Of Two Minds

“Every autobiography is concerned with two characters; a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.

-W.H. Auden

Girl on Beach

I have Sirius Radio in my car for two channels: the spicy Caliente station, which is the hottest Latino music minus stinky commercials, and the Oprah channel. Last week Iyanla Vanzant was being interviewed on the Soul Series about her show Iyanla, Fix My Life. (If you think you’ve got problems, just listen to Fix My Life and you’ll think you’re walking through Candy Land.)

In the interview, Iyanla recounts how she turned her life around. She was born as Ronda Eva Harris in Brooklyn into an abusive family with a runaway father. She was headed down a dark road of addiction and at one point decided that the messed up Ronda had to go. She sent her packing and invented a new self and with it, a new name.

It made me laugh because of how it mirrored what my sister had recently done. Fed up with the course of things (it takes this girl a millennia to get fed up), on one of her long phone sessions with her retired therapist friend, they devised a plot.

They decided Lana needed to take a long vacation and Leta (her middle name) would take command. We all have at least two parts of our whole: our personality/conscious self and our spirit or soul self. Lana is her personality, the one with the rose-colored glasses who believes in every man’s “potential” (even if they never have any intentions of meeting that potential). Lana is the Queen of Denial and makes everything peachy, even if it’s not.

BeachLeta, her spirit self, sees life much clearer. She knows how to assert and set boundaries. She doesn’t necessarily need to be liked. There were some matters at hand that needed to dealt with and so it was time for Leta to take the helm. And take it she did.

Just recently Torre DeRoche, an author I follow, and whom I will be reviewing in an upcoming post, wrote about her own inner crisis. Torre is one of those amazingly successful thirty something types. After a lifetime of being a hyper over-achiever and an intense period of authorly success, she finally burned out.

With the long pause I am taking since the flood and being displaced, I decided to try Lana’s and Iyanla’s trick. Wanda, my personality self, has served me in many ways. She’s resourceful, doggedly determined and has uncommon common sense.

But she’s pissing me off. She’s been put through one hell of a life obstacle course and is dragging a caboose load of baggage full of past hurts, perceived failures and, well, crap.

734577_539165766117874_2001208294_nJacqueline, my spirit half (the name I was supposed to have been given at birth), is the gypsy girl who comes out on journeys. She’s playful and adventurous and a bit crazy/loca. She loves to laugh and joke and pull Jim Carey faces. She’s flirty and adores a grand romance and good sex. But she’s not been let out enough and lately, not at all.

So I asked Wanda to take a hike. Far away for a long while. And to come back later minus the bags.

For Lana, the Leta takeover has had the fallout of a loss of the magical spark she’s always held. Santa, the fairies, and God just may not exist.

Torre hit the wall and her spirit self made the executive decision to toss the over-achiever and eat pickles in her robe for a long break in her whirlwind life.

And my “exile?” Let’s say Wanda isn’t taking it lying down.

Is your spirit feeling like this?

Is your spirit feeling like this?

Usually we make these kinds of decisions—or our higher self does—when life is undoubtedly out of balance. When one side of self has run amok and unchecked, the pendulum swings wildly to the other side. We’ve seen it in people who’ve been incredibly promiscuous or binge-oriented where they turn to religion or strict regimes.

But we are meant to be whole rather than fragmented.

For “Leta,” she likely needs to bring Lana back to keep the magical aspects of herself alive and well. Lana is an incredible creator of beauty and enchantment. She has a rare, unconditionally loving quality. Nobody in her life wants to see that go. But keeping Leta in the forefront to rein in the denial and to keep setting those much-needed boundaries is an important part of my sister’s wholeness.

As Torre takes this ever so important opportunity to pause and take stock, she is discovering that it’s okay to silence her inner taskmaster and savor the moment. She is learning that she is enough, without being Wonder Woman of the World.

As I observe my mind’s reaction at my attempt to send Wanda off on extended leave, I see that we need both aspects of ourselves. My dominant self retaliates by dredging up every nasty feeling and past hurt it can recall. No! I won’t go without a fight! I have worked hard to get this far and stay alive. I rule!

When we let one side dominate, as I have with my rising sign Virgo (“virginal”/practical) self, as Lana has with her Queen of Denial, and as Torre has with her Wonder Woman self, the other half cries out for recognition and fair play time.

