The Trouble with Gurus

Secretly, I always wanted to be a guru. One of those guys who channel Source, spruik their lid-blowing wisdom and have rich brown eyes with a little twinkle at the corner. At some time, a dais with two comfortable chairs, a celebrity nodding with the audience laughing at every word or gesture. Maybe a stash of cash proving how wise they are. I keep spending mine. Not wise. First error.


Of course it is great for them to do what they do, actually despite the sarcasm, I have enjoyed the teachings of many. God knows how many I have read or listened to but I realised today something which has been slowly encroaching on my mind. Like a smell in the fridge; an old bowl of cauliflower cheese you were going to heat up for supper four or five days ago, or a piece of chicken festering in the meat tray poked at the back because you didn’t want to cook several nights in a row. It’s why I don’t get to be on the dais.

It goes like this.

Say for example I want to make a garden. I will work and structure the garden, buy the plants, the tools, fertilisers, blood and bone, dolomite lime, grass seeds, root cutting hormone, stakes…I have everything I need then the wheelbarrow gets lots of work. I have the vision, I have acquired the stuff, I do the work and make the garden. Then comes the waiting for each season. I am excited and do my plant calls to see how the babies are doing. I love them all with all my heart.

Things happen out of my control though like the frost and the ever present winds which are either from the north in the summer and fry everything and feel like the devil’s armpit. Or they’re from the south and are glacial. Last week we had three mornings of severe frost, minus three! I made paper and cardboard covers for the frost tender plants and checked them in the morning. All good. In two weeks we have had frost, warmth, winds and three inches of rain on one day alone. Mad. Now it is too cold and although there are lots of jobs to be done I don’t go out. I am sick of it.

I draw and paint. I have loved it. I had exhibitions in Europe and here in Australia. My work was lauded by a master painter in China and I was amazed. I really didn’t think the work deserved that kind of praise for goodness’ sake! Over the years I have accrued a large number of paints, inks, mediums, paper, brushes, canvases and stretchers, all kinds of stuff, folders of experimental work and sketches but also a LOT of empty sketch books. I collected the stuff but now don’t do. Was it just for a season? Maybe I have lost my mojo.

I write. Everyday. I love writing. Words are my soldiers, the literary army out on the parade ground to march out thoughts, ideas, clever phrases and fancies. I have known transcendental moments of deep connection with what Tolle would say was Presence which writing and even while painting but less so there as I was never satisfied with the result, the work never finished. Writing is different. It is finite. It has a beginning middle and end, easy to negotiate. I have written one novel and a book of poetry and short stories and have three other novels in process. Not progress, process. They sit there.

When I lived in India I had an idea to make retro dresses and kaftans from the gorgeous saris all around me. I bought over 70 saris and employed a tailor to make them. True, he messed some of them up; waistlines so long it seemed he’d envisioned dressing a dugong not a girl. I was raring to go and sold at some markets but ended up giving most of them away and now have three boxes of sari material in my cupboards.

My life is littered with examples like this and I can hear the words of my mother ringing clearly and sharply in my mind.

“Finish what you started!”

I try. Honestly with all my heart I try. I get the stuff I need and begin with the greatest of enthusiasm but it quickly wanes when it doesn’t take off and then I ditch it and move on hoping the next thing will take off. But in fact I don’t think I ever had anything particularly take off. Maybe my gourmet foods at the markets…certainly my kids. They are incredible runaway successes. But me?

I have never really known success. Just what kind of unicorn is that anyway?

How do people get to speak to thousands on a warmly lit dais? Who are these TED talkers? Who are these people with their own channel and hundreds of thousands of twitter followers? Is it skill, luck, talent, persistence, nepotism, charm, beauty or all of the above? Am I just lazy? Do I deeply fear success, rejection or just defeat? Is there something flawed in my thinking or my working? Am I not applying the Laws of Attraction properly? Has my desire for my meteoric rise been self defeating? Pride. Lust. Greed. Sloth. Envy. Gluttony. Wrath!!!!!!! No wonder I will never get a spot on The New Earth. Fuck it. Breathe…

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