Many years ago, I worked with an intuitive woman named Coral, who was part astrologer, part therapist, part mirror. For the years we worked together, she held a mirror up for me to see parts of myself I couldn’t see, and couldn’t trust. Part of what made Coral so valuable was her unquestioning trust in her intuition; there were times when she would say something that was right on the money that surprised her after she said it – her own mind and heart led her to speak, and instead of filtering or thinking before she spoke, she just spoke. She trusted herself enough to know she was speaking from the heart. And she moved through her days trusting her intuition, living a full and rich life.
I have always admired that about Coral, always wanted to unquestioningly trust. But instead, I have this second mind that a friend calls “Zaphod” from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – this second mind worries, watches, considers, analyzes, and fears.
Fears being rejected, fears being hurt, fears being judged, devalued, scorned. My Zaphod Brain is anxious, envious, jealous, worried, nervous, and jerky. For years, I have longed to get rid of my Zaphod Brain, but I haven’t known how. I haven’t felt strong enough, old enough, daring enough, secure enough. It has kept me from speaking my mind, from living into my fullest self, from properly navigating relationships, from feeling free.
But something has shifted.
I’m not sure what it is; maybe some of it is having swallowed the red pill and seeing endless possibilities for serving the world and loving the expansive and infinite Divine. Some of it may be realizing that as I approach 50, I really do know a thing or two, and my seminary career has deepened my knowledge. I know some of it is my recent interactions with an old friend, whom I trust completely – “pre-certified trust” he calls it – and who encourages me to put my Zaphod Brain aside.
So in the last month, I have found myself doing things that are showing me what trusting myself is like: I’ve engaged a debate from antagonism through to a burgeoning friendship; I’ve conducted a discussion group where I realized I have theological knowledge despite believing I am not a theologian; I’ve called out an ex who was doing me emotional harm and haven’t backed down. I’ve stood on the side of what’s right over what’s convenient. I’ve stood on the side of love. I am speaking truth as I see it from the pulpit without apology.
Now for many people, these may seem like no-brainers. But my Zaphod Brain has been quite nervous, second guessing, sabotaging. Or at least has wanted to. It has long convinced me that there is only so much room, and stepping out means breaking the reasonable, much-needed protective barriers.
But what I have discovered is that the space has been there for a very long time.
I’m reminded of an early episode of the animated series Futurama, where the protagonist, Fry, needs a place to stay. His new best friend, a robot named Bender, invites him to stay at his apartment; of course, it’s tiny, with just enough room for a robot to power down. But when Fry gets a plant as a housewarming gift, he longs for some sunlight. Benders says “oh, there’s a window in the closet” and opens the door to a huge room – perfect for a human, wasted on a robot.
That’s me – that room has been there all along. Space for trust – in myself, in others. I am not pushing out through the protective barriers; for the first time, I am living into all the spaciousness of my mental, emotional, and spiritual capacity.
I am still surprised at it – and I’m sure my Zaphod Brain is freaking out as I write. But I can show my Zaphod Brain the big open spaces, the huge picture windows, and the magnificent view.