There is such incredible power in knowing what you want. But it can take a lot of time and energy to sort out what that is, exactly.
This is practical, of course. Having a specific goal is much easier to achieve than aiming for a target that keeps changing.
But I mean this in a visceral way as well. In my experience, there is usually one small moment of infinite clarity and desire after days, months, or even years of mucking through my feelings and uncertainties and confusion about something. And this sense of intense knowing usually only lasts for a minute or two before I start thinking about something else and get distracted. But there’s no strain, no calculations, no five-year plan. It’s just that the clouds break for a breath and the sun shines bright on my desire. And when I can finally say, “Yes, that. That is what I want,” then I can stop searching for it. I know its size and shape, how it feels. And my lack of having this thing I desire becomes more bearable somehow now that I’ve consciously claimed it.
And in this sweet spot between knowing with great clarity (though not always with great confidence) what I want and understanding that I’m still doing okay without it, that’s where some kind of magnetic magic can happen.
So as painful and frustrating as it can be, this whole life is full of experiences, situations, and struggles that guide us towards what we want in this life.
They’re showing us the way.
I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was two years ago at this time. I was living this dreamy little life. Except. Except I couldn’t shake this feeling of wilting, withering, shrinking away inside. Back then, when I looked into my future, I could only picture a shell of myself moving through the world.
And it was terrifying.
It broke me just about every day in a silent and savage way from January to March.
Those cruelest of months.
It wasn’t until I’d deconstructed that life and started over again (all at once and then very slowly like all good renovations), that I started to meet these old parts of myself that I didn’t even know I’d been missing. I hadn’t noticed their aching absence until they started to return to me, filling me up again. I hardly had names for them, only by the way they felt when they started to root down and grow again. Stronger this time. Bolder. Braver.
God, how I had missed myself.
I had taken myself for granted somewhere between 15 and 25. Maybe the only way to realize how fucking glorious and precious and dear I was to myself was to really experience what it felt like to be without it. Maybe that was the only way to understand it, the only way to learn. There was and still is a deep joy in meeting myself again. A healer I saw that spring called it the “exquisite pleasure of reclaiming” my sense of self. And it was such a relief to hear that then, but it becomes clearer and more palpable as more time passes.
I’m really grateful for how I’m living now. It’s another dreamy little life I’ve built. Except. Except this time, I feel more seen.
There is a watchful woman
who lives inside my belly,
coiled and taut as a snake.
“Little goddess,” I say, “what do you see?
Show me how to be free.”
Your demons are not devils,
They are merely wounded animals.
And they only come to stalk you
When you leave them cold and starving.
They are lost without affection,
No tender words to soothe them.
And they cry out in the dark of your night,
Howling pain and sore affliction.
But all you see is gnashing tooth and cutting claw,
A creature who wants to bleed you.
So you’ll fence them in
With barbs and wires and chains,
And punish them for feeling.
They punish you for feeling.
In your sleep, you can still feel
The heat of their breath
And the glint of their eyes
Beneath that thick black darkness.
But, my love, they have not come for your soul.
Oh no, they have come for your healing.
Oh how they need your healing.
There is something about an autumn blue sky.
Something about its clouds, its sun, its thinning air.
Something that begs a deeper thought from you.
Something that both warns and soothes.
A slow reminder.
Take these days, it says.
Hold them like jewels in your hand,
Small and shining,
Only as valuable as the attention you choose to give them.
Some mornings are a slow gathering together of body and mind and spirit. The three returning again after being apart for the night. That perhaps they dwell in separate places while I sleep, exist on separate planes. And I will not face the day until they’ve settled together once again and said, “We’re here now. Let’s begin.”
I am done trying to avoid failure.
I am done trying to outrun disappointment.
Instead, it will be the foundation I build my successes on.
It will be the slow decomposition that richens my soil for growth.
And when my dreams begin to rise and materialize, they will be all the stronger for it.
So let’s go fail, and let’s go live.
Let’s dive headlong into terrifying uncertainty.
We’ll brush ourselves off.
We’ll adjust and try it again.
The body heals, and the body learns.
New shadows appear when bright light like this shines. Those jagged, obsidian edges dig in, obstinately. They appear in corners and crevices that we never noticed before. And so with new vision and new vigor comes new downfalls and new demons. Only more light from more places will soften the shadows. Only more sources of shine will cause them to become as unsubstantial as smoke.
Make me a warrior.
Make me a healer.
Help me to know how to be both.