Accepting Who I Am

My heart is a flower

that blooms every hour

I believe in the power of love.

Amos Lee

(Lyrics from Flower)

 

It’s been an interesting few weeks. The cycles of growth and healing swirl around like an infinite spiral. Open, surrender, process, heal, grieve, then sweet peace and love prevail. Each cycle feels like a new birth, yet just as I start to settle in, another begins. Rebirth, release, peace…. restart.

Like phases of the moon, I seem to cycle in and out of the light. In order to heal, we must experience the shadow and the light. Like the infinite, there is no true beginning and end. The depths and heights that we can experience are boundless.

It can be an odd way to live.

On the outside, my life may look easy and simple. And, in many ways it is. I’m sure many consider my life boring. I’m not chasing a career, money, or lifestyle that makes sense or fits with – in particular – western cultural ideals. I have set aside formal career pursuits (in spite of a lot of formal education). Instead, I have opted for a path centered in spiritual exploration and psychological growth.

Some may simply dismiss my lifestyle because they do not understand it. I think it’s easy for some to view my choices as lazy, not doing enough, and possessing a lack of ambition. I must admit, I too bought into that kind of thinking. Not enough to change my path, but enough to struggle with guilt and feelings of inadequacy.

The reality is: My path is not an easy one. Life is an adventure. Exploring within is not an easy and simple journey. There are defenses, diversions, mental structures, emotional reactivity, and the oh so elusive subconscious. In the depths of our beings is – what can feel like – a bottomless pit of issues and psychoses. I’m laughing as I write that, but it’s true.

Girl in Tree (self-portrait)
Girl in Tree (self-portrait)

Many wait for crisis to get their attention. They make the time to deal with issues of unhappiness and unrest when forced to. For me, I choose a more proactive approach. That means that I try to root out pain instead of denying it. That may seem like a heavy and dark way to live, but in reality it is the opposite. The more I open, the greater my experience of peace. Not just as a passing mood, but as a way of being.

Each of us has a unique path. Our way of being may support or deny our soul’s path. It’s time to take off the blinders. To accept that I simply have never fit the mold of how the world tried to shape me. It’s time for me to quit thinking and hoping that my life is going to measure up to traditional expectations. It’s time to be honest by acknowledging that I am different. My lifestyle is different.

It’s not just me. My husband has chosen a similar path. It’s just that his choices fit the external view of what society says we should be doing: Working a structured job and providing economic stability. But, even though his choices fit more comfortably with outside views, he still struggles as I do to find a way to balance day to day reality with a spiritually directed lifestyle. Turns out, he is different too.

My husband and I have made alternative choices together. We both have reached beyond our conditioning for something more. We both have to transcend preconceived notions regarding gender, lifestyle, and risk taking. We’ve had some great adventures, yet the greatest rewards are those that come from our journeys within.

I know that my choice to support all that is, the divine, universe, or whatever you choose to call it, is mostly hidden from view. It’s not because I am embarrassed or unwilling to share. The reality is that most of the people I know and meet simply aren’t interested. That’s ok; just don’t mistake the unfamiliar for a lack of responsibility and compassion. In spite of what others would have me believe, I know better. My life knows better because it manifests grace unfolding.

If you too choose to veer off the highway of fast pursuit, you may bump into me along the way. You may ask: What does she do? Why isn’t she doing more? How can she get away with the life she leads? Remember, my journey is inward. Unless you look closely, you may not see the gifts that are there. I do not expect you to understand. I do not ask you to approve. I simply seek equanimity and equality that birth respect and loving kindness.

I am the one gently wandering towards mindfulness. I am the one who is walking the path that creates a meaningful life in the most honest manner I can. I am the one embracing the shadow and the light. I am the one off the beaten path.

I am trying to be a better friend to myself. I can be more generous with loving kindness, support, and love with my own being. It’s been a long journey that’s barely beginning. The more I heal and grow, the shorter my time in the shadow. Love, peace, and light expand as I create more and more space in my being for them to shine through. Finally, I can accept who I am more openly.

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