Friday, October 24, 2014

Laughing Away Ego

So, the word ego is now being used as the stuff in us that is uncool, negative, and yucky. It is vanity, anger, blame, whining, and ignorance. My dog gets it as a disease when we come home to a house strewn with kitchen garbage about the floor--how it got there is the fault of the cats. Then she feigns guilt and shame. Ego is our defense in a crazy world; it is an attempt to keep us protected, safe and sane.

But the reality is that ego goes a bit too far in it's pursuit of happiness. It becomes a suit of armor that blocks us from a freedom of forward movement in our life. It needs to be tamed, comforted and laid to rest.

How do we tame our inner dragons of ego that are sucking away at our freedoms of joy and bliss, love and peace? The first step is recognition. Then responsibility for the actions that we chose.

And here is the part that I want to play in serving humanity. I want to help kids face, recognize and watch from a safe place the stupid silly forms that ego can come about in their lives. And here is the really fun part of my job, as I am choosing it:

I want to do this through laughter

Okay, so there you have in a nutshell analysis what I want to be when I grow up.

All of this big sophisticated talk brings me to my present project. The story is about a pre-teen girl with an ego flirtation with vanity. In order to make the flirtation in-your-face obvious, her actions and words get a bit extreme. What fun would there be if they were not? Kids reading it will recognize her ego, but not see the same within them selves. Well, not at the surface level. But at that super-duper deep level that only the truly brave (and/or stupid) ever visit, is our recognition of our own vanity ego.

So, to get more concrete and personal about what I am talking about, here is my example:
A few days ago, I was booking a train reservation for my son. I waited until the day before to buy the ticket on-line. My other son had told me that they sell-out, and that I should buy the ticket in advance. But I scoffed at such nonsense. Surely the ticket would be at the cheapest rate available for me, where and when I was ready to buy.

You know where this leads, don't you? You smart reader you. When I got on-line to buy it, there was one ticket left at the cheap price. As I was attempting to purchase it with my credit card, there was a problem with the system accepting my information. By the time everything was figured out, someone else had snaked their way in and bought that last cheap ticket. The only one left was at full price. 

But this could not be my fault!!! It was the fault of their system (ego of blame). This should not have happened to me (ego of vanity). How could I have to pay more on my budget (whining)? I called the Customer Service line and they would not reimburse me. I explained in a rude, loud voice that this was not my fault (not accepting responsibility). 

The Service Rep was calm and polite but would not budge in giving me a better price. So, I had to pay the extra because of that mean, old, scamming system out to get me.

I guess I will give myself recognition that it only took about an hour for me to figure out that the whole thing really was my fault. Had I bought the ticket last week, I would have saved $75. 

Looking back, I am finally ready to laugh at my self. My silly, crazy, blaming others, self; resorting to anger and reactivity. Laughter feels better than anger, any old day of the week.

And I want to teach this to children through stories: that an ego is a protection system gone completely haywire. It does not help them. But as an obvious message in a story blows the fun of reading it, please don't let your children know what they are learning when they read my words. It will just be our little secret.

OH, and never ever in a million ga-zillion years let the ego know what is going on in my books. That mean, nasty ego will keep your children far away from the stories, if it knows what is happening on the pages.

Are you ready to keep such a big secret to yourself? I'm trusting you. Be good.

Heather Leigh
Author of Laughter