This turning table can be equally destructive in reverse. I have a friend whose paramour is a musician. He’s allowed that spirit side of himself to run rampant for most of his adult life without accountability or taking responsibility for things and people he has spawned. He expects that the world is his playground and he need not produce any tangible results. He’s left a path of confusion and discord in his charming yet damaging wake.

Even the high profile Iyanla has had to pay the price for the banishment of Ronda. She took a major crash with bankruptcy and a falling out with her friend Oprah, amongst other things. And she’s had to rebuild and reintegrate.

Our id wants an equal voice, as does our ego. We were most likely created with two sides for a reason. As Carl Jung stated: “Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.” We need a certain amount of practicality to maneuver through the precariousness of the world, but we also need a whole lot of wonder to keep hope afloat and cynicism at bay.

Raaaarrrrrrr

Raaaarrrrrrr

Whether you have an inner Attila who is making you about as much fun as a chapped asshole or whether you have a self-indulgent brat ruling the roost, it may be time for a truce rather than expulsion of the governing half.

Take a good pause and ask yourself, what is the oxygen of my soul? What do I really, really want to do more of and what do I want to do a lot less of?

As ever, I hope you dance. I hope we all do.

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8 Responses to Of Two Minds

  1. Flat and flagging? I think not. I know not. Your latest is the ever-present, deeply-stirring soul-writing (which, once again, touches me/speaks to me). For the last five days, (the first five days off in what seems like forever) I have been immersed in mega-stimulating-company in a chaotic mix of new friends and old family (in Chapala). In stealing a moment to check online, I am unable to pass you by. I thank you once again for the invitation (one you offer to all readers) to check in with my essence: sift it, weigh it, mix in some vanilla, maybe a little rosemary. We are each a tasty dish. Sometimes we wake up and prepare ourselves from the scrap of paper on which the ingredients and directions were written years ago, and other times from the official page in a cookbook. Either way, we balance the stuff we are made of.

    • wanda says:

      Thanks Marie. Love to hear that you couldn’t pass by. Don’t we writers all live to know people are reading our work. Glad to have you as one of my readers!

  2. Wonderful Post Wanda!
    Your posts always make me think, smile and remember to slow down and enjoy the moments.

  3. Debbie ferguson says:

    Great blog post as always Wanda……….Deb Love and I just read it….she is my temporary roomie and we both say hola!

  4. Hi Sweet Wanda/Jacqueline ,

    As usual, I was intrigued, fascinated & amazed by where that interesting, creative and completely unpredictable mind of yours leads you when you sit down to write something. And that’s also why I always enjoy exploring your blogs … I don’t know where the hell it’s going but I know I will have fun taking the “trip.” As usual, it’s not the destination that’s important, it’s the fun and learning that I experience during the course of the journey.

    Unfailingly, once I start reading whatever it is of yours, you immediately get me and I am unable to stop or get off the bus, until the destination is reached. Then I sit back and say what I have known from Day 1, …..Wanda/Jacqueline is one hell of a CAPTIVATING WRITER!!! I suspect that Jacqueline is just as talented as Wanda, but her writings may be a little more subdued.

    I was struck by this paragraph(below) and I am curious about what your personal current answer is to the questions you ask. Let me take a shot:
    (1) WHAT IS the oxygen of your soul? Artistic creation (as in writing)
    (2) WHAT do you really, really want to do more of? (Enjoy the respect and financial success of a very well known and highly regarded author)
    (3) WHAT do you want to do a lot LESS of ? (Climbing over the necessary but unpleasant and unavoidable difficult obstacles on the way to success.)

    In summary, Miss Wanda and Miss Jacqueline, you continue to amaze and impress me. I continue to have a very high confidence level in what the final result of your journey will be, and I will be in the front row of admirers leading the standing ovation for your achievements.

    Your mentor, coach, advisor and #1 fan.

    Jerry

    • wanda says:

      Hi Jerry,

      Well, thank you very much, sir! The answers (in a nutshell) are:

      1) Oxygen of my soul: Love. That encompasses my love of creative expression, of nature and planet earth’s beauty, love of friends and family and last but not least, romantic love.
      2) Really, really want more of: Travel a lot more again and write about it. Also, a LOT more romance.
      3) Less of: Less soul-less, concrete city, less snow, and less trivial (as in meaningless) pursuits.

      (Actually, Jacqueline’s writing is likely less subdued!;)

      Gracias!

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