Written by “Suburban Guy”
I realized recently that I’ve forgotten something very important. I realized that hidden behind all of my self-imposed restrictions and fears and limitations, there is a spirit within me that wants to feel absolutely powerful and free and beautiful. I connected with this feeling recently while listening to some primal music by a percussion team known as David and Steve Gordon. The song is called Spirit Vision, and it is a very primal and beautiful piece of music that evokes images of being wild and free and strong. You can listen to it here for free:
As I listened to it, I found myself yearning for a feeling of being fully alive, standing on the edge of a high cliff, feeling the wind on my face, tall, strong, brave, in the moment (add tanned skin and rippling muscles for a bonus). My imagination carried me away to a place where I lived as a part of a primal community, where I was respected for my strength and wisdom, where I was deeply connected to the earth and to the people and to a greater spirit, where I was powerful and beautiful. I stood on the cliff looking down, arms extended, overlooking my village, and knew that I was fully alive.
Okay, I know it sounds crazy, and perhaps something from a movie, but think about it. You’ve had this feeling yourself, perhaps after winning a big game, getting the girl/boy, achieving something really big or doing something that earned you lots of praise. You may not have been half-naked on a cliff, but inside your spirit was soaring. You’ve also gotten this feeling from watching movies. I recently watched Avatar and found it beautiful this way — the main character transforms into a powerful and respected being who takes on life moment by moment with incredible bravery and strength. Think about it. Many of our favorite stories seek to invoke this feeling, the feeling of living a life that is essential, spirited, adventurous, engaged moment by moment, meaningful: Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even How to Train your Dragon.
I think the desire to feel this way is there for all of us, but we don’t think we deserve to feel it.
What stunned me is how briefly I was able to sustain the feeling. Way too soon, I felt my mind, my inner critic, step in and remind me: you’re not that! You’re a dopey Dad who’s arms are anything but rippling with muscle and your “tan” is on your forearms and nowhere else. You thinking of yourself as brave and strong is laughable! You can’t remember to give the dog medicine let alone be the wise leader of a tribe of beautiful people. You’re being ridiculous. Get down from there! You’ll poke your eye out! (sorry, couldn’t resist that one…)
You get the idea. I shamed myself out of the feeling as soon as I had found it. The good thing is that one of the lessons I’ve learned in my life is that in order to heal, I have to first know how I am suffering. It’s sort of the internal “bulking up” version of “no pain no gain.” Seeing the gap so clearly between what it would be like to feel expansive and free and what I “allow” myself to feel in everyday life is an amazing gift. The truth is — it doesn’t matter if I think anyone else sees me as a beautiful and wonderful spirit. What matters is that I allow myself to feel that way. Waiting for external approval is a losing game — why wait for other people who are limiting themselves to approve you so you can stop limiting yourself?
The truth is, there is no “entrance exam” or “quality bar” associated with feeling really amazing and free and alive. It’s available to anyone, and everyone deserves it. We just have to learn how to stop our inner critics from telling us to stop jumping on the bed because we’ll break a leg (or get laughed at for wearing a loin cloth on a cliff). Here are some lyrics from a John Mayer song that has now taken on new meaning for me (from No Such Thing):
I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you’ve got to rise above
The lie is that you don’t deserve to feel expansive, beautiful, free, and strong.
Once again, I find that music has brought a valuable insight into my life. I think I’ll go out and buy a drum with feathers on it.