Empathy seems to be the queen of Spirituality. My friends – the Buddhists – advocate it as if empathy would be enough to solve wars and hunger in the world. I agree there´s a strong point to it. Nonetheless, something else has crossed my mind lately: what about IMPERMEABILITY? Yep: it´s a big word and, believe me, it can have a big meaning. If empathy connects us with the Other and allows us to feel their experience as if it was our own (pain or pleasure; sadness or joy), impermeability creates a distance between us and the Other. Take that rain coat and wear it, I say out loud. Not all the time but, certainly, frequently enough to stop you from being contaminated by everybody´s opinions on how to live your life.
Cutting the bridge between us and the world can be a life saving jacket. Watching the rain and getting wet can be fun but, some times, we´re just not meant to get wet.
Being Human is not an easy School. Too much heat, you´ll get screwed. Too much cold, you´ll freeze your heart and end up equally screwed in the end. Being in the middle is an art form very few of us will ever master (never met someone who has mastered it at all).
As a counter current artist and, more recently, as an amateur (lover) of book writing, I have to keep in mind: IMPERMEABILITY. If I take other´s opinions, actions and exemples seriously, I will not move a millimeter – I´ll get as afraid, frustrated and stuck as they are. All those voices that kept telling me: you´ll never make your dreams come true had to be smashed into the dust they are. They have been silenced, of course (BAM!), but I haven´t forgotten them (PIM!).
Let them speak; let them express their opinions, onions and peppers; let them feed their fears but don´t let yourself be contaminated by those ghosts – their ghosts.
On the search for an editor for my upcoming book (a professional editor who makes a final revision of the book before going to print), I´ve met one that truly blew my mind. Aside from pearls (too amazing for my own words) and the fact that he had a clear distaste for strong women who dare to think and act with guts, the almost-dialogue between us got this sour: “look – he wrote in an email -, your book sucks. It´s just an ego trip without any literary interest. If you want to make it better than a forgotten little bedside book, you´ll have to do more than edit the whole damned thing: you´ll have to rewrite it from scratch.” Opa! Mind you: this was the editor who said he wanted to do the job. He clearly hated me, the book in question and all it stands for (that didn´t surprise me), but the thing was: why was he editing something he so strongly despised? Plus: why would I pay an asshole (sorry, again: some words are inevitable) to destroy the joy, the respect and the pride this book has already brought me?
It´s obvious I told him our deal was off. OFF in every possible way: off in relation to our (impossible) team work and off in relation to the negativity and destruction he threw on me.
Out of the windown.
Stay where you belong, dear Satan!
Had I not been wearing my rain coat, impermeable to all sorts of shit storms, I would have been devastated; I would probably question the whole book, doubt my ablilies and intelligence and call it quits. I would. Many people would. That is if I wasn´t myself and if I hadn´t learnt the lessons contained in that blessed book. If I listened to jerks who point their frustrated fingers at others and yell at them(selves): you´re nothing and what you do is nothing.
Instead, I picked myself up with a rage I know too well (highly productive rage, I must add) and realized how much I love what I wrote. The fact that a good final editing will make it better doesn´t contradict the faith in myself and all I do with integrity and commitment. Result: the editor I was dreaming about showed up, out of the most unexpected context, emailed me and said: I love this book and what it stands for; let´s do it!
Joana – 1
Remember that little, magical word: IMPERMEABILITY. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain while you keep dancing.