This morning the dogs and I went on our old Hollywood Hills hike. It has been a long time since we set foot on those familiar trails, but it felt like time today. After our jaunt, we walked over to my favorite rock in the park. I’ve had many epiphanies while sitting in silence there, and it’s a comforting ritual.
While we sat listening to the rustling sounds of nature, a Native American man began singing tribal chants from a nearby hilltop. What his voice lacked in pure melodic beauty, he certainly made up for in fearlessness and passion, and that’s what drew me in.
I was a little lost in thought when our hiking buddy Bradley and his dog Romeo approached us.
“How are you?” I asked, finally looking over at them.
“Well, I’m not singing from a mountaintop this morning, but I’m alright,” he replied.
We both laughed for a moment before I said, “We probably should sing from mountaintops. I bet it would be good for us.”
“Probably,” Bradley said nodding in agreement.
We listened for a little longer before I let Albus off his leash so he could run around with Romeo. The boys took off after one another at breakneck speed, and we laughed again while we watched our pups run, punch, and play with joyous abandon. (Unaffected by it all, Woodley continued to covetously gnaw on her stick.)
After our friends went home, the dogs and I stayed longer to listen to the chanting. (Still, Woodley chewed.)
As the man sang, I thought about my late stepbrother, Noah. He had a deep and abiding love for Native American culture and attended many tribal gatherings over the years.
When we lose people we love, I think we look for signs they still exist somewhere else. We want to feel like they’re with us even though they’re not physically standing by our sides. I felt a little of that this morning as the man sang. I felt a little like Noah was out there somewhere, listening with me.
It felt nice.
I think it’s good to focus on those comforting feelings and not just the feelings of loss. Sometimes, though, I’m like Woodley and I get so intent on my stick (read: accomplishing goals/crossing items off my to-do list) that I fail to notice the joy around me. I get so wrapped up in perfection or what’s missing that I don’t see the good in my life. This sort of focus on lack makes me more fearful, less open, and less loving.
Losing Noah has somehow unlocked something in me that makes me want to shed the tyranny of fear. It makes me want to seek love.
It makes me want to dwell less on what I’ve lost and more on the joy that love brings instead.
I mean, just look at Noah and Grandpa:
So anyway, what all of this has led me to believe is this: People really need to let go of fear and just love more, play more, and create more.
And by people, I mean adults.
As kids we loved more easily, played more freely, and we created without fear.
Like the playful pups and the man this morning with the less than perfect pitch, we were unfraid. We didn’t care if our art was bad. We made it anyway. Even if it was only a macaroni necklace for our mom, we proudly presented it like it was a Paloma Picasso. Somewhere along the way, though, we started to believe our art didn’t measure up. We started to believe WE didn’t measure up. We got fearful about our creations, about our feelings, about ourselves, and about life.
Everyone has their own story, but the underlying, unifying truth is that many of us lost our carefree creativity and our playfulness somewhere along the way. Maybe it happened at puberty when everything got tangled up and confusing — when all of our “creative” energy was directed at
fighting the urge to make babies instead of art. Maybe it happened long before. It doesn’t matter when it happened. It doesn’t matter why. It just matters that we get it back.
So today I’m creating… without judgment, without fear… and with Legos.
That’s my today: Legos. I’ll get to “I love you,” later.
May my creativity (and yours) come from a fearless place forevermore. And may my life (and yours) be lived lovingly and fearlessly… forevermore.
There’s no fear in love, folks.
John Lennon said so… and so did that one Apostle guy.