I used to be fast and strong.
I could jump high and run far.
I’ve hiked mountains, the Grand Canyon, the Inca Trail . . .
I’ve led hundreds of people on desert and mountain trails . . .
(a Cameroonian dancer told me, as I danced around a drum circle, that I have music in my veins. I do.)
I used to be a drummer
I played a doumbek (usually djembe style) out in the desert
I played a repinique with the most amazing Brazilian community group of drummers and dancers (www.batucaxe.org)
We paraded, we danced, we drummed, we sang, we brought joy to our community (they still do).
I was a singer
Since childhood, my most beloved instrument; my voice.
I sang with my family, I sang to myself, I sang for others . . .
I sang all the time.
For now, these activities are largely beyond my physical ability.
My voice has not functioned properly in over a year.
Some days, lying in bed and reading a book drains my energy
There are many gifts in this.
I’ve learned I was looking for my identity and value in what I did;
Looking “out there” when all I truly need is within myself.
I’ve learned that much of what I’ve believed to be important . . . isn’t.
Most of what I thought needed to be said . . . didn’t.
I’ve given much thought to the source of one’s value.
Who am I?
Why am I?
If I’m not “producing” . . . if I have nothing to show at the end of the day but rumpled bed sheets . . .
Sometimes I say to myself, “Well, at least I’m thin.” It's one little thing I can hold onto to somehow feel good about myself, since so many people want to be thin.
When I do this, it reminds me of my drug days.
Whenever I felt the darkness threaten to devour me, I’d go to this secret place inside where I’d remember how it felt to be high . . . and I’d reassure myself that I could go there again and feel better.
It was my golden touchstone; a source of solace.
I don’t do that anymore.
(and it really only made things worse.)
And the thin thing only goes so far.
So, more and more I’m left with me.
I believe that the more I learn to know the true me, the more I am also learning to know God.
He is within me.
We are one.
I was made in God’s image.
What is God?
I was made in the image of love.
What does that mean?
I was created by Love . . . to love . . . and be loved.
How could living inside of that be bad?
Yet it feels bad to be me a lot of the time.
So . . .
Whatever feels bad is not part of my true self;
Not from love.
I can let go of it.
Let it slip away, like the lie that it is.
Seek what is true and real and good and hold on with all my might.
Or better yet, rest in it.
What you see.
What I can do.
Doesn’t define me, or give me value.
Value comes from my identification with love;
From being beloved.
And we are all loved (and worthy of love) whether we know it or not.
So, the true skin I'm in; my true self, is the protective skin of love.
Nothing to do with what I see in the mirror.
(Disclaimer: I have not achieved that of which I speak. Only see the truth in it.)