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Steadfast or change

By Thea Iberall

Learning can come from many places, even a silly movie like Legally Blonde. Elle Woods is a pink-clad sorority girl who only cares about how she looks and about marrying Warner Huntington III. She looks ridiculous and acts clueless. That is, until a store clerk tries to take advantage of her and she see demonstrates there’s more to her than we thought. Warner has his eyes on becoming a senator, and when he dumps her as he leaves for Harvard Law School, the story is set in motion. Elle Woods will do anything to get him back, even apply to Harvard Law. In story forming 101, screenwriters learn that there are two types of characters: steadfast and change. Steadfast characters stick to their convictions no matter the risk. Change characters see the errors of their way. Story happens when they meet and bump up against each other. Which is Elle Woods? Over the course of the story, does she change or stick to her own convictions? As a character, she's smart and yet, she doesn't look down on empty-headed sorority sisters. People try to put her down and yet, she doesn't buy into how foolish other people think she is. She's never in the audience judging herself. She maintains an open mind and even though she does experience fear, she has a deep belief in herself. She is tested when a professor comes on to her, and she'd rather quit than lose her principles. This is a steadfast character who is going for an initial want and, in the process, finds her power by seeing how she can help others. Sometimes in my life I've been a steadfast character and sometimes a change character. I was in a relationship with a woman who introduced me to the science of mind philosophy. We were taking weekly classes, learning principles of universal love. When I discovered she had an intense jealous streak to her, I believed we could apply these principles to our disagreements and emerge stronger. What was the point of believing in universal love if the principle couldn't be used in a real situation? I couldn't just believe abstractly in something. I thought she would change and see that universal love trumps jealousy. In the end, I was the one that changed. I stopped looking for completion in a relationship. I began owning my own pain. I learned kindness to myself first and then to others. And while I do believe in universal love, I see now that not everyone can access it. As my science of mind spiritual mentor said, if someone is poking holes in your boat, get them out of your boat. And turn your view towards that higher presence, whatever you choose to call it: god, higher power, higher self, universal love.

Sometimes from sorrow, for no reason, you sing. For no reason, you accept the way of being lost, cutting loose from all else and electing a world where you go where you want to.

Arbitrary, a sound comes, a reminder that a steady center is holding all else. If you listen, that sound will tell where it is, and you can slide your way past trouble.

Certain twisted monsters always bar the path – but that’s when you get going best, glad to be lost, learning how real it is here on the earth, again and again.

Participants' Reflections

  • I was really taken with the idea of throwing someone out of the boat if they are poking holes in it. It’s quite graphic. I felt that I’ve done that in several cases over my lifetime. And I’m not sure it was the best decision. I think I missed some richness in that other person who I deemed dangerous or a threat in some way. Maybe it was the only decision I could make at that point. But I do wonder, and regret, what I may have missed. That was very fruitful for me. Thank you.

  • Sometimes we don’t want to judge the other person. But it gets to a point.

  • Thank you. I also am connecting with the poking holes in the boat. This morning, during that magic time between sleep and awake, I had an insight. It tied four or five dreams that I’ve had together. It was pretty profound and there was a link between all of them. It had to do with someone in my life who has been very judgmental towards me and I believed that judgment. For me, throwing that person out of my boat was letting go of believing that judgment. It was very freeing. Thank you. It’s just another reflection. I had a feeling coming here today that there would be some message with that insight I had. I think that was powerful for me. And the acknowledgement that this person, or at least the judgment, has to be thrown out of my boat.

  • It’s an excellent way to look at this lesson. Maybe it’s not the person necessarily that one throws out. But the view, that we’ve embraced, is thrown out. It’s letting go part of ourselves.

  • I was thinking of being steadfast or changing. I hadn’t thought about that. I was taken by one of things in a David Brooks article. It was talking about people only change when they come to be understood. That’s kind of what we do here. We say things, we listen to what we ourselves say and we listen to what others say. And sometime in that process, one becomes more ready to change. People have heard you. We listen. We enable people to speak through listening. I had not thought of that as being one of the steps to changing before. I am pondering it. I think it’s important that you have someone witnessing what you are doing. It could be your inner witness. It could be listening to yourself. Thank you for continuing to have us talk about change and being understood.

  • In the 12-step program, the fourth step is to take an inventory of myself, to figure out everything there is about me. The first 4th step inventory I wrote was one page. The last one I wrote was 100 pages long. That one-page one was a lot harder than the 100-page one. I put on paper for the first time secrets I could never face or tell anyone. And then, the 5th step is to read that inventory out loud three times. Once to myself so that I hear it. Once to another person so that someone else hears it and listens to me. And the third time is to read it to my Higher Power so that I give it away. And while it was almost impossible to read my one-page inventory to another person, I did feel heard and not judged. So when I read it to my Higher Power, the secrets had lost their power over me. It’s a powerful process to be heard and it is a way to change.

  • Thank you all for joining me today in this adventure. It is such a joy to be here with you all and see your smiling faces and reflect together on how to be our authentic selves. It is truly a joy to share this process with you. I hope you have a gentle day today.

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