My Favorite Word!

I love the word, “blessing.”  It’s my current favorite word and has been for some time now.  I love to think of it and see it in my mind’s eye, and then say it out loud, slowly.  Ble…ssing.  Ble…ssing. I love how it feels in my mouth. It’s pleasant.  It sits on the middle of my tongue and then softly slides up to the back of my teeth, gently forcing its way through my lips and into the space directly in front of my face.  There it curves up into a smile and makes its way throughout the room.  Like a curling tendril of smoke it caresses the faces of those in the room with me.  I watch their faces change, ever so slightly as the “blessing” turns up the corners of their mouths, smoothes away a few worry lines and relaxes a few tight-set jaws.  I hear a faint sigh of contentment escape troubled souls as “blessing” makes room for its self amid the cares of the day.  It doesn’t have to fight for attention.  It is what it is.  It’s spiritual.  It’s ethereal. It is a force of energy, like “good will hunting” for a target, alive with a mission to remind us of who we are, what we are, where we came from and where we’re going.

I’ve always known the word, “blessing.”   It was something we asked at the dinner table.  It was a word that meant we had things money couldn’t buy and things money could buy.  The word “blessing” was a great equalizer.  If you were rich, you were blessed.  If you were poor, you counted your blessings and were rich for having a great number of them. Blessings were like a money currency.  We put them in our banks and built up large accounts. Everyone could be rich!  “Count your many blessings, name them one by one…”

We counted blessings instead of sheep.  Somehow in a sleepy child’s mind, stating your blessings became a prayer of some sort, always followed by a feeling of thankfulness.  You were always thankful for your blessings! How wonderful to fall asleep in a state of thankfulness rather than fear and dread. Counting your blessings like money.  How comforting!

A few summers ago Bill and I were at the kid’s house in Nashville.  It was the Fourth of July and we had cooked out on the grill and prepared a feast.  We had all eaten and were sitting around talking and hadn’t started cleaning yet.  Dirty plates were still on the dining room table and the kitchen was wrecked from all of the cooking.  Trash was overflowing the garbage cans…We were just getting up to clear the table when we heard a knock at the door.  It was their landlord (a word which I don’t care for at all because it makes me feel insecure automatically) Rogan, and a friend of his, Wren.  Rogan lived down the street from the children and had a great relationship with them.  They often helped him entertain at parties and in return he was a friend and very kind to them.  That night it seemed that Rogan was stopping by to check on the new ceiling in the kitchen. It had fallen in during the flood rains that had devastated Nashville a few months before and he had sent workers over to fix it.

I was so embarrassed.  The house was a mess!  When the landlord stops by, you always want to impress him with a clean house.  This was horrible!  What would he think?  The kids weren’t fazed a bit.  To them, he was just Rogan, their friend.  I tried to relax, but had a hard time doing it.   He looked around the kitchen, surveying the work, while I just cringed.  He never said a word about the mess.  We went into the living room and he didn’t leave.  He and Wren sat down and acted like we were the best of friends.  I was so uncomfortable with the messy house that my pride wanted to speak out about it.  I wanted him and his friend to know that the house usually was clean and that if we would have known he was coming to pay us a visit, we would have cleaned up.

At that point, a miracle happened.  Wren looked around and said, “Boy. I bet Thanksgivings at your house must be something else!”  (I supposed she was thinking that a Thanksgiving mess would be even bigger.)  Then Stacey said, “O my God!  Thanksgiving’s crazy at our house.   Everybody’s there and all the girls are in the kitchen cooking while the guys are in the other room watching the parades on TV.  Then right before we eat, we all stand in a circle and hold hands and tell one thing we are thankful for, which by the way, can get kind of mushy.   Then we ask the blessing.” No sooner had Stacey said those words, when Wren exuberantly shouted out, “I LOVE the Blessing.”  All of a sudden, my focus was turned away from the messy dishes on the table and my shame of the landlord catching us in such a state.  The word “Blessing” was released in the room. She said it excitedly as a child speaking the words, “I love Christmas morning,” or finding his long lost stuffed animal…”I love my Teddy Bear.” The word carried power and knocked me off my “I’m normally Miss Perfect” high horse.

