Friday, November 13, 2009

Larger Than Life

A version of this article first appeared in the June 3, 2007 issue of my inspirational newsletter.

Watching the DVD recording of that 2006 concert this evening prompted me to revisit the original piece and share it again with you here.

Back in October 2006 when I was visiting Toronto, a friend treated me to a ticket to Barbra Streisand's first-ever concert performance in that city. Although we were sitting high in the rafters in a hockey arena that was anything but intimate, I was startled by how fully and personally her energy filled every corner of that venue.

"She's larger than life," I remember gushing to my friend at intermission.

I recalled that experience the first time I listened to the CD recording of the concert tour, some months after my return from Toronto. "That's what I want," I heard myself say at the time and was so startled by what seemed such a profoundly ego-driven thought that I was almost embarrassed.

But it wasn't until some months later that I fully understood both the Streisand experience and my inner voice. What I realized was that "larger than life" isn't about being famous. It simply means living larger than the restrictions and limitations we all carry so willingly through life. I also realized that access to that energy is not limited to the Barbra Streisands of the world, unless we choose for that to be so.

Even as our souls yearn for us to "play big," to discover our passion and live it to the fullest, our fearful self continues to seek out ways to hide and play small.

"Our deepest fear," writes Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love, "is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

Perhaps even deeper than the fear she describes is the fear of experiencing and expressing our power out in the world, of being larger than life, of living beyond the self-imposed walls and barriers we create in the mistaken belief they will keep us safe.

They can't and they won't.

Our only safety resides in living our largest life to its fullest potential, in living our living our passion. In walking through life as though we are though nothing can stop, limit or restrict us.

As I write this, an old Cole Porter lyric keeps running through my head:

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in

At a literal level, the song is sung by a cowboy who longs for the endless space of the open range.

Yet it's also the song of every soul deprived of its fullest expression by the fences of a fearful mind, a soul that seeks only the limitlessness of its natural state.

Whatever you think of Barbra Streisand's talent or personality, when you are in her energy field, you touch that limitlessness and your soul cries out, "Me too! That's who I am, too!!"

Here in the Western world, where we have been taught to play small, we transfer all of our natural desire for the fenceless world of a life lived large to our movie stars and sports heroes.

If we can't play out our own passion and power, we play it out through a celebrity cult that's no healthier than any other cult, one we also find in countries with charismatic leaders/dictators, in religions with unapproachable gods and in all situations where we abdicate the expression of our infinite nature to someone or something outside of ourselves.

In my novel, The MoonQuest, very much a metaphor for all our journeys, the main character is destined for a greatness he continues to resist. Yet destiny, as he is constantly reminded, is not cast in stone. There is always a choice.

"Every choice you have ever made, has led to this moment. Your moment. Still, the power to make a different choice remains yours."

The power to choose is always ours. In every moment and through every situation, we're offered the opportunity to choose our greatness, our passion, our light.

It's what we do with each moment and situation that governs our destiny, that decides whether we live in our greatness or in the shadow of someone else's, that determines whether we build fences or tear them down.

In this moment, what do you choose?


Sally G. said...

I've just decided to 'put my Self out there' - without really knowing where it's going to lead. A friend who I confided in said, "You have this marvelous gift to connect to people and help them to feel and to live in a better space within their own Selves….that is HUGE! Not even Oprah can do that! See, you’re bigger than Oprah! Sit with THAT for awhile…." and as awed as I was, I knew deep inside that she'd just distinctly captured my greatest fear. I like being invisible - bigger than Oprah - how terrifying!!

Mark David Gerson said...

Go for it, Sally! Remember, even Oprah was once not as big as Oprah!!

Anonymous said...

That is a mouthful, Mark. It will take me awhile to digest it. I agree with Sally that it is scary;
it always is when you step out of your comfort zone.

Blessings, Jo