Sometimes I imagine the different “parts” of my self as persons at a high school dance or a wedding reception. My Vulnerability is turned sideways, glancing only briefly toward the dancefloor. My Shame – its back to the room – droops at the wall. My Confidence locks onto my eyes whenever I glance its way, ready to join me on the floor any moment I reach for its hand.
And standing in the dark corner of the gym, with all the other personifications like Regret, which feel unwelcome…
At a reception table, seated by itself, glancing only periodically at the rest of the hall, regarding the other personifications invited to dance often, so feeling unwelcome…
There sits my Pain.
To a handclapping dance number, I groove gleefully with my personification of Joy, in a circle of other dancers gathered around Freedom personified.
The song fades and lights dim to signal the coming slow dance. I’m left without a partner, beside a nearly empty table. I look back at the floor where Joy has partnered with Freedom to sway and flow effortlessly, and Vulnerability accepts the embrace of Confidence.
My Ego can’t bear to be seen alone, naked, without a partner. To avoid being left out of the slow-dance spectacle, I extend a hand to invite the only personification nearby.
But Pain’s eyes reject me.
My Ego and I are forced to sit to save face, so we make it look as if I chose to sit to rest, spinning an empty chair to put my feet up after pouring a glass of water from the table’s untouched pitcher that’s sweating – rivulets dribbling down its smooth glass sides.
I sat with my Pain.
Still anxious I was being watched, my Ego wouldn’t let me idly watch the dancers, so prompted me to talk at Pain.
But Pain merely sat staring straight ahead at the weeping pitcher.
If I stood and left Pain, watching eyes would witness Ego’s rejection. I was trapped. Mortified. I could only stare ahead at the glass full of cold tears I had poured.
The Ego voice in my head played victim, “This is payback for avoiding Pain.”
The first of two slow dances dragged on, excruciating. My Ego’s incessant monkey-mind chatter was finally interrupted as the song was ending, because Pain had pushed back its chair to rise to its feet.
So my eyes too lifted, from the iceless glass of warming tears in front of me. Then, my Ego was mortified…
Pain was extending its hand to me, for the next slow dance.
My Ego felt every other personification watching for my response, so what could I do?
Other personas on the floor made space, we embraced, the music rolled on…
The Ego-chatter in my head faded as Pain led us in a dance I don’t even remember. Just pure expression. My mind stilled, I followed Pain’s lead with no effort.
This dance belonged to both of us.
Into my ear, “Sorry we sat out the first one. I needed you to sit with me…
Now, I need you to carry me; you lead and take me everywhere…”
Once in my arms inseparably, Pain seemed less a burden, and my steps lighter, a part of me no longer dragged behind…
My Ego snapped me out of the dance to alert me that we had been yielded the full floor. The music faded to silence breathless. All personifications were riveted, and the seated ones stood…
The gawking DJ had failed to queue the next song, so now lowered the arm of the record-player’s needle, and the crackling sound from the groove between songs echoed through the hall for long, quiet, still, breathless seconds, until…
All the personifications – from dark corners and limelight alike – rushed the floor with the opening lyric,
The Full Neil threw up all his arms in unison…
Leave a Comment below about a song that moves the Full You.
“Stay where the pain is” (Richard Rohr)
Neil D. 2022-08-18