The “Blessing” made its way through the room, curling my tight lips into a smile.  I knew exactly what she meant.  I loved the blessing too.  I always had.  We taught our children to love it, to embrace it.  Her speaking about it like that changed the atmosphere in the room, reminding me that the word “blessing “ always brings on the word “thanksgiving.”  All of a sudden, I was thankful for a huge, messy family with plenty of food to eat.  I was thankful that we all understood the importance of recognizing our blessings and thanking God for them.

Later, when I got to North Carolina, I told people about Wren and her love for the “blessing.”   Every time we would get together with friends, we would joke and say, “I lOVE the blessing!”  Then we would commence to say a heartfelt blessing that radiated from our hearts and set the mood for the rest of the meal and evening.  The blessing became alive and real to us.

I LOVE the blessing!  I love to say it, to ask it and to invoke it upon myself and others.  I love it as a noun, a verb and an adjective.  I love how it makes me feel:  how it makes me look outside of myself and remember to be unselfish, humble and grateful. It’s one of the most powerful words in the English language.

Did I tell you that I love Thanksgiving too? Say it with me!  Thanks… Giving.  It’s made from two lovely words that are the result of counting your blessings.  No wonder I love it so!  Wren must love it too.  If you love the blessing, you naturally love Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday, hands down!  It’s the only holiday that you get all the fun of feasting and fellowship that Christmas brings, without having to spend money on buying gifts.  Plus, you get to recount your blessings to others and hear about their blessings.  What could be more fun than that?  Enjoy your Thanksgiving and spread some “Blessing” around.  Then, see how it can affect your world and those around you.  Come on…say it with me slowly…Ble…ssing.  Unleash the power!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Blessings!

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It’s a Sign

In light of what I wrote in my last blog post, “I’m Beginning to Hate this Closet,” you’ll never guess what happened this morning.  First of all, to set the record straight so that everyone knows:  parts of the last few posts have been reality and parts have been conceived in my mind to get a point across.  I know that most of you realize that, but just in case someone doesn’t, that’s the way they work.  However, I do believe and it is reality to me that I have a muse.  I feel his presence on a daily basis and I have conversations with him about my purpose and how he inspires me to achieve it.  (I hope that you don’t think I’m crazy but, if you remember, I am trying to let go of the fear of what people think.) 

In reality, we really have neighbors who have a tiny, yappy Chihuahua that they leave outside most of the day and night.  As I was up early this morning banging around in the kitchen, I realized the neighbors must have let out the dogs because I heard Yappy beginning his morning bark.  After unloading the dishwasher, I grabbed a handful of paper towels and Windex and went out on the back porch to clean off the glass coffee table top.  Yappy was barking ferociously for such a small bundle of nerves and wasn’t letting up.  “I wonder what’s got that dog carrying on so?” I thought, aggravated at the prospect of this going on most of the day.  It seemed louder than ever.  “This is going to drive me crazy!” 

I turned and took a few steps toward the screen door, wondering what was happening on the other side of our eight foot fence.  My imagination was starting to take over.  In my mind’s eye I saw the two large bull dogs, the neighbors other two dogs, cowering in the corner of their yard, Yappy putting them “in their places” with her bulging eyes and sharp tongued bark.  Like little Barney Fife giving big ole Otis “what for” as he locked him in the county jail on suspicion of being a happy, singing drunk…when to my surprise, I looked down toward the ground and saw Yappy.  At least I thought it was Yappy.  He was two feet from my screen door looking at me with a ton of hate and barking at me as he was going to tear a hole in the screen, come through the door and chew my legs off.    For a few seconds I was so stunned I truly wondered if I was in a dream.  This was the scene I had written about two days ago except it was not in silver moonlight.  It was broad daylight and, by God, it was real!

