“People struggle to do what they want to do and to be who they want to be. They fear announcing their place in the family of things, to crib a line from a Mary Oliver poem I love. This fear is understandable. In the first place, most of us grow up with some kind of inner critic or judge–a poop voice–that tells us we suck or have failed or will always fail or whatever. Such a voice is often the natural (and necessary) psychological defense against parents who did not or could not or would not understand who we were or what we needed. Even with good parents, for many of us, and all of us to some degree, the solution to the slings and arrows of childhood was to become someone we are not. We pretend. Giving up that pretense is terrifying, however necessary it is to lessening our suffering and moving towards the work we are meant to be doing.
Now we live in an age when we think we should be moving ahead in a linear way and at the speed of technology, faster and faster through school or up the ladder of a career or down the Facebook page of other people’s (pretend) happiness. It is ever more possible to compare ourselves to others and look into mirrors that only add to the occlusion and doubt and self-recrimination. We think we need to be machines–get yet another to-do list finished– to compete with the other machines who seem to be doing it all better than we are. But, in the words of the great Charles Davies: We are not machines. We are creative beings.
When I first walked into Charley’s, got a coffee from Rik, met Omri and Emily and their little daughter, I knew it was a place where I wanted to sit and write, to talk with clients, and offer Molly School classes. In the first place, I try to support local business as much as possible (and so do they), but more selfishly, the calm and energy there means real work can take place. One of the Molly School principles is to put beauty at the center of things. If you do that in your life, in your choices about how you spend money or spend a few hours during your day, less pretend happens and more real humanity emerges.
In the world of pretend and machines, I try to keep myself a real human while helping others find the work that calls to their soul. The beauty of Charley’s makes all of that more possible. ”
Ted Munter, Coach and Director/Teacher #17 at Molly School.
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