Last week, I was talking with my amazing sister-in-law about last year. We joke because she is 10 months younger than me, so for 2 months we are the same age. I was saying how grateful I was when I turned 36 because 35 was one of the worst years of my life.
Then it happened. A moment I was not sure would ever happen. I heard an inner voice say, “Was it? Was it really the worst or one of the worst years? OR was it one of the best? Or possibly THE best year of your life?”
I pondered this with curiosity. Last year I fell what felt like head first into an abyss of darkness where I had no idea what was up or what was down. I finally understand the old saying, “No mud. No lotus.”
Well, as many of you have read, seen, heard, the mud was thick, gnarly, and filled with thorns. I could not see my way through. I had to feel my way through. When I was not sure what I was feeling or if I could continue on, I had to faith my way through.
The Way always appeared. Sometimes it was yoga, breathing, chanting. Sometimes it was devotion, prayer, on my knees in total, absolute surrender to the light of Jesus. Other times it was western medicine to help bring inner balance, or an essential oil, herbs, or a combination.
Sometimes it was a walk outside, climbing a mountain with friends, or a rage release session. The way appeared during a deep journey with my therapist or a burning ceremony. At times it was a baseball bat to a punching bag, or a writing release of full, uninhibited expression of the darkness living in my cells. Many times it was crying on the floor praying for peace to return to my soul.
It appeared as paper clips reminding me that I don’t have to hold it all together, God’s got it. The Way appeared as songs, books, movies. It unfolded through conversations with loved ones, and in meditations.
The Way was anywhere I needed it to be, and without shame or judgement of what that looked like in that moment.
What I realized along the way, was that all that mattered was my willingness to stay open to receive love. That was much harder to do than I ever imagined.
To be open to receive love meant letting go of all the barriers that I perceived as protection for 30 years.
To be open to receive love meant feeling vulnerable, and to my inner child, that was not safe. To my ego, that meant death.
To be open to receive love meant admitting I could not get through this alone, and I had to accept help if I was going to survive.
To be open to receive love meant releasing all the stories in my mind about how I thought about life, and being willing to write new ones.
To be open to receive love meant learning to love all of me; that rage, the guilt, the shame, the beauty, the grace, the compassion. All of me. Every part.
To be open to receive love meant knowing I could, and most likely at some point in life will get hurt again, but understanding I have the tools, the strength, and the connection to move through it with grace and ease.
To be open to receive love meant allowing the full, authentic me to be seen, heard, expressed, and held without apology or justification.
To be open to receive love meant learning to say, No.
To be open to receive love meant loving without conditions, expectations, or needing anyone else to show up in any particular way.
To be open to receive love means I love myself wholly and completely just as I am in each moment.
You see, what first was experienced as the worst year of my life, has become the best year of my life because I can finally see and live each day through the energy of love.
Love heals. Love gives. Love lives. Love creates new life. The death is worth the rebirth.
One of my cherished sisters in this life said to me in July of last year, “I know you think your world has turned upside down, but it has finally turned right-side up. You’ll understand in time. You will experience more love, more joy, more happiness than you ever thought possible.”
I understand now. I get it. In opening to receive love, I received the blessings of the past.
I am moving forward with compassion and excitement for the future while being more present than ever before in my life.
It is true. I had to travel through the valleys of the shadows of death to finally be able to walk in and experience the true essence of the light of grace, joy, peace, and love.
I would do it all over again if needed for now I know it was my cells releasing the darkness of the past to birth into new radiant light. It was a gift.
To quote Jeff Foster,
HEALING: TRUST THE PROCESS
Sometimes you have to commit to feeling worse in order to feel better.
Sometimes you have to lose the hope of ever getting better, before you feel better.
Sometimes healing involves staying very present as powerful waves of sensation move in the body. Sometimes the body shakes, convulses, aches, sweats, burns, as it rids itself of toxins, releases bound-up energy.
The mind says, “I’m getting worse”.
The heart knows you’re so okay.
True healing is not the removal of symptoms, then, but courage, and trust, and connection with the breath, and knowing that symptoms may intensify before they disappear. And they may never disappear. Yet you may fall in love with yourself as you are, despite the future, and you may drop to your knees in gratitude, for you have been given another day on this precious earth.
Maybe getting worse was the best thing that ever happened to you. Because you’ve never sensed the presence of love so clearly, and your path has never been more obvious, and you’ve never felt so alive.”
I hope and wish each person is so lucky to travel The Way, however that appears, so they too may experience the radiant light that lives within their heart.
May you always follow the light that is in your heart, and let it guide you home.