A few weeks back, I taught at the Roots and Wings Festival. It was a lovely little gathering, in its first year, so still homey and comfortable.
(I meant to take pictures for you, but I was busy enjoying myself and forgot to whip out the technology. The photo above is from Sue Hess.)
Unfortunately technology was not all I forgot; I had a brain freeze in the middle of a discussion of herbs for winter wellness and drew a blank on what part of the Codonopsis plant we use.
If you, too, are in menopause, you know how this goes — my brain began stuttering and my mouth followed suit.
In the moment of it, I knew that the neurons were not quite lining up, but I was in the midst of teaching and it was not a good time to interrogate my wayward brain.
For those of you who were there, and those of you who are curious:
Codonopsis is a root that is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s ginseng.” It’s great for immune support and strengthening the endocrine system. Best of all, it can be put right into your winter soup stocks.
For some reason when my brain hiccuped, I criss-crossed Codonopsis with Cordyceps. Cordyceps is a parasitic fungi that grows on other fungi (isn’t nature fabulous?). It is also used to balance the endocrine system but it’s not a poor-man’s anything! Cordyceps was used for centuries by only emperors and their families and is still priced accordingly.
As I got into the car to drive home from the festival, my brain kicked into gear and I realized that these two herbs had gotten tangled and that the info I subsequently related was equally snarly. My first thought was to go back, find everyone I had misled, and tell them that I was wrong, I screwed up, my brain derailed!
My second thought (on picturing myself running through the festival, grabbing people by the arm and whipping them around to see if I recognized their face from the talk… and realizing how ridiculous that would be!) was “Uggggghhhhhh. Now I am going to think about this non-stop for the next month.”
And a few years back, I would have. I would have been alternately wracked with guilt over misleading people and shame for being wrong in public. I would have vacillated between anger at myself and embarrassment for myself.
I might have even, in a forum like this, tried to find some skewed logic that made the mish-mash that had come out of my mouth make sense because God forbid I should simply admit I made a mistake.
Even thinking about this (the torquing of facts into a slightly different pattern), I can feel deep in my gut that sense of wrongness that I always felt when ego outdid honesty.
Do you know that feeling? That sense of the world being slightly out of alignment to suit your own diabolical ends? The wrongness that happens inside when you would rather be right than real?
Having lived through that feeling one too many times, and the anger that is its trusty sidekick, I am glad to report that I have moved beyond the childlike ego state modeled by our politicians, and can now just flat out admit that I screwed up.
And here’s the awesome thing: I didn’t waste an iota of energy formulating convolutions or worrying about my “public image.”
Somehow, in my here and now, it was just another moment. A chance to make a mistake, make a correction, and watch my brain do its thing. A chance to laugh at myself a little and be grateful for having outlived my perfectionism.
Am I all grown-up now and done with ego tricks? I doubt it (and what fun would that be?). But it is fun to have enough distance from my own brain that I can watch it go through its gymnastics, kick up my feet and have a cup of tea ’til it’s finished, and then get on with my day.