Gina Murdock: If you want to be free, you have to let them be
Lead with Love
I love riding my mountain bike on the trails near my house in Hunter Creek. These trails are surrounded by some of the most beautiful wilderness I’ve ever seen (thanks to visionary land stewards Dottie Fox, Joy Caudill, Connie Harvey). As I whiz by on my bike, I marvel at the diverse range of flowers, trees and bushes bursting from the earth and I delight in the squeeks of squirrels and the songs of the birdies overhead. It is simply joy-full, especially with the gleaming, golden fall colors.
Riding my bike is one of my most favorite things to do. Since having twin girls in April, finding time to get out on my bike is a rare and wonderful event. Imagine my surprise and dismay then as I was riding my bike recently in said beautiful, magical wilderness and I caught my mind rummaging through old grievances instead of marveling at the flowers and birdies and golden, sparkling leaves. My mind spinning, I caught myself formulating righteous (and extremely eloquent) lectures to give to the various people who had let me down, disappointed me, did not meet my “expectations” or annoyed me in some fashion. I was no longer in the wilderness, I was lost in thought.
I stopped my beautiful bike right then and there. I put my feet on the earth to encourage myself to “Be Here Now” as our friend Ram Dass liked to say. Ah ha! There are those birds and flowers! I started hearing and seeing them again immediately when I quieted my mind. How interesting, I thought, when I am in judgment, I am not in the moment and I can not hear or see.
“If you want to be free you have to let them be.”
I heard this little nugget of wisdom come down from the treetops or emerge from inside my heart or enter through a portal in my second chakra. … I’m not sure where it came from, actually, but it landed. It landed and settled in as a knowing, a Truth. This knowing stopped me in my tracks and it brought me back to my Self (Big S = “Higher Self”, btw). I realized I can go through life being righteous and spending my precious energy letting people know they were wrong (according to me) or that they disappointed me for one reason or another, or … I can be free. When I am free I can commune with magical nature and friends and babies and I can smile and laugh and be joyful.
At that moment in the woods I remembered something important: It’s not mine. What people do and how they act is their business. How I react is my business. When I mind my own business and work on the areas that are triggered and upset inside of me, then I don’t need to go around judging other people because I have plenty of work to do on myself. When I work on myself and forgive myself and others I go into the quiet, calm place inside of myself to remember who I am. This “work” frees me up to go around loving people because I recognize we are all beautifully flawed and f’ed up and opinionated and rude and upset. The question is, do we choose to stay there or not? Do we choose to stay in other people’s business, or not?
I’d rather be free. I’d rather spend my time working on the areas that cause me upset inside of myself, not trying to change other people or circumstances so I can maybe be happy if only everything out there lines up to meet my expectations. I know this. And yet I forget I forget I forget.
When I stop hearing the birds sing and I stop seeing the flowers in front of me I know I must stop. Feel my feet on the earth. Check in with my heart, remember who I am and why I am here and let it go, let them go. Every second of every day we have a choice, do we spend our time judging or do we spend our time loving? I’m not sure about you, but I usually regret judging, I never regret loving.
Gina Murdock is the founder of Lead with Love, an Aspen-based nonprofit dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love. For more information about Lead with Love, go to http://www.ileadwithlove.org.
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