I haven’t written in quite awhile. Why? Well, for one, I haven’t felt very inspired. I’ve spent some time reflecting, but also moping around, without any clear direction, nor motivation to do anything, never the less open my heart on paper through my words. Luckily, recently, things have been looking up. Something, again, has been sparked. A little baby fire has begun to burn again due to some kindling being placed nearby, just within reach. Sometimes, I feel like my life will never begin, like I’m wandering around, wishing for something other than what’s immediately before me. I search and search and run and run, restless, and never fully content with what is NOW. The only thing that really ever matters. I haven’t accepted, in the slightest, where I currently am in my life. When people asked me “what do you do?” I’d respond, “ x, y, z for now, but I hope to ___,” with that blank changing monthly, sometimes weekly, depending on what new endeavor I desired. It was as if the life I was living wasn’t good enough, to the extent that I was living in a fantasy world thinking well, if only I were __, if only I had ___ to do, if only I were living ___, or together with ____!!! The list goes on and on. The underlying premise is that I was never accepting of the live I was living. That’s not to say it’s unhealthy to have dreams, ambitions, goals to work towards- of course that’s great and what makes life meaningful- but I do belive that in order to reach those goals and achieve those ambitions, we must first see and accept the steps we are taking-in the now -to get there. Otherwise, in our mind, we are always 12 steps ahead and have already arrived at our destination, without remembering to appreciate all the work we are doing to arrive. What my life has been lacking for awhile now is acceptance and patience. Patience being key. I drive myself crazy thinking and analyzing and questioning “what should I be doing?” It’s so circular. I always wind up in the exact same place- back to square one- lost and without hope. Not a good place to be in. Today, and in the days ahead, I will vouch to be present and more accepting of the here and now. In doing so, perhaps, I will create the space necessary to take those 12 steps, and enjoy each one, knowing that eventually they’ll lead me to a more abundant and worthwhile path.
We walk through the valley of our Lives sometimes in the Shadow. Other times in the Light. It’s a constant flux of Yin and Yang. This interplay of Light and Dark exists within us and is mirrored in other facets externally. We grow up watching movies, reading fables and learning history lessons about the “good guy” vs. the “bad guy.” Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are two such narratives depicting this struggle. In Lord of the Rings- Frodo a.k.a the “Chosen one”- is given the task to destroy the power of the Ring representing the Dark Forces. He battles demons, monsters and ultimately himself as he is tempted by the seductive and potent power the Ring harnesses. Eventually, despite all he goes through, he delivers the Ring successfully and destroys the Darkness in the fire pits of Mordor. The end of the movie depicts what happens upon his completion of his purpose. He, along with Gandalf- his trusted Master- board a ship departing for the great Unknown. He must say goodbye to his friends, his beloved Sam, and begin another Journey. His friends are sad to see him go, but also, understand that he must go on. He finished- rather heroically- his monumental mission to defeat the Darkness and in doing so, he opened yet another door to yet another Adventure.
