It’s a choice, and one that requires more courage than can possibly be put into words, to unfold your wings again, when they’ve been clipped, wounded, torched and tormented, time after time.
It has been my life’s challenge to unfold.
A year ago, I was pregnant with my third child – a walking dead, half-alive corpse of myself. 4 years of tragedy, 20 deaths, and the loss of everything ten times over, had singed and scarred my wings so acutely, I simply wanted to crawl into a shallow grave and stay there where no one could see me.
I wasn’t even trying to avoid life, I had just kind of shut myself off without meaning to, like I’d gone into auto-pilot. I was looking around me at other people celebrating birthdays and vacations, just enjoying life, and thinking to myself, “Why don’t I want that?” Everything had become so hard, it just didn’t seem worth it to even try to create joy anymore.
My pregnancy was nearly unbearable, and physically took everything out of my body. Emotionally, taking care of 2 kids while fighting 24/7 extreme morning sickness and 5 months of preterm labor scares & hospital visits, was unbearable.
That was when I knew, something was really wrong. How could I bring a child into the world, a beautiful amazing little miracle of life, and feel NOTHING?
The first few months of his life, I started feeling glimmers of light peeking into my dark soul again. His mere presence was beginning to open me up again. For the first time, I wanted to be able to feel the entire spectrum of joy and pain again. I knew, I had to be willing to open myself up to the possibility of pain again – the possibility that at any moment it could all be taken away again – if I wanted to be able to truly feel the joy of simply having this beautiful child, and his siblings, in my life.
It’s like Brene Brown says in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, “When we numb the dark, we numb the light…To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees- these are risks that involve vulnerability, and often, pain.”
So, I started making the choice to unfold, yet again, and like a bird trying to learn how to fly, I inched in and out of the nest many times.
My greatest awakening came when I read this right here:
“Hopelessness is dangerous because it leads to feelings of powerlessness…Powerlessness is dangerous. For most of us, the inability to effect change is a desperate feeling. We need resilience and hope and a spirit that can carry us through the doubt and fear. We need to believe that we can effect change if we want to live and love with our whole hearts.”
My tears became rain when I read this. I was broken open in realizing, I had lost hope. What a deeply tragic realization to come to. I thought, I THOUGHT, I had done pretty well at surviving all this tragedy…but, that was the thing – see, I was just “surviving” it. I wasn’t thriving, in spite of it!
That was when I realized, the most terrifying plight of my life was not in facing more death, but in living a hopeless, joyless life. I needed to start believing I could effect change in my life. So, I started making new choices – choices to live fully and wholeheartedly in the vulnerability of uncertainty. Choices to soak up joy wherever I find it – in the mundane, the magical, and the mysterious. Choices to unfold my wings, and finally leave the nest to fly.
I used to be half-dead. Now, I’ve never felt more alive.
I feel so much joy every day, so much gratitude. And the funny thing is, my circumstances, frankly, are still pretty hard. A few months back, our beloved German Sheppard died, and we spent the last of our savings trying to save her. We still haven’t recovered financially – in fact, we’ve had to downsize, yet again, to make ends meet.
I still feel the pain of these tough times, but because I allow myself to feel the joy of life, too, I have that to carry me through.
I BELIEVE I have the power to effect change, and that I can only do this by participating fully in life – by “joyfully adding myself to the count,” as Rainier Maria Rilke said. I feel so alive because I’m finally finding the courage to fulfill my true purpose! I’ve developed a series of workshops & presentations using a 9-step process of empowering self-healing I uncovered and refined through all this. I’ve begun sharing it, and people are writing me, telling me it’s changing their lives.
This is my love letter to you. Don’t waste one more moment of your life living in fear.
Whatever you’ve been through, you can rise again. If I could do it, again (and then again, and again), so can you. 🙂