Letting Your True Self Shine Through in Whatever You Do

Michelangelo's self portrait and journal of him painting.

Michelangelo joked in his journal about the discomfort of standing with his ass out and his head back to paint.

By Cathy Eck

My Michelangelo Obsession Confession

In the summer of 2010, I left a life I knew for 33 years and traveled cross-country to start over.  In late October 2010, my friend sent me Rob Brezsny’s Free Will astrology reading from the local paper for the week of my birthday.  It struck home because my biggest concern at the time was:  Do I return to accounting where I’m accepted and unchallenged, or do continue my research where I’m unknown and considered a bit crazy?

“Michelangelo didn’t think of himself as primarily a painter. Sculpture was his first love. Yet in 1508 he was coaxed into painting prodigious frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. As he worked for four years, covering 12,000 square feet with sublime images, he sometimes complained and felt resentful. The project took him away from two large sculptures he would have preferred to be working on. He feared his enemies had convinced the Pope to give him this task in order to demonstrate how mediocre his painting was. But today his work in the Sistine Chapel is regarded as a masterpiece. I suspect that in 2011 you may face a version of Michelangelo’s dilemma, Scorpio: being offered a job you don’t consider your forte. It’s quite possible, however, that accepting this “diversion” will yield interesting results.”                                                       

Thus began my obsession with Michelangelo, which culminated in a magnificent trip to the Vatican to see his work first hand.  I felt a sort of bonding of wounds with Michelangelo.  I, too, had a constant feeling that people wanted something from me other than the gift that I was born to give.  I was familiar with the emotion of resentment that arises when we try to squeeze our True Self into a very small box.  I, too, wondered if some evil force was conspiring to keep me from being my True Self.

I was Successful to Everyone But Me

When I was a CPA, people often told me that I was born to do that work.  I easily rose up the ladder of success.  Even when I did something wrong, people ignored it.  I was deemed flawless.  Then I became an entrepreneur and expert in systems design.  Once again, people listened to anything I said without question.  I was flown all over the world.  People gave me money for doing nothing.

But inside, I was like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.  Yes, I had prestigious clients.  I was viewed as an expert, and no one questioned my authority.  But something felt off to me because I still believed that I had to package my gift in an acceptable false self wrapper.

Michelangelo, God Mooning the Pope

Michelangelo’s God was clearly mooning the viewer (Pope) after creating the sun. But no one seemed the wiser. I guess they assumed he was flying so fast his robe slipped off.

Michelangelo’s True Self Speaks

Michelangelo’s fresco of God creating the sun and shooting the moon to earth was said to be directly over the place where the Pope stood.  Michelangelo knew that the teachings of religion were false, but he saw himself as powerless to change them.  He was silent in words, but he could not contain the truth in his art because it was his gift.

Yet no one complained about that frame.  They made up their own acceptable explanation because they presumed that Michelangelo thought like them.  False selves do that.  Their mind somehow translated his insult into something acceptable.  As obvious as it is to us that the Pope was being mooned by God, even the Pope didn’t see it because he didn’t have the eyes to see.

Michelangelo’s wisdom began to speak to people during renovation work.  They were standing in Michelangelo’s shoes on similar scaffolding, and suddenly they saw the ceiling from his eyes.  They laughed because the ceiling was a virtual comic book.  For hundreds of years, no one had noticed his jokes.  They were implanted during a time when they would have been unacceptable, and they were finally seen at a time when they are the perfect message for the new age of awakening.

Our True Self Shines Through the Cracks

Often when we clear something significant from our mind, we feel naked, alone, and afraid.  We see a completely different world than the masses.  As Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”  It is that stage of being pissed off that often causes people to turn back.  To move on, we have to express ourselves within the trappings of society.  Michelangelo did that by expressing his truth on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel right under the eyes of the pope.

I was in the business world when I realized that initiation can’t be avoided.  Thousands of years ago, initiation took place in temples.  Initiates were hidden from the real world and trained by powerful initiators.  That doesn’t exist anymore.

Initiation now takes place in the real world, in real jobs, and real relationships.  Our tests are about being our True Self among friends, relatives, and bosses.  Initiation is about putting your stamp on something even when you are given strict rules or told that you must obey.  The goal of the initiate is to learn the power of our True Self and to realize that our True Self can’t be dimmed.  It will shine through the smallest of cracks.

Michelangelo took the commission of painting the Sistine Chapel because he needed the money, but he painted it his way.  I’m sure there were moments when he wondered if his rebellion would be noticed putting his life in jeopardy.  But it wasn’t.   In fact, his message remained pure in the most impure of locations.  Today, people finally have the eyes to see the true wisdom of Michelangelo; I hope he is happy.

