Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse & Letting Go Of What Traps Us


I arrived here at Starbucks a couple of hours ago, opened up my mobile browser, and the headline blared "Amy Winehouse Dead At 27." I was shocked and saddened, if not surprised. 27 years old, so much talent, a dynamite voice.

I wasn't very familiar with Winehouse's music, but she was one of those artists who, whenever I heard about her or heard a clip of a song on the news, I would inevitably say "I really should pick up one of her albums." Her blend of jazz/soul and pop was intriguing.

Her death is for some reason making me think back to September 1997 when I heard the news that singer Rich Mullins had died in a car accident at the young age of 41. Mullins was another artist who I had been slightly familiar with, but had never went out and bought any of his music. That changed quickly after his death, when I first picked up one of his collection CD's, then proceeded to go out and order all of his albums. Tragically, Amy Winehouse didn't even have enough albums to warrant a collection.

Winehouse and Mullins were seemingly completely different people. Amy lived in the spotlight and was frequently in the news because of her drug and alcohol problems and scuffles with fans. Rich, meanwhile, was living in a trailer on a native reservation near the end of his life, forsaking fame and instead teaching music to small children. However, there was a brokenness about Rich Mullins that you could plainly see if you spent much time at all reading his articles or watching his interviews. I believe much of it had to do with loneliness.

Back to Amy for a minute though, who had been working on a new album and recently recorded a duet with Tony Bennett for his new album. She had been in and out of rehab and her most recent public appearance was just 4 days ago at a concert by her goddaughter.

My question this afternoon is: Why do so many of us hold onto things that so evidently poison us? I do not claim to know the answer to that question, or to know what was going on with Amy Winehouse. All that matters today is that a beautiful 27-year-old woman was found dead in her London apartment, cutting short a talented and gifted life. But still I can wonder, why do we hold onto such things?

Pick your poison. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, an abusive boyfriend, a shitty job that you hate, a toxic friendship that just brings you down. The list goes on and on. What do you hold onto?

For me, a big one is fear. I have dealt with anxiety issues for years. Now, while some of it may be physiological, a great deal of it is my reluctance to let it go, for one reason or another. It has often ate away at me, usurping my happiness and ability to be truly present in a situation.

I like the Bible verse that says that "perfect love casts out all fear." So why am I hanging onto fear, and why do people hang onto ? Could it be that we are afraid of perfect love? Maybe we're used to disappointment or pain or expectations never being met, and so instead we reach out to something that's more tangible and in great supply: the line of coke, the bottle of vodka, the one night stand sitting at the bar. Maybe we think the shitty job is all that we can get, and "hey, it pays the bills." That might work for awhile, but eventually a part of you starts dying because you're not doing what you were meant to do.

Maybe we aren't convinced that we deserve to be truly happy, so we do the S word: we settle. And why aren't we convinced of our deservability? Maybe it's because we aren't convinced of just how valuable and lovable we truly are. We have to fill the void somehow, so we reach out to something that seems to ease the pain for awhile, until it rises up and takes control, and we're hooked.

How do we change or break free? I think that it can start with even a simple desire to let go, whether it's from the obvious things like drugs or alcohol, or the roots like a lack of deservability or feelings of being without value. For me, I am a spiritual person so I believe in putting out the intention to release and let go of whatever it is that I am hooked to, and letting Spirit/The Universe find a way to bring it about. Do I have to do my part? Yes. This may very well involve things like therapy or for some, rehab. It can be hard work. But I am convinced that there is a deeper spiritual power who wants to work on our behalf, if we'd only trust.

I didn't know Amy Winehouse, but she certainly struggled with drugs and alcohol. Whatever we are struggling with, there is always potential for us to let it go and live a happier, healthier life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do not feel that people always settle for things because they feel they dont have value or worth. I think sometimes the oppotunity either financialy, or socialy or because of lack of information is not always there. maybe its worse like people believe your someone that your notand wont come near you.going places meeting people education all takes money. To let go and be left with nothing is a pain most cannot bear . I think it is human nature to want to be with people and have some kind of emotional connection but for some that is not always possible and after years of disconnection you either suffer or close off to it or take whats available situtations are not always that cut and dry . I try not to judge yes but feeling alonfe disconected from life i believe is the mosty painful thing you can ever go through because no mater what eles is going on if you had true friends to support you and understand you it would not solve other problems but we do feed off each other and who for years would like to feel like no one cares