Wednesday, November 8, 2023


“Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose.”

I used to hate that quote.

It is actually a lyric from a song made popular by the late Janis Joplin. The sentiment activated all sorts of internal arguments for me until I grew into knowing how true it really is. I guess earlier in life I had not yet endured enough loss to understand what composer Kris Kristofferson was saying.

Now I have and so I do.

I began to experience deep losses early in my lifetime. From my current perspective I see them as evidence of an archetypal pattern that while extremely painful were also profoundly revelatory. When I became mature enough to consciously use the losses as fodder for growth and evolution the losses no longer used me.

My earlier belief was that every loss was about me. Someone died, leaving me. Someone put me out of their direct sphere, rejecting me. Opportunities were lost, robbing me of success and fulfillment.

Me. Me. Me.

The obvious common denominator in all my life losses was me.

Then one day I awakened to the deeper reality that while it was me that was experiencing the many incidents of loss the common denominator was loss itself and not me.

Holy Janis Joplin.

While this may not land for most readers, I pray that it will take root in at least one of you.

Loss happens. It happens for all of us. Life contains dynamics of both loss and gain. At the broadest level it is not personal. People do not die leaving me. People reject for all sorts of perceptual reasons. Ultimately it has little to nothing to do with me. Opportunities come and go, as do successes and modes of fulfillment. I may be a participant for sure. But opportunities, successes, fulfillment are bigger than me.

The recognition of the above is a perhaps narrow yet open door to freedom.

Freedom from the tyranny of me.

My life experience has been punctuated by a myriad of losses. Those losses were and some remain very painful. While I continued to take them personally, they led to great persistent suffering. Life was somehow tormenting me. Losses were being hurled at me. Love was being torn from me. You and countless others were leaving me.

Me. Me. Me.

I do not minimize the depth of pain that loss has held for me. I simply have learned to hold it differently, more consciously. I have learned to understand that all of us have, are, and will experience multiple losses during the duration of our lifetime. Though they are experienced by our personhood they are not personal. Life takes nothing from me. Regardless of what others may do I am always at choice as to how I interpret their actions. I am always at choice as to whether I take things personally or from a more wakeful, impersonal perspective.

Hence, my friends: freedom.

I have reached a point in this human adventure where I know that there is nothing left that I can lose that I cannot choose a conscious, impersonal relationship to.

Yes, there will be pain.

Yes, I will experience it at a personal level, even as I allow the impersonal to govern my responsiveness. And responsiveness is always rooted in freedom. Key to that freedom is not making losses about me.

“Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose.”

I used to hate that quote.

Now I love it.

I love it because I know a felt experience of it.

The past decade has been particularly filled with losses. Deaths of many kinds. People leaving in droves, for many reasons known and unknown. As the spouse of someone leaving incrementally on a daily basis, I am up close and personal with loss.

I am up close and personal with loss, yet I am not mired in taking it personally. That realization is how I cut my losses. How I stop the hemorrhaging of me interpretations. How I silence the wailing of why this is happening to me.

It isn’t.

All this loss is not about me.

It is happening within me, yet not to me. Not personally. I am not being tormented by a punitive life, even when I am left by punitive people.

Freedom. Nothing left to lose. Cutting my losses. Choosing my relating.

Loss will continue to visit my experience, and my freedom is the fortitude that loss itself has taught me to utilize in my relating.

And the one thing I can never lose is my sense of self that rises above the fragile me.

Saturday, June 17, 2023



I smile now as I recall the near despair of being asked once again to sing that song at a wedding.

I spent several years of my youth as a freelance wedding singer. I do not know how many nuptials I supplied the soundtrack for, but it was a lot. Some of the people I knew. Many I did not. I mostly enjoyed the experience, and it helped me build a college fund that as a son of a sole-supporting mother I needed.

This was during the early 1970’s until about the mid-1980’s. Songs came in and out of wedding vogue, but a couple endured that entire period. One was “The Wedding Song.” This was for me one of the most monotonous songs ever written. No matter how much I tried to sing some life into it, it always felt flat. I surmised in my teen years that if marriage was anything like this song, I wanted no part in it.

The second most requested song of this time was “Color My World.” It was recorded and became a huge hit for the band Chicago. I truly did love and enjoy performing this song. At least for the first fifty or sixty times. In the later years when someone would call and request my services for their wedding, I would hold my breath when I asked what song or songs they wanted me to sing. I eventually ceased lending my voice to these sacred events because I just could not sing The Wedding Song or Color My World one more time.

Not one more time.

I share this somewhat silly recollection because I recently heard Color My World in a waiting room of a medical establishment. I had not heard it in quite literally decades. I felt a mix of remembered dread yet also sweet nostalgia. As I was in a somewhat anticipatory state awaiting a medical diagnostic procedure part of the lyric touched me in ways that I had not experienced them before.

As I waited and as I listened to the lyric, I felt an expanded awareness around how I am always coloring my experience of my own internal world. It may seem as if the external world of circumstance is what is creating our moment-to-moment experience. We are so often caught in the illusion of out-to-in relating. We confuse cause and effect, and we suffer from this illusion.

The truth is that it is our interpretation and narrative about our circumstances that is always coloring our world. It is awareness of this fact that is our key awakening regarding how we get what we get. It is quite simple. It is a matter of staying vitally aware and interested in the dynamics of our embodied aliveness. We are each energy fields and that energy is always moved by the narrative and meaning that we are applying. In consciousness, commentary is everything.

It is because we say it is.


Our commentary is largely what is coloring our world.

As a former wedding singer, I know that marriages come and go. Marriages begin and end. A marriage is radically different from a wedding. No matter how beautifully I may have sung the songs it did not ensure the quality or the duration of the marriage.

There is one marriage, however, that can never be put asunder. And that is the union of will and word. Commentary and color. Narrative and effect. Story and suffering.

Life is a cosmic orchestration, and we are always composing our score. This does not suggest that we can control circumstances. Far from it. It does mean that we may choose how we name, frame, and claim our experiences. We can color inside or outside the perceived lines. We can use primary or pastels. We can paint boldly or softly. Each day is a masterwork that is open to our own interpretation.

I will never sing at another wedding. There will not be another variation of The Wedding Song or Color My World coming from these lips. No.

Yet I have never been clearer that I am always coloring my world. My experiences are up to me. It is my commentary that creates my context. If I want my world to change it is up to me to change my wording. To alter my narrative. To own the art of conscious story telling.

And to take that lyric one step further I am choosing to color my world with love. To tell love stories and to emit love energy. To love my often-feeble, fragile little storyteller. To love my past and to love what is seeking to be as me. To love being love in this often-loveless world.

We can never divorce the power to co-create our own experiences. It is intrinsic in our Sourced nature. Not only can you color your own world, in fact you must. You are and you always have been. Life is a palette, and you are the artist. Color consciously. Color intentionally. Color passionately, vibrantly. Color with courage and boldness. It is your world. Your commentary. Your part is to color.

And for the sake of all, color your world with love.