By Theresa Puskar
…Must You Always Make Lemonade?
June 2, 2019
I headed downtown today to review an event, only to be disappointed that it had been canceled at the last minute. I found it interesting that this also happened last month (which is why you got a movie review instead of my usual event review). To satiate my angst, I detoured to my favorite downtown doughnut joint and purchased a delectable deep-fried “Do-Wrong,” buttermilk, sugar dipped-dipped-and-dipped-again doughnut. I shoveled it into my mouth, so engrossed in my frustration, that I barely allowed myself to experience the delicious taste. It was down my throat and into my belly before my taste buds had a chance to know what hit them! On the hour-long drive back to the western suburbs, while trying to ignore the “fried” and “sugar” guilty pangs that arose with every morsel that I had snorted, I asked myself, “Do I always HAVE to make lemonade when I am dealt lemons? Why? And who says so? Humbug!”
I find it interesting how often old paradigms—emotional and spiritual patterns that I have worked on throughout my life—continue to rear their determined heads. That good ol’ guilt that stemmed from my family dynamics, my upbringing in an organized religion and my own self-shaming psyche continues to challenge me in my life. When I think of the tens of thousands of dollars that I spent on therapy, workshops, seminars, as well as book and audio programs, I am aghast. That being said, I would not have given any of it up, despite the continued internal battles I fight. It’s a funny theater of the absurd that often plays out in my mind. The witness-self watches as the ego and higher-self stand their ground:
Self 1:“I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I hate this world!”
Self 2: “Seriously? And you say you are committed to growing more consciously? You’re failing BIG TIME at doing so with such a negative attitude.”
Self 1: “**** you. I don’t need this guilt-trip now! Leave me alone and let me experience this.”
Self 2: “Be careful! You believe in the Law of Attraction. What are you attracting into this world with such negativity and anger?”
Self 1: “Yeah, well… What are you attracting with all the guilt you are spewing?”
Does this internal self-dialogue sound familiar? The tricky thing is that neither voice is that of the higher-self. That is what so often trips us. The ego is really crafty, and often, under the guise of the higher-self, stands steadfast in its righteousness, determined in its condemnation. Therein lies the internal struggle that we see externalized all over the world. There is a battle, but although one side is determined, it waves the flag of consciousness—both sides judge and stand immobile in their righteousness. Especially in America’s current political arena, I find myself vehemently judging the judgers, and in doing so, I realize that I am no better than they are! In a sea of anger, I want to right the wrongs of the “other side,” determined to squelch the voice of those “other” wrongdoers. However, hatred begets hatred, judgment begets judgment. When I catch myself fighting this battle, I try to stop and say a prayer—for myself, for America, for the world, and especially for the “other.” I try to stay away from the inflammatory projections on the news and take a moment to witness the innocent child that is hidden at the core of the one I perceive as the perpetrator. While this is not always easy to do, I selfishly try whenever I can because I feel better about myself when I do.
Life is such a complicated paradox at times. Then I find that I am pulled into that “SHOULD-self” time and time again. It’s as if my higher-self is testing me. “Do you really want peace? Do you really believe you are guiltless?”
A couple of months ago, I attended a spiritual community event that I was new to and found myself tormented. At times, it seemed to be of such a high level of awareness, and at other times, I found myself feeling that it was punitive and shaming. I wondered if this was another “SHOULD-self” testing me.
The wonderful thing is that I asked for guidance and set my intention on getting clarity. As usual, I asked and abundantly received a response! After being absent for three months, I attended another event at the venue and was struck by two experiences that ultimately gave me my answer. In the first, I was telling one of the community members about my new business initiative, Dragon Soup Children’s Theatre Training and Productions. In the fall, I am starting a pre-school program, Power Princesses and Super Heroes, that develops self-acceptance, confidence, conflict resolution and other emotional intelligence skills through fun, musical theatre and storytelling. A grandmother’s response was shocking and perfect, “I’m so glad my grandson attended our blessing. Now I can talk to him about the darkness in his heart.” Yikes! In my program, I’m talking about the light that shines in the hearts of all children, young and old, and she wants to share rhetoric on darkness in their hearts? No, thank you!
Then as I was leaving the event, the leader of the program approached me in front of fellow community members and said, “I haven’t seen you in three months. Is our program too difficult for you?” I responded that I am constantly seeking to raise my consciousness, whether under their guidance or not. It has nothing to do with difficulty, however, I instantly realized that his comment was shaming. It challenged my integrity and my commitment—and it was perfect. As I left, my heart was filled with gratitude and my mind found the answer it was seeking. Enough shame. While for a short time, I was tempted to fall back into the realm of “I am guilty and not enough,” I decided to stay on the road upon which I was already traveling. While I anticipate that such forks in the road will continue to take me off-course occasionally; with each detour, I grow stronger in my clarity and deeper in my conviction. At times, I may find lemonade stands along the road; at other times, I may just have to suck it up and continue to growl in the sour soup of my own self-creation. Either way, I’ll keep on walking.
Theresa Puskar is an author, performer, speaker, minister and motivational audiobook producer. She is the creator of the “Terri” children’s book series, as well as being an actress and director, A powerful inspirational speaker and transition leader, Theresa edu-tains her audiences, by touching hearts and minds in a way that is engaging, joyful and life-affirming. Her most recent endeavors are her solo show Causeless Joy and her new company, Dragon Soup Children’s Theatre Training and Productions. For more information, visit www.TheresaPuskar.com.