Damn those Dixie Chicks. Why did they ever break up?
I have been listening to The Chicks a lot lately. I find them quite empowering, and I need some empowering. “Not Ready to Make Nice,” “Goodbye Earl,” “Wide Open Spaces,” and my new favorite: “Sin Wagon.” Talk about some Girrrl Power! How fun is that song?
But the song that has stuck with me, very close to my heart is “I Believe in Love.” These lyrics specifically:
I believe in love, I believe in love
Love that’s real, love that’s strong
Love that lives on and on
Yes, I believe in love
I woke up early the other morning with this song on my mind. I had been listening to it the day before so it was in repeat mode in my brain. I begin humming it and then reached for my iPhone to listen to it…yet again. I stuck my earbuds in and cranked it way up. To my surprise, as I begin belting it out my throat began aching. Now in the past I would have given myself a talk along the lines of “Buck up, Sherry. Deal with this. Pull yourself together.” Maybe because it was so early in the morning, or the fact that no one was there to hear me, I told that voice to STFU, and I let it rip. Oh, it was quite dramatic. My poor little dog jumped in bed with me and began snuggling up against me. He is the best. I cried like a drama queen…and then, miraculously, the tears turned to laughter.
A sense of peace and happiness washed all over me. I finally gave up trying to control my feelings and just let go. Letting go is scary for someone like me who has “made her living,” so to speak, by being the glue that holds all the shit together.
I am done with that. Really, truly done. This re-decision has caused more than a few aftershocks. So be it.
My amazing long-suffering therapist (shout out to BG) has told me for a long time that it was a good idea to sit back and just observe my feelings. Not involve myself in them, but just watch myself go through the process. She would tell me “You are not your feelings. They are only feelings, Sherry. They come and they go. They ebb and flow.” Wha…wha…WHAT? If I am not my feelings, then who am I?
I’ll tell you who I am. I am the person inside watching my life happen. I am the spirit in there.
This is a very important distinction to make. Why? Because here is how it goes otherwise: If I feel it, it must be true. And, if it is true, then this has to be who I really am. Then I am obligated to act on my feelings, you know, to be “true to who I am.” What a trap! Trust me, this way thinking has caused all kinds of problems for me over the years.
So, why in the name of God has it taken me so long to grasp this fundamental truth?
- Because I am stubborn.
- Because I know what I need (see: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”).
- Because I am a survivor.
- Because I must like to do things the hard way?
If I let the feelings pass through me, observe them, and watch them go away then I am left with what is…and who that is, is the person noticing all this drama–me. But I ain’t the drama!
Several years ago my good friend John told me of a practice he was learning. It went something like this–In his mind’s eye he practiced watching an elephant enter a room, walk through it, and then exit. He was just the observer, he didn’t have to do anything, make any comment, nothing. All he had to do was watch and stay out of the middle of it. He practiced this over and over. He explained to me that it was an ancient Buddhist practice, and he believed it would be helpful for me if I tried it.
It appears there was a teacher, but the student wasn’t ready.
Now I hear it. I get it.
Back to me weeping and wailing as I sang this song. Oh, my, it was good. Loud, primal, tearful. But as my tears turned into laughter, I felt my heart soften, and begin to feel very full. Then I became aware that I was connected to something much bigger–this was no longer about me crying over my broken heart. This was about experiencing love, feeling love, being loved, and knowing that love does go on and on. It really does.
Know this truth: Love is real, love is strong, love lives on and on.
Yes, I believe in love.