When I was small, I was so full of light and enthusiastic about the world. I loved to explore and discover the incredible gifts of Earth and her inhabitants. I was a forest urchin, the trees were my forts, my swings, my elders, my protectors. The creatures of the forest, my friends. From the time I can remember, the forest called to me. It didn’t care what I said, or what I looked like. It didn’t care if I said something weird, the forest accepted me just as I was.
As I got older, I learned that it wasn’t safe to share my light with people. They didn’t understand, they got angry, some even jealous of my light. I learned to stuff my light, to shove it down. I learned not to step on toes, to not make too much noise, to sit quietly in the corner. I learned not to share my imagination. I learned to be serious and structured, disciplined and stoic. I learned to shut my mouth, to keep my weird thoughts and strange musings to myself.
I thought there was something wrong with me. I thought there must be some mistake, I thought I was the mistake. I thought I was crazy, that the visions and voices in my head made me schizophrenic or some other ridiculous diagnosis of the DSM-5. I thought I was broken, that no one could or would ever love me.
I sunk deeper and deeper within myself. I felt like I was going to get sucked into a black hole. I thought I would die. I wished for death. I stopped reaching out because it felt like nobody really cared, they just wanted to offer advice so they didn’t have to sit with my pain any more. My body got sicker and sicker, wasting away. The life force, so strong as a child, faded and weak.
There were moments where I felt at such peace and I knew that if I just let go, I would leave this plane, this dimension and join my mother and ancestors.
I went back out into nature; not the forest, but the desert. I put my feet on the earth. I felt Pachamama so deeply, calling me, calming me. I meditated and listened. I began to hear the small, but powerful voice of love whispering to come home. I stopped and listened with every ounce of my being. I surrendered.
Then the fire came. The actual fire. And as destructive as it was, is also how freeing it was. Just like the pinecone that sits tightly waiting, when the fire comes, it opens and releases it’s seeds. That’s how I felt. Open, raw, releasing everything. Purging. I surrendered.
And I realized that everything that I had experienced, every painful moment, every depressing circumstance, was not put there to stop me or to control me or to hurt me at all; instead these experiences were happening for me. They were happening to show me that everything that I was searching for outside of myself had been inside of me the entire time.
I saw how every time someone else had abandoned me, so had I abandoned myself! Every time someone rejected me, I continued to reject myself. Every time I silenced myself, I created the distance and lack of understanding that I was searching for. Every time I turned away and closed myself off, I was closing off to the very love I was longing for.
Instead of avoiding, denying or ignoring the shadows, I began to venture deep into the darkness. I faced my demons head on. I spoke to them, I listened to them. At first they were huge and scary and intimidating. The more I had the courage to face them, the smaller they became. I began to see that the shadows on the cave wall weren't actually monsters and demons at all, but love in all its guises.
LOVE was in the darkness. LOVE is all around. There is no separation. There is no wrong or right. There is no us and them. There is only one. There is only love. A love so powerful that if you allow it to permeate your being, will set you free!
Free like the rivers flowing fast and loud. Free like the trees, reaching deep and wide. Free like the Eagle soaring high above it all. Free to be YOU, yourself and NO ONE else. Free to say what only you can say, Free to live your life as only you can. Free to BE whatever you can dream of being. FREE. YOU AND I ARE FREE.
Photo credit: Steve Biro Photography