Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Be who you are. Everyone else is taken."

Shalom. It was Oscar Wilde I quoted in the post title.

A few years ago I spent a lot of time apologizing for heinous behavior. It was rough at the end of my career as a priestess and witch; magic did not bring out in the best in me. I was an insane bitch, after which I left the practices and community. After that, I became a river of apologies.

Some apologies were accepted, some were not. It didn't really matter either way. What mattered to me was offering the apology. It was profoundly healing on so many levels. When people behave badly yet are unable or unwilling to acknowledge, apologize and learn from the experience, or are completely unaware of what has taken place, the remnants of the bad behavior hang around for a long time, like a stinky cloud surrounding them. Richard Nixon walked around in that stinky cloud to his dying day (for instance).

Apologies, when sincerely offered, clear the stink almost instantly. It's so healing, I can't recommend it enough. My devotion to apologizing after I've been an ass, followed by learning from the experience, frees me and the people to whom I apologize, if this is what they want. Those who can't accept apologies are still bound to the stinky cloud somehow. Don't ask me how or why, because it isn't their fault I was a jerk.

I got into a habit of apologizing during that time. It felt so good. True, too, it culled the number of uncomfortable conversations I had to engage in. The quicker I apologized, the sooner my relationships were "normal" again. No matter the disagreement, small or large, I took it on. It was all my fault, and that was OK with me. So weird; the apologizing decayed over time, went from being sincere and heartfelt to my automatic response to conflict. It turned into controlling behavior. It started out so noble, how the hell did that happen? Hmm. As with everything, the Tao of Goldilocks rings true. Eventually I decided to stop apologizing all the time. I decided I should only apologize when it was truly merited by my behavior.

Next I decided to stop feeling ashamed. One thing leads to another, you know. Over time, I let go of my nagging concerns about the shape of my body, focusing on my health instead. I let go of the shame I carried about relationships and experience in my past. I began to speak my mind more, and simultaneously, I became a much nicer person. It's interesting to think about.

When I was in Virginia Beach, it came to me that it's time for me to stop apologizing all the time for being a shaman. For heaven's sake. I'm not the first, nor the last, to have spirit guides and animals, to have ongoing relationships with stones, feathers, plants, the cloud people and so on. I'm going to cease and desist with my tendency to forewarn readers here when I feel like writing about my shamanism, i.e. "This is going to be a weird one," etc.

No one has to believe me when I write about my shamanic journeys and experiences. I'm not here to convince anyone of anything. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

What I do is harmless to everyone - what am I so embarrassed about? Good lord. I am over it.


Joanna said...

I love this post. Good for you for being yourself without apology. You are a model for what we all need to do.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Joanna,

I'm almost sixty. If I'm going to accept myself, I'd better get to it.

I read recently that self acceptance is the new defiance among women. Whoa. Or should I say, wow?

You tell me.

Steve Reed said...

Bravo, Reya. You need not apologize for anything, and certainly not for anything on your blog! You DO see the world in an unusual way -- anyone who takes photos like that last one connects with the sun and the earth in a way that many more oblivious, hurried individuals just won't get. :)

By the way, I took a photo yesterday of a restaurant in Shepherd's Bush called the Sufi Restaurant. I thought of you immediately! I'll send you the picture.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Steve. I love your eye, too -

Funny, the Sufi connection for me. They are so cool.

Angela said...

Reya, I am five years ahead of you, and I agree to all you say. It frees you so much to stop wondering what others may think of you. Just be who you are, never stop learning, but don`t apologize. Oscar Wilde is so wise, too.

ellen abbott said...

I've never cared overmuch what others thought of me but that didn't mean I was into self acceptance. It was very freeing to finally get there. know thyself and be true to same.

Marian Wiseman said...

I, too, am quick to apologize. I,ve noticed some people never apologize. I fired one proofreader because she could never say "oh I'm so sorry I missed that" or (as I am wont to say "I'm mortified that I did that. Please accept . . . .). In fact, she was so into "I can never be wrong that she would say stuff like "I checked that."

I love you! You shaman you.