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           The television show Modern Family, one of my absolute all time favorites, aired a poignant episode. It spoke to something I write about all the time, and it did so in a humorous yet powerful way.
            Claire and Phil, one of the show's main married couples, have this great moment when they are at the movie theatre together to see Crocktopus. This husband and wife duo share a love of cheesy “B” horror movies, and Crocktopus fits the bill perfectly, being about the attack of a giant mutant hybrid of crocodile and octopus (brilliant concept, all around, by the way). On top of their mutual love of Crocktopi, they also share a disdain for the rules of movie viewing. So Claire is sneaking in wine coolers, and Phil is sneaking in a two hour supply of Twix candy bars for two. They both make bad play on word jokes to each other about their sneaky behavior.
           The two lovers are totally in sync with each other, connected in both attitude and behavior. Phil has this wonderful line just before he kisses his wife, when he says “I love us”. It’s a beautiful moment in the middle of a very silly and humorous situation. Which is one of many things I love about the show; it’s ability to dance between tenderness and humor, between the soft glow of love and the hard humor of that same love.
           Seconds after the “I love us” moment, just before they are about to enter the theatre for two hours of glorious, entertaining mayhem, they bump into the parents of the smartest kid in the seventh grade. Earlier that day, Claire and Phil’s daughter, Alex, let them both know that she is apparently the second smartest kid in the seventh grade, and that she’s very concerned about being number two. Moreover, Alex lets them know that this kid’s parents are brilliant, and that she is doing the best she can with what she’s been given. She’s insinuating, of course, that Phil and Claire just aren’t that smart. The couple realize her insinuation, and are a little hurt by it. This child/parent banter happens over Phil and Claire’s discussion about going to see the matinee of Crocktopus. It’s a brilliant scene, and a juxtaposition that’s not lost on Alex, as it underscores her parent’s supposed lack of intelligence.
           This is all a set up for what happens next. The “brilliant parents” are going to see a French film in the same theatre. When asked what film they are going to see, Claire and Phil say that they are going to see the same French film. Moreover, they make a point of saying that they’re certainly not there to see Crocktopus.
           It’s a fabulously executed point, and one that immediately struck a chord with me. For how often do we do just what Claire and Phil did? How often do we deny ourselves to ourselves? How often we deny ourselves to others? How often do we deny ourselves what we truly are, what we truly love, and who we truly are, because we are more concerned with appearing a certain way to the world at large?
           In the moments just before the about face in order to appear more intelligent, Claire and Phil share a simple yet beautiful celebration of themselves, a celebration of each other, a celebration of their special relationship. When Phil says “I love us” and the couple kiss, they are affirming who they are to each other, they are affirming what they love to each other, and they are affirming that sacred intersection of love between them. And yet, just a few moments later, those powerful and special affirmations are thrown aside and completely denied, because of how they want  to look to other people.  
           The contrast between what they really love and who they want to appear to be in that moment is supremely stark, and illustrates the point with added emphasis. It speaks to the power we give to what others think of us over the power of owning and celebrating who and what we are. Public opinion, and the need to to conform and measure up to cultural benchmarks, is so potent that we are often willing to sacrifice ourselves, to sacrifice our very essence, just to get it. How often do we deny a special, unique, beautiful piece of us, a piece that gives us pleasure and joy, a piece that actually creates love, because we want others to approve of us?
           I call that “Kissing The Porcelain God Of Acceptance”. We worship a false prophet at the expense of our own inner divinity. And, just like spending hours at the foot of a toilet, such behavior that seemed necessary at the time can leave us horrified upon reflection.
           I’m not immune to this. I’m just better at navigating it than most. I too feel the constant pull to be accepted, to look a certain way, to appear one way even though it goes against something deep inside of me. It’s important to be aware of this, and to learn how to sail through it. Sometimes that sail is a beautiful cruise where the wind is with you, the waves are just right, and the sun is shining and bouncing off the water like magic. And other times, that sail is through a maelstrom, a storm of self, that can feel like an act of survival. What matters is that we keep sailing through it, no matter what the weather.
           To honor and be present to who we are is a wonderful act of self love. To deny that is an act of self sabotage. To be engulfed in what we love and celebrate that is a party of the soul, where we invite the world and don’t care who shows up. The fact that we’re in fact throwing the party, and daring to invite all of humanity, is what’s important. Is all that’s important. That’s the juice.
           And when we have that attitude, when we truly come from there, we attract people. We attract the right people. Without trying to. We get the love and the connection we so desire, but not because we’re altering ourselves to get it. Not because we have an agenda. We get it because we’re being real, because we’re taking the risk of being ourselves, and those on our vibration pick up on that and resonate with us. What starts off as a sacred solo becomes a sacred symphony.

    ©2014 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.   

    Reader Comments (2)

    Public opinion(ego) is the antithesis of self realization

    February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTeddyK

    Teddy K, thank you for reading and responding, Powerful, concise, and insightful comment, dripping with truth. It's such a sacred, common struggle, between ego and the true self. Looking forward to hearing more from you.


    February 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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