The fall and winter months of this year were filled with punishing days—each hour slowly wading through the thick mire of my life. Each minute trudging toward the next until one by one by one they finally dropped off the horizon and I could sleep. I was broken and beginning to crumble. I was leaking life force, and emitting a tired and shadowy aura. I was melting into the landscape and there was a blurred edge where my shadow ended and the mouth of the dark cave began. I found myself lost. I was disoriented amidst a garden of secrets. Out of my body, I watched myself step into a deep hole of a place.
I sat inside this darkling space, tediously scribbling maps for my soul’s journey. My hunched-over scrawling lacked precision of possibility so my maps, upon hindsight, were labyrinths designed in the dark—like blueprints drawn with watercolors in the rain. I wanted to climb out into the light, but the gravity of fear held me in this place—fear pretended to be the cool earth beneath my feet, tricking me into comfort.
I was maze-making. Skillfully, designing my own traps with walls made from bricks I had shaped with my own hands. Bricks made from the thick mud of shame. Sturdy walls that created shadows where secrets hid. The bricks were fastened to each other with mortar made from an old family recipe. Ingredients supplied by an alcoholic father, a codependent mother, and their wounded child. The drone of my work became an unconscious and unholy mantra.
I could not see my angels preparing the ballroom for my celebration. I could not hear them practicing the music for my new dance.
My happiness sat on the thin side of fear yearning to push through. My happiness wept. There were many people who heard my whispered sobs, but they were busy singing their part in someone else’s chorus. There were others who heard and saw me crying from this dark pit I had chosen for myself. They slowly nodded a silent affirmation of my situation. A few familiar onlookers peered over the edge of the hole and said, “There, there. Everything will be okay.” But I must tell you, when you’re in a pit of despair, that’s not what you want to hear.
But then there was a pride of people who heard me. They saw me. They summoned a courageous compassion and climbed down into the shadowy place with me. They brought me edible sunshine and fed my soul with their light. They embraced me and lifted me with their compassion. They nourished and healed me. They carried their songs into my cave. They stood by me and guided me and loved me. Their love streamed into my life like holy rays shining through stained glass. Their light pooled on the floor of my cave and revealed a grand cathedral—exposing the fraudulence of my dark place. They whispered soft words filled with grace. Their kindness and acceptance floated peacefully from a place without a name, and lifted me beyond the pull of fear so that I was just high enough to see the dancing feet of a thousand angels.
This rare and wondrous group of people leaned in to hear my truth. They somehow knew that I was allowing fear to practice his ventriloquism on me. They had loved me for so long and with such grace that they were able to see my lips moving when fear said things like,
I cannot come out. I will lose everything I love. I cannot lay this hurt at the feet of my wife and children.
They studied the hieroglyphs I had painted on the walls of my cave. They wept joy, and I watched my fear dissolve in the wetness on their faces. They gave me the light I needed to search for my voice in the darkness.
Each time I share my story of emergence with someone new, a powerful force—too strong to resist—pulls us so tightly together that the gift of their grace is forever imprinted on my soul. During each new telling and each embrace, God whispers in my ear, “You are enough. You have always been enough.” I weep each time I hear those words. My tears remind me to lift my face to the sky, to stretch my arms out wide, and to use the brilliant colors of self-love to draw a circle of grace around my humaness.
It was during the fall of 2014 that I began to realize that the journey of my awakening has two legs: the quest for wholeness and the discovery of oneness.
To become whole—fully ripened by wisdom and filled with the sweet nectar of love and grace—I had to allow my life to be the manifestation of my truth. I had to dance in the moon glow of my truth and release the fear and doubt that anchored me in reclining discomfort. I had to love myself unconditionally. I had to accept myself completely.
Courage precedes love and grace and joy.
It requires courage to love unconditionally. It took guts to give myself the grace to be human. Courage incarnates truth, giving it form and voice. Like a flower bends toward the sun, courage surrendered my heart in the direction of my truth. Courage boldly bent my soul toward waves of light that carried wonder and awe on their crests.
As I searched for wholeness, I realized that there was only one real choice: I must boldly live my truth. To do this I had to perform the most difficult task of my life. I had to love myself unconditionally and let go my grip on the certainty of fear, rejection, shame, and guilt. Instead of giving fear permission to pimp my life and my dreams, I grabbed hold of love. And I surrendered the rest. In the new light I could begin to see the flaws in my map making. I bowed to the gifts of surrender. Without question, surrender is the master cartographer of my journey. Even though I know this for a fact, I still find that surrendering is the most courageous act I have ever performed. The weightlessness of total surrender is what allows me to fly. But like flying, surrender creates the sensation of falling at first. But I know that feeling of fear means I’m moving closer to my truth.
So I chose courage, I chose grace, I chose love, and I chose to surrender. These four acts continue to be my muses, guiding me every day toward my divine potential.
About a year ago, I told my life coach—one of my many saviors—that by the end of September, I wanted to be able to authentically stand in front of a group of people and proclaim, “I am an artist, a writer, and a teacher.” Now, several months after my initial work in the chrysalis, along the road to wholeness and oneness, I’ve completed several pieces of art, I’ve written blogs, I’ve conducted workshops, and I’ve worked with some wonderful people helping them discover how to love themselves so they too can boldly live their truth. I have been carried through a passageway into a new classroom, and my expanded soul can never re-enter the space that I graduated from. Life is filling me with new lessons as I continue my upward spiral toward heaven.
Occasionally our souls need to relax in the loving shade created by the touch of a soul mate, the smiles of our children, the laughter of our friends, and the gentle kindness of love-minded souls who have joined us on our passage—our living. I believe that long before any of us were born, our souls conspired in a place without time to ensure we were all together right now, in this moment—each of us reflecting the soulfully prismatic colors of the others.
We are powerful. We are brilliant. Joy is our choice. Joy is our destiny. Joy is one of many miracles that was placed in a trust for us when we were born. With each moment and each breath, we seek to be filled with joy and awe. We yearn to be connected—bound—to something greater, something divine. This connection, this purpose is what we work on all of our lives. Courage and love provide the music to which joy and awe dance. My soul is entangled with yours and thousands of others through courage and love. We are all connected by a sacred gravity.
We are beautiful works of art. We use life’s lessons to polish our surface so that we can reflect the purest light of our angels. My friends consistently introduce enlightenment mirrors that reveal my soul’s reflection in ways I’ve never seen or understood before. We try to balance our lives between the artistry of our personal gifts and the grace and gratitude we have when sharing our gifts brings light into the caves of the ones we love.
Embrace every moment and extract the delicious love that is waiting for you. Fill yourself with the Divine elixir. Allow your fullness to shine from your face and drip like sweet nectar from your fingertips. Let all that you touch be covered in the kindness of your overflowing heart.
This is peace.