I was afraid.  This “holy terror” was doing his job.  What I had written had come true.  Fear was back at my door, trying his best to terrorize me.  Literally. 

“I can’t believe this is happening,” I said out loud to the itty bitty scruffy excuse for a dog that was yelling at me.   “What are you doing in my yard?  How the heck did you get in here? There’s no way in.” I looked over to the gate.  It was shut tight.  This barking head had just materialized before me.

I turned tail and ran into the house.  Bill was getting out of the shower, barely wrapped up in a towel.  “Bill, you’re not going to believe this.  Remember what I wrote about the other day? The yapping dog at the back door?  It‘s there.  Right now.  You’ve got to come see this.”  Almost naked, he followed me out to the back porch to look at the screaming Mimi.  “See, its right at the door.  Just like I wrote about.” 

Yappy wasn’t there.  He had de-materialized  and extricated himself from the yard.  Poof!  Disappeared into thin air.  “He was here just a second ago.  I swear!  He was barking just like the dog in the blog…” I trailed off.  Bill started laughing.  He opened the door and did a quick glance over of the yard.  “Hmmm…I think Yappy’s found a way to get in our yard. He’s back on the other side of the fence.”  To prove his point, Bill let the screen door slam shut.  Yappy immediately heard it and started barking at the noise. 

“You have to admit, that was weird.  I’ve never seen that dog in my yard.  I mean, after I wrote that blog, it just shows up here barking at my back door?  That’s just crazy!”

“I believe you, Donna,” Bill said.  “It just found a way to get under the fence or something.”  We came back in the house and shut the door behind us, still hearing Yappy barking like a sergeant would at his men during morning roll call.  “I don’t know….It just seems weird to me….I mean, Bill…That was just odd!  Right after I published that, this happens.  Do you think it’s a sign?”

Now, if you know me at all.  I’m a bit of a mystic.  I look for signs everywhere.  You know the song we used to sing back in the day…“Signs, Signs, everywhere there’s  signs.  Blocking up the scenery.  Breaking my mind. Do this.  Don’t do that, Can’t you read the sign?” I believe there is always a sign to lead me if I’m not sure of something or to confirm a decision I’ve made. That’s one way the muse shows things to me.  It’s like we have a “sign” language. Bill totally understands this about me and nodded his head in agreement. He’s used to my sign seeking.   It wasn’t just a neighbor’s dog that had gotten under our fence.  It was a bona fide, honest to goodness sign that manifested at my back door.

Bill got dressed and went on to work.  As soon as he walked out the door, I went to lock it and for good measure locked the screen door and the back door, too.  There was no way in H.E.Double toothpicks I was going to let that exasperating critter inside my house, should he show up barking in my back yard.  I sat down at the breakfast table and held my warm cup of coffee, wondering about the “sign.”  What kind of sign had it been?  A warning sign?  Was I going to get another stiff dose of fear even though the muse and I had (as in my blog post,) thrown that barking dog across the big road?  Was it showing up that soon to torment me again?  Or was it a sign confirming that I was on the right path, writing a blog to amuse others about situations my muse and I encounter and others might relate to?  Isn’t it funny that as obvious as things seem sometimes, we still have to weigh them and consider whether or not they are negative or positive?    Did they cause that or did I cause it?  Who said that….was it God or was it the devil?  Oh, come on…I know you’ve asked those questions before.  It’s called being human.  And for that reason, that’s why I’m going to have to say…I’m glad I have a muse to help me figure it out…and in this instance…I’m going with confirmation.  It was the muse showing me that I’m on the right track. Now if I could make that dog next door just shut up.

I’m Beginning to Hate this Closet

Hi, blog friends.  I had quite an experience last week after I published my last blog post.  I don’t know why, but as soon as we make a stand against something or for something, that very thing becomes tested. 

