When I was a little girl my father used to read to me from a children’s book of poetry at bedtime or when I was sick. One of my favorite poems was Mr. Nobody. Here are two of the verses.
“MR. NOBODY- by Walter de la Mare
I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house.
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.
‘Tis he who always tears our books,
who leaves our doors ajar;
he pulls the buttons from our shirts,
and scatters pins afar,
that squeaking door will always squeak,
because of this you see:
we leave the oiling to be done
by Mr Nobody…”
As I reflect on why I may have liked the poem so much I realize that Mr. Nobody was my shadow. In the Jungian understanding of the shadow, these are aspects of our human self that we hide away and disown. They are aspects of ourself that we believe aren’t approved of. I was such a responsible little girl, a pint-sized adult before my time. I had too much of a sense of responsibility.
What a relief to have somebody to blame for things going wrong around me. Mr. Nobody would never get in trouble because he was No-Body. And at the same time, I pushed these parts of myself that wanted to play mischief, do naughty things or just be an unburdened free-spirited child into a deep dark closet. The good news is that as I grew up I knew I had to reclaim those parts and actually have become pretty good at mischief, and occasionally can even be naughty. The “over-responsibilitizing” (my special made up word) is still an issue I am working on.
I also realize that No-Body was what I did to my own body. I had and have severe scoliosis and was in pain alot from it. I have had IBS from about 4 years old. I kind of unconsciously disconnected from my body to lessen the experience of my pain. In doing so, I also disconnected from the somebody who lived inside my body, the somebody who was calling out to be noticed and attended to.
As an actor I had to use my body to embody a character. My body would have to become somebody else’s body. This was further disassociation, though in the name of ART.
Then in my thirty’s I trained to become a body-centered psychotherapist and one of the many blessings of this career addition was that I reunited with my body. I have done a lot of healing since then: body, heart and spirit. As a very pivotal activity during my training, more than two decades ago, I created my body out of clay, as an island, with my heart in a canoe trying to find its way back home. Once my heart and my body reconnected I became more of myself, my somebody self. My body, when I listened to it deeply allowed my somebody to emerge authentically, gently and more whole. And my pain diminished, or at least I learned to work with it, and appreciate its call to action.
This weekend I have been part of a conference, Pulpwood Queens International Book Club, with many brilliant and extremely prominent, successful and bestselling authors. I have learned so much from listening to them speak of their process. One author that spoke today has published 80 books, many bestsellers. I have published three. I felt my “compare and despair” habit rising in my chest. I sat in this self-deprecating state as a participating observer.
The vast majority of these authors write novels. They are great storytellers. I have written non-fiction. My recent books Acting Lessons for Living and Guided Journal were recommended books this year, and last year Beyond the Bookclub was a February Bonus Pick. How had this happened? My publicist, Shari Stauch, has helped me so much. I was there because of her care. I felt out of place among these masters, deeply humbled. I started to feel like a different version of Mr. Nobody.
The thing is that my somebody wanted to feel like SOMEBODY. The egoic part of my nature could not feel joyful in gratitude; she had to judge and diminish my humble accomplishments. By staying with my body, by being compassionate to my fast-beating heart, even calling that out loud on the panel I was speaking on, I slowed down and invited myself to pause and reconnect to my purest intention. My somebody started feel like enough for the moment, and I could speak about my own process from a place of love. From that place my somebody and my nobody united into presence.
I am reminded of a quote from Ram Dass that I often read when I officiate at wedding ceremonies. It kind of scrambles the brain AND it is pointing to what I hope to share today. We have seen too much in our world of less than mindful people chasing after their own desire to be SOMEBODY, and in the process they can forget the love, the oneness and interconnectedness.
“You’ve been somebody long enough. You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody. Now you can work on becoming nobody, which is really somebody. For when you become nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no one trying to be anyone or anything.
The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed –and the natural state of the mind is pure love.” –Ram Dass
There is a man who posts on a Facebook group I am an administrator on called Limitless Creative Hub. You should check it out. His name is Troy Eichelberger. He writes fascinating posts. On his own page under his name he says: “I am Nobody. Together We Are. Therefore I Am.”
In these times of unrest, it’s definitely something to think about.