I woke to the sound of a mockingbird singing his multifarious songs in solo. It is 3:54AM and the windows are open on a brisk but pleasant Spring morning because my seasonal allergies haven’t yet kicked in and I love the fresh air despite the difficulty it lends to getting out of my cozy warm bed.
It is the morning of the start of my 55th year. Most mornings I lay in reflection, pulling my dreams out of the density to the surface. Today, I am eager to begin. Padding over to the bathroom, I smear the stinging exfoliating paste onto my face that Gwyneth Paltrow swears will make a huge difference and maybe it will. The science behind it is compelling. But I do this just for me because I like the way it makes my skin feel when I’m done.
Downstairs now, I lift a window in my office to better hear my soloist bird-friend continue his large repertoire, wrapping my legs with a blanket and longing for a fireplace right in front of my desk. In my mind I quickly design what this will look like in my next house, then I return to what has urged me to my computer in the first place.
Words have been tumbling around in my mind since my eyes opened, forming complete sentences and I have to get my fingers to the keyboard before they escape me. I have things to say and it has all come bubbling to the surface in abundance after a long drought. Suddenly I am compelled not to choose my words so carefully. Not to run them through the filter of a conscious checklist for appropriateness and intent. Rather, to bypass my mind all together and merely let it flow from somewhere else, unbidden and unchecked.
I long to communicate not just the niceties of a life in which there’s not much to complain about, but the truth about what it took to get here. Which, when you strip it down to its core, can be raw and bleeding and not so pretty. When you peer into the darkness, and we all should take a long look at our darkness, you may discover that you have been hiding in a corner biting your tongue with words left unsaid. Or maybe you stumble over a trunk full of secrets or unpleasantries that you thought you had locked away, but now is cracked open and begging for recognition, for completion, for healing.
I have spent the last year clearing out the clutter of my mind and detaching from a weighted ego compiled of messages and programming I was heretofore unconscious of.
Releasing from the ego is not unlike unsticking the tentacles of an octopus that managed to reach into every facet of your being: in what you do and who you are and who you used to be and all of the pre-programmed beliefs you have that were planted like seeds in your brain from the time you could process the words whispered in your ear or observe the world around you. The ego, in my experience, is stubborn. So are all of the memories that show up like supporting documents in a courtroom, weighty, dusty tombs; proof of who you are, in case you forgot.
The truth is just the truth, and we all have a unique blend of it inside of us. Even if it is sometimes elusive. Or in my case, buried or glossed over or ignored, intentionally and unintentionally.
At some point I hope we all face the stuff we carry within that needs to be released. It gets in the way of us and everything and everyone. It’s our job as humans to do our own work and get to the heart of the matter if we are to be our best selves and love the ones we’re with in the most intensely, sincere and fulfilling of ways.
I am much lighter now; a spirit rising to the best experience, the one always intended for me in this form, desiring nothing but the truest version of my highest self. I move knowingly into the unknown, without fear. Unflinching in the face of anything that appears before me and begs to be reckoned with. I welcome it all.
It is the morning of the start of my 55th year. And with my dog and the mockingbird as my witness, I make a silent vow to allow all of my colors and voices to shine, and not just the nice voice, but the truth.
It started out fine. The relationship, that is. We had just moved in and they were our neighbors across the street. I’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. X.
As soon as our moving van pulled up, Mrs. X came over to introduce herself. She was chatty with a wide smile and the type of conversational cadence that doesn’t leave room for commentary nor waits for replies. Within the first 15 minutes of talking she asked me what church I went to and what school my daughter attended. In the South, these two questions are often asked of perfect strangers and I’ve never gotten used to it. I mumbled something about being a recovering Catholic, to which she replied: That’s just because you need the right church!
It took me some time to realize that I was on the wrong path. That the work I was doing for a living was no longer fulfilling me; actually was no longer working on any level. It seemed that satisfaction was no longer a given, despite a job well done. If I wanted to take pleasure in my work, genuine, heartwarming pleasure - I had to demand it. And then I had to create it.