Sometimes, it’s hard to accept the end– the end of a relationship or career —especially when it requires that we say goodbye, even to just one person who we hold dear. However, we aren’t doing anybody justice when we choose to stay stuck vs. move on. Frodo had to get on that ship. He knew his time in his quaint hobbit home had come to an end. He had learnt all he needed to, and subsequently, the wind blew him a different direction. He had help from his fearless leader- Gandalf- who showed him the way, but in the end, it was up to him to choose. He chose to leave behind what he knew (safety and familiarity) and instead begin something bringing him towards (perhaps) Unconditional Love and Joy… the “World Beyond”…
One time when I was traveling abroad in the beautiful, magical, country of Scotland, I had an epiphany. This was the trip that I set out, starting in London, with no other plan than to “head north.” I literally had only booked a hostel in London and from then on was planning to create the journey as I went along. It worked out, at times. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, I stayed in a hostel called “castle hostel,” pretty original, but in its backyard stood the infamous Edinburgh castle—what a view. First thing, I put my stuff down, and climbed the hill to the top to see magnificent views of the city. I then signed up for a trip that would be one of the most memorable ones of my lifetime. It was through a company called McBackpackers. A group of about 20-30 would be traveling together via a big white bus with a local guide. His name: Neil Mcclenan. I’ll never forget the man. Over the next 3 days we toured the highlands of northern Scotland, paid a visit to Loch Ness, (unfortunately didn’t get a glimpse of the monster J), and continued on our way until we reached one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited: the Isle of Skye, off the northwest coast. As we drove across the bridge connecting the island to the mainland, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a fairytale. From all the myths and fables Neil filled our minds with to all the beautiful sprawling and whimsical landscapes, this country brought my childlike essence- playful and fun loving- outta me. On top of that, our group was vibrant, eclectic from all over the world, and my best friend for the trip was a German man who also was quite silly. We spent the next 2 days on the island, exploring, hiking, discovering and allowing our minds to be transported in time and space (due to Neil’s amazing story telling abilities). On the final day, however, was when I felt my heart break open and in its place came this streaming energy of love, joy and compassion. As we drove on this old dirt road, circumscribing the girth of the Isle, and on the outskirts near the sea, I could see the sun shimmering its beams on the water, the cliffs delicately standing tall, and the waves crashing against their exterior. Neil began the story as all fairy tales begin: Once upon a time….
Once upon a time, there was a woman. She was beautiful, regal, with long black locks, and curves sensual and smooth. She wasn’t your typical woman. She was the Seal woman. She spent her time in the water as most seals do playing and frolicking in the waves, awaiting the opportunity for a mate to come embrace her. One night a man was walking on the shore, a farmer from a nearby town, a lonely one at that. She had decided to come out of the sea for the evening, leaving her seal coat delicately placed on the shore as she walked naked in the dimness of the moonlight. As she walked, she spotted a man, far off, but rapidly approaching. Curiously, she began to walk nearer and nearer until they met, face to face, man and woman, the masculine meets the feminine. In that first meeting, they felt the connection. It was undeniable. The woman made the choice to carry on with the man, and leave her seal coat behind. She would try out being a human for the first time in her life. Eventually, they wedded and had children. At first she was happy but later she felt deep sorrow, like something profound was missing from her Soul. The emptiness wore her away. She stopped sleeping, and eating, and would spend her days indoors, without ever embracing the beauty of the sun. As time passed, her children grew into adults and left to start their own lives. However, she still felt empty. Her husband knew she was missing a part of her she had left on the beach that night so long ago the first time they met. It was the other part of her- the part that felt at Home, in the sea, wild and free. Knowingly, her husband suggested that she go back to that place- in the sea- and return home to her true nature within. He let her go with the hope one day she’d return. Years went by and he saw no sign of her. He frequented the beach every full moon anticipating her arrival, but eventually, he gave up expecting to see her. One night, the moon was bright, and the waves were sparkling, the old farmer was feebly walking along the shore when suddenly he saw a woman. He knew it was her. As they walked towards each other, his heart filled with love, and life, he felt alive again for the first time since she had left. They united that night, and from that point forward, they stayed together, he, the farmer, and she his beloved and beautiful Seal Woman.
Upon hearing that story that day, my heart was so filled and my mind so aloof in my own imaginary world, I felt a sense of love like no other and gratitude for the incredible journey I had been on, and would continue to be on, for well into the later chapters of my life.
Yesterday I was walking in a preserve called Mashomack. I decided to take the “green” trail, the second to longest trail, and really venture out there. At one point, I had to take a dirt road which the trail turned into temporarily. I continued and continued and continued until I arrived at a little community. I got to a point where there was a large sign that said “green trail detour.” Confused, I decided I best not go that way because I was already fatigued. Instead, I carried along the dirt road. Soon I realized, I was wandering, lost, and had no idea where to pick up the trail. Something told me- go back- so I did. I turned around and found again the sign that said “detour.” Though in my mind I didn’t want to go down that path, there was a deeper knowing that that was what would help me get back on that green trail. As I walked in the new direction, it felt right, fresh, like though I was meandering through terrain not exactly rugged, but instead safe, and known, it would take me back to the path that would lead me to the finish line. Had I continued down that dirt road without any signs, without any direction, who knows where I may have wound up, perhaps in middle of nowhere, or perhaps back on the right trail? All I know is that in that moment of confusion and my decision thereafter to turn around and head back to the “detour” and trust that though it was marked as something undesirable, indeed, it was the thing to help me get back on my way.
