I can recall two instances as an adolescent that almost deterred me from writing…
The first was when I was 12 or 13 years old and I had written a poem. I don’t recall it much; except that it was a poem about friendship and the analogy I used was that of a rose. A friend of mine was so impressed with it she took it to her English teacher. At the time I was in a Christian, private school and she went to public school. I remember her coming back to me and telling me her English teacher did not believe that I could have written the poem because of my age and the maturity in which it was written. I can recall feeling a bit of a pain in my heart over it; nothing I expressed outwardly, but I do remember it bothered me.
Then there was an instance with what my school considered to be its prom. Since I went to a private school we were not allowed to have dances… insane, I know. Trust me, I have made up for lost time.
Anyway, I had written a poem for the seniors who were graduating that year. I turned it into the person in charge of the banquet and they liked it so much they went to the principal of our school and asked if it could be put in the program. The principal agreed and I remember I was thrilled I was going to see my writing actually printed in black and white. But when the programs came out, there was my poem with no acknowledgement to me, the writer. It said writer unknown. I was stunned. I went to the principal and asked why?
Now… here was this man’s chance to build up and support a gift that one of his young students was trying to develop and express. But instead, he chose to give me a lecture on how prideful it was to want recognition for something I did, basically implying it was a sin/ego, yada, yada, yada…
Somewhere, in that time I tucked the drive and longing to write, away.
But nothing could quench my passion for writing and all things to do with it; how I used to love the smell of the books at the library. I would stand in there for hours… my first love affair.
So in my early twenties I started writing songs. That was my first dive back into expressing the beautiful gift of the wordsmith.
If I had not chosen the path of opening my heart and growing past the limitations and beliefs of the adults and people that were trying to mold my beliefs as a child, I would not be writing today.
And would you know, years and years later, in my late 20’s I moved into a huge apartment building in Orlando, Florida. One day I had to go down to the business office to fax something. I walked in and there sitting at the computer was my high school principal, the same man who said to me that my wanting to have my name put on the poem that I had written was “ungodly” and prideful. Would you know that this man, who was married at the time with two children when he was my principal, was now divorced and gay? Yep! You heard me right…
We said hello and he felt so uncomfortable that I felt uncomfortable for him. And when he walked out my heart was filled with so much love and gratitude to the Universe for this wonderful life lesson I had just received. This man had become a teacher to me.
His misjudgment when I was just a teenager finding my footing in life, had given me the opportunity to push past the resistance that comes when someone you respect judges you. And as an adult I was able to see that he, himself, must have been dealing with so much in his own heart and life at that time. Living a life he didn’t want to live… in that I realized that I could never take another person’s opinion over my own. My heart knew even as a child that what this man had told me was not right for me. I knew it then, I know it now. And it all came full circle and in that circle is where I began my freedom from the bondage of human projection and judgments.
With that, I try to consciously check my corral often for the people I have lined up like cattle who have offended me or hurt me in some way. And one by one, I release them. It is the only way to live life freely and with an open heart. I may feel like shooting them like Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral, but instead I watch them walk out free… and in that I am free myself.
Like a bartender of love! You know the one that says, “This round on me!”
The one that makes sure your glass never runs empty…
The bartender of love at the OK Corral… is serving up bottomless amounts of a tap that never runs dry.
Never taking inventory of the amount of what is going out because there is no end to it.
Because at the end of the day, I realize each and every one of us does the absolute best with where we are in that moment. If we knew differently, we would choose differently. And holding on to a hurt or offense is like taking the poison expecting the other person to die…
My little, humble opinion of course… but every day, I think I am becoming a better bartender of love and my corral is becoming less and less occupied.