Pagan Spirit Gathering and the ways and means of integration, connection, knitting together, celebration, and coming into wholeness as individuals and as a group, a community, a family…
Today, I want to write about dis-integration in the form of this little competition so many people I know are very excited about. You see, Oprah has a new network and needs content, so for the last month, she and her producers have been having a competition – “Get Your OWN Show” – to join yet another competition. In other words, people have been making three minute videos that attempt to encapsulate their message, asking all their friends and fans to vote on it, and will go through a process of being viewed by judges (thirty seconds or the full three minutes? depends on whether you have a hook, I guess) in order to… drumroll please… win the honor of being on a reality TV show.
At first glance, the competition looked as though the auditions were to actually get your own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. I am not against this, at all. If a person wants to try to get her message out, to reach more people, to entertain, and to perhaps even be of help, television is not a completely unreasonable venue. But that is not what this competition is about folks. The competition is a gateway to the talk show equivalent of “American Idol” as one friend put it. Now, I’ve never watched “American Idol” but I was once invited to be on another reality competition show. Remember “Mad, Mad, House”? I declined. I declined by writing a polite email stating that this sort of competition was not a way to foster understanding, tolerance, or acceptance. That as a Pagan teacher, while I do not think competition in and of itself is problematic, a competition where “The Alts” (“Alternatives”: a vampire, Witch, nudist, and a “voodoo priestess” that latter being their spelling of Voudoun) would vote the “Normals” out of our nest, was not one I wished to support. Triumph of “The Alts” comes from better understanding, not getting back at those who we perceive may scorn us. True diversity comes from teaching each other our ways, fostering dialog and communication, and perhaps seeking out some common ground. That was not the goal of “Mad, Mad, House.” After my refusal another more famous person took the job.
What is the goal of “Your OWN Show”? I do not know. But it does involve the search for a new talk show host, which means it has to make for what is considered to be ‘good television’ which often means jealousy, petty conflict, and the tearing down of others. I can hope this show will not go this way, but I am not sanguine. I’m sure that those people I know who auditioned for the privilege of getting onto a reality show think that they can keep it together under the pressure cooker of filming while being placed under unusual stressors and that their message will shine through. My thinking is that the cutting floor is filled with our good intentions. No matter how well a person stays on point, maintains center, or tries to foster good will, I do not trust that this will end up part of the show. Likelihood is, the biggest personality will win. I hope I am proven wrong.
We have a lot of work to do, people. We still tear each other down too much, rather than lifting each other up. We still fight for petty positions rather than coming into our deep power and recognizing the power we see in each other. This is changing, blessed be, and I hope to continue working with those of you who are active in this change. I saw a lot of this sort of change at Pagan Spirit Gathering last week. I encounter it in other places where I travel and teach. I encounter the desire for this from people in my spiritual direction practice. It is my deep work to foster integration within myself and amongst those who are drawn into my circles. It is our deep work to shine like the stars that we are.
Would I ever want to host a television show? Perhaps. Teaching a million people how to align their souls intrigues me. Fostering spiritual dialog from a larger platform might be a good thing. Am I willing to compromise my core mission in order to get a television show? No. That sort of compromise is a compromise of my Being, of the Work of this God, and of my True Will. So, I did not make a video for Oprah. But I plan to make a video for you.
Look on YouTube in the coming months. All of this has inspired me to finally start videocasts to alternate with my audio podcasts. Just some short meditations, and answering questions you or I are grappling with. Something simple. Something to help us connect and reintegrate.
Meanwhile, let us continue to find ways to step up to beauty together. Let us continue to find ways to walk in strength. Let us open to amazement at this world, this cosmos. Let us amaze one another.