Lately I’ve been finding myself hiding in an old familiar hiding place: it’s a cave of isolation, made with walls of shame and low self esteem.
The reasons for my hiding out there are irrelevant: we all have times in our lives when we might find ourselves back in that cave. Or for you, maybe you’ve been there all your life and have yet to emerge.
I emerged a long time ago and discovered all the beauty and joy that life has to offer when I don’t hide behind shame and low self esteem, and since then I’ve made it my mission in life to discover all the tools I can to avoid that cave, and to know how to get out of it when I get there.
So like I said, I’ve been in the cave a while, sometimes without even knowing I was there. I’m in the middle of experiencing a loss, and the grieving process gets a bit difficult at times. It is, at times, difficult to know the difference between grieving and self pity.
I’ve increased my spiritual practices, I’ve acknowledged that I need to be gentle with myself, I’ve gone out of my way to help others, and yet, still, I am sometimes finding myself in that cave. This particular loss is a biggie and it is taking everything I know and have to stay out of the cave. And sometimes I find myself there anyway, with seemingly no path out.
Then the phone rang.
And with that phone call came a request to sing one of my favorite songs at the Celebration Service this Sunday morning at Center for Spiritual Living Carson City.
I don’t sing much, at least not in public, but I can do it when needed. And this particular song is one of my favorites. In fact, it is one of my signature songs, one of those I always go to when I need an uplift. And when I’m in the cave, I sometimes forget that I have this song at my fingertips to lighten my load.
And when the phone rang this morning, I said yes, because I’ve been taught that those kinds of requests don’t really come from people, they come from Spirit, encouraging me to be and do more than I’ve been. If I say no to those requests I am saying no to Spirit (later on I’ll talk about boundaries, but not here). I said yes even though a part of me was saying, “NO NO NO!” and throwing out all kinds of excuses why I should say no. I understand that is the part of me that sometimes lives from fear, and while I can acknowledge that part is still there, I also know the reasons for its loud refusal and I can respond gently and quietly to its objections, and still say yes.
Then I realized I needed to rehearse. Even though I know this song by heart, even though I can sing it A Cappella, I need to rehearse. So I put on my ear piece so I could hear my own voice above the background music, so as to be able to fine tune any sour notes that came through, and Viola! The magic happened.
I came out of my cave. As I sang the words, I felt that tingle cover my whole body, I felt that little rush of adrenaline, that little lifting of the load that says, “YES, I can do this!” The dog howled his accompaniment, and still I sang. The cats looked at me weird and still I sang. I danced and sang through the house, feeling every word at a soul level and once again feeling and knowing the truth of who and what I am.
I remembered that I had promised myself I would not hide any more.
I remembered who and what I was.
So I’m going to sing my heart out this Sunday morning, and along with that I’m going to release some more grief and move farther away from that stupid cave. And I’m going to try and remember that music provides a wonderful path out of the cave.
Here’s some of the words to that song, which was written by Larry Steelman of the Joy Choir, from the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.
“Today’s a new day for me, to make the best of all given to me. I look around and I see nothing but all possibilities. I’ve got a song in my heart, a dance in my feet, a praise ringing out my victories! And I’ve got joy in the morning, and I’ve got joy in the night. And there’s joy in the moment, walking in the light. When I forget to remember all the blessings sent to me, I look back and I see how much good this god has given me. I’ve got a song in my heart, a dance in my feet, a praise ringing out my victories! And I’ve got joy in the morning, and I’ve got joy in the night. And there’s joy in the moment, walking in the light.”
I’m walking in the light today. I hope you are too. And if for some reason you aren’t, come sing with me on Sunday and we’ll walk in the light together!