Last week I kept having moments that brought out my insecurities. I found myself thinking things like, "you just are NOT as cool as you used to be!" and "you're pretty much going to just be mediocre your whole life, so get used to it." I started believing those thoughts and felt slightly depressed.
I know that I'm not alone in this. Sometimes there are little seasons when our insecurities, negative self talk or basing our worth on what we think others think of us just seem to ruin our peace and happiness.
Sometimes certain people just seem to bring hurt or annoyance to our lives.
Do you have someone in your life that seems to bring out the worst in you? Or several people who put you in a bad mood or annoy you like crazy? You wish that you could just love them and feel total goodness towards them, but irritation always results in your associations with those particular people.
They seriously inhibit your ability to feel happiness... or so you think.
I've tried many times to overcome the way I feel about these people in my life I've mentally attempted to feel ease, peace, and happiness with them. No lasting success was apparent until one day I stumbled upon an idea that changed me...
A lesson from Native American Sacred Clowns.
(From Happy This Year by Will Bowen)
Sacred Clowns are called Heyoka by the Lakota Indians, the Zuni tribe calls them Mudheads, the Hopi call them Hano, Apache Indians have titled them Libaye, and the Cheyenne say they are Contraries:
the Zuni tribe calls them
The purpose of a Sacred Clown is to irritate, annoy, and mess with the members of the tribe. Most importantly however, their role is truly considered sacred and divine.
The Native Americans believe that in the beginning there was chaos, and that chaos is mandatory for people to thrive and survive. Sacred Clowns are expected to bring forth chaos or irritation, and because of this, people in their tribe become stronger and more emotionally stable.
Each summer, there is a sacred Sun Dance festival deep in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Tribal dancers honor their ancestors as they perform for 4 days in the scorching heat while fasting (no food or water). On the third day, when the dancers are obviously bone-weary and dehydrated, the Sacred Clowns come. They whoop, holler, wreak havoc, and strive to distract the dancers.
An outsider would assume that these Sacred Clowns are evil, and should just leave. Right?
One year, Sacred Clowns didn't attend the festival. It would seem logical that the dancers would perform better, but the opposite happened. The worst year ever resulted for the dancers, and they were actually hospitalized because of heat exhaustion.
Truly, the adversity that the Sacred Clowns bring to the festival helps the dancers fight for who they are, and accomplish what they were meant to do.
Sacred Clowns are brought out in the Native American culture to help people understand their own true selves.
Sacred Clowns poke fun at the people, often speaking opposite of the truth. They try to mirror problems directly or inversely of those they are sent to irritate. Then, the people find within themselves the parts of their soul that need healing.
One sacred clown observed that "white people"sit around complaining at how other people and life circumstances annoy them. Yet, the Native Americans sit around the campfire at night and talk about the way the sacred clowns taught them something about themselves that day.
So, how did this change me? I can now look at those who annoy me, or even those who really hurt or bother me as if they are a Sacred Clown or a teacher sent from God.
When we see others as divine teachers rather than irritants, everything changes. It helps us gaze into our own souls to view what part of us may need to heal, forgive, or be strengthened by divine power. Seeing people as sacred teachers rather than people who bother us is ennobling to the soul.
Here is one example, I'm a bit hesitant and embarrassed to share. It's a minor one, and it may appear silly, but it's a sacred clown to me:
In the last few months I've discovered Instagram. I like it tons better than Facebook, perhaps because I like pictures and think they are a delightful way to keep in touch. I tapped into different circles of my friends who are also on instagram. I've enjoyed it a lot, and it's a lot faster and easier for me to keep in touch than any other social media source. If I follow someone, I hope that they follow me back. Just kind of a two way friendship thing, right?
So, I hit " follow" on a few friends that I've had for over 10 years. They were private accounts that I had to "request". We have lots of mutual instagram friends, and so I see the comments they make to others often. What appears to me is that they didn't accept me as a "friend", nor did they follow me. I let this upset me. I started to feel bad and rejected.
Then I remembered the Sacred Clowns.
I pondered how I could view these people divine teachers that are revealing to me something about myself rather than as people set out to make me feel rejected. What are they teaching me about my spirit, and how can I keep my resolve and confidence because of this experience?
The answer came to me as I looked inside myself. I saw that I have an insecurity that cares deeply about what other people think, and want to be accepted by people (and I'm even waaaay past my teenage years). It showed me that a place in me needs healing.
Obviously, I need to work on knowing that I'm of great worth... even if no one else acknowledges that fact. It helped me realize how important it is to be secure in the fact that God loves me, and that I love me. I concluded that perhaps I need to love myself a little more. Not in a conceited way, but to be secure with who I am, regardless of how anyone else responds to me.
That experience taught me to make sure to be generous in making others feel important- even in little ways. Times of rejection often teach us best to be inclusive and kind.
Remembering Sacred Clowns can turn those hurtful, negative, and annoying experienced into sacred ones. I'm not saying that they will suddenly take away hurt or pain, but truly they are a tool to peace and happiness.
Next time you encounter those people who drive you crazy, annoy you, or who bring you pain... remember the Sacred Clowns.
I've found that the best way to make this work is not just to think about it, but to write about these things:
1. Who is your Sacred Clown and why?
2. What have those people taught you about yourself?
3. What divine message are they giving you?
3. How are you going to heal the parts of your soul that need healing?
Forgiveness? Prayer? Connecting with God? Building confidence?
It's what you DO with this information from yourself that makes the difference.
When you feel insecure, hurt, irritated, or annoyed... remember to bring in those Sacred Clowns :)! It will increase your degree of peace and happiness.