theirs. Should I own it or should I not take it in. I think this is a difficult line to draw in the sand. I still wonder if I’m not fooling myself but in the course of liking myself more because I am more willing to take risks and be myself, I do ask…what is mine and what is yours. Communication between people is one of the hardest things to achieve in any sense of balance, at times. It’s a good post, Mary, Thanks…it’s a keeper.
    SandyP, in S.Ont., Canada

  9. Two quotes from “The Course in Miracles:”

    Lesson 135
    If I defend myself I am attacked.
    But in defenselessness I will be strong,
    and I will learn what my defenses hide.

    Next – Lesson 153
    In my defenselessness my safety lies.

    To read the full lessons – go to http://www.acim.org

  10. I watched your son’s video, Mary. What a nice looking man and I love the New England accent! At last! A voice I can understand. I wish him good luck on the show. Sounds exciting and of course another thank you to YOU for a lovely message. Lvoe, Sandy

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