With encouragement from my muse, I came out of my closet with a drawer full of fear.  I had been storing up my fear of man in a bottom drawer in my closet for years and it was keeping me from doing the very things I felt I had been “called” to do.  I had stuffed it full of my unmentionable terror:  the fear of what people think.  When my muse asked me to take the drawer out, I couldn’t believe it was light weight.  It slid out of the dresser almost effortlessly.   I was shocked.  All this fear I had hidden away for years, out of the sight of my closest friends, my earthly enemies and myself (for that matter,) was as light as a feather.  Empty fears?   I opened up my closet door and walked into my bedroom.  With the muse walking behind me, I was fearless.

I opened the back door and walked out onto my porch. It was dark outside and the moon was full and bright, illuminating my backyard in a silver haze.  I took in a deep breath, smelling a mixture of beach marsh and sweet pansies- what my yard smells like on a cool November night. It cleared my senses and a dream-like fog left me instantly.  “Muse” opened the screen door and held it open as I stepped out onto the dew-dampened ground and turned the box upside down. To my amazement, fear took the shape of a lifeless, worn out, dirty stuffed animal…a puppy, I thought.  For good measure, I kicked it over to the side of the yard, between the crape myrtle tree and the fence.  “Good riddance!”  I hissed at it, shaking my head.  I couldn’t believe what I had just done. It was that easy.

My muse congratulated me on my coup.  I had routed the one thing that had held me captive for years and tossed it out like a bad dream.  I was on the way to a quick recovery.  I could write anything I wanted …look anybody in the eye with a sense of equality…heck…I could pick up a car, a house, The Empire State Building.  Who needed Superman?  With a sense of relief and a little bit of smugness, I thanked my wonderful muse and headed back into the house.  It was chilly outside and I couldn’t wait to get back into my warm bed.  I went to sleep and I dreamed of writing a book to help people overcome their deepest fears and go on to do great things.  It was a confirmation from my muse that I had done the right thing.

All was well for a few days.  I didn’t have to post another blog immediately and I was enjoying the lull and the responses and comments you guys had sent me on my last post.  One afternoon, after lunch, I was putting away the dishes in the kitchen, thinking of what to write for the next post.  How could I come up with something clever to “top” the last one?  Oh no, I needed to stay away from those thoughts.  I didn’t have to fear “that” thought again.  Right?  All of a sudden, I heard a dog barking.  We have neighbors that have a Chihuahua and its bark is aggravating.  The neighbors aren’t home much of the time and they leave the dog outside with their two bull dogs.  It yaps, constantly and bullies the two bigger dogs.  The instant it hears any voices on my porch, the back screen door slam or senses that I am walking in my yard, it commences to yap its head off.

I thought that Yappy had started in again.  The barking went on for half an hour or so and, as it did my fears began to build in my mind too.  How could they come back like that?  Between my fears and the blasted dog barking, I could hardly concentrate.  I had to shut the dog up so that I could think.  Slipping quietly out the back door onto the porch, I went out to confirm my suspicions. I wanted to throw a rock over the fence and scare it.  Anything to stop the barking!  But the barking wasn’t coming from next door.  It was coming from my yard.  There was a little, bitty dog barking at my screen door.

Keeping the screen shut, I peered out at the skinny, scruffy dog with the bugged eyes, enormous ears and a huge mouth.  I know that cuteness is in the eye of the beholder and a yappy dog that isn’t mine is just downright ugly. The closer I got, the more it reminded me of something…could it be?  It looked more like the stuffed animal I kicked to the side of the yard in the moonlight a few nights earlier.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Had the lifeless creature I so easily dumped and kicked out come back to life to torture me?  Was it my fear???  It wanted me to let it back in the house!  His eyes were telling me it wanted to go back to his home in my closet drawer.

I didn’t know what to do.  I decided to ignore it and go back into the house. I turned the TV on, turning up the volume to block out the pesky noise.  It yelped all day, never letting up.  I went outside, yelling at it, pleading with it to go away.  It was relentless.  The high pitched bark began to wear on me.  I went to bed, putting the pillow over my ears.  What had happened?  I had gotten rid of it three nights earlier.  Why was it back to torment me?  What had I done to deserve this?

