This morning I woke up to warm sunshine on my face in a bright, pink-walled room of my quiet guesthouse in Pokhara, Nepal. I lay in complete stillness, listening to a chorus of birds outside the top-floor window, resisting an overwhelming impulse to check my phone for messages that may have arrived into my inbox overnight.
Instead of moving.
Instead of checking the time.
Instead of making a mental list of all that was to be done throughout the day that lie ahead, I silently placed both hands over top of my chest and closed my heavy lids down; giving up my eyes to the world of looking and, for the first time in a long time, I held my beating heart with the most tender reverence.
Feeling nothing but overwhelming love for the woman it continuously shows up for.
It’s been a while.
It’s been a while since I reconnected to this body.
Since I took the time to acknowledge this heart.
Since the armour in and around my chest softened and the contents were given permission to pour out into a blank document with the intention, not only to write, but to whole-heartedly collect what has been intended for me in the process.
And today, for whatever reason, I’m feeling ready to receive.
I started this blog years ago with a completely different objective than to grow and potentially serve others along the way with an unfiltered, unguarded reflection of my journey. It all began in an effort to share, maybe even glamourize, what I perceived as a brave woman setting off on an adventure by herself after more than a decade (arguably a lifetime) of dependancy. The truth is, I had no idea what courage meant in those days. And, although I admire her willingness to break free of a cycle that was not serving, that young woman was somewhat selfishly running away from an uncomfortable reality she no longer wished to be a part of; desperate to prove to herself and everybody else that she could, in fact, survive in this world alone.
Nowadays, both courage and survival have a whole new meaning for me. And, the truth is, I feel far less butterflies of nerves in navigating myself through a foreign city thousands of miles from my Canadian home than I ever will in pressing the ‘publish now’ button to scatter the candid opinions contained within these personal blogs unto the web.
I suppose speaking one’s truth doesn’t come without some degree of discomfort.
Vulnerability never gets easier – even amidst the ones we love most.
And although I am well aware that everything I write is merely a representation of a life seen through my own unique lens, it’s all seemingly wrapped into an authentic expression of Who I Am.
The dismissal of these words by another.
The minimizing of these feelings.
It’s like the rejection of me as a person – the rejection of my soul.
And, it’s scary as hell.
I wish it didn’t, but the reality is that this fear of not being well-received arises because I, like so many, place emphasis and a certain degree of my worth within the opinions of others.
Perhaps it’s the way in which I was raised.
Perhaps it’s the consistent force-fed message from the media telling me that I, as I am in this moment, am not enough.
Perhaps it’s that I, and so many others, have fallen victim to the notion that love needs to be proved or earned or efforted for in order to be deserved.
Irrelevant as to why, I can tell you from personal experience that for as long as one continues to give their power to those outside, there will be no amount of distance travelled.
Or goals accomplished that will make an ounce of difference.
Because, hiding underneath a somewhat confident exterior will still remain a little girl on her knees begging for confirmation that she’s doing the right thing.
Pleading for affirmation from her loved ones.
Needing of consistent validation from her students.
And relentlessly seeking the approval of her parents so that she can finally relax into a comfort of knowing that she has a mother and father who respect the choices she’s made and are proud of her for the work she’s done and continues to do.
Yet, amidst the feverish seeking to receive validation from the external, comes that all powerful moment in which the universe presents exactly what’s needed to start making oneself a priority.
The breaking point.
The un-ignorable catastrophe.
The painful, but necessary “school of life” crash course in self-love.
It will never cease to amaze me how in the blink of an eye, everything can change.
How, without even anticipating its arrival, a solitary experience can deliver the most unsuspecting of souls to a place of knowing all that they simply can’t un-know.
Feeling all that they simply can’t unfeel.
And, for me, it was like every ounce of clarity that I wasn’t even aware I was seeking just sat casually right there in front of me.
Impervious to the hurricane of hurt they’d so carelessly unleashed unto my heart.
It’s only now, months after graduating from the most challenging life course in which I’d ever been enrolled, can I reflect on the experience and feel something resembling gratitude. For, within every day of resistance I encountered in accepting the truth of what I came to understand that February morning.
All the tidal waves of unpleasant emotion that pummelled me in the months following it’s unveiling.
Deep down, lingering amidst the anguish, was the impetus of real change.
The doorway between then and now.
The catalyst in releasing each and every one of the unsupportive patterns that were hindering the woman that I knew I was capable of becoming.
And, as confusing as it may have seemed at the time, I’m beginning to understand that it’s all-too-often these very experiences – the ones that feel disastrous, which grant us the permission we’d never really needed to start making decisions that will support ourselves better.
Regardless as to how it looks to anyone else.
Regardless as to how it makes anyone else feel.
Regardless as to how it may inconvenience anyone else.
That isn’t to say that there wasn’t a pain associated with this lesson that proved so intense it infiltrated my veins like smoke after a wildfire.
That I didn’t look in the mirror for months and fail to recognize the swollen eyes staring lifelessly back at me.
That I didn’t long for, and then silently harbour resentment towards, the ones I love most when they failed to notice my distress and immediately come to rescue me from it. Foolishly believing that, the presence of their arms around my shoulders would miraculously take away the ugliness that lingered in my core.
However, a dozen sleepless nights, a few too many weeks of starving myself to feel something other than heartache, and a thousand tears later, I finally mustered the strength to pick my own self up from fetal position atop that cold Balinese tile floor.
And as I did so, I unknowingly began moving slowly.
In the direction of my unmeasurable self-worth.
Day by day.
Step by step.
I came to learn that freedom has, and always will, walk it’s own road.
Breath its own air.
Choose and then chase it’s own happiness.
Freedom listens to its own knowing heart.
Sees with its own clear eyes.
Discerns with its own best judgement.
And, if the past six months have taught me anything, it’s that liberation and lightness and all the peace that I seek are not going to come from someone or somewhere else.
They won’t be found within the words that others can advise to me – even the wisest of them.
Or within the gifts that others can give to me – even the most generous of them.
But instead, in what I am able to give myself.
What I can believe in about myself.
What I can create for myself.
What I can wholeheartedly and unapologetically love about myself.
Even in the moments when it’s not easy.
Especially in the moments when it’s not easy.
As I lay here, warm palms resting atop a beating heart, I smile at the perplexingly perfect essence of it all. How, life is full of these moments that will break our hearts wide open. And that, even amidst the darkest of them, nothing is ever intended as rejection – but instead an indisputable redirection towards something better.
So, as I continue forward having swallowed the medicine of shadow, I can’t help but feel overwhelming thankfulness for where I came from.
Thankfulness for all that I overcame.
Thankfulness for how it changed me.
Because if thirty-two trips around the sun have taught me anything, it’s that every new chapter of my life began by demanding a different me.
Allow me to re-introduce myself.
One thought on “Darkness Has Its Teaching”
You got me all teary eyed with this one. Love you so so much♡