Let The Light Shine Through
The descent in to a healing journey will never tell us beforehand, where it may lead or who may wind up in the crossfire of our treacherous descent back into ourselves.
While my own journey began a year ago, it reached a much deeper cavernous pass over these last couple months; one that has been necessary and uncomfortable, sweet and raw and anything but linear.
These inner lands are wild and untamed and the paths lined with thorn-covered bushes winding me through the deepest of forests, around the most remote of mountains. One minute it appears desolate for miles and the next thing I know a sharp turn brings me to a field of brilliant wild flowers as far as the eyes can see.
The path for me recently took such a turn after I had been puttering along, one step at a time with no direction, only maintaining while I prayed for some sense of clarity; some semblance of purpose.
My devotion to my healing path has remained unwaveringly trusted but the costs over the last 14 months left me seriously financially imperiled. Much of my time and energy has gone to simply working as much as possible. Passing up weekend yoga classes, extra social time, day trips with my daughter and long awaited yoga workshops, I've been working six days a week for the past several months to try and restore balance to a severely compromised foundation.
As is so often the case when we are backed up against the wall, other things begin to crumble. Unexpected things like computers malfunction and our bodies feel the strain landing us in bed with the flu for a week.
But do not be fooled - this is not some grasping attempt at wallowing, this is no deflated pity party - this is about leaning in to our darkest shadow and not turning away in horror. This is about reaching in to the dark closet and reaching through the blinding fear for what we know is of worth and belongs to us.
This is about walking in to the dark, empty room without turning the light switch on and grabbing hold of the still small child within and releasing her from the clutches of an illusion that only felt real because we told our self enough times; and so it began to feel true.
This is about going back to the beginning and reclaiming what is rightfully ours.
The truth. The light. The love.
You see when I embarked on the pilgrimage a year ago to heal breast cancer naturally; I began with the body; for it’s the most tangible layer of our experience to work with and a powerful gateway. Since that time I have gone deeper and the physical work gave way then to the less tangible emotional realm and in these dark, unforgettable lands I came face to face with not only my shadows and pain but the root source of some deeper and very painful patterns that have been playing themselves out for decades.
We all have a choice when we come face to face with our inner demons and it's not unusual to find ourselves running. Fast. In the other direction.
But after how far I had already traveled, running simply has not been an option; at least not one I would allow myself. So I leaned in. Dug deeper even though life all around was begging for repair - "focus on the practical issues at hand" - my internal infrastructure begged equally for repair and I have had to keep going down the ladder no matter what. I had to go right to the source of my pain. To childhood. To origins. Beyond all the droning, heady talk years of therapy had me immersed in. This was about going to the source and rewriting a story I've called "victim" for longer than I can remember.
Thankfully not long ago I unexpectedly found myself joining in on a private Facebook group formed on the radical idea that "you can rebuild yourself through others; we're not meant to do life alone." Rooted in this vision with a variety of catalysts (life coaches) thrown in the mix, as an experiment decided to run a 30 day video challenge. Film ourselves - talking, ranting, crying, wailing, laughing whatever- three to five minutes a day for 30 days and share it within the private group. What started as a random challenge by founder John Kim, grew in to a bunch of random people willing to be vulnerable and open with each other and themselves; from that, an incredible bonding took place within a foundation of tremendous growth as we all shared and supported and witnessed each other against the backdrop of each of our lives.
I have been lucky enough to be part of this tribe and have made deep authentic connections, friendships and a couple of the catalysts whom I love, offered to bravely be my support through this inner descent.
So many of us carry old childhood wounds and we think that because it's been 20 or 30 years that we should just "be over it" by now. But until you can go back in and look the shadow in the eyes, to pull that little girl or boy out from the grips of a false storyline your mind made up in order to survive and see the past for what it truly is, then it has the ability to shape every choice you make in your life.
