Note: Almost daily others are encouraging me to write and speak. It’s time to listen. This is the second of a 4-part blog series as I reflect on a big birthday coming up in September! If you missed it, here is a link to Part 1, “Lobsters Grow Vulnerably.”
If a chameleon was on a clear piece of glass with nothing under it, what color would it be? The internet has lots of great articles on these amazing reptiles that can change colors in 20 seconds and see two directions at once, with their 360-degree arc of vision.
Human Colorful Chameleon
Metaphorically speaking, I have often referred to myself as a chameleon. I considered it a positive trait in my 20’s. In job interviews I often boasted that I had a chameleon-like ability to adapt to my surroundings and the people that I am with. My examples went like this, “I am as comfortable in a board room with a 60-year old blue-haired Japanese male executive as I am at a honky-tonk bar with a bearded and tattooed Harley Davidson rider.” This ability to adapt was very helpful in international business, while traveling to different countries, speaking different languages and fitting in to radically different cultures. My innate skill to pick up languages and accents was incredible, and frustrating! For example, I’d speak with a Southern accent after a short trip to Alabama, making my Wisconsin friends smirk upon my return.
Color Adaptability: Positive or Negative?
In my 30’s, a working mother of two kids continuously overwhelmed with life, I began questioning if my chameleon feature was truly a positive trait. I reflected on the relationships I had been in personally and professionally and the diverse career roles I had held. It didn’t take long to recognize that who I was seemed to be dependent on where I was, who I was with and what I was doing. I very proficiently did what others wanted and expected me to do or what they told me I’m good at, but always secretly wondered ‘Who am I really?’
The thought-provoking question was posed to me often, “What would you do, where would you go and who would you be with, if money was not an issue and you knew you would not fail?” For years, I pondered this question and created many visions and affirmations, attempting to manifest those envisioned ideal circumstances.
After the popular book and movie “The Secret” was brought to mainstream audiences, the remedial level of understanding and portrayal of these powerful principles frustrated lifelong spiritual practitioners. As Marianne Williamson often exclaims, “God is not your errand boy!” Just because you have the ability to manifest something, does not mean it is in your highest and best interest to do so!
Then I admitted it to myself. I too, was naively hoping I could create the utopian situation that would bring out the authentic me, and ultimate blissful, sustained happiness would result.
Wake-up Call: Authentic Self/Color
In 2007-2008, I went through a major life transformation that plunged me in to the unknown: Divorce! After going in to a comma-like clinical depression for several months fighting for my mental health stability, I came out refreshed and ready to find my authentic self once and for all. Pragmatically, I needed to quickly create an independent life to support myself and our kids.
The personal growth and transformation process propelled a significant spiritual awakening progression. It was so significant, I came out on the other side truly feeling like a new person. So much so, it warranted a name change. Born Melissa Kaye Rowlands, married Melissa Kaye Meyer, divorced I was reborn and legally changed my name to Maitri Melissa Meyer. “Maitri” means “Friend” in Hindi. It is a Buddhist loving kindness meditation practice, also known as ‘metta’ in yoga practices. Pema Chodron has several videos that explain the concept of ‘maitri’ and loving kindness. This is my favorite short version. Here is the summary I have condensed from her words:
“Unconditional joy comes about through some kind of intelligence in which we allow ourselves to see clearly what we do with great honesty, combined with a tremendous kindness and gentleness. This combination of honesty, or clear-seeing and kindness is the essence of maitri – unconditional friendship with ourselves.”
Once I began applying this principle fully in my life, abundance began to flow in ways I could not have planned for!
Remarried in my 40’s, I didn’t even consider changing my name to Maitri Melissa Heidenreich! These years have been focused primarily on preparing to be an empty nester. Finally, the time of freedom to truly go anywhere and do anything were upon me.
Haunted since age 5 by the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, answering it once and for all seemed pressing. I had no excuses of limited choices anymore. Eeekk, excuses were convenient! For years I went in to my morning meditation and the conversation with God always went like this:
Me: “What am I to do? How am I to serve? How am I to leverage my God-given talents to improve the planet?”
The answer was consistent and frustratingly simple, “Love.”
I’d ask for more clarity and I’d get an equally simple answer, “Serve lovingly.”
Still frustrated I’d ask, “BUT how? Where? Doing what? With whom? In what industry? In what role?”
Wow, my inner guide was concise, “Doesn’t matter.”
Color Doesn’t Matter
Turning 50 in September, my spiritual unfolding seems to be accelerating with more time and energy to focus inward. I have treated myself to two life and career sabbaticals in the past 14 months. Ok, honestly, I collapsed under years of stress and my mind and body forced me to STOP! Finally, I’m going to figure out who I am, what will make me happy and what I am to do with my life I proclaimed.
Apparently, I am now ready to listen, because my inner guide finally provided more details:
“You are here solely to practice remaining connected to the One Source and remain filled with Love, so it oozes out in whatever you do, where ever you are and with whomever you are with. Just Love and serve and life will unfold perfectly with opportunities to practice being One. The details do not matter!”
Immediately, the A Course in Miracles Workbook lessons 201-220 introductory phrases came to mind:
I am not a body, I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
All my physical life experiences and spiritual fodder started supporting this truth. The sequel to the Course, A Course of Love took me through a life-changing process. The book taught me to merge mind, body and spirit in to this one lifetime mission of being in Union with All that Is, while living in human form, having a plethora of human experiences.
This is an incredible time to embrace all my outer chameleon colors, while remaining peaceful in the Truth of who I am within, regardless of external circumstances.
As the Universe always does, moments after writing this blog article an email arrived with a short 4-minute video reinforcing and validating my epiphanies! Enjoy this Morning Mentor video by Mary Morrissey on “Who you Really Are.”
And remember… What color is a chameleon? It doesn’t matter! That which it IS, never changes.