the ache in wide open space, begging to be filled. The beating drums of reality resonating off the damaged walls and bouncing from the other side. Loud and echoing and obnoxious in its volume. the silence deafening in the background and the inbetween. one being rocking against a cracked corner, hands unable to shield the sound that leaves bleeding ears and shaking limbs. so small in this space so vast, the other side can’t be seen. Just ache and emptiness and fullness all at once. Bones rejecting the melody of pain, muscles strapped from the scrape of soul escaping the body and running for cover. A mind, barely able to concentrate on thought, desperately trying to develop a plan of escape and only barely able to focus on survival alone.
it is the depths I fear. Traveling the road ahead that leads me to all the places I do not wish to visit, but know I must stop at on my way. To gather supplies for my journey and to meet with demons I have known before. So I stepped forward through knotted vines and held splitting bark on my way to my first stop. my footing lost so many times. I struggled for balance as my head spinned and fear pulsed louder than my words of self comfort. But I stretched and pulled until I found the small cottage in the woods with the smoking chimney and broken door. Promising easy entry and zero safety. I entered with a knock, not even knowing if an answer would be had, but certain i had to enter. The shallow breath behind the door cracked it slightly for me, my fear lightening as I realized this demon feared me more than I feared her. She shriveled under long stringy, unkept hair, falling over her face, shadowing her eyes that never dared look at mine. Her full gown of tattered cotton told me stories of a life seeking comfort and warmth, yet finding harm and leaving these missions battered and worn and worse for the experience. her shoulders hunched from years of carrying a weight her frame was never meant to support. her hands hard and cracked and still somehow fragile and gentle. She shuffled with an uncertainty and a distrust that made me wish to sweep her up and hug her, but I knew she would never know how to receive my gift. So I followed slowly, leaving a distance to allow her safety, towards the warmth of the hearth I know she prepared special for me in anticipation of my arrival. I smelled the sage and bay leaves she added, and appreciated that she cared for me in that way. I let her sit first, her body fallen onto a pillow on the floor, knees to chest. Handing me a soft blanket, she wrapped one around herself, leaving just her face exposed (if shaded in hair truly counts as exposed) in hopes she could tranform into nothingness to avoid being seen. I know this well. So I let her silence fill the room and mix with my own, and our bond grew in energy and without words to pressure the moments. The more time we spent there, the more I understood what I was there for. To see her when she hid. To value her when she wanted nothing more than to disappear into the background. To love her when she couldnt find the love for herself. I spent the entire night there. To avoid the treacherous road in the dark and to enjoy the tranquility that only staring into a fire can provide. I felt safe inside, even with a door that refused to do its job, but I didn’t want to leave her alone there. I handed her my bag, an offer to add some things and travel with me. She looked down and softly shook her head in reluctant refusal. I understood. I was no more ready to spend that kind of time with her than she was me. I rose up to leave, and I saw her eager lips part to speak, but she quickly caught herself. I knew her need to speak quick and frantic, to tell of all her emotion without a thought of how it would be received. And her remembrance that it usually ended with her feeling ashamed and embarrassed, and the receiver of her words smiling softly as they struggled to find kind words to say good bye. She simply grabbed my hand and squeezed, refused the return of the blanket I had come to depend upon for false protection, and opened the door for me. We avoided looking at each other, both crying. As I walked, I heard all she wished to say as whispers in the wind. She want to know love. She wanted to feel worthy of love. She hated herself for having need and for the times she spoke of those needs. The shame she felt around being too much and thus not good enough. For wanting attention. For needing affection. For wishing for loving hands and affectionate eyes. For feeling selfish when being disappointed by reluctant embraces and hard stares. Her words flowed from the winds through my veins in perfect connection, chilling me to the bone with the feelings of neglect and lack and not good enough. I cried them back out. I tried. But so much remained, scratching my insides, sandpaper and grits, painful and constant. I begged her to stop. I promised to meet her again. I meant it. I assured her it was not good bye, but I was tired from a day and night of no sleep and dangerous travel, and the emotions she was drawing were cutting, and making movement difficult. She wished me well, as I felt her pull back into hiding. I missed her presence immediately, but knew I had to let her go for now.
