Friday, February 22, 2008

authentic self dialogue, part I (random musings from a day)

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all this, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open.” ~Agnes Demille to Martha Graham.

Agnes goes on to say that it is the “divine dissatisfaction” that artists experience, “a blessed unrest,” that keeps us marching and causes us to be more alive than others. But this “aliveness,” I’ve noticed, makes some people uncomfortable, envious, angry. This loss of safety becomes a threat to some and an adventure to others. And in the process, this scramble of emotions can turn into an interesting (and potentially toxic) brew.

This evening, as I watched out the window while at work, the sunset caused a wholly (holy?) new spectrum of colors that reflected off the snow and salted surfaces of winter. Everything feels covered in an uncomfortable sort of crust. It has been gray for so long that this change in atmospheric conditions (the presence of the sun) causes me to observe the world in a slightly altered way. I watch the people coming home from work. They are tired, but stop at the market across the street. Most come out with a gallon or half gallon of milk, another comes out with a pack of cigarettes, someone with a child waiting in the car comes out with an entire bag of groceries. Something about their movements seems so complacent, so unquestioning, so non-spontaneous. They have stopped at the market to “make do,” and to get them through the weekend with as little effort as possible.

I find it difficult to write tonight because these words are not reflecting the energy I’ve been feeling. I’ve also noticed myself holding back my joy because I’m afraid that people won’t like me anymore if I’m too happy. What’s up with that? This saddens me and makes me feel a conflicted range of emotions. Then I remind myself that it’s their problem—not mine (I read that in a book today and was grateful to have this thought affirmed).

Joy.
Spontaneous Joy.

These days I’m just not willing to settle for anything less than absolute happiness. I mean, why not? What do I have to lose? What do any of us have to lose? Because let’s just admit it: even bliss contains its fair share of struggle. Holding back my joy—well that, I’m realizing, is pure nonsense.

I want more and I’m willing to break my heart wide open to get it. I’m beginning to understand that the only thing that holds any of us back is our self. Vinny and I were standing in the kitchen the other night when all of a sudden it simultaneously dawned on both of us how we had been creating struggle and a lack of abundance in our lives all these years by the limiting beliefs we were holding on to. Amazing, these thoughts that can come to you while reaching for the door to let out the dog. And the more time I spend with my authentic self, the more difficult it becomes to settle for anything less. It’s weird. It causes strong reactions both within me and outside of me.

I’ve been reading Simple Abundance every day—and my favorite thought so far this week:

“Choice confers freedom—the freedom to embrace the new because it speaks to your soul and you are listening.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach.

And my other favorite quote (from Taking the Leap):

“[T]he trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” ~Erica Jong

19 comments:

I AM said...

I quoted that very same Jong quote today...CRAZY!!

Be Joyful, happy, jubulent, giddy even....

I'm shy and embarrassed to admit that I'm not quite ready to "break my heart wide open"...but I'm getting there and I am SO very, very, very happy that you are!

smooches, t

Sharon said...

Jessie, I admire you SO much...for your wonderful talents but especially for your sharing your thoughts (and struggles).
I wish I had had your strength of character when I was your age... maybe things would have been different for me. Now that they are bad, but I daydream often about how my life MIGHT have been, if only...........
Again, thank you for sharing and giving me a little of your courage.

Sharon said...

I meant to say "NOT that they are bad"

megg said...

Oh YEAH, yeah, YEAH!!!

Oh Jessie - don't hold back for fear of making someone else afraid - by not holding back you are DEEPLY inspiring in so many ways. All it takes is one person to kick ass and other people can believe it, too!!!!

I love that quote too - the beginning - the way she uses the words 'quickening' and 'life force' makes it feel so much more like what we HAVE to do in our lives - there is so much energy in there!!!

xoxo

Melba said...

today I had no troble checking your blog and I am so glad. You words speak to me. I understand. It feels like that for me...that because I am not aware and awake I just won't settle which sometimes in and of itself cause some haertache but oh it is so worth it, so neccessary because there really is no other way to live.

Mardougrrl said...

