I’m setting me free

I recently ran across the wonderful, soulful singer/poet/rocker Beth Hart. One of her songs, Setting Me Free really hit me when thinking of several dear ones entangled in unhealthy relationships, some for years. It is a song where the wiser, stronger me says enough! She rises up to help make the break, to sever the bond that we are keeping ourselves tied with inside. Here are the lyrics:

Hello, hello
are you in there, child?
Leave that party dress
and your suicidal smile
Hello, hello
I’ve come to see it done
the stripes across your face
and the battles that he’s won

Don’t tell me to hide
I’ve run from living all my life

I’m setting me free
blood, sweat, and tears
I’ve been so desperate all these years
now I’m taking my bones,
and leaving your ring
this house made of glass
is shattering
I’m setting me free

Hello, hello
I hear the sirens roar
coming round the bend
like a thousand times before
Hello, hello
don’t you give up the fight
like a beat-down dog
who’s forgotten how to bite

Don’t tell me it’s wrong
I’ve only come to be your friend

I’m setting me free
blood, sweat, and tears
I’ve been so desperate all these years
Don’t tell me I’m blind
it’s you who won’t see
the woman I am
the fighter in me
I’m setting me free

I’m laughing, I’m crying
I’m living, I’m dying
I’m changing the power in me
I’m setting me free!

Like fire and water
I’m mother, I’m daughter
I’m changing the power in me

I’m setting me free
blood, sweat, and tears
I’ve been so desperate all these years
I’m taking my balls,
and leaving your ring
your house made of glass
is shattering
I’m setting me free

Hello, hello…?

Listening to it for the 6th or 7th time, I recognized its wisdom in helping me remember to break the ties that bind my mind. The one foremost in my thinking right now is fear. Fear is at the root of much of unskillful living. Facing fear can seem momentous, it can cause us to rush to denial or busyness. The dread of what it is we fear rises like a wall of stone. But when I receive my fear, sidestepping dread and sitting with what it is I am fearing…I set myself free. It takes balls sometimes! Real inner strength, authentic mettle. There are big things out there that we feel fear about: illness, disability, losing our independence, financial burdens and fears, suffering of loved ones, loss of loved ones, death. Real stuff. But the dread of them can be crippling and can keep us tied up, in bondage to fear. This will keep us from true engagement with life, because life is served like my mama served dinner – no clean plate, no dessert. Even when we had liver! To allow ourselves to experience sorrow and suffering fully frees us to experience joy and happiness fully. It allows us to experience every moment of our lives fully, without fear. Pema Chodron says that if you don’t know the nature of fear, you can never be fearless. I love that.

Life is a constant battle. It’s no wonder that they call one with a spiritual practice a warrior. Again and again, life (or if you prefer: the Source, the Universe, God, Goddess, etc) will shake us up and spill us out of the nest, if only we allow it. Pema again; ““To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” To live at your edge, on the lip of the abyss, that fertile void where all possibilities wait. Why else take breath?

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