Love And Forgive Yourself First.

July 21, 2013 by Jerry Alatalo

lake superior 444When was the last time you loved yourself? When was the last time you forgave yourself?

Perhaps you never even considered taking such an action up to this point. Perhaps you have come across writings through time which have spoken the words, “In order to love others, you must first love yourself.” Many men and women have come across this famous set of words.

How many have taken this spiritual rule, so to speak, and literally applied its full measure in their lives? There is a chance that some have taken the words and came to the conclusion that to “love oneself” is a form of selfishness and narcissism, an abnormal admiration of the self.

We may have an irrational fear that if we “love our self” we will receive the labeling as some type of conceited, stuck-up person who only thinks of him/herself. Then we find the lyrics of the song “Greatest Love of All” which tell us that “learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

This spiritual philosophy tug of war is found manifested in our societies. We find people who love themselves expressing joy as a result become looked upon by others as not in control of their emotions. Many become uncomfortable around those who express laughter and joy, which is the uncontrollable expression of one who has discovered love within.

“Man that guy has to get with it. All of that emphasis on laughing it up and putting smiles on the faces of others. I don’t know what is wrong with him.” Over the weekend I attended an annual country/folk music festival where musicians from surrounding states, requiring many mile journeys, gather for playing music.

Unfortunately I was unable to join in with the musicians as I haven’t learned to play a guitar, banjo, mandolin or harmonica. I could have joined in with singing but for a hopefully soon to end addiction to nicotine. I could have brought the electric Casio piano that I bought from a young couple over a year ago, but since I stopped daily practice after a few months, the awkward playing would have become a real downer for all present.

There were around one hundred men and women musicians on the grounds of the festival, carrying guitars, banjos, accordions and those big basses around the grounds and joining in playing in a freewheeling style. Most of the musicians were probably in the age range of 40 to 65. There were at all times groups assembled and playing, on average 8-10 groups playing simultaneously.

The people who attended to listen to the musicians brought their lawn chairs, food and drink was plentiful, and there were no seating arrangements. You just move around listening to the groupings and wait for some energy to become created; a good jam session.

Perhaps because the musicians are kind of unknown to each other and are using improvisational skills to some extent on songs they all have played, there was a palpable sense that musicians were hesitant to “let it loose” and have some real fun. The evidence for me that a musician is having a good time in such a setting as this is a broad grin while playing.

Perhaps because the musicians were a little older there is a reluctance to “act like a kid” with excessive displays of laughter and joy. I felt sorry for one young fellow who seemed like the most skilled musician there. He was maybe 30 years old and his energy was far above the average here. I could tell that he was let down somewhat because he wanted to play some “foot-stompin” music. There were few there who could play and sing at the same level and really get into it.

I shook his hand after a good piece of playing and told him, “It seems like you are all ready to rock and you can’t find anyone to play with.” The better skilled musicians were the ones who had smiles on their faces.  It is understandable that there is a sort of awkwardness when you are playing music with strangers of sorts, who you may remember vaguely from the earlier years. But, everyone had a good intent, which is the main thing.

I got into some conversations with the musicians and met a fellow who is an English professor at a college in Montana who has a blog. He was one of the guitarists who was a little more skilled, so displayed more smiles. I will definitely read much of his writings as I need all the help I can get! His favorite all-time book is Moby Dick, by the way. Another fiction work I need to read.

It was an overall good experience and enjoyable.

The music festival and blogging have similarities. Bloggers “play” with words the same as musicians play their instruments. The comments sections following posts are where the “jam sessions” take place, and we are like musicians who are strangers at first, who then with practice become better and better at communicating our “music.”

Perhaps there is some initial awkwardness, but we can forgive ourselves for such a situation. It is simply the way it is and that’s ok. We have the right intent.

As we have more and more “jam sessions” there will come a time when the awkwardness ends and some “foot-stompin” music will be laid down. Then comes the broad smiles and joy and loving the time.

So love and forgive yourself first. Most every human being wants to create and experience some joy and laughter with other men and women. Just keep trying and sooner or later the good music will come.


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