Sometimes in life we come to a fork in the road, like the old Robert Frost poem, “Road Less Traveled.” Though we never know where the path ahead may lead us, and though our perception may show us one looks less weathered than the other and perhaps the better choice (“the path less traveled”) in the end they are one the same “though the passing there had worn them really about the same.”
We get so caught up in our heads about right and wrong, good and bad, that it causes us to instead not make a decision and in doing so make a decision to not make a decision. You see it’s complicated. The indecision is what leads to a decision to not take one road or the other because we have this ideal of perfection and that we must choose RIGHT, EVERY, time otherwise we let ourselves down. Sometimes it’s a matter of lowering our standards and expectations we set for our lives. Robert Frost’s poem is unique in that though that traveler consciously chose one path over the other and in the end was grateful for “it had made all the difference,” the reality is that we can never go wrong with what we decide. There are lessons for us no matter where we are in the world. The universe will ensure that we are learning, and, growing, teaching and sharing. It may not feel like it. It may feel like stagnation or disappointment or “the world is against me.” However, the beautiful thing is that it is not against you and actually is there with you in each and every moment and while making each and every decision.
As a traveler in the woods yesterday, I came across two roads. One was the same road I had been on. The other was different, with a sign that made me question the path ahead. Despite my initial choice to carry on with what was before me, I turned around and made a different choice and trusted that no matter the path, in the end, I would arrive at a destination meant for me- at that moment in time….
Life sometimes just isn’t easy and that’s that. We wander around with our own share of insecurities and wounds accumulated from past and present experiences (the former influencing the latter influencing the future). We continue to make decisions, do, think, and behave in ways that don’t always serve us. We have addictions to food, spending, seeking approval outside ourselves, indecision. We make choices that hurt others and in doing so hurt ourselves. We let others down. We say one thing and do another. It’s this continuous, vicious cycle that will inevitably continue without some interference. It’s like Newton’s law of motion: an object will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. We will continue in the same direction, making the same choices, in the same career, with the same relationship, financial situation etc unless we notice our behavior and act in ways that break the cycle and change the pattern. Our inner knows what is best for us. Our inner knows what lessons we are meant to learn at any given moment. Our inner challenges us to break free from molds or patterns or behaviors that aren’t in our best interest. She whispers to us what is best. She informs us whether or not things are aligned and moving forward or alternatively stuck and staying the same. She reveals to us what is presenting itself as a lesson meant to grow and overcome or as something we are meant to sit with and allow it to percolate. Sometimes the hardest of all lessons is the lesson to allow whatever is presented to serve as a means to evolve- spiritually- and it may involve facing dark aspects of ourselves, no matter the discomfort, and overcoming the grip and stronghold it has on our lives. So long as we allow the behavior to run rampant it will run rampant. As Newton says an object will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. The pattern will continue and continue and continue unless we break it, unless we see it for what it is, as something to learn from and help us, it will control our lives, and not necessarily for the better.
“ And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin.