I got up and resolutely went to my computer.  The dog was barking, but I was IGNORING it.  I sat and looked at the blank screen.  I begin to type, the fear subsiding a bit and the dog took a breather.  I typed out the first paragraph.  No, No, No!!! It wasn’t right.  The words weren’t coming to me easily.  I erased the words.  Fear began barking.   I wrote.   Erased.   Wrote.   Erased.   Time.   And .  Time.  Again.  No one will like this!  No one will “get” this!  I can’t do this!  The barking made me crazy.  If only I could make it stop.  I felt as if I were being tortured in a prisoner of war camp.  Maybe I could let it in for just a second.  Stop the insane barking….I didn’t call on my muse to help me.  I was ashamed for letting the fear get hold of me.  Ever so slightly I nudged the door open, just an inch…another inch…Yappy was in like a flash and ran through the open back door, through the living room, to my bedroom and then through  to my open closet.  He pulled out the drawer with his scrawny paw and jumped in. 

I felt defeated.  I wanted to cry. All of a sudden, the barking stopped.  Aaaah…Sweet relief.  I ran to the computer.  I would try while it was quiet.  While the fear was quiet. 

I had an idea.  I wrote it down, pleased with how it flowed on the screen.  I read it back.  No, No. No!  It wasn’t right!  Once again, fear over took me!  What if I can’t write another thing again?  What will people think of me if I start a blog and not keep it up?  They’d think I was a loser!  A big, old loser!  The dog started barking again.  It was muffled but it was in my closet.  Was it going to be like this forever?  I put my head down my desk.  I was miserable.  I needed the super hero now to rescue me from myself and this new, old fear.

I felt air stir behind me.  I turned around and Muse was sitting in the rocking chair.  I hung my head and asked him a rhetorical question.  “Do you hear that?  That stupid lifeless dog, my fear, came back and tortured me until I let it in.  It’s back in the drawer in the closet,” I whimpered.   “I know,” Muse answered.  You were so confident the other night after you got rid of the fear.  I didn’t warn you that it would  likely come back time and time again, to trip you up and keep you off course.”   “Why didn’t you?  Why didn’t you warn me?”  I cried like a child, all the while hearing the aggravating barking coming through the walls into the office.  

“Well, first of all, you had to learn a few things on your own.  It’s what y’all call the School of Hard Knocks.” he answered.  “Think about it.  Fear can drive you crazy.  The barking was incessant.  You gave into it and now it’s back in the drawer.  We’ll take it out again and this time, we’ll throw it over the fence.  It will be harder to come back.  If you give into it, even after that, we will take it and throw it across the street.  It will be harder for it to find its way back to you.  One day, it may never come back and bother you again.  You will learn how to say ‘no’ to it.”  I thought about it.  It made perfect sense.  “So what you’re saying is that every time I let fear in, all I have to do is throw it a little bit further out, until it may never come back to torture me?”  “Yep, that’s right,”   he answered.  “And make sure you call me to help you.  Why didn’t you call me before you let the fear in the door?  You can’t get rid of something like that by yourself.” he kindly told me.  “I guess I was ashamed.  I didn’t want you to think I was weak.  Deep down, I wanted to please you, too.”  My confession once again embarrassed me. 

“Think about that,’ the muse answered slowly.  “What you’re really saying is it’s not just that you worry about what people think.  The bottom line is this.  If THAT is what people think of me, then what does it make me look like?  A loser!”  I could barely say the word out loud it was so painful.

Once again the clarity of Muse’s reasoning cut across all of my excuses and struck down my irrational thinking and I mused out loud… “So, after it’s all said and done.  It’s not just that I’m a flirt, a people pleaser and a person terribly afraid of what people think of me…it’s also about the bottom line…my pride?”  I looked at him this time as a child who is totally repentant, hoping to be freed from time out for bad behavior.  “That’s right,” he smiled back at me. 

