My husband Tom and I just spent last weekend in a workshop with Al Huang, a world-renowned philosopher and Tai Chi master who has toured with Sammy Davis Jr. and hung with the Dalai Lama. We have attended his yearly workshop in Santa Barbara for nine years. He is a ‘chi’leader extraordinaire, encouraging and exciting us to come alive and open to our Big ME, Big CHI, Big WOW selves. He teaches Tai Chi in a way that invites, ignites, and unites the realms of Heaven, Earth, and Human, helping us to boldly embody our vast life force, and inspiring the question, “Just how big and how vibrantly alive can we let ourselves be?”
He talked about his friend, Ram Dass, who wrote the book Be Here Now — a very important book for me that helped jump-start my stalled life force in my early twenties. Al told us he was going to talk with Ram Dass the next day. I thought, I’d love to give Al the book I wrote called Be Here Meow – Enlightening Lessons Learned from my Feline Friends. It contains some of the juicy philosophy and humor that Al was sharing with us and I thought he might get a kick out of it. Maybe he’d even tell Ram Dass about it — how cool would that be! Dare I do that? The ‘little me’ was quaking in my Crocks…who do I think I am? But Al had done his job well, and during the last break of the weekend workshop, filled with the Big Chi of the Big Me, I walked up to him and gave him my book. He laughed at the title, and shared with me his appreciation for the cats in his life, and thanked me for the book. As I walked away my energy field fluffed out like an excited feline and you could almost hear me purring!
“Who do you think you are?” is a common question of the ‘little me’, the pygmy. I am aware of times I have pulled my energy in, minimizing myself, virtually disappearing myself. People have actually bumped into me as if I weren’t there! I have super powers of invisibility! What do I get out of that? I get to be safe, to fly below the radar, to be a fly on the wall. But it creates a backlash — the fly becomes a hornet as my repressed aliveness shouts, “Hey, I’m here!” Like Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) in Midnight Cowboy, when he pounded on the hood of the car that almost ran him down, saying, “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!” It’s that feeling of being disrespected, disappeared, discounted, just generally dissed. My great dis-covery over the years has been that I was doing that to myself — I was dissing myself, I was belittling myself.
An even greater discovery is that I am so much more than the ‘little me’. We all are so much more. Our life force is vast. That vast self wants to be here, to be seen, to express through us. Even little Dennis the Menace has an inkling of his Big Self. In a cartoon, Dennis is sitting in a corner, being punished, and with a scowl on his face he proclaims, “I’m Dennis! THAT’s who I am. THAT’s what I shoulda said!”
The real question is, “Who do you KNOW you are?” That knowing, that remembrance of my Big Soul Self is the most important thing in my life. Since my recent experience with cancer, it has become even more important. Every day I invite and unite with my vast energy field by doing daily practices. In the morning I dance, moving up and down, backward and forward, side to side, inward and outward, embracing, balancing and flowing with All That Is. Every afternoon I go for a walk and feel and affirm, “My feet kiss the Earth with every step” and likewise “The Earth kisses my feet with every step.” As I walk, I imagine the top of my head opening like a funnel, receiving love and guidance from above — I am taking my vast energy field for a walk, I am walking my God. Every night while lying in bed I visualize pink light filling my heart, radiating throughout my body, and I fall asleep held in warm, soft love light.
A few years ago there was a man on the Oprah show talking about a plane crash he survived. He said that as the plane was careening towards a violent crash he looked back at the people on the plane and saw a big bright light around some people, and lesser degrees of light around others. He was profoundly struck by that, and in that moment he vowed that if he lived, he would live his life fully, shining the full brightness of his life force.
Our life force energy has a dimmer switch, and we are in control of that switch. Just how big, how bright, how alive can we let ourselves be? It is our choice — brighter or dimmer, pygmy or Big Me. The great challenge is to become more and more comfortable with embodying our vast spirit, our vibrant aliveness, our magnificent soul.
How about you — do you feel like a pygmy or a Big Me? Where is your dimmer switch turned to? I invite us all to dare to turn up our light, to let our Big Soul Self shine through us, to be here fully, be here NOW, and be here WOW!