In the cleaning of my basement, I stumbled across a notebook of old poetry. I have only read through a few pieces so far, because it was a lot to take in…that visit to who I was. As I made space in the literal sense, I was blessed with opening up and making space for so much more. The emotional aftermath was incredible. The least lasting of the wave of emotions was that I felt genuine sadness for what I endured. Pain. Disappointment. Hurt. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Worthlessness. So many feelings are so distant to me now, that while I felt pity for the me that was, I also felt incredibly powerful. I have always questioned if I had healed or simply shoved down deep enough that I tricked myself. Today, I feel that while there is always work to do, I have had deep healing. I had overcome and grown from who I was.
I was also relieved. Relieved to know that I can reinvent myself many times over, as often as I like, as many times as I so choose. Instead of viewing the details of my journey, I was faced with the map linking the beginning to where I am now. How empowering it was to see how far I had traveled.
The feeling that was most prevalent was pride. Even before I understand what it meant, I was seeking my soul. Before I knew the Universe was in me, I knew to direct my search inward. Before I knew the struggles would lead to this beautiful moment, I was grateful for my experiences, and appreciated the strength I was gifted. If you asked me when in this life I was most lost, I would have told you this period I documented in those pages. How incredible to see I was not lost at all. I was seeking, fighting so hard to find what I knew I needed to, but with a lack of knowledge and a life I had created that worked against my purpose. But still, I pushed forward, and still I prevailed.
I hear so often this human experience is guided. We know before we arrive what we need to learn, and we decide to place ourselves in circumstances that nurture those experiences. I know this. I believe it. But here was this beautiful truth. This gorgeous “yes” vibrating through the universe, reminding me that my path was always perfect. I knew what I needed, and every pain, every joy was part of that journey by choice. My choice. To allow me to know and trust my soul. I have always known. I just needed to walk through the journeys to move on.
It leaves me so awestruck. If I was that aware when I was so “lost”, how much more will I do? If I am happy where I am, I am going to be ecstatic in the future. I look forward to reading my story in 10 years, so much more knowledgeable, aware, in touch…and smile as I realize I was always on my way there. This life is incredible.
So to the Universe, I say to you the most appropriate quote to express my soul…thanks for this beautiful life and please forgive me if I don’t love it enough (unknown author).
I will be far more conscious of expressing that love and gratitude.
There is no place on earth I would rather be than beside the water. There is no sickness of the heart that I have not found the beach to be the medicine for. Looking out upon the water is my heaven. As the sun falls, dropping pieces of it’s sparkling heart amongst the low waves, I am drawn into a state of amazement. There is nothing so beautiful as the joining of the two, welcoming the next phase of the day…the most perfect transition the earth has ever experienced.
I sit and let the water wash from me all that does not serve me. Even though I sit amongst my children, I find perfect calm. I fall into silence. I find myself only saying what is necessary, what serves a purpose, nothing more. I let the waves take away my pain and splash peace back into my soul. They know what their purpose is without being told. They just grace me healing, with love, because I need it, and it is there to serve me. What it needs from me is to leave it’s presence better than I came, to depart so full of appreciation and love and hope that I can not help but share it with the world. It’s only job to heal. When I am one with the water I can not help but feel pure power and connectedness. I am but a drop in the wave in the water that makes up this world. I am but a drop, but I am a drop. The waters of the world would be incomplete without that drop, so I am that world. I am one with everything. That is what the beach offers me.
So I explore the floor of the ocean just below the tide. The simplest of stones, with their constant blessings of the waves, open their pages to share every line of their story. Everything they have seen is displayed in their wet brilliance. Every color, every damage spot, every smoothed lustrous curve wet and enhanced by the water. Water does that. It clarifies, it takes out all that is dull and exposes it for what it truly is. It makes the light appear as the magic it is, and the dark appear equally as much. There is no judgment, no wrong or right, just what is…perfectly and untarnished.
I take them home, those pretty ones. I choose the ones who call me, who want me to know them. Who desire to let me feel them and share their experiences. They, so much older and wiser than me, carry an overwhelming energy. Their strength weighs me down, grounds me in the purest way. I take home so many.
When I see them dry, they lack their luster. All those brilliant colors are but shades of grey. I love them as they are. I considered taking them back. Was I doing their beauty a disservice by keeping them from their water? Keeping them from their home where every bit of their beauty shows? I wondered this. Then I realized…I still love them. I do not need to see them in their physical brilliance to know their true magnificence. That is what they were teaching me. To love them. To know what their beauty looks like even when I can not see it with my eyes. To see their beauty with my heart. And to trust that the beauty is within everything. In every person. And to see it in me.