Was this entire episode about my pride?  Isn’t pride the instigator of almost everything painful?  I smiled weakly.  “Do you think I have a special hiding place in the closet for pride?”   He laughed, “Let’s go look.”  As we walked to my bedroom closet, he turned to me and said, “Now pride is like fear. It will try to come back, too.  Many times.  It’s worse than fear.  And if you get rid of pride, fear will leave you alone.  But, today we will start by throwing them both across the street.  The further away the better. But remember, I’ll help you if they get out of hand again. No doing this on your own. I need to keep you straight on these issues so you and I can get some real writing done.”   We stepped into the closet one more time and started looking.   I picked up the drawer with the whimpering fear stashed in it and then began looking for a good place I would have hidden the pride.  I was beginning to hate the closet.

Secrets from the Closet

“Secrets from the closet”…what flirty sounding words.  As I laid my head down upon my pillow the other night after I posted “Coming Out of the Closet”, I couldn’t believe that I told you I was going to give you “secrets from the closet”.  I felt giddy with those very words.  I think they tripped my endorphins, making them swirl my blood around as if it were mixed with Champagne.  I couldn’t go to sleep.  My mind was high on the mental game of flirting with words and hoping desperately that I had pleased you with my writing skills.  I finally had some understanding of why writing skills were so popular and eloquent in centuries gone by.  There were no radio or television programs to show those generations what the skill of a flirtatious nod, glance or touch could do.  There were no telephones to communicate the sound of a smile (yes, smiling has a sound), a laugh, the contentment of a sigh or the throaty whisper of a tender endearment.   It had to be done through writing words that coaxed, cajoled, wooed.  Flirting was a mental game on paper. Oh no, I realized that I had found a new way to flirt.

I had done it!  I had enticed my readers with a skill.  Wow…That was a heady feeling.   Words were not just one dimensional squiggles on a piece of paper or computer screen.  They were living, breathing missiles that if directed straight to the minds and hearts of others, could cause an actual feeling or emotion.   My words of admittance that I was a flirt and people pleaser, enticed you as if I was writing a story in a trashy gossip magazine. 

I felt guilty, that maybe I had violated my unsuspecting readers in some crazy way.  Then, as I stared up at the dark bedroom ceiling I saw it turn into a computer screen with these prophetic words, “If you keep trying to please people with your magic words you will get burned out blogging.”

I was in a dilemma…a mental dilemma.  I blinked my eyes to see if I was really seeing things.  I shook my head to dispel the vision only to open my eyes again to see a finger write the words, “Secrets from the closet” write themselves across my ceiling screen, followed by a “Bahahaha.”What was I setting myself up for: another BURNOUT situation? 

Oh, no….Not me!  I got out of bed and began pacing the floor.  I needed counseling.  Where were my back porch therapy friends when I needed them most?  Had we not talked about the hazards of people pleasing and burn out many times?  I stumbled into the bathroom and cut on the light, shocking myself into my senses.  I stared at the flirt, disgusted.  I was glad no one could see me.  My intoxication with words had made me feel like a drunken woman, just discovering the joy of the buzz, cruising up and down Main Street, winking at every breathing thing in sight, thinking she could have anything she wanted; until of course, the police following her turned on the blue lights behind her.  “Let me see your license and your registration, please.” 

Then, as if to save me from myself, I knew who to call.  The name came to me as a flood of relief, as if he were a fancy therapist from the big city, as if he were God. Whose finger had written the message, anyway?  It was my muse. Wasn’t it him inspired me to write in the first place?

I cut off the bathroom light and went back to my bed.  I covered myself with the comfort of my comforter and snuggled into my pillow.  It was easy.  I didn’t have to call out loud or wait for him.  He was there instantly, before I even asked him to come.   He sat at the edge of my bed and looked at me with a crazy grin.  “What?” I said. “You” he said, just shaking his head.  “This doesn’t have to be so difficult.”  “But it is,” I said.  “I’m afraid that I might really be good at something that can inspire people.  But, what if I write something that’s not perfect enough or something the readers will think is silly and they don’t like it?  I don’t know if I can deal with the rejection.  Or what if it’s really good writing and the readers enjoy it and I can’t write consistently well? Like, I’ll always be trying to “top” the last piece I’ve written?   That’s overwhelming and I’ll just get burned out and never want to write again.” (For some reason, when the muse visits me I can only tell him the truth.  He knows me too well for me to lie.)

