Let it go

let it go

God’s greatest, most beautiful gift is pure love, free, unconditional, and untainted by fear or envy.

We’ve all felt jealousy’s sting, but we can refuse to let it into our lives. When jealousy knocks at our door, either from our own spirit or delivered by one who is out to manipulate us, we don’t have to accept the call. We can let it go.

For example, I like to write. But for me, walking down the young adult aisle in any bookstore is almost unbearable. I want my work to be on the shelves. I used to shame myself for these feelings but not anymore. I try to work through them. Of course, I feel the disappointment and the rejection, but I don’t wish any harm toward those who have been blessed. Maybe it’s not my time. Maybe there are more lessons I need to learn.

Sometimes I look through the books and check out the blurbs, the opening lines, the storyline. I try to learn. Then if I just can’t take the feeling, I walk away. I don’t have to stay locked in discomfort. I can leave. I can let it go.

I usually think about how I can change my situation. I could give up, or I could choose another path. Maybe traditional publishing is not for me. Maybe I can work harder. Maybe I can try a different type of writing. Maybe I need to do a better job of networking. But one thing is for sure. Envying these writers is not the answer.

Envy corrodes the beauty of God’s gifts.

As much as I hate the envy the oozes out of myself, I absolutely despise the envy others drop at my feet. I’ll own my own faults, thank you; don’t bring me yours.

I don’t like to be involved in a situation in which someone is jealous of me in a personal or professional relationship. I am an extremely competitive person. I strive to be the best. I played sports. I played hard to win. Challenge me, and I will do whatever it takes to beat you. I fight fair, but I do fight.

But there is no room for “winning” in a friendship or romantic relationship. Evoke jealousy, and everybody loses.

Don’t rub it in in my face that you have a better car, a better home, a better job, or a better love interest. Do that to me, and I will say, “Yay you.” If I feel you are trying to hurt me, I’ll walk away. The sting of jealousy is toxic, but I don’t have to embrace it. I can let it go.

And actually, most of the time, I really do mean “yay, you,” or at least I try to.

Again, unconditional love in friendship or romance means you are–or should be–genuinely happy for the other person’s good fortune.

Truth be told, I am slightly jealous of my older son’s career. When I see him follow his passion and choose his own path, I’m reminded of my regrets and failures. I gave in to other people’s expectations. I didn’t do what my heart told me to do. But then I’m reminded that I raised a successful young man who is soaring. I didn’t ground him. I taught him to fly. He’s independent and doing well. He’s living, not existing.

“Yay, you!”

And I mean it.

Maybe someday I’ll get a second chance. And I’ve have a better chance at a second chance if I don’t let envy corrode the good things that will help me achieve my desires.

I also don’t like it when other people deliberately try to evoke jealousy in me.

Nobody likes walking on eggshells thinking they’ll be replaced–as a friend, as an employee, as a partner.

I make mistakes I’m not a super model. I enjoy Starbucks a little too much, and I don’t exercise enough. I’m a faux pas diva. You don’t have to look far to find someone who is smarter, prettier, wealthier, more graceful, better educated, or skinnier than I am. I want to be loved unconditionally for who I am.

Of course, there isn’t such a thing as too much love, but there is such a thing as too much control, better known as the devil’s love child, aka Obsession.

Obsession isn’t cool. People aren’t objects, and their affection can’t be owned or demanded. Love is a gift, given freely, not coerced through mental, emotional, psychological, or physical manipulation, i.e. abuse.

Either you love somebody or you don’t.

Provoke me to jealousy, and I will say take those wings and fly, baby. Do whatever makes you happy. If you love me, you’ll be back. And if you aren’t, then you never did. But don’t be surprised when you discover I may not be where you left me. I don’t hang around for negativity.

Likewise, if I love you, I’m not going anywhere. I’m your friend for life, and I won’t play games with your emotions to coerce you into to acting in a way you don’t really feel.

Yes, in the case of romance, it feels nice and reassuring to know that the person you care about isn’t nonchalant about rivals moving in on you, but playing mind games is simply out of the question.

