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Expand, Open, Be Fluid

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I think this is suppose to be the post where I whip together all my accomplishments from 2013 and tidy them up into a nice little bullet point list for you.

Right?

Forget that crap!

To be honest, I keep going over and over in my head just what I did accomplish this past year and the one big thing that keeps coming to mind is I survived.  I made it through.  I crawled my way out of the deep, dark Underworld I found myself in at the beginning of the year and came out stronger, wiser, and a hell of a lot more braver.

But even more than that, I woke up.

2013 is the year that I fully realized with every cell in my body that there is real suffering in the world.

And I’m not just talking about other people.

I mean right here.  Right in my own heart.  In my own family.  In my own circle of friends.

I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in service to others through my art–and it wasn’t until 2013 stripped me raw that I realized my service had the best intentions–but was truly a distraction from keeping me dealing with the pain present right here in my own life.

Years and years of ignoring, suppressing, and disguising my pain as other things finally caught up to me.  It grabbed me by the throat and like a tsunami it washed me into a great period of darkness and destruction where I spent most of my time kicking and screaming to get myself the fuck out of there.

I had great friends that would reach a hand out to help or were on the other end of the phone in the middle of the night or simply brought me dinner from time to time.  But I knew–as much as they did–that nobody was going to get my ass out of there but me.

And when I finally surrendered…I mean really surrender…the kind of surrender that feels like someone is cutting you open with a dull knife.  That’s when the floodgates opened and all the pain came rushing to the surface of my heart and mind.

I can’t tell you how many dreams I had that my home was on fire or that I was on a plane that was crashing.  But at this exact same time I started to see the world around me very differently.

It started with my walks outside.  All of a sudden I could feel the leaves breathing, hear the sky whispering prayers, even feel the heart beating of a tree.

I’d tell a few people and I know they must have thought I was dropping acid.  But I don’t think that’s what was going on at all.  I think I was starting to wake up.  To finally feel.

Like really truly feel.  The kind of feeling that happens from the tip of your hair  and follows a path directly to the marrow of your bone and out through your exhale—and it leaves you alive and tingly.

It wasn’t until October, at a retreat I just last minute decided to attend, where I allowed myself to sit in it.  The pain that is.  I purchased the space and time and even the safe environment to allow the pain to consume me–to be my lover for the long weekend.

I went into the depths of my Soul and realized that the Underworld is not just always near–it’s actually a part of me.  A part of all of us women actually.  It’s tightly linked to our womb and we’ve been shamed to believe it’s a place best kept hidden and secret.

There is something oddly empowering to know that the pain I was courting was not just my own.  It was passed down to me,  collected over the ages,  and triggered by my own misfortunes.  And so gently I moved through it.  I didn’t suppress it, ignore it, or try to make it into something else.

I felt it.  Fully felt it.  Like how I felt the leaves breathing.

And it passed through me almost effortlessly leaving a void–a space that felt uncomfortable and unnerving at first, only because I’ve grown so  accustomed to having it be a part of me for so long.

And now, as I step softly into 2014, I no longer see the world like I once did just a year ago.

I no longer am kidding myself about the work that I do or the people that drift into my life or the environment that is crying out our names to wake up.  Life is not a precious commodity.  It’s not a commodity at all.  It’s a passage way.  A portal.

And my prayer for 2014 is to expand, to open, to be fluid as I journey my way through it.

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