October 02- Les Miserables
“Adversity makes men; prosperity makes monsters.” – Victor Hugo
One of the best known novels of the 19th century, Les Misérables contains a multitude of plots, but the thread that binds them together is the story of the ex-convict Jean Valjean, imprisoned for stealing food for his starving family. Forced to carry a yellow card denoting his felonious status upon his release from prison, Valjean can find neither food nor shelter and is forced to sleep on the streets of Paris. A kind bishop allows him into his home, but Valjean steals the bishop’s silver in the middle of the night and is caught the next day. The bishop denies Valjean stole from him, telling the authorities the silver,instead, was a gift to Valjean.
This one kindness, this one act of true grace, sets Valjean on a path of self sacrifice and upright behavior, even though he constantly fears his true identity will be discovered. He is hounded by his past in the person of the obsessive inspector Javert. After saving his adopted daughter’s fiance on the battlefield, he is mortally wounded, and as he is dying recounts his years of hiding his true self.
The feeling of being stalked, of being discovered as untalented or unfit for the stage, the constant comparisons to other musicians, fuels a fire of self doubt and intimidation. It’s as if our ego selves cannot believe we are worthy or deserving or even competent. Fear and self doubt linger over us, questioning our abilities, our ambition and ultimately our true soul purpose. When things go wrong, our fears grow into wild beasts, running amok and rampant over our fragile dreams.
All the while Spirit is in our other ear, whispering encouragement and filling us with renewed energy. Spirit coaches us on, plying us with inspiration and the divine experience of flow, as we follow directives not from ego but only from our soul.
Seek out quiet today and recognize that we all have fears. They may be hiding in strange places. Now is a perfect time of year to recognize and embrace your not-so- nice personalities. Is there a similarity between you and Mr. Hyde? Or do you think you have to be Superwoman and find yourself stressed and tired all the time? Or maybe you remind yourself of a pirate, constantly plundering and pillaging your precious energy in pursuit of some out of reach golden treasure, forgetting the true purpose of your talent is to bring joy to others.
Begin to recognize and name your monsters. Remember, through recognition comes understanding and compassion for your not-so-finer side.