I posted the above quote on facebook yesterday. It’s one of my favorites. Something about the visual of a flower tightly enclosed vs blossoming openly and transparently and radiantly resonates. For much of my life, it was easier to stay “behind closed doors” so to speak. That’s not to say I didn’t play an active role in my school, and community, because I did and in fact contributed greatly and left my own unique “imprint.” There’s a certain amount of vulnerability required to fully expose oneself and “blossom” into all that we are meant to be, do, say, think, etc. In doing so, it necessitates showing all of our Self including our strengths and weaknesses and having faith that others will accept those aspects too. I have a great desire to be a presence in not just people’s lives but in the community and larger in the world (that’s ambitious I know) but simply to embrace an authentic identity that reveals my authentic purpose. What do I mean exactly? To work in a profession that fully embodies my unique talents and gifts for one. For two, to carry myself in a way that is open and transparent and therefore honest and real. For three, to relate to others in a way that is connecting rather than distancing. There’s much to be learnt in the darker, shadow, sides of oneself but we hesitate to delve into those areas out of fear of what they may reveal and how they will be perceived. Say we have a tendency to make plans and not follow through or tell someone we will be there for them and then we aren’t. This perhaps is just a mirrored behavior for how we show up (or don’t) for ourselves. The way we treat others is the way we treat ourselves. So, how do you repair such a pattern? Well, for one, by showing up for yourself. Making a plan and following through. Crafting a future and taking steps to allowing it to unfold (i.e Commitment). When we commit to ourselves, we can more readily and easily commit to others and in doing so meet our needs for integrity, authenticity, and perhaps even joy and celebration. The more we say yes and then act on that declaration, the better equipped we are to do the same for ourselves and in doing so create a life aligned with who we are in Truth.
It was a bright and sunny day. An unforgettable one at that. I was feeling down, forlorn, and confused about the direction of my life—a reoccurring theme that crept into my consciousness abrasively and unexpectedly. Though, this time, the unpleasant visitor had something (different) to share. She came with a message. It was a scroll wrapped in parchment paper and tied together with a sweet little brown bow. She strolled merrily down the path before me, as if not a care in the world, as if she had just emerged from the toy store with the most joyous of Gifts. As she approached, the hair on my neck stood up straight, knowing what her past presence had meant. This time, her playful demeanor, and excited attitude, shifted me. I no longer felt the fear and in its place came curiosity. Alas, she stood before me, holding out the scroll of paper, beaming this beautiful and radiant smile. Gently, and calmly, she said “Take my Hand, Kimberly. Take my Hand.” As I reached out to do just that, she vanished, leaving behind only the rolled up message. Surprised at her sudden disappearance but also whimsical presence and curious message, I leaned over and picked up the paper laying so nicely upon the floor, like a sleeping puppy angelic and dreaming in the “world beyond.” I held the scroll in my hand and felt chills up and down my spine. I was eager yet nervous. Will this be a similar message that I’ve seen umpteenth times in my past? Will it tell me to do this, do that, but not guide me to follow through and action? Or, I hoped and wished, will it display something different (new) and therefore unfamiliar (unknown)? I began to read the words so eloquently scribed upon the page and felt myself transported in its fairy tale narrative. It started with “Once upon a time…”
Once upon a time, there lived a girl. She had her own castle and preferred to spend much time there, by herself, dressing up in her elegant gowns, twirling around playfully in front of her mirror, pretending that her prince charming was coming to pick her up for a lovely dinner. Her imagination was keen and limitless. Each day she would make up a new story, until, one day when she was in the middle of performing one of her theatre like plays, someone walked in unannounced and loudly exclaimed, “you will no longer seclude yourself like so and instead venture out into the world.” Shocked, she quietly and obediently responded “okay, as you wish.” That was the day that changed everything. From there on out, the young yet adult woman no longer had the time to twirl, and laugh, and play, her time had come to emerge from her imaginary world and become all those things she had merely dreamt about. Her time to bring all that she had created- for herself- all those times nestled up in her safe and magical castle presented itself and there was no escaping its beckoning.
What a delightful read, I thought, and a unique and peculiar means to share such a story. It had been long since I read a fairy tale of that nature and wondered its place in my life. Was I that girl locked away in her castle, imagining and creating, playing and enjoying, pretending and crafting her destiny? Was that a notice to venture outside, outside of my “comfort zone,” and share all that I had designed and dreamt of until that point? Only time would tell. Regardless, I felt a wave of calm pass over me and a feeling of peace knowing that- whoever she was delivering that message- she certainly had my back so to speak and the most genuine, and purest, of intentions. With that, I felt safe, loved, and supported and alas, ready to embrace possibility in whatever form that would arrive…..