There is a hymn which speaks of the ties that bind. The message is one of community and connection. But lately, I’ve become aware that the ties that bind can be the threads of old things that were part of my life but which are not part of it anymore – which don’t serve my life. I have this image of walking around in a threadbare cloak pulling it around me and trying to keep myself warm and covered and protected by that which does not do that anymore – if it ever did.
There are two things that strike me as I think about this. The first is that the ties that bind can often be well intentioned [and remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions]. They are meant to hold me together with others in community. But to be in community can come to require that I am tied to old things and old paradigms and out-dated ways of thinking – ways of being which do not support my continued growth and development. To be in that community, I must accept being held in stasis. Not moving backward but not moving forward either. Unless we move lock-step together. [I keep seeing the prostitutes out walking in Never on Sunday. Neat movie but I know that it dates me!] The second thing that strikes me is that the ties which connect me to others can bind me up so tightly so as to become a chain which I continue to drag around. And each time I default to the old ways of being [even though I know they don’t serve what I know I want for myself], the chain gets stronger and more cumbersome. And it requires more and more energy to try to move forward while still dragging old rust behind me.
I feel myself working to pull on the ties in order to break them. Sometimes it only feels as if they are stretching but will not break. And sometimes I default to that old fear of being alone. But I know that I can feel alone in a crowd. That is the most lonely feeling of all – being ‘connected’ and yet feeling on outside looking in.
And I’m thinking of my closet full of clothes most of which I don’t wear and some of which I have never worn. And I’m feeling that the more I cover myself, the more I vest myself in the outer trappings of prosperity and abundance, the more I will feel that I am prosperous and abundant. Another tie – to stuff and things. It’s as if I will feel full and enough if I encumber myself with things. When I moved out on my own and for a long time after, it was important to me to have lots of stuff – clothes, shoes, jewellery, furniture, knick-knacks. But the best thing I have done for me in the last two years was to move and give things away and throw stuff out and clear the decks. That lightness of breaking my connection to things was wonderful. And I look around now and see that I’m starting to replace the old stuff with new-to-me stuff. I’ve defaulted to an old pattern.
Why do I choose to accept this? Why do I choose mySelf and do what I know will serve me and my continued evolution and then feel the need to try and make what I have had fit and work for mySelf? Why do I crowd my unique spirit with external stuff? It is fear of being alone and of feeling unacceptable to others that keeps me held. So the tie that binds – the biggest tie that binds is fear.
Good to get clear on that.
And then I think of coming home to no one wanting to play with me at my workshops and in the other things I’m creating and feeling lost and wondering why? What is it about me that makes people not want to hang out with me and be in the larger game I want to play? I want truly to play a larger game but I don’t want to play it alone. So, I desperately hold on to people and jobs and things. Feeling all alone out here, even if I am blazing a trail and being the invitation for others to join in blazing their own trails, often feels so hollow. I sometimes feel empty and lost. And when that is what I have felt, I look for the old guideposts I have always known. Funny but as a trailblazer, I have to create my own guideposts.
Good to get clear on that.
There was genius in retiring and then in resigning – getting rid of old stuff that was becoming a shroud. Interesting word because I, my big ‘S’ SELF, did feel as if I was dying inside of that shroud. Even so, in my working through my attempts to grasp onto the ties that have bound me, I know that my shroud has become a pupa inside of which I am transforming into a beautiful and free butterfly.
Sometimes, for me, it is in the striving to make sense of what is going on in me and in my life, that the dregs of old ways of being are finally washed away. The sludge is gone, the mire that I have slogged through is gone and the pathway ahead clears. In seeing old habits for what they are – just that – ‘old’ and no longer of any use to me, I can jettison them as so much empty cargo. In paying attention to MY voice and mySelf, I can create my unique life which serves me and my continued evolution into the totality of mySelf. I can embrace my life as my creation. In doing that, I am no longer in bondage.