Friday, March 12, 2010
"FEARING TO ATTEMPT"
Where would we be if we feared to attempt? Dangling by puppet strings perhaps, controlled by someone else. Lost in the dark, sad, joyless, chronically depressed.
What happens when we doubt ourselves, doubt what we finally find after searching for it our entire lives.
William Shakespeare said it best, "Our doubts are traitors,and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt?"
I write about, and talk about, this a lot. Perhaps because I need to hear it, perhaps because someone I know needs to hear it, or because I have watched people my entire life die after never having lived. They were visibly joyless - done in - done. They spent their lives at a desk, or a job, or a life earning money for a family that didn't appreciate it or merely existing in a place they didn't belong. They never had a belly laugh or a road trip where they tossed a coin to determine which direction to go. They never stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of a harvest moon in the mountains or a sunrise over the ocean or a hummingbird drinking from a flower or an ant carrying a leaf. They never experienced what real love feels like, and if it were to have come and sat on their shoulder like a butterfly, it never made it to their hearts. What is the purpose of day after day never witnessing the love and the miracles that surrounds us? Is at our fingertips for the taking.
What is it that we feel prohibits us from enjoying this life...this one life. It isn't a dress rehearsal. This is it. So much of life is extraordinarily ordinary, but with open eyes you will find it anything but ordinary.
I look into people's eyes and see apathy, grief, loneliness, wounded places ...places where they are worn down and defeated. Places thundering with cries for help. Yet when help is offered they shun it out of fear. They become so stuck in the quicksand of their lives they become immobile, their souls unnourished, not allowed to be fed, remaining weak and hungry for love and joy and the excitement of ordinary miracles.
Many of us have spent our lives wearing masks to fit the occasion. I am included. We do this to be everything to everybody, everything but who we truly are. Being the husband, the wife, the father, the mother because we have convinced ourselves that that is who we are. No, labels do not define us. What we find in the dark night of the soul is who we truly are. We are ultimately humans with needs, and desires and fears and tears and all searching for that one place where we find love. Then when it lands in our laps, we kick it in the teeth, to the door, out of our lives. For fear...for fear of what others might think, for fear of letting someone down, for fear of change, for fear of fear!
Sue Monk Kidd in "While the Heart Waits" has a parable, "In a Hasidic tale, a rabbi named Zusya died and went to stand before the judgment seat of God. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how little he had done. He began to imagine that God was going to ask him, "Why weren't you Moses or why weren't you Solomon or why weren't you David? But when God appeared, the rabbi was surprised, God simply asked, "Why weren't you Zusya?""
This journey is one of becoming real, authentic, helping us give birth to our true selves, learning to be loved. To paraphrase Sue Monk Kidd, we discover that it's okay - really okay - not only to imagine who we truly are inside, but to say who we are, welcome who we are, and even be who we are."
So for you today I hope you let your realness shine through. Don't let anyone else determine who you are, pull your puppet strings, or take away your joy and the love you could experience by being aware of this one great big beautiful life. Open your heart, face the fear and smack it in the face. Learn how to love yourself enough to let love in and learn how to write the script of your own life...not someone else... and learn how to not starve your soul.
To keep reliving the past is to miss out on the present. Sometimes we get so focused on our quicksand life that we never see what is right before our eyes. The past cannot dictate the future.
Not once did either of my parents tell me they loved me - not once. From this I have struggled but have come to learn that life doesn't happen tomorrow or when someone says "I love you"! Life happens right now...this moment is overflowing with love and riches. Grasp it, seize it, live it, then and only then will you will have lived. And then and only then will you be able to open your heart to love.
To further quote author Sue Monk Kidd, "Delight can emerge from and exist along with our scars. Delight can become a way of life, a way of journeying. There's a saying, "Religion is not to be believed, but danced....a dance that becomes a celebration in which we open our arms and say yes to life." "
Be aware that when we say yes to life and begin to not respond to the puppet strings of others, their reaction to us changes. What happens when the person who has been the 'pleaser' no longer pleases everyone he or she has been pleasing for years? Most of the time, those that stayed with the the person who sacrificed himself/herself at the altar of duty, find themselves angry and unsupportive. They become afraid of our new wings and try to talk us back, pull us back, and entice us back into the old larval way of life. They still will try to pull our strings to get to us to sacrifice yet again to return to the altar of duty to please them. Don't fall prey!
Do not be afraid to attempt! Life lies waiting!
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