This weekend is about trying to figure out how I can do my self-chosen task of reporting the End Times while remaining organically human, taking account of people, serving people’s needs for more than just the news – if I can.
This weekend is about finding a role that’s manageable, sustainable, do-able. It’s about discovering whether it’s possible for a single person to both report the news and answer questions, whether a two-way communication is possible and manageable, or whether doing the one (reporting) means cutting myself off from the other (personal contact), which cannot be managed but inevitably appears to escalate and finally overwhelm me and prevent me from doing the job.
It’s about wondering whether I can do the work of reporting in isolation, whether one can cut oneself off from one’s readers and still know if one is offering what is wanted and needed.
It’s about wondering how to do this job while not having manuals to consult or people to ask questions of. It’s about waiting for the answers to come from inside or from one’s guides or whatever other source has been talked about as being ultimately helpful.
The King’s Speech was about a man who stammers. He doesn’t stutter. He doesn’t go rat-a-tat-tat. He cannot get the words out at all. And while he cannot get the words out, his primary role as a royal is to speak, to lead and inspire the nation.
While it wasn’t about the problem that I’m wrestling with because I face none of the situations that Albert Frederick Arthur George, or “Bertie,” faced, there was something similar. He faced a physical obstacle; I face a procedural obstacle. Yet I was enthralled with the story of a man who struggled with the most basic questions of life – his sense of duty and how he could perform it given the obstacles he faced. That was the same.
The movie itself was one of the most inspiring I’ve ever seen, ranking right up there with Braveheart and The Ten Commandments and I’m struggling with why it was so inspiring and why I was led to see it now. I think it was to watch the struggle of a human being with a situation so basic yet so overwhelming that defeat would have been entirely understandable. Bertie was up against such impossible odds that no one would have faulted him for succumbing.
Having studied karate, I can appreciate how he overcame those odds. In karate, to do a single kata (an integral set of movements drawing on various blocks, kicks and punches), of any complexity, you have to master a large number of movements. The final display looks effortless and only the practitioner knows how many complex movements it takes or how long it took to master them.
Similarly, overcoming a stammer requires the learning of many exercises, each one sufficient to overcome a difficulty with a particular vowel or consonant. One dances past this obstruction, calls to memory something, sings internally, or curses to get past that one. Here is Bertie, giving a single speech as King George VI, and only he knows that he is dancing, remembering, singing and cursing in his head. All the audience hears is the bravest speech they ever heard in their hour of greatest need about going out and doing the impossible – defeating a master race and seemingly invincible force of Germans.
Here is this once-priggish, insufferably-arrogant aristocrat who has learned to dance and sing and use cuss words, who has dropped his priggishness and now will pirouette around the room before addressing Parliament or attending his own Coronation. Here is a man so set on getting the job done for the nation that he will turn himself inside out and drop or violate every standard to be able to wear the royal uniform and offer his subjects a leader to be proud of and to follow. It reduced me to tears. I cried my way through it. I left it feeling really privileged to have heard the story. I hope they get Academy Awards, everyone of them.
What did it give me? It gave me the courage to face this conundrum. If Bertie could face the catastrophe in his otherwise happy life that came from suddenly finding himself monarch of a nation, following his dashing brother who was still alive and who looked down on Bertie, and not able to utter a single sentence coherently, then I can face the situation of needing to report events that are nearly beyond my capacity to understand while working under conditions that are maximally distracting and temporally overwhelming.
If he can overcome a defect so disgracing, so unattractive, that would make him the laughing stock of an entire empire, then I can find a way through this maze of conflicting demands and seemingly unmanageable requirements.
And so I am sitting here, or lying here, and remaining open – asking the universe, what is the answer? How can this job be done sustainably and without letting people down or hurting anyone? How can I represent a mystery wrapped in an enigma, expressed in vagueness and accepted in faith? How can I represent an army of invisible beings who repeatedly make promises they seem not to keep, which disappoint people grievously, but point to a time of planetary reorganization and transformation which inescapably approaches and is divinely ordained?
How can I do it while being flooded with requests to explain this aspect of things or that seeming anomaly or this paradox or indication of insincerity? How can I at once spread myself so thin and yet be expected to get the job done? How can I live in a human body with finite energy resources and ordinary needs to do the laundry and see my family and friends and yet day after day attend to such a workload? How can it be done?
How can I not turn aside and say, “It was crazy. It was unmanageable. No single human being could do it. I finally gave it up. I just couldn’t do it. It was never going to happen.”
It isn’t governing a nation, for heaven’s sake. It’s just reporting the news. It’s just what thousands and millions of other people do. No big deal.
But it isn’t just reporting the news. And it isn’t as straightforward or obvious as most other things. It’s expressing the yearnings of people as people. It’s understanding the fears of human beings as human beings and their needs and breaking points and strivings. It’s understanding what another race of beings is doing, from another region of space or dimension, what orders of higher souls from rarified planes of existence, unheard of, undreamed of, and definitely unexplored, are holding out to us, what the opportunity is for us and what the cost.
It’s speaking out on matters where one stands a high chance of being wrong in a setting where ill intentions have long been the daily diet, where deviousness is daily encountered from our leaders, where so many interpreters have failed and been seen as letting people down. It’s a field where failure is not looked upon well and compassion is not freely given. It’s an area where, when someone comes along who sees a little bit beyond the norm, that person is clung to and apotheosized and mobbed and rendered unable to do the very job that people look to him or her to do. It’s a minefield and a killing field and there’s no obvious reason for venturing into it.
Where does one look for answers? Where will the voice first be heard that articulates the way? How does one receive instruction from the invisible beings and higher souls that allegedly spearhead this whole effort? If one must be alone to do this job, how will one ever know if what he or she is doing is filling the need?
I don’t have the answers and my physical frame cannot continue to function if I perform this task chaotically or fly by the seat of my pants. I have to find a way to do this job or I will be unable to see it through. And I know full well that I have spent my life preparing for it. I didn’t land here by chance. So it isn’t just a case of saying, “Sorry. I must have gone down the wrong street.”
I remain in isolation, breathing deeply, open to inspiration, digging deep within myself. The answers have always come in the past. When I first walked into that hearing room and realized that I represented justice and was the last hope of the claimant who stood before me, working among colleagues some of whom didn’t care and only wanted to be out of the room in time to drive to their summer cottage, I found a way of transforming myself from just another joe doing a job to a representative of the law and of fairness and a voice of reason. I can do this too.