I watched the last 3 episodes of “Top of the Lake” tonight. In the show Holly Hunter played a sort of guru (called GJ), a modern day swami to a bunch of women in a commune like place in an area called Paradise in New Zealand. She had long straight grey hair and wore unflattering clothes but she spoke plainly if not just a little weirdly and she seemed to be able to cut through the bullshit and somehow arrive at the right place. Not necessarily the right answer, she didn’t actually believe in “right” answers, but a place where the person could see themselves better.
A woman, the protagonist actually (Robin Griffin played by Elizabeth Moss), showed up one day on the verge of self destruction as she felt her everything slipping away, disappearing before her very eyes and she didn’t know how to stop from falling off that cliff. She literally threw herself at GJ’s feet in one of the trailers all the women lived in. Ask me later about watching, up close and personal, about 8-10 middle-aged (to north of Grandma aged) women skinny dipping with nothing between them and the water but smiles and wrinkles.
Anyway, GJ immediately asked Robin, who was sitting in front of her, “Are you on your knees” (meaning metaphorically on her knees; crushed, humbled, waiting…) and Robin nodded through tears and obvious pain and said yes…and then GJ said the most profound thing–which is why I am writing this…as it made a significant impression on me–she said (and I may fuck up the wording a bit):
“You must die to yourself. You must give all of this up and let go. Stop helping, stop pushing, stop believing everything you’ve believed until now…fundamentally stop being who you are because you are too big, too important and you are in your own way. You can’t see the road in front of you because you are blocking out the sun. Stop, just stop.”
And I thought about that and it struck a familiar chord, like a song once heard completely long ago that has echoed in bits and pieces ever since but only at important times…never coming in clearly…so that now we expect to hear it when we expect that the time or the moment is important. I think we all can generally understand when we are at those junctures, when the moment is important and we must make a decision…when we hear that song…but we cannot move out of our own way because that moment is too important, or that job is too important, or that marriage is too important, or whatever it is that is blocking out the sun…
…and preventing us from seeing the path we should take. Not necessarily the right path–really who is to say what right is–but the one where we can see ourselves clearly…and by doing so, finally know what we need.
And knowing what we need is what allows us to stand up from our knees…and walk into the sunlight.
Believe. Go. Do.