This is a post I need to sit with for a while. Especially what you said about realizing the limitations you have imposed on your own thinking. Hmmm....

I am so, SO glad you are in my life, dearest.

love, m

Annie said...

Yes, Jessie Feel your joy! Do not hold back. I read that book and got
a lot out of it at the time. We must
all remember thoughts have great power and there are no neutral thoughts.

kikipotamus said...

Jessie, I know what you mean. There is a lot of peer pressure to be miserable. We bond with other via this misery. NEVER MIND. When you feel joy, FEEL IT. Express it. Forget about what others will think or feel or say. If they are jealous, that's their journey, not for you to take on. If they think you're insincere, that's their path. Not for you to worry about. Be where you are and be there fully. You are not alone. There are others in the world swimming in and brimming with joy. Let it shine. In the end, it is highly contagious. The world needs more people spreading THIS bug, not folding under the pressure to dumb down and squelch joy. Big hug to you, my blossoming flower!

laundrygirl said...

I love you!
I found myself shaking my head violently when I read your remark about holding back your joy for fear that others won't like this new happy you. Oh my goodness! Don't hide that joy! It has been a long time coming! I am cheering you on. This hope you have exuded lately has kept me going when doubt creeps in. This morning I showed Derek the photo of you painting Chester and we both smiled and he said, "She's really got a knack for this."
I said, "Yeah, I think she's onto something. She's going to go far."
He then said, " Yes, she's good. Who wouldn't want a painting of their dog? She has a way of capturing something special in each painting she's done so far."
and then the dialogue over how great you are continued onward... :)
Keep moving onward brave woman!

Anu said...

I love reading your blog. It inspires me to embark on my journey. Sometimes feeling like you're a pioneer is hard and you want run back to the traditional path. When I catch up on your posts I feel like I'm not so alone in the world.

Wenda said...

Not like you anymore if you are too happy -- not a chance!

But I've felt the same fear about my own strengh, joy or success.

Please, don't hold any of yourself back -- keep it coming; you inspire the rest of us!

martha said...

I read this twice:) be joyful. I will be joyful, too. Just because I can.

GreenishLady said...

One of my favourite book-titles is "How much Joy can you Stand?" Well - it has its discomfort, it seems. But the impact of your joy on those of us who are cheered and uplifted by it is something you should believe in just as much as the impact on anyone who seems to be unhappy about it. Or more! Be happy, be happy! I get joy from witnessing what happens for you.

Deirdre said...

I went back and read the Agnes de Mille quote twice because it struck a note for me. I forget sometimes that what I create, what I am, doesn't have to be perfect - it only has to be true. And that truth does not have to be factual.

I love these posts of yours that capture the moment and the revelation. I'm always lifted to a more creative place.

Olivia said...

I am so thrilled for you, Jessie! I do think that most people would not welcome or understand the joy you are sharing because they have chosen not to receive it for themselves. Receiving the abundance that is there for us is a skill, a gift, a talent...and I am SO glad that you can model this for me, show me the way, show me what is there for me to step into.

Yes, some people will want you to hold back, but even more will want to be inspired by your example, and I am one of them!

In joy,

O

xxooxxooxxoo

Jessie said...

you know what?

I LOVE YOU, LADIES!!!! :)

Tori said...

I love Simple Abundance...
Have you read her book "Something More : Excavating Your Authentic Self". I HIGHLY recommend it. I have had it for almost 10 years and it has been my constant companion...

Leah said...

*big smooches* darling. i hear you on the holding back the joy. thank you for the reminder (the second one i've had today) that i need to let go of any guilt i'm feeling about being blessed and happy and just be happy! teehee! :-)

caroline : my pocket said...

Hi Jessie :) I read this when you wrote it and didn't have words then, but I sent you my hugs and wishes. I am so, so happy for you I can't tell you - this is so exciting! The spontaneous joy and the energy that is gushing up is such a wonderful sign that you are on the right track. I know the feeling of not feeling allowed to express it, but the inspiration that gives to people is more worth than anything else. You're doing so well. Much love to you