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Disencumber; a time to let go

“I should have….” There’s such a weight attached to words like that, when you let them sit in your mind.

How much of our busy-ness is what we create to distract us from having time to think of the negative thoughts, doubts, guilt, or regret we may carry with us? But if that’s the case, then a life-disruption – like a significant injury or illness, or loss of steady employment, can lead to a devastating term of confronting all the negative issues that we’ve tried to avoid by scheduling our time full. At least, that can be a danger for me.

There comes a time to give ourselves at least the same grace, the same opportunity to rest and/or move forward, as we are prepared to offer others. There is no burden so great as one that people of conscience place on themselves.

If there’s something that a person has done wrong, then – if the person learns from it – that’s experience. You can castigate yourself for an error, but if it’s an error you could then avoid on another occasion – that might put you ahead of a new person without that experience. Anyone can make a mistake. Everyone can grow. So we need to give ourselves permission to let go of past errors and let ourselves continue to grow and thrive through whatever changes are ahead.

Here are the lyrics to my song ‘Disencumber’.


No one can judge me more harshly
than I already judge myself.
The bar of my own expectation is higher
than anything others expect.

I need to leave that big box of deficiency
right up there on that high shelf.
The daily rocks that I add to my pack
accumulate so I’ll get wrecked.

There’s a time
to disencumber…
a time to embrace some peace.
We gather up messages of “not good enough…” –
we need some news of release.

There’s a time
to disencumber,
to put aside how we self-reject.
Don’t look for bad news
you can do nothing about,
and find some good tunes to select.

I’m not saying to walk around blindly,
but it don’t help to stare at the light
in the interrogation room inside your mind
because it won’t leave you feeling so bright.

There’s a time to disencumber,
a time to walk around free,
among people who maybe I know nothing about
but at least they also don’t know me.

Disencumber – we are human,
equally valuable, all of us flawed.

Disencumber – it’s okay.
None of us can claim to be God.

There’s a time to disencumber…
time to embrace some peace.
We gather up messages of “not good enough…” –
we need some news of release.

We need some news of release.

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Express-sing the Inbetweens

Sure, celebrating big moments & mourning big losses really is important. But every moment is worth our awareness, and all of life should be lived fully.

Songs often are about our high points and our low points. Part of what I hope to do is express those emotions that are in between the extremes.

There’s a risk of confusing action or drama for meaning. Sometimes I think I get bored and try to find a way to make a fresh storyline for my life. I don’t think I’m alone in that… in our fast-paced world, we develop a taste for drama like wild predators develop a taste for blood. Action and the high and low emotions help us to avoid or forget our true anxieties and existential concerns.

So what I want to do is bring out the middle colours of emotion – like doubt, hope, concern, caring, anxiety, dissatisfaction, contentment. Maybe if we can more fully express the range of our emotions, we can avoid leaping from one extreme to another too. Maybe we can more fully live our lives in the day-to-day, and feel alive doing it – or at least have a greater acceptance of ourselves and our emotions because we are more able to name our experience.

My songs ‘I Don’t Know What I Want’ and ‘When I’m Dissatisfied’ are two of those in which I try to express some of those midpoints; indecision, regret, and discontent that seems to arise for no reason.

The lyrics for those 2 songs follow. First, “I Don’t Know What I Want”.

I don’t know what I want
Many good thing pass me by
I don’t know what I want
Many good thing pass me by
Hope something’s still out there
When I make up my mind

Well, it might have been love
Maybe just infatuation
…but it might have been love
Hope someone will have me
In the fullness of time

Maybe should have said yes
Maybe it just as well
Maybe should have said yes
Maybe it just as well
I don’t know what I want
I don’t know what I want
I don’t know what I want
…many good thing pass me by

The ‘No Regrets’ slogan irritates me at times. Maybe I’m the only one. I realize that it’s supposed to be about living to the fullest and not being afraid to make mistakes.

But I think the idea of denying any regret also kind of denies that what I do has impacts on other people, and that sometimes those impacts could be more positive. That’s where I carry regret – when I know that things I have said or done were self-serving or ignorant. Of course I don’t want that regret to paralyze me and lead to inaction, because that could only compound harm or fail to serve the good.

So yeah, ‘I Don’t Know What I Want’ is about having that regret and uncertainty, and being in the moment of it, and recognizing that sometimes the loss we experience comes from not taking the opportunities that we had when they were offered, and those missed opportunities affect ourselves and others too.

When I’m Dissatisfied

When I’m dissatisfied
I can’t find a reason
No matter what I try
There’s no pleasin’ me

I get anxious and impatient
Though I have no place to be
And my family starts wondering
What’s going on with me

When I’m dissatisfied
When I’m dissatisfied

When I’m dissatisfied
I can’t find peace
Every song on the radio
Sounds like noise to me

When I’m dissatisfied
I’m dying by degrees
I get soul-weary, tired
And I’m filled with apathy

When I’m dissatisfied
When I’m dissatisfied

Seldom do things seem to matter

Often time feels blah at best

Nothing ever really seems to
Change the east or move the west

Then I try to mix it up
Try to get out of my rut
Do different things, change my routine
Try to move myself, but

When I’m dissatisfied
I am dissatisfied
When I’m dissatisfied
I am dissatisfied

… I think ‘When I’m Dissatisfied’ is worth my time to sing because simply expressing discontent is sometimes enough for me to feel a bit better. Also, it’s a song that doesn’t blame anyone or anything for the fact that I’m feeling a bit grumpy or a bit off. Sometimes a person just feels off, and that’s okay, and it’s probably better to recognize that and accept it than to look for a scapegoat for that sense of discontent.

So to sum up, I believe that if we come to better understand and express the daily emotions that we feel in all of their complexity, we may ultimately feel more at peace and content. Forging such a connection to our emotions – a kind of spiritual connection, I believe – may help us to avoid the pitfalls of seeking more drama or action in a misguided quest to fill the void we feel when we don’t understand the root of the emotions that we have.

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