My Journey

Getting Real

Candles lit at Imbolc, representing Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

In early November, I began a transformational journey by choice. This journey stripped me naked to my soul and bared all my broken bits. It was raw and painful, but I knew in order to experience complete healing, I had to embrace my pain and accept it as a part of who I am. I willingly went into the winter of my soul, where darkness shed light on the transformation I began to embrace shortly before my 60th birthday.

December came, and part of this transformational nudity made me realize my self-worth, a worth of self I only pretended to believe I possessed. This part of the journey helped me understand the loss of power that came with silence, the fragmenting of my being that came with putting others needs always before mine. It showed me how holding on to guilt and shame for things committed against me, led me to erroneously believe I was responsible for all negative actions taken against me throughout my entire life.

That end of the year also brought the very thing I’d sequestered myself from for three years: COVID. The day after David and I opened our celebration of Winter Solstice to the public, we came down with COVID.

Sunrise on Winter Solstice, 2022

It took him about a week and a half to recover. It took me about a month. I was fortunate enough to not have to be hospitalized, but the headaches and fatigue and body aches are still lingering. But that’s okay compared to what could have happened if we’d contracted it three years ago.

Having COVID for a month provided me the time to purge. It helped me release all the anger, the depression, the sadness, the useless emotions I’d been collecting my whole life. I slept a lot, with everything and everyone in my life being put on a back burner while I used all the energy and mindset I could muster to focus on healing. I couldn’t write, read, text, listen to music. Most of all, I could not focus on anything other than resting and rejuvenating my spirit.

By February, I was ready to emerge from the chrysalis I’d remained hiding within for the previous three months. Imbolc was a celebration of light, the light that shone bright as I emerged from the darkness. The life I embraced as I shed the last vestiges of ill health- physical and mental.

But as I stepped out into the light I realized I’d left something behind. I’d shed so much baggage I’d forgotten who I was. I didn’t look familiar anymore. I couldn’t identify with me. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t market. I couldn’t read. I didn’t have favorite music anymore. I had no energy to socialize.

The light was too bright, the understanding of what I’d shed was too stark. The familiarity of it all was gone and all I could do was stare into the void that was left.

The void was me.

Last week, I met with one of my dearest friends and a spiritual mentor, a wise woman who forges paths for people who have wondered off course.

This week, I’ve gathered with a group of women who are like healing muses, in the haven we call our writing home. I came to Thistle Dew plagued by the phrase most writers dread: Writer’s Block.

I’m leaving tomorrow morning refreshed, rejuvenated, and writing again.

I’ve heard that using the word ‘tribe’ to define people you hold close is now considered cultural misappropriation. What word do you use for people who know the right amount of laughter, silence, margaritas, chili, salad, breakfast casserole, chocolate covered nuts and fruits, and popcorn to share, and who honor your boundaries without malice or ulterior intentions?

The thesaurus offers alternatives: family, clan, sept, group, crowd, gang, company, band, bevy, pack, herd, flock, drove, horde, mob, bunch, crew, posse, gaggle, load. None of those work. Sisters in Arms? WordSoulies? Blockbreakers?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that Life awaits me. There are good times coming. My healing is continuing, and I’m writing again.

Thanks to everyone in my life whose intentions are aligned with the ulterior purpose of lifting one another up, and who understand and respect my needs.

I’m not who I was a year ago, six months ago, six weeks ago. I’m not even who I was six hours ago. None of us should be.

These last few months have taught (and continues to teach me) that life is a journey that should never be completed. That transformation is a state that should never find its end.

I learned a song many years ago that sums it up perfectly.

Everything that ever was, will be. Everything that will be has always been.
Changing, changing, ever the same. Changing, changing, around again.
Everything that ever was, will be. Everything that will be has always been.

So my thoughts for today are simple. If you are stuck, if you are alone, if you are lost, beaten, weary, confused, foggy headed, unmotivated… face your fears. Find out why you feel like this. It’s not easy. It takes time. It’s painful.

Once they’ve been identified, once you’ve figured out why you willingly carry these feelings around, choose to let them go. Blow those feelings out, burn them, flush them down the toilet.

Then look around you and give thanks for every moment you have.

Most importantly, make the most of the life you’re living. Start experiencing the greatness of YOU.

A sunset shared long distantly with my son while we chatted on the phone.

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