There are days that I want to believe that I didn’t choose my life on some non-corporeal plane before I was born. However, today is not one of those days. Today, I gratefully acknowledge that even though I didn’t ask for some of the things that I have been through to happen, it’s empowering for me to know that I’m taking responsibility for my own choices and actions not only in this life, but cleaning up previous karma… I can’t control what other people do or have done, and I know that I didn’t ask for what some have done, but I did ask for the lessons and challenges that would help me grow and that some of the things I have experienced were of my own making, while others had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the other parties that were involved.
This is not to say that a person who has experienced trauma, loss, or other tragedy is responsible for what happened to them. I want to make it crystal clear that our responsibility lies not in what happened, but in how we respond to it and move from it into a better plane of existence.
I have good and bad days… mostly good now. The biggest issue I have now is the same as it always has been; staying out of the train of negative thinking that has littered my life as well as those around me. The beauty of it is that I’ve gone from being on that train for days to just a few hours to maybe a day at longest now, which is a huge improvement. I keep those improvements and my achievements near the top of my daily gratitudes to help me maintain perspective when I get triggered or stressed.
When I was going through my breakdown several years ago, a wise person once told me to listen to what my dreams and flashbacks were telling me… it took a long time before that made enough sense to me to be able to try it, but eventually, they became my ally instead of my foe, as I now know how to question them and sit with them long enough to work through them. I found that the problem wasn’t the symptoms that I was experiencing, but that my perception was warped because of my experience, and that I was trying to control my own mind because I needed to break it down before I could build a new foundation. To change this, I needed to re-frame those things that I perceived as threat to what they really were.
The loss of my partner 10 years ago triggered a snowball effect in my life that had more impact on me than the love that I experienced in that relationship; conversely, it was that love and what I learned in that relationship that eventually brought me back to myself and to a place of forgiveness and gratitude, which have now spiraled upward into an abundance of opportunity in my life and the knowledge that abundance comes from gratitude and the willingness to see things from a new perspective.
Everything we need is already within us. The answers to our questions and our prayers, the knowledge of how to get from point A to point B, and the strength we need to endure the rocky paths that we sometimes traverse in life. We also have the support we need around us, but we have to be willing to see it, to listen to it, and above all, to acknowledge it with gratitude by passing on what we can.
Recovery from anything is never easy, and can be extremely messy at times as we peel the layers of humiliation and grief. It is important to remember that we have already lived through the worst, and that even when we stand vulnerable and exposed, or even vomit our crap out to the world in misguided efforts to gain support and release our pain, even in those ugly moments, we are stronger than we realize. Slowly, as we regurgitate our stories, we begin to see how we have been trying to protect what we thought was fragile, and find that vulnerability is our strength as it gives us the flexibility we need to explore the depths of our experience and learn from it.
We hold on to this knowledge and pick up that pen and begin to re-write our story with a happy ending. On the wall above my altar hangs a flag that says “Be loyal to your inner most truth. Follow the way when all others abandon it; walk the path of your own heart”. This is a daily challenge to forge our path instead of haphazardly or passively letting it forge us. There will be moments when we don’t trust ourselves or when we make choices that aren’t in our best interests. It’s OK. There will be days that we fight to hold on, long after we thought we were finished with the pain of our past. It’s OK. We know how to pick ourselves back up.
As my best friend says, “Always follow your heart, it is the greatest truth you will ever know”. When we follow our hearts, we find that true grace is a gift we give ourselves when we are authentic, even when that authenticity looks like a mess to others. How things appear to others is no concern of ours; our concern is with our own integrity in our journey and our desire to get back up more than we fall, as we learn to fall gracefully and with humor.
True grace shows up as our greatest gift when we see the abundance in our lives, and begin to manifest it not only for ourselves, but for others as we continue to grow.