By Lissa Rankin, MD
Marla Maples and I had the most lovely chat this morning, and I have to say I totally have a crush on her now. You might know Marla as the ex-wife of tycoon Donald Trump, but I know Marla as this loving, spiritual, awakening being longing to shed the baggage of her past and serve the world with her gorgeous heart.
My heart goes out to her. Imagine living in a world that sees you not as you are, but as some artificial montage of what the media has crafted together in the tabloids. What you’ve read in the magazines is not the Marla I spoke with today. Just as my Perfect Storm lifted me into the cyclone and landed me on my spiritual path, Marla’s oh-so-public divorce catapulted her into discovering her calling- to help the world awaken and discover that we are all interconnected, that we are all One World of Love (the title song of the CD she is creating).
Shedding the Masks Society Expects Us to Wear
I know what it feels like for society to put you in a box. My box has been the doctor box. While it has never felt authentic to who I am as a spirit, others try to cram me into this mold of respected physician- wearing a white coat, standing on a pedestal, distancing myself, and talking down to people, as if I am the “Expert” and patients (ie. “Others”) should listen to me. This has never resonated with the heart of who I am.
I have rebelled against that box from the moment someone handed me the hard-earned white coat. I have never seen myself as different from my patients. I am a doctor, but I am also a woman, who has straddled the stirrups, given birth, gotten an STD, and walked the spiritual path, ever-seeking. As such, I feel connected, not separate, from every woman who walks into my office.
Yet, when I tried to publish my memoir, which is all about the spiritual journey that ensued after my Perfect Storm (my agent jokingly called it Eat, Pray, Vagina!), publishers wanted me to don my white coat and rewrite it. I refused. That’s just not me, and at the end of the day, you’ve gotta stay true to who you are.
It Takes Courage to Resist the Box
Marla encountered the same resistance. She wrote a book, All That Glitters Isn’t Gold, about the spiritual journey she has traveled since her divorce. She wrote the book about her journey back to herself, about connecting to Source, about being true to who she is at the core. And yet the publishing world resisted. They wanted her to write a tell-all something they could splash all over the tabloids. In essence, they wanted her to get back into her box. Just like me.
Marla has worked hard to shed the box society puts her in. As a public figure, others want her to stay stuck in the past, to capitalize on what it means to be Donald Trump’s ex-wife, but this is not her journey. That was twelve years ago. She has moved on, and the experiences of her past have informed her present life but do not define her. Instead, she feels called to use her influence to help heal the world, to remind us all that we are united by Divine Love, to create music that touches the soul, and to serve. I admire her. I say “You go girl.” I love who she is, sans box, and encourage her to hold her head high and stay true to the authentic Marla. Why would anyone ever want to be anything other than who they really are?
Retaining Your True Shape
It’s not easy to resist the pressures to conform into the boxes society expects us to stay in. In her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen writes of a vision that came to her in meditation of a white rectangle. She assumed it was a business card, but upon further reflection, she reinterpreted the white rectangle as her former self- a fluffy round marshmallow- that has been subjected to pressures from all sides until it was squashed into a flat white rectangle. When I read this story, I burst into tears, thinking “Me too! Me too! I’m a marshmallow, not a rectangle.” I felt comforted to know I’m not alone. After reading that, I gave myself permission to fluff back up, to resist the pressure, and to be ALL ME, ALL THE TIME in my marshmallowy glory.
I see Marla doing the same, and it makes me smile….
How have we done this? How did Marla and I escape our boxes and stay true to who we are? Some tips.
Tips For Getting Out of the Box and Living An Authentic Life
What about you? Are you able to escape the box? Do you remember what’s true at your core? What would your life look like if you resisted the pressures that push you into boxes and allowed yourself to be whole, to be real, to shine your bright light in the world? Tell us your stories. Show us your inner marshmallow…
Out of the box,
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