Sometimes I do dumb things that I’m unaware I’m doing, but I choose to never, ever, do anything intentionally to make someone I love doubt my affection, my honesty, my love. I do not betray.

If you care about another person, why would you intentionally unravel his or her security by suggesting he or she could be replaced? How cruel is that?

I think parents can do significant damage to their children’s psyche by suggesting that they might love them a little better “if only” they can live up to an older sibling’s or a classmate’s achievements.

So much for the “if only.” True love is unconditional.

Nobody can make you love them. And you can’t make anyone, not even your children, love you, so jealousy is pointless.

Didn’t the most beautiful angel in Heaven fall as a result of his own jealousy? Hey, don’t fall into the trap. Give others, give yourself, the greatest gift of all, unconditional love.

My goal is to be confident that it will all work out the way its supposed to. And should jealousy try to take hold of my heart or situation, by golly, I’m going to just let it go.

dirty feet

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My Declaration of Independence

For quite a while now, I’ve needed to find a release for these thoughts welling up in my soul, and so tonight I make my

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

  1. Being a meek soul who never, until recently, took a risk to try anything new, in the words of my dear friend Brian White, I declare my right to dare to suck. I declare my right to try something new every day, something I love, something I’ve always wanted to do but was too afraid to try due to my fear.
  2. Tonight I declare my right as an individual to speak truth, to search for honesty, to say what I mean, but to say it in a way that is gentle and kind without coming across as blunt or insensitive.
  3. I declare my right to be myself, to love what I love, to love whom I love, and to be loved.
  4. I declare my right to make my own mistakes without someone else stepping into my life to control me so that I can’t learn how to make my own choices. I want to learn to make good choices even if I have to first pay the consequences of bad choices.
  5. I declare my right to open myself up to you, to believe you when you say that you will listen and that you will be my friend, even as you volunteer to hear the same story dozens of times. Remember I am learning. It takes time for me to process the lesson that will eventually sink into my own heart and mind and soul.
  6. I also declare my right to close the gate to my inner me if you betray me. Cordial we shall be but close nevermore. That ship will have sailed.
  7. I declare my right to maintain my vulnerable, childlike soul. I declare my right to believe you when you say I can tell you anything, and I trust you to maintain confidentiality when you give me your word.
  8. I have the right to walk away from you if you say one thing to my face and say another thing behind my back.
  9. I declare my right to sing, good or bad, as I make my joyful noise.
  10. I declare my right to find the good in all souls but to protect myself from the bad that hides itself in those dark areas.
  11. I declare my right to be a writer, even if I am not published.
  12. I declare my right to be a musician, even if I can’t play all the notes.
  13. I declare my ability to communicate with animals because they speak a language of love.
  14. I declare myself to be your friend who will never betray you.
  15. I declare myself the right to make mistakes, and I don’t need you to point them out.
  16. I declare my right to seek God without outside interference.
  17. I declare my right to fight for the underdog, even if I am the underdog.
  18. I declare the right to call you on your lies and to turn away when you won’t take responsibility for them. I refuse to accept your negativity or blame.
  19. I declare the right to turn away from violence.
  20. I declare my right to take the high road, a lesson I learned through a song written by one of those souls who is a gift from God and a rare treasure.

Take these broken wings

I present to you a blog about birds, laced with metaphors, subtext, and me. I hope you understand.

I want to fly. I want to travel, to go to Ireland. I want to do things I’ve never done. I want to write a book. I want to write a song. I want to sing. I want to paint, to draw, to write poems, to create. So do it, you say.

I have been making progress. It takes time you know, to learn, to figure out how all of this works. And I will continue. Soon. But right now I’m on my perch.

Perching birds are called passerines, so go ahead and call me a passerine. The name means sparrow shaped. Passerines are songbirds. So maybe perching is just natural for me. I aim to soar. But I’m not an eagle. I’m not a bird of prey.

I am a passerine like a sparrow or a raven or a cuckoo. Yes, go ahead and laugh. It’s all starting to make sense now. Just remember it’s only natural for a passerine to perch.

