Turn On, Tune In, Let Go

I am sitting in the “reading room” typing away.  Silas is standing in the sliver of light that is stretching from this room into the hallway.  He is standing at his easel painting in a Beatnikish turtleneck and a painter’s apron.  He is painting his first portrait.  He is painting a vampire.  Jazz is on the radio.

With my therapist, I’ve been talking about my core sense of self.  Who she is and what provokes her.  About what stirs up the superhuman, lets the divine shine through.  This core sense of self often seems buried, underneath scars, underneath layers of emotional fat.  Still, as I sit here typing, as my son is creating art in that sliver of light, as the Pandora is on Quickmix and all the right songs are playing, I feel her, that core sense.

As I type this, for some odd and unknown reason, Disney’s “Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book just came on.  A song about what is most essential in life.  Even better, the tune is sung by the character Baloo. As with my Bull Card and my Bukowski, this must be a sign.  (If you remember, Baloo is one of my unbiased protectors.) I have never heard this song on Pandora, let alone any Disney song, and we definitely do not have a Disney channel programmed into our stations.  I am not making this up.  Just when I am feeling my core sense of self in all its divine glory, there is some silly, mystical form of affirmation.  Yes, there is hope!

Recently, I started a poem of sorts.  After leaving my therapist’s office, I scribbled it down at stop lights not looking at the page:

I am a callus

layer upon layer

of thick dead skin.


The true flesh

of me




under years

of trauma,

of needs not met.


Personally, I don’t think that this is a great start to a poem.  I am not sure that it is very original or well stated.  Still, I was thinking of my coping strategies, the addictions previously mentioned, the layers that have covered up my core sense of self.  (At least I steered clear from an onion metaphor!)


As I sat in church last Sunday and the minister was talking about the right to gay marriage and the barriers that we put up around love, something that he said brought me back to these little, scribbled lines.  On my program, I jotted down “a callus also being hardened to the world/layer upon selfish layer/meeting your own needs to meet the needs of others/how much does that take?”


When I wrote the start to my callus poem, I wasn’t thinking about the solution, about my own responsibility to dissolve those layers.  I was selfish and blaming and somewhat pitiful.  I was thinking about my own poor decisions, yes, but also about the poor decisions of others.  I was thinking only of my hurt. I was not thinking about a call to action or about the dichotomy of being both covered up and being hardened or even callous (ah-ha!) to the world.


Tuning in and turning on the divine, starts with me, with faith, with positive action and affects not just me but those around me.


Last weekend my barely four-year-old son, harnessed and hooked up to a zip line, stood at the end of a 50-foot-high platform and stepped off without hesitation.  As he sailed through the trees and over a lake, I realized that he is not my baby anymore.  Of course, I got teary-eyed.  He’s not my baby.

I had walked up on Silas and Paul as Silas was getting strapped up.  As he was being helmeted, I told him that he was not allowed to go.  An intense fear rushed through me.  Not just the fear that the line might break and that he would fall to his death.  Not just the fear that he might freak out mid-way through and not be able to stop.  But, the fear that he didn’t need me to help him.  That he was doing this all alone.  That he was making this decision to fly without me.

Of course, Paul told me that I should let him go.  The man strapping him up assured me that he was big enough.  Silas’s 12-year-old buddy Harrison talked him through the whole experience.   And then they took off hand-in-hand—Silas and Harrison– leaving me trailing behind like a shadow.

As Silas climbed up the platform he asked the man, in a very calm voice, if the zip line was safe.  He asked if it went very fast.  The man told him the truth:  Yes, it was safe.  Yes, for a four-year-old, it went very fast.  And that was that.  Silas stepped off into the air.  He was gone.  And, I had to let him go.

Silas was fearless and full of faith.  Traits that I wish belonged to me.  I can’t drive on the highway without thinking that I am rushing into some impending doom.  I don’t give myself enough credit, don’t have faith that I can make the right decisions, that things will work out, that I can handle what might come before me.  I also can’t let go.

After nearly 20 hours in labor and after the Pitocin started flowing through my veins, I had a similar experience.  I balled up, hardened, started hitting a wall.  (Literally and metaphorically.  I pity the woman in the room next to me.)  I didn’t have fearlessness nor faith.  I couldn’t let go.  I cried my way into an epidural.  I have worked hard at not being ashamed.

To let go is to allow what is to just be, to present itself, to flow through you.  To have faith is to live beyond hope, but to know that what is is.  That we must either accept or change.  That we are on the right path.  That we can do it.  These are the traits that keep me from clearly seeing my divine self.  That don’t allow me the Namaste.  Not the trauma.  Not the layers of pain or callousness.

I can learn from my son.  From his youth.  From his divinity.  I can learn to have fearlessness and faith.  Learn to let go, for myself, for others.  It is all already inside me.  It is me.  I have been called to action.  And, there are, goofy and new-agey as they are, signs.

So, Namaste.  May the God in me recognize the God in you.  May we all experience fearlessness, faith, and peace.




  1. melisa said,

    November 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    From a position of power, and I love it. There is so much to be learned from parenthood. In some ways, I feel like you learn all about being a human being. (And I don’t mean to imply anything about child-free friends.) Since we have so few memories about those ages, and I mean really cognizant, self-aware memories, watching your child grow up is like experiencing the world again from that age. It’s powerful and can bring us to powerful truths, as you have demonstrated! And congrats on the zip line event. Not sure I could have withstood that, but what’s maybe a wee bit sadder is I’m not sure if my kids would do it. (Have I already ruined them with my fear?) I really need to find fearlessness and faith now, so thank you for these reassuring words.

    (Incidentally, Paul is doing the same thing, only through photos, not words, right?)

  2. Mom said,

    November 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I am sad that you feel so afraid to take steps. You were quite a courageous young lady as a little girl. I agree that there have been traumas in your life, mine too, all of us. But although we can never forget them, we have to grow from them and try our best to find what we can in them to help us approach life and ourselves in a better way. I am often puzzled as to why you feel the way that you do-so frustrated and lacking confidence-because you have been loved always and even though Silas is growing up, he will always need you and be part of you, as you are with me. I love having him and you and all of my children in my life. I don’t know what I would do without all of you. Dad thinks we are “crazy” to talk to each other every day but it is these conversations, even when they are brief, that make my day complete and help me to smile my way through it. Have faith in yourself again and find peace. Maybe there is an angel that can help with this…she has helped me through so many trials and has given me peace at many times in my life.

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