"It's better to do life scared than be too scared to do life; sometimes you've got to do life scared." These words spoken by the funny, wise, deeply lovely British light of a woman named Neen have become like a mantra for me these days.
Because how often do you choose nothing instead of something - out of fear and fear alone?
This is no longer just about healing breast cancer. That's already happening, that path is unfolding beautifully; this is about releasing the blocks that keep me from stepping in to my purpose. My power. My light; because I've allowed myself to believe for far too long that I've got nothing of worth to offer. I've allowed myself to believe that I have nothing to offer you.
But you see, there are
that need to be said.
There is music and creativity in my soul asking to come out.
There is a life begging to be fully lived unapologetically from my heart,
There are people for me to serve,
There is a path waiting for me to drive my stake in to the ground and
But as long as I'm dragging this shell of an old wounded victim around with me, I am of no service to that path or anyone, at all.
So I've had to go to the heart of the fear. I've had to go to the heart of pain. This time just to look at it, but to abstain from attaching a story to it. Just look it in the eyes.
Being petrified of the dark as a little girl. Throwing up all over my desk in the third grade and feeling horrified (and sick). My constant insecurity around my sister growing up. The constant torment on the long bus rides to and from school by a neighborhood kid. My father's love for me that turned in to a blinding rage toward me. My smallness in the midst of a family that I never seemed to fit in with. My absolute devastation when my parents divorced. My fear when my sister and mother moved out leaving me with an angry, sad, confused man who was supposed to be my father but could not be. Anger and pain that reverberated through the stormy teenage years, choking my ability to know where all the pain was coming from, only that I needed to escape. A boyfriends' physical assault of me and my fear of telling anyone. Getting kicked out of the house on my 18th birthday.
From these early childhood experiences I repeatedly and unconsciously ran the visceral memories repeatedly through my head; fueled by anger and resentment. I allowed the pain to remain alive in this way and play itself out over and over again in future life scenarios; Every time it played out, I became victim again even though I was no longer in the original experience. This is partly how I kept myself stuck in victim mode.
What I did not know then, that I embrace now is that the little girl back then continued to feel so much pain because she had no way to process what was happening to her and hence no way to heal it; so like a water faucet that stays on the pain kept flowing for years.
That little girl could not understand that my sister was carrying around her own deep, dark pain and was also struggling. She could not understand then that my mother was being triggered left and right by her own personal trauma and was trying to survive the steps she had to take as a mother and that actually the divorce needed to happen. That little girl could not understand the incredible pain and dysfunction that my father was raised in and that he was merely passing his unresolved pain unconsciously onto those closest. That little girl couldn't understand then why people did what they did, she was left with only her experience - as any of us are.
To begin to heal, I've had to go back and scoop that little girl up and hold her, rock her and love her again. I've had to expand the scope of awareness so that I can more deeply see the situation beyond victim.
It took a while for me to become strong enough to make the arduous journey; but with some exceptional and loving support I've finally felt strong enough to.
You see, the people in my memories, they were doing life the best that they could at that time; this is how cycles perpetuate through generations of families.... everyone forgets to turn the faucet off and we all drown in our own and each other's pain.
For so long I've searched for someone or something to mend my broken life; allowing blame and frustration to take over when change did not seem to take root. But this has always been a journey only I could take; we can be mirrors, witnesses for one another and there is great power in that. We can reach out and help one another during times of need, we can offer a shoulder to cry on, and we can gather and hold space. But nobody can take the steps back in to your own dark shadows for you, indeed it is through the veil of shadows that we find our light.
I have begun to finally see my own potential, my own light, and strength and not need to explain it away.
There is work to be done, yes. Infrastructure to repair, indeed.
So far it's abstract. A bit unrecognizable. A bit awkward. But I'm surrounding it with love and cultivating whatever it needs
to thrive, to grow and sustain.
In the distance
new adventures, new roads, new friendships,
new horizons that call to me, begging me to stop playing it small
let that light shine through.