Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: October 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Shoot the hostage

[I’m learning, as I age, I cannot go around quoting mediocre early 90’s movies anymore unless I seek permission from my audience. When I went to the hospital, my first (older) nurse laughed when I cited Adventures in Babysitting‘s “One stitch? All of this for one stitch?” The second, 20-something nurse, looked confused. So I recognize my limited response when I refer to Speed with my title, Shoot the Hostage. But I love it too much to change it.]

My computer arrived yesterday. It’s gorgeous, so light and shiny. I bought it used, because I’m both cheap and participating in a silent revolution against our throw-away culture. Thus, my computer has a slight ding on the top left corner. It’s folded in, ever so slightly; not so much that it’s overtly noticeable, but enough that I’m not under the allusion of perfection.

That dented corner translates to freedom.

No longer am I under the pressure of maintaining perfection. It’s still a very nice machine. I ordered a hard shell and a case to try to preserve it best I can.  I’m not going to toss it to the back of my minivan and let the 3-year-old pound on it just because of a slight imperfection. I’m doing my part to keep it in top shape. But the stress of keeping it pristine disappeared with the discovery.

Imagine if we approached life like that.

Fear overwhelms us. It creeps into the corners of our lives when we aren’t looking. We get paralyzed by the idea that what we have or do isn’t perfect. Here’s the thing, friends. None of us is perfect. (Wait, was I supposed to keep that a secret?) We have cracks or dents. What we do – our jobs, our families, our activity within communities – are faithful, well-intentioned yet imperfect efforts. We know it about ourselves. And we might even know it about other people. So why is it part of the situation?

If we’re held at gunpoint by fear, then shoot the hostage. Take it out of the equation, like Keanu said. Shoot perfection in the leg.

When you eliminate the variable, you can concentrate on what is in front of you. Deeply immerse yourself in doing your best. Follow your curiosity when the question arises, “I wonder what would happen if I…”

When you don’t hold yourself to a standard of perfection, you find freedom to explore and backtrack. Let yourself return to the starting point acknowledging that it didn’t lead to where you thought it would, but maybe – just maybe – the adventure was worth the effort. And maybe you learned something about yourself, God or the world that will change your next attempt. Because ultimately, that’s the only standard we can be held to.

Perfection was never the goal; faithfulness was.

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A need for stitches

I sliced open my thumb cleaning up some broken glass. I took one look at it and thought I had a hole in my hand. I immediately called JJ and declared a need for stitches. Seven of them, to be exact.

I’m amazed with the body’s ability to heal itself. The stitches won’t heal me. They hold things in place so the two sides of the same skin can begin to recognize itself in the other. Then, together, the skin will create new cells that fill the gap the cut divided.  With a little bit of rest, keeping it clean and covered, in 10 days I’ll go get these bad boys out and see wholeness in my hand.

Friends, this is very good news. Not just because humans are clumsy when it comes to cleaning up sharp objects, but because our bodies frequently reflect our human nature. We are designed for healing. Restoration. Oneness.

This election has been ugly, but we’re almost there. Here’s what I propose: we take some time on November 9 to heal our gaping wound. We remember that the ones on the other side of the divide are made of the same stuff, even if they don’t think, believe or vote in the same way. I believe we can create something new to fill the gap.

We need something that will tie us together, but please remember: the work of getting stitched up will hurt like a Mother. I came off the table with that shot of skin-Novocaine. This is going to hurt. But you often have to work through pain to get to the healing.

Yesterday I took my van to get fixed, and sat in the waiting room, where CNN filled the airwaves analyzing  the previous night’s debate. I braced myself for either awkward silence or combative arguments. After a commentator made another sensationalized statement, I couldn’t resist laughing. We all laughed. And then we broke the ice. We started by agreeing: this election is terrible.

A rich white dude, an older black man and myself, the young-to-middlin’ female, we all agreed. It’s terrible. We’re tired of it. Then, we shared our hopes. Perhaps something better will be on the horizon. Perhaps we’ll collectively learn our lesson.

“I’m most scared of blind allegiance to either candidate.” Yes, me too.

“I wish there was less sensationalism around their personalities and more talk of how either candidate plans to address the actual issues.” Yes, me too.

“I’ve done more watching and reading for this election than any before it, starting with the primaries.” Yes, me too. 

Instead of criticizing “the system” for all its obvious imperfections, perhaps it’s time for the real work to begin:  we, the people need to reflect on what kind of citizens we want become before 2020. I think it starts with more “yes, me too.” All of the “them/they/their” talk will only keep the divide deep and long.

So here we go, friends. Our chance to pull it together. Brace yourself, because healing hurts. But it’s possible and necessary if we want to move and live in the way we were designed to function: together, as a whole.

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Sing to the River

When growing up, Ghostbusters II  regularly rotated into my cinematic soundtrack (along with Can’t Buy Me Love, Troop Beverly Hills and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun).  We would watch these flicks on repeat, except it was the 80’s and we had to rewind the tape.

Do you recall the River of Slime that coursed beneath New York City? That pink ooze, which Veckman figured out they could shoot from the proton packs? In one scene, several of the Ghostbusters, soaked in the stuff, argued to the point of wanting to quit their ghostbusting gig. Then, in the next moment, they hugged one another, sappy in love.

After an experiment with a toaster, the Ghostbusters discovered that the slime could be used to influence people for good or evil. When supplied with hatred, it emitted hatred. When given lovingkindness, it was returned. The secret to the river- was it good or evil? – was in feeding it. 

So when the evil  Vigo tried to incarnate the baby (the mythic allegory is abundant) while trapped in the museum covered with a pink slime jello-mold , the Ghostbusters use the slime to animate the statue of liberty. Because, of course they did. And what saves the day and the baby? The Ghostbusters managed to get all of NYC to sing. The slime river running beneath them changed from feeding on foul-mouthed rudeness to Your love keeps lifting me Higher and Higher.

My love for movies – even cheesy 80’s flicks- lies in how art brings to light a truth we cannot understand otherwise. I’ve experienced this river – though I choose to see it as a clear river of living water rather than pink slime – and its effect on my life. I notice that when I feed it anger, my own anger will boil over. And when I sing, life sings back. 

Friends, there is a river that runs through us all, and connects us all. It will return to us, and those around us, what we provide it. So sing. Sing to it. Remind the river, the world, and your own soul that everything started with goodness.

Now, excuse me while I go ask Netflix to help me relive my childhood.


(Image above via Wikipedia)

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