More on Michelangelo

Michelangelo’s Secret and the Power of the Feminine

God in the Brain painted by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Few people notice that Michelangelo placed God (as well as a woman and children) inside the right half of a brain. He was trying to tell us something important.

By Cathy Eck


Michelangelo’s Secret

When the story of Adam and Eve became widely accepted as true, the Adams of the world rose to a place of false superiority, as if incapable of making an error; and the Eves got blamed for the problems that the Adams manifested.

Adam demonstrated a very good trick, how to fake innocence and blame the feminine.  And so it has been.  The Adams blame, and the Eves accept the blame stripping away the power of the feminine for men and women.  This is the curse of humanity that we perpetuate by repeating the same pattern of thinking over and over.

This fall story plays out every day in homes, schools, offices, and political arenas.  The person who claims authority (the masculine Adam role) in any relationship usually claims innocence, while the one in the feminine Eve role feels they did something wrong that they can’t take back.


Michelangelo’s God in a Brain

The fall story must have weighed heavy on Michelangelo’s mind.  Being a gay artist, he lived as an outcast in society.  Outcasts don’t have authority; they live their lives in the feminine Eve role.

Michelangelo’s only power was in his gift.  No one questioned him when it came to sculpting or his fresco (even though he didn’t know how to fresco when he accepted the Sistine Chapel commission).  Michelangelo painted an obscure message on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  He painted God in the right half of a brain.

Within each of us, we have a masculine mind aspect and a feminine mind aspect.  Michelangelo’s right brain is a metaphor for being in the right or feminine mind.  Women mostly project out their masculine mind aspect, and most men do the opposite by projecting their feminine.  But a gay man would be more comfortable in the mind of the feminine.

Ultimately, our masculine and feminine are designed to work together as equals, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  When we are in our True Self power, our masculine and feminine aspects always agree, are in balance, and are not projected outward without our awareness.  In the ancient world, this was called the alchemical marriage.  It was the goal of initiation.

When we have this inner congruence, God or our True Self is our male aspect, our inner authority; and our creative feminine rests in the comfort and safety of this true authority.  Expression of our gifts is effortless because we are whole.


Michelangelo Knew the Power of the Feminine

Michelangelo was part of a largely gay artist community in Florence during the Renaissance along with Leonardo and Raphael (the other Ninja Turtles).  They studied in secret, performed illegal human dissections, and hid the truth of life in their work for us to find.  They clearly didn’t fit the mold of the Catholic church, and they knew that fighting the church would cost them their life.

They took commissions from the church, but then left messages all over the Vatican for us to discover with delight today.  They could do this because their gifts were so powerful that they became the authority when they did their work, and no one was the wiser.

God in a big old right brain is one of the gems that Michelangelo left.  Secret society symbolism looked like interesting art to the masses and even the religious elite; but to the brotherhood, it spoke volumes.

Secret societies and ancient schools of initiation taught the power of the feminine.  Isis resurrected the Egyptian King Osiris.  Babylonians worshipped Ishtar.  Ancient Greeks worshipped Athena, and the Knights Templar placed black Madonnas in churches.  Even the Holy Grail is a feminine cup.

There were always powerful creative men who understood this, and they hid the power of the feminine message in everything from watermarks to stained glass windows.  The religious and political elite, however, needed to keep the power of the feminine under wraps because anyone who reclaims that power can’t be lied to.


The Power of the Feminine and God

Michelangelo put the power of the feminine with God because the initiates knew that the feminine within didn’t fall.  The feminine is receptive; it can’t fall unless the male aspect falls and takes it down with it.  Our inner male holds beliefs; and when we cover our unconditionally loving God (True Self) within with beliefs, our feminine gets a little bitchy.  She struggles to express her creativity.

Michelangelo exposed the power of the feminine (women and children) by placing them with God in the right side of the brain.  Creating is about living in the image and likeness of the Creator God.  Adam was left alone barely able to reach God’s finger.  He represents the intellectual male mind, filled with beliefs, who blames his emotional Eve mind for his problems or sins.

Michelangelo died feeling like a failed man.  I think about that often.  The power and glory of his art was a brilliant light, but it was in the closet.  He could not be open about the love of his life, who he painted into The Judgment fresco; and more important, he could not be open about the truth of life that he hid in his art.  He lived quietly in the background while those that lied ruled the world.  If I could have a word with Michelangelo, I would want to let him know that he was perfect, that he has been a true role model for me, and that his message has been received.


If you are still hungry for more Michelangelo, here is a tribute post to him.