He shook his head because he had heard this from me before.  “Donna, why are you always so afraid about what others will think of you?  Doesn’t it get tiresome?  Just write what comes into your head.  I put the ideas there and you just write what I tell you to. You can’t go wrong.  Anyway, at this stage in your life why would other people’s thoughts about what you write make any difference?”

It sounded so simple.  There were no flirty words, or words to please me.  It was just the truth:  I. Am. Afraid. Of. What. People. Think. Of. Me.

Hummm…”Secrets from the closet” was taking on another meaning for me.  Could I truly open this door?  Why was it so heavy?  The muse’s look was sympathetic and kind.  “You have nothing to lose. If you don’t write, you’ll miss the great adventure of expressing yourself and seeing people enjoy your gift, finding themselves in your writings.”

“So, my problem is not that I’m a flirt or that I’m a people pleaser?”  I asked in a small voice.  “It’s that I’m  afraid of what people think?  That’s what causes people pleasing and burn-out?” He didn’t skip a beat. “Yep. It’s as simple as that.”

I felt the rush of something supernatural hit me as I let that revelation travel to my brain, my heart and my natural gifting.  The muse, such a wise creation, told me, “It was never about that.  Fear of man is your obstacle.  How can you write anything if you are afraid of the judgment of others?”

Alright, at this point you guys have no idea who my muse is.  I could not speak to him in “Oh Grasshopper” language.  He is my Muse, the spirit inside me as old as time himself (excuse me, time itself).  At this point, my Muse stood up, and went to my closet door.  He beckoned me to get up and I did, walking toward him.  “Where are you going?” I innocently asked him.  “That’s my closet.  I really don’t want you to see what’s…”  He opened the door anyway.  I looked in.  The closet held all of my clothes, my outer garments and my inner garments…my unmentionables. “Come inside with me,” he said.  “Come on in.  This is really important.”  I slowly followed him in.  He shut the door behind us and we were standing together in a small area that contained all of most personal belongings.  All the things that I willingly show to people and the things I willingly hide from them.  “It’s time to throw out some things that have been taking up too much room in this closet.”

I looked around.  He was right.  My closet was filled to the brim with clothes, purses, belts, shoes, scarves, panties, slips…everything that outwardly made “me” to other people.  Things that I would not be caught dead without in front of others.  “Look around.  What’s taking up the most room?”  He asked.  I looked around.  Under some hanging dresses there was a plastic chest of drawers that held my unmentionables. 
“The set of drawers is the biggest thing.”  I answered.  He pointed to the bottom drawer.  Slowly, I bent down and pulled out the drawer.  It came out easily, as if nothing was in it.  “Well, I can’t believe it.”  I said in wonder.  “As full as this closet is there is an empty drawer with nothing in it.”  I looked at him in wonderment.  “I could have put other things into it.  Look how full this closet is.  It’s bursting at the seams!”  The Muse shook his head, “No.  It’s not empty.  It’s full of stuff that doesn’t mean anything.  Stuff that takes up room.”

“Is this drawer filled with my fear?” I asked.  The muse nodded up and down.  “What are you going to do with it?” He challenged me. I’m taking it out of the closet and I’m going to stop hiding it from everyone.  I thought I could hide it but it’s taking up too much important space.” 

He smiled at me, lifting his eyebrows as if I had just discovered Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, almost surprised at my astuteness.  “Let’s take it out of the closet,” he said.  I bent down and effortlessly pulled out the drawer, lifted it up and said, “OK, I’ve got it.  Let’s go.”  The muse said, “You’ve got to open the door yourself.” 

I took a deep breath.  This fear of man was so light.  So…nothing…What had made me so afraid?  I turned the door knob, but with my Muse, it was light and easy to open. I was coming out…

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