I've always really loved this poem because I HAVE always listened to the mustn'ts, can'ts, won'ts, and shoudln'ts but I have allowed them to stop me. I've liked to believe that anything can happen, but I haven't listened to the voice of my heart as frequently as I have listened to the others. Sometimes I have allowed those other voices to take up residence in my mind and drown out the voice of my heart. I am coming out of one of those times right now. For whatever reason I have allowed the fear of criticism and the feelings of helplessness and not good enough to cover me like a heavy wet blanket, keeping me down and miserable. Maybe it's just that I needed to fully listen to the voices, to fully feel out what they're saying, to let them press me down until I couldn't bear it anymore and screamed "Enough! No More!" I have gotten wisdom from truly listening and letting them invade me, and then remembering that I have a choice in how I react to them. I don't HAVE to stop what I'm doing and give up just because they have popped up. I think as children many of us learn that the sooner we stop something that we've been criticized for or warned against, the less likely it is that pain will occur. And if we don't listen to the criticism or warnings, then any pain that does occur is both our fault and our responsibility to take care of and work through. Typically alone and without any sympathy or guidance from others. Because, you know, we should have listened. So now, as adults we get to decide if we want to continue living life in this way. Over the years there have been times when I have made huge strides in the direction of listening to my heart instead of the criticisms and warnings. And there have been times when I have been suffocated and immobilized by them. I have come to believe that both sides of the experience help me get closer to doing what I feel called to do. Each direction change helps me learn either where I am most susceptible to the voices or what it takes to access my courage and turn around. Each time I get buried by the voices I come out of the experience with less fear of them. Without the fear it's much easier to hear them, say "I don't agree" and go on my way.
I am grateful for the time I spent under that heavy blanket and for all I learned. I am grateful that I had the courage to make a change and decide enough is enough. I am grateful that I'm ready to more fully hear and embrace that anything can happen. Wherever you are in that journey I send you much love. You are exactly where you are meant to be! And no matter where the voices are (on the inside or the outside) and how loudly they are screaming, your heart will not forget that anything is possible. It will keep that feeling safe and it will be there when you are ready for it.