"To be still and remember who you are, to listen to your heart, your inner wisdom, as deeply as you can and then give yourself permission to follow it. If you can't give yourself permission, then find someone who can. Everybody should have at least one permission giver in life."
Sue Monk Kidd
Ever had trouble listening to your heart, your inner wisdom? How do you know you've heard it or found it?
For me, I grew up in the church and while there were many great things about it, there were some things I think we got wrong. For one thing, I definitely learned that "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick: Who can understand it?"' (Jeremiah 17:9) With a foundation like that, how can we ever learn to listen to and trust ourselves? It's taken me a lot of years and a lot of work to learn that I can go inside myself and trust what I find. AND, that there's a part of me committed to my unfolding, to helping me live the biggest possible story I can live, and to helping me find and occupy that unique place in the world that only I can occupy. It's amazing and scares the shit out of me at the same time.
I think what's scary is that once you have met this part of you, it gets harder to ignore, harder to live small, to shrink into your smallness again but sometimes you want to because, you see, this part of you wants more for you than you even want for yourself.
That's right, we're talking about Soul.
Your Soul, my Soul.
Our Souls know that we carry a gift for the world that no one else can carry and that if we don't offer it, it will never be given, and this world definitely needs each of our gifts.
"Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift - your true self- is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs." Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft
Michael Meade calls this your Inner Genius, he asks, "While you had the chance to live, did you become your true self? Having received the gift of life, did you learn the nature of your gifts and the purpose of them? Have you lived the life that was given to you or substituted some other model or abstract ideal?"
I should also say that finding your Soul and the gifts it holds is no easy task....to uncover the secrets our Soul holds, we must "journey into the unknown, deep into the darkness of our selves and further into an outer world of many dangers and uncertainties...although this journey is a spiritual one, it is not a transcendental movement upward toward the light and an ecstatic union with all of creation. It is a journey downward into the dark mysteries of the individual soul." (Bill P.....again.)
Perhaps that's why it has often been referred to as the dark night of the soul. My most vivid memory of this descent, this dark night was the birth of my 4th son (God bless him). I was tired of having boys and I thought for sure God would finally bless me with a girl. I should add that this was 19 years and I was also at a totally different place in my spiritual journey, so I will describe it as I saw it back then. All I knew was that I had this gaping hole where a girl should be and god would not fill it. I knew it was time for a counselling journey (I wish I had access to the tools I now have - bodywork would have been awesome). The image I was working with was me, standing at the edge of a deep canyon. I knew, intuitively that the person I wanted to be was on the other side of the valley and that it would hurt like hell to get there. Somehow, I also knew that I could stay right where I was, not go into the valley at all and that god would still love me. However, I also knew that the cost would be stunting my own growth...no deeper access to myself, all halt. We can say no to our growth but there is a cost.
I was also determined that my son shouldn't pay for my gaping hole, since it wasn't his job or a girl's job to fill it anyway. So, I began the descent. I allowed myself to enter my grief, to really pull back the layers and take a deep look inside my inner hole. It was a painful process. Through that though, I found some deep truths I had been living unconsciously...I thought having my own little girl would help me earn the favour I hadn't been able to earn on my own. I thought she would be the girl I never was, and somehow that would heal me. Of course, consciously, I knew this wasn't possible, but we're talking unconscious....the stuff we don't know about ourselves and would in fact totally deny is even true. But it was true, and sometimes really seeing ourselves and our motivations is devastating, but then also freeing. I freed myself and all my kids from having to fill that hole for me. I came to the other side of that valley less fragmented, more whole. I'm so thankful that I didn't have a daughter until this wound was healed in me. (She's child number 6) Thank god, I would have sucked the life out of her. Did my son have repercussions from this journey I went on and my hole that needed filling? Yes, bless him, he did/does and that will be part of his journey, and perhaps another blog entry.
What I do know is that this guiding force in me, my Soul, led me through that valley and out the other side. My soul is not afraid of my wounds. My soul says, come this way sweetheart, we can look at this.
Funny, that's actually not what I intended to write about today. Interesting.
Back to the story....
I look at my journey as pre-fourth son and after-fourth son, as that was such a huge turning point for me. It was my biggest season of disillusionment, of questioning everything I believed, everything I thought god was, everything I thought I was, and especially the idea that if I did the right things, I would get what I wanted out of life. I am so thankful, to this day, for this stripping season, this shakedown, this valley. No way you can come out the same way you went in.
Through seasons like this I have, however, learned who I am. I have learned that I have deep, inner wisdom that I can trust and follow. I have learned that my heart is not deceitful, in fact, and that this journey inward, although painful, lonely and sometimes dark, is the most worthwhile journey you will ever take. I have truly learned to love myself, wounds and all and to even be grateful. I am glad that my 4th son and I share this bond, that our journeys intersect and that he was gracious enough to come to earth to be my teacher.
I will never be the same.
Today, I remember who I am. A courageous women on a journey of self and soul discovery, wanting to live my biggest possible story with the world, one with a gift to bring to the world that only I can bring, one who's wounds make her unique and beautiful...that's where the light gets in. One who can look inside and trust what she finds.
How about you, who are you?
What wounds have you been privileged to uncover?