June 13

Beyond the Rap

Turn your melodrama into a mellow drama. -Ram Dass

The Heartbreak Kid is a hilarious film that chronicles the misadventures of a young man named Lenny (played by Charles Grodin) who attempts to bamboozle his way through social situations. When Lenny meets the girl of his dreams (Cybill Shepherd), he tells her, "I think it's time we stopped taking from the earth, and started putting back into it." A good philosophy, to be sure-except that Lenny is full of hot air; he uses the same spiel with everyone he meets.

Eventually, the couple gets married, and the final scene of the film depicts our hero at his wedding reception sitting on a couch between two 10-year-old children. "I think it's time we stopped taking from the earth…" he drones. The kids, bored to tears, look at each other, roll their eyes, and promptly get up and walk away. His rap fails to impress anyone.

Many of us, too, have our "rap"-a story we've told a thousand times. We tell it because it gets us attention, upholds our chosen image (often as a victim). and relieves us of social malaise. But falling back on our rap is always self-defeating because we're hiding behind our story line. We use our rap to escape from being fully present.

If I find myself telling a particular story based on my drama more than three times, a little "rap alarm" goes off in my head. I recognize that I'm trying to milk the story for more than it's worth, and I'm hurting myself by hiding behind it. I see if I can tell a deeper truth, or just let it go. My rap has become shorter and shorter, and has mostly disappeared, allowing me to be fully present rather than fall back on a story.

Today I walk naked as myself. I discard any armor and allow myself to shine.

The truth about mee is greater than any story I could fabricate.


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