The Shadow of My Shining

11/11/13. Post-presentation blues.

Last night, after the presentation, I went and had tacos at a ballroom salsa dancing joint with Erik Davis, Jennifer Dumpert, Daniel Pinchbeck and his Polish girlfriend Janna, and several people from BONUS & Pijama Surf. A Cuban singer named Billy Graham performed. I got to talk to Daniel properly for the first time (not counting our onstage exchanges), about Ray Kurtzweil and Whitley Strieber and (briefly) autism. Daniel seemed to appreciate the idea that the kind of psychic abilities which transhumanists and others were touting might be already among us, unrecognized due to our social blinders.

I talked to Erik Davis about alchemical marriage and managed to piss him off without meaning to or having any clue that I was saying anything objectionable. In retrospect, I think I must have been a bit inflated after the performance, acting overly exuberant and probably sending out insufferable (to Erik) Ego Energy without being aware of it. Bleh.

After I got back to the Hilton, once I had sorted out the problem with the room, I was unable to sleep for several hours. Wide awake. I felt bathed in living energy. Everything felt right. I felt like I had performed my task well (mission accomplished) and “leveled up.” I also felt like something had ended, been resolved. This perhaps had to do with my lifelong problem with “stage fright” (both literal and symbolic), my fear of being seen coupled with, and in endless conflict with, the need to be seen.

At the same time, there was an element  almost of shame. I felt as if I had done something “wrong” by giving such a naked display of self, and that I would somehow be punished for it.

Now today, these two feelings are closer to being fused into a single feeling of satisfaction with an edge of regret. I feel as though I didn’t quite “deliver” the goods as completely or effectively as LIFE (my inner, authentic self) would have had me do. It’s a very raw, tender feeling of having let a part of myself down (and therefore others) by not going the extra distance (because something was holding me back).  I guess this has to do with my having expressed and therefore brought to the surface a deeply ingrained desire, a need, to be loved. And now that lack, that ache, is more acutely felt.

During the performance I was talking about spontaneity and how I hadn’t prepared anything for the presentation. That was only half true. I was comparing myself down rather than up. I still wanted to put on a good show and to be well-thought of, make a strong impression, at a purely ego level. Most of what I ended up saying I’d already thought about in the days leading up. Nothing completely surprising came out, or very little anyway.

Paradoxically, I think that getting closer than previously to an authentic public expression has obliged me to see more acutely and painfully the ways in which I am still falling short of authenticity. So the shadow of my shining (and to shine was VERY unsafe growing up, because my older brother would not tolerate it and I would attract his anger as likely as anyone else’s love), the shadow of my shining is the feeling that I am still “doing the shaman”—still a sham of a man.

Fortunately there’s a third act still to come, the workshop I am giving on Tuesday, which will be a chance to complete the public unveiling and pull the wizard’s curtain all the way back, once and for all.

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