Caging Joy

by Cris Gladly on January 7, 2014

image by Anton Senkov

image by Anton Senkov

Old habits and old mindsets die hard, do they not?

I find it no small irony
that a theme of empty birdcages has threaded itself quietly
into the background of my time here in Sydney.

I mean, for the longest, longest time in my life,
I felt like I was trapped inside one.

Yet artistic renderings of empty cages
have been popping up for me everywhere here,
reminding me how much the whole wide world is open to me right now.

The only birdcages in my life now are the ones I view from the outside in
(or that I create myself).

As Christopher and I count down our final days together
… just 3 more to go …
I feel the birdcage in my chest
(forged soooo LONG ago of my own fears and a lifetime of limiting mindsets)
beckoning me back inside it now.

I’m feeling like I want to pull back inside myself,
to protect me from “the end” to this experience that I DON’T want to happen;
from that approaching goodbye
that makes me scrunch my eyes closed against and say “no no no no no” to it.

Instagram photo by Cris Gladly

Instagram photo by Cris Gladly

But this … THIS is how we spoil our joy.
(Or at least, how I’ve habitually spoiled mine)
retracting before I’ve even fully opened.
Limiting myself from letting anything else in because I can’t fully have it all.

I see this trying to happen.
Self-protection (also known as: self-sabatoge).
But I’m trying really hard to breathe through it and BE here,
to lean into every remaining second of this amazing adventure
and squeeze out every experience and every drop of love and happiness I can.

AND to give to it, as well.
To just shine like a lighthouse.

I mean, just because I don’t get to keep it fully (yet)
… this, him, all of it …
doesn’t mean I shouldn’t embrace every second, right?

Instagram photo by Cris Gladly

Instagram photo by Cris Gladly

I just keep telling myself:
I’m Frederick the mouse
storing memories of colour and snippets of poetry for winter.
{children’s book reference}

I have to say,
the bravest part of this trip wasn’t traversing the geography,
or the solo wandering, or the destination exploring …
the absolute hardest part has just been believing I deserve to be here.
Allowing myself to let in this much happiness.

It’s scary. (Why is it so scary?)

Maybe because I’ve never known the likes of this before.

I think sometimes “joy” is like a beautiful, enchanting woman
lighting her eyes upon a subtle man:
to those who’ve never known the intoxicating power of such a glance,
you’d almost wish she never looked at you at all … than risk losing her favour.

But it seems joy is indeed looking my way.
So, here’s to staying on the OUTSIDE of those birdcages.
No doors. No bars. Heart wide open.

3 days left on the trip of an absolute lifetime.
Let’s see how much living I can do in that time limit.
I really, really, really, don’t want to be afraid of this.


xo! ~ cg

See my Sydney trip photos on Instagram

Note: This post originally appeared on Facebook

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