Ornithologists tell us passerines are the most advanced birds, as well as the most adaptive and the most intelligent. Though they perch, they aren’t necessarily caged.

Need I remind you that blackbirds are passerines too? Thank you, Paul McCartney for creating a song for me. I’m sure there were others more worthy than I to be the subject of a song, but for someone who understands what it’s like to live with broken wings, your song is my epiphany.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

I know my moment has arisen, but I’m still learning. And learning and practicing, and learning and practicing can be exhausting. Sometimes I need to rest and to observe. I’m steadying myself and resting for a bit, locked in for safety’s sake.

Perching birds do that, you know. As they sleep, the muscles in their little legs actually “lock in” so that they don’t fall while they are sleeping. Of course, all birds, all beings, need to rest. But resting for a passerine is dangerous. It’s easy for a predator to swoop in and devour the vulnerable bird.

Though passerines are wild and free, there’s something to be said for the kind souls who provide these birds with shelter, building them birdhouses, filling their bird feeders and baths. And thankfully, though they love them so, these kind souls don’t try to cage the birds. When the birds need to fly, they fly. But they come back. They are caught but not caged.

I’m sure all passerines appreciate a safe place to land, especially the blackbirds.

And by the way, there are a couple things I might add about blackbirds. They like to sing particularly after a rain. Listen closely, for their first songs of the year are usually heard at the end of January or early February.

As for myself, I have been flying into the light of a dark black night for sometime now. I’m weary, so I’m perching. I’m thankful not to be caged, but I wouldn’t mind being caught.

My bohemian soul

Add color everywhere, even in the most unusual places. Paint your world.

Add color everywhere, even in the most unusual places. Paint your world.

I’m not a hedonistic person by any means, but I sure do like using the five senses God gave me. Black and and white and gray are good, but full color is so much better.

I’m a night owl by nature, but there is only so much you can see in the darkness. Lighting is everything. In photography. In life. And that is why almost every room of my house has an abundance of candles. I like the way each candle flickers and illuminates everything around it. The right lighting can change the mood and the plot of every life story.

Early morning lighting is like a breath. Take it in, let it out, it’s gone. But it’s beautiful.

Usually the only time I catch the sunrise is after I have been awake all night, usually after writing for an extended period. I rarely can write snippets. When I do, I typically end up discarding them.

When I write, I’m rewarded by the sunrise. It’s as if to say, “Well done. Here is your reward. It’s not a prize; it’s an experience.” Every sunrise is an experience. And that is why the sunrise holds so much meaning for me.

I remember a trip to Montana, standing on a deck with a blanket wrapped around me, waiting for the sunrise. I remember early morning trips for coffee, riding into the sunrise. I remember waking up after sleeping all night in a tent in a pasture on the edge of the woods, a horse’s muzzle within inches of my fingertips and the sunrise saying hello.

And though every sunrise is fleeting, very sunrise has with it the potential for its coordinating memory to be carried the rest of our lives. Memories sustain us and remind us what is good and what is bad so that we can set our feet in the right direction.

My friend Emily concurs with her description of the sun, its lights and colors:

You dropped a purple raveling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you’ve littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

I like sunrises better than sunsets because sunrises say hello and sunsets say goodbye.

Sunrise or sunset, I do enjoy the color. Full color, full of life.

In my life’s journey, I’ve discovered that we can spend our days storing away our treasures without taking time to enjoy them.

But wouldn’t it be better to have less and to fully embrace what we have rather than to have our treasure chests full and never see their colors?

Our treasures are not our silver and gold. Our treasures are the moments we spend with the people we love.

The Stage Manager in Our Town makes a poignant revelation:

“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”

I especially like the follow-up question from another Emily I’ve come to know. She asks, “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”

And the stage manager responds, “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

I’ve often wondered why since a child I’ve been drawn to all things colorful, expressive, beautiful, poetical, musical, artistic, and harmonious. Now I know.

I have a bohemian soul.