Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stumbling Blocks


A lack of confidence is the heaviest anchor we can put on our creativity." I heard this comment made by one of the judges on "So You Think You Can Dance" this season and thought it was flowing over the brim with wisdom. I think it applies to all of living. A lack of confidence is the heaviest anchor to much of what we experience.

There is a trait that I admire so much in others and strive every day to increase the capacity for in myself. Wild abandon. I have a son who laughs with wild abandon...no inhibitions. I have a husband who plays with wild abandon...no fear. I have a daughter who loves with wild abandon...no holding back. I have a son who races toward every goal with wild abandon...no hesitation. I have a son who jumps into life head first with wild abandon...no restrictions. I have a son who protects with wild abandon...no thought of consequence. I love it!

All of this speaks of confidence to me. Confidence that what they believe in is right, who they love will love in return, who they protect is worthy of any sacrifice, that stretching the limits of their capabilities is a worthwhile way to occupy their time and expend their energy, that they can reach the goal and win the race, that life will hold them by the hand or grab them by their hair, fill their memories with bright moments, and fill their minds to the brink of genius.

Me? Where do I fit into all of this? I used to be a lot like that. Somewhere along the path, I took a turn and ended up sitting on the bleachers. Too often I am a happy spectator. I am an easily contented person. And I'm learning that there is a fine line between contentment and complacency, and that it is too easy to believe that a lack of confidence is not hiding behind a veil of contentment.

I so admire my family and others who live with a pinch of recklessness, who let the adrenaline flow freely and step into each day's activities with gusto. I look up to those among us who don't always think through where an adventure will lead them, or stop to consider who will pick up the hat they toss in the relationship ring. I love it when I see my children offer their hearts to friendship without expectation of being given as much as they are willing to give.

I spent too many years being a tad too fearful, being overly concerned with the reactions and opinions of people who were merely passing through my life. Now that I am on the twilight side of the hill... I yearn to feel the excitement that made my heart beat faster when I was younger. I think it's time to toss the restrictive bonds that a lack of confidence has bound me with in the last not so few years, kick off my shoes and run through the wildflowers in my barefeet... without thinking about the spiders that may be lurking in the grass. I want to feel the sun on my face and not worry about what wrinkles it may cause. This fall I will inhale the aroma of burning leaves and not be concerned with how smoky my clothes will smell, or if a spark will sputter out as it bleeds through my shirt sleeve. I will approach strangers with a smile, and an interest in what they have to tell me...to teach me. I will laugh till tears fall, dance in the aisles of the grocery store, and sing to my waiter when he delivers pizza to our table. I will taste more, hear more, see more, be more.

Because of all things we attempt to create while mortals, the creation of lasting relationships should be of highest import, the list of friendships we create should be long...very, very long. And, even as a woman of "artistic" bent who has made heirloom Santa's and nutcrackers and other "artsy, crafty" things for my posterity, I believe that our own characters, our own life stories, not just well written... but well LIVED, should be pre-eminent in those things we create. We will, after all, take only our character and intelligence with us when we step through the veil. And of all that we leave behind as a legacy to those that loved us, our life stories will be held most dear.

15 comments:

Cheryl /Ashton said...

I came away from this post with a "different" view of my life. I think I need to stop and smell the roses alot more, so to speak. I really enjoyed this post-it speaks volumes!

dellgirl said...

Caryn, I absolutely LOVE this post. You make it crystal clear what a lot of people avoid facing - taking a risk. You have captured me totally in your paragraph..."I spent too many years being a tad too..." that's me.

Thankfully, (like you) I plan to do something about it here on the downhill side of this my journey through life.

Jean said...

Wow! Another excellent one, Caryn. It makes me stop and think, and it makes me hope to do a little more of throwing caution to the wind. I worry about spiders in the grass, too,...and snakes.

Jo, a retired teacher said...

Another post with beautifully expressed, thoughtful ideas. I'm going to think about it long and hard. Thank you again.

Linda Reeder said...

I just finished a new posting that expressed how contented I am feeling. Now I need to take a second look! I'm definately going to plan a little adventure for tomorrow!
I'll never be the free spirit that you describe in your husband and children. My risk taking is in small steps. But it is in putting yourself out there that you continue to grow, and live! I don't have to envy that spirit - I am OK with who I am - but I certainly admire it.

Mare said...

I can always count on your posts to inspire me. That was brilliant, and yes, I often think that I should have lived life with a bit more wild abandon...yet there are some who wish they could be more of a free spirit to 'sing the kids' homework to the tune of the Brady Bunch. Or on 'inside out day' at school, choose a sweater with shoulder pads, which made it look like I had a puppet on each shoulder.

But in life, I had 12 years of Catholic education which certainly could be called 'inhibition training.' Although, as you said, people are in charge of their own achor and there WERE those who followed their own 'wild abandon' path. So, I take responsibility for my path.
Your post is very thought provoking as well as exceptional.
Don't stay away so long as you did for a spell there. Your thoughts help me to think and grow, Caryn.
You go girl!

Kay said...

Good gracious, Caryn! This is why I'm always on the lookout for your posts. You were writing about me, too. I saw myself in all your thoughts. My family jumps into things all the time and it makes me shudder at times. I used to be more carefree but that was a long time ago.

Thank you for the revelation and maybe I can make a teeny adjustment to myself. I have to do it in baby steps.

The Stott's said...

I love this! I think, ok I know, I tell myself that I can't do things much too often. Thad is always saying, "Sum, yes you can!" I admire those who have no fear in life and vow to try to be more like them. So you think you can dance was soooo good this season huh? Miss ya!

SandyCarlson said...

Can I tell you how much I needed this the day before classes begin? No.

But I will approach the whole enterprise with wild abandon and see how it goes.

And thank you later.

Chandi said...

I luv you mummy!!!!!!

Lin said...

so who is the mother of all this creative individuals and taught and trained them to love life? YOU my dear friend! CELEBRATE YOU!!

Terri Tiffany said...

Thanking for finding my blog:) I loved this post as it could be me speaking. I've spent so much wasted time sitting on the bench, worried about this or that in the past years. Don't want to do that anymore but it's a process.
I see you are a Realtor, too.

J Black said...

Have you thought about tandem sky diving? No really, if George Bush Sr. can do it, so can you. It's on my bucket list!

Deborah Godin said...

I realize I've been growing more cautious and less adventurous as time goes on. Reading this is going to make me rethink some things!

Lynley said...

"I will laugh till tears fall, dance in the aisles of the grocery store, and sing to my waiter when he delivers pizza to our table"

This, to me, is you Aunt Caryn. I love when you do stuff like that- and when you say stuff like that, cause you have that gift of language- that wild abandon, as you wrote.

These moments of creative confidence are some of my best memories.

I think my problem is coming up with those wild and reckless ideas- there's too much of that stalwart Stott in me......(uknowwhatimean)