OPINION: Trump and Trickster Medicine
By Marcia Singer
‘‘The joker who is now our president has served an important function, waking us up to what we’ve not yet admitted in ourselves.” James S. Gordon for The Guardian
This was the intriguing quote sent by a colleague along with a link to read Gordon’s piece (link provided at the end of this piece). My own adventure onto the path of conscious Trickstery began in 1978 in San Francisco and quite unexpectedly – but that’s often the way of contrarian, Lakota heyokah-style medicine. My initiation began during a theater game instigated by my first instructor of comedic “Improv” – an art form that still enthralls me 40 years later. The game was simple: players lined up single file facing the audience. The person at the front of the line had to sing a song – any song, until tapped by the next in line. From the front, you then moved to the end of the line, and the game was repeated a couple of times. I was a newly aspiring professional singer – and yet when my turn to sing came, I drew an embarrassing blank! Feeling impossibly foolish, the four-letter “f”-word flew out of my mouth, landing where my teacher stood. My face turned even brighter red, because I had never spoken this word out loud in public before. What was even stranger to me at the time? – No one seemed to mind! I simply went to the back of the line.
In this small moment howe’er, a very big, freeing thing began to take shape in me: in displaying my seemingly ‘worst’ self – inept, dumb, uncool, out of control and improper – and having no negative repercussion, I felt safer to express myself overall –including my better characteristics! Loosening the reins on my attempts to appear perfect, my performance anxiety decreased. But more amazingly, my most unaffected, naturally kind, clever and compassionate ‘inner selves’ also became available for fuller expression – spontaneously.
My fascination with ‘improv’ reached a height in teaching my “Coyote Players” classes. Trickster had whispered in my ear that Her backward, inside-out, upside-down, jester-esque kind of teachings were not the nemesis many held them to be – but rather a path to “original blessing,” a road to reclaiming our most benevolent and wise, native natures, a way to fall in love with ourselves and one another, by embracing ALL our inner cast of characters with heart.
I return to Gordon’s intriguing essay: “The fool… performs a vital social function, forcing us to examine our own preconceptions, especially our inflated ideas about our own virtue. Trump was telling all of us…that we were just like him….The appropriate, time-honored response…is to…acknowledge and accept our own shortcomings (in order to) have the integrity that allows us to keep him in his place.” And, “Trump’s grand and vulgar self-absorption is inviting all of us to examine our own selfishness. His ignorance calls us to attend to our own blind spots. The fears that he stokes and the isolation he promotes goad us to be braver, more generous.”
We’ve a challenging task to see how we are like Trump, rather than merely projecting what we disdain, disown, distrust or fear onto him. [Or what his supporters might envyingly project or displace onto him!] If we can do this, we may discover our misplaced or not-fully awakened humanity – our generosity, our instinct to treat all living things with respect, curiosity, compassion, graciousness.
I’m up for the challenge, to find the Sacred Possibilities not only in ourselves – but in the ‘other’, in our so-called foes: to rise to the occasion of using the drama, angst, outrage and fear as a wake-up call, a howling from Coyote, the Trickster, the Sacred Fool, the Heyokah Master. And to those of you who do archetypal/Shadow Work? The dark realm of unknowns harbors both the worst and best of us humans: let’s dare to take a real look and listen to both.
Shining deLight, Marcia Singer, MSW, Love Arts Foundation, Santa Rosa CA lovearts.info; theguardian