“You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” - Epicurus
People have the capacity to do great and horrific things to one another. It’s portrayed in our world on a daily basis. Watching injustice as people are violently killed or tortured, truth being squashed as if New Speak is our goal, freedom of speech turning into some kind of abomination, and the atrocities of fighting over resources are just a number of things that lead to feelings of hopelessness for our planet and humanity.
I’ve certainly been there more than once. Sometimes to a point where a friend might have to get me out of my rut. But getting up again and paying forward that kindness towards others can somewhat help that balance to be restored internally. (Or you could always try to read something good or funny once a day. Bad puns all around!)
But despite it all, one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the capacity for love and strength that the human heart can portray under dire circumstances. Last year, I had the chance to engage with some ghosts of my past and weaknesses that cut into the fabric of my own reality. It was not easy but finding the strength I knew I already had was what kept me going. This is what humanity has in droves, it’s one of the most beautiful things about being alive. I love it. It's fantastic.
Confronting a part of my personality that had been repressed for almost two decades was an inevitability after faced with the haunting memories of the past. The fact that it happened isn’t what scared me, what scared me was who I would become after being flipped topsy turvy. Who was I? While it had to happen and was definitely a step forward towards finding out more about myself at the core. I wouldn’t wish such trials on anyone. Those that may have had to face their shadow may know what I’m talking about but if it hasn’t happened to you, the best way I can describe the experience is by showing a small snippet of a journal entry during the time. (Also at suggestion of a friend to be more honest about my experiences, even if I prefer not to.)
These thoughts are quite intimate so please remember, and bear in mind, this was during a very tumultuous time. But even these words are mired in hope. Never give up, ever. Even if pain is around the corner, we all have responsibilities that come to a head. But the heart is so much more than we give it credit for. Life always shows us, one way or another.
Knowing the healing path of my own journey confuses me as my soul speaks to me in many different ways. Is this a soul? Is this my conscience? The energy that it shows me through the painful questions and lessons feel like they might destroy me. The greatest teacher that speaks to me inside of my mind. Shows me the error of my own ways and what I thought love was. What I thought happiness was. It was all generated through the external self sacrifice. Bringing me about to the greatest message of my internal being. Feeling the pain in my heart and what it taught me. Is there more to this existence? This has been my illusion. It’s all a program of thoughts. A program of feelings and emotions.
The true existence of being human is to create the vision our life has granted us. All the rules that exist outside of ourselves and we place into our very being and follow day to day. Every single rule that seeks to destroy us in the absence of our own self perceptions. To try and find the soul as the pain comes through into the heart. The inner conflict that I face daily and the energy it brings to me through the meditation of my own song. The creative vision I’ve denied myself and the person I never allowed myself to become because I believed the experiences happening to me were out of my control because pain was my sole existence.
But here I was, following the same patterns and experiences of those who have come before. The way of living that has somehow pushed me into the state of being fragmented. There is no unity or oneness with the self through the external application of sacrifice. Everyone has an internal journey. My journey started with pain, with suffering, having experiences pushed onto me to test my strength and the worst that people had to offer. I often thought I found my true self in these challenges. I blamed myself but never found myself understanding this pain from their perspective unless I found the need to forgive.
But in the end, I couldn’t forgive myself either. I had drawn into me a pain so great that pushed my true self down into an eternal abyss. The abyss wrapped itself around me like a shield. The shield pushed away those who were well meaning into my own personal field of distrust, fear, and never letting anyone get that close. Never letting anyone get close enough to me. Only some. Is this how it has to be?
But I could always see the errors of my own ways. I would see that beneath the surface of the skin was me trying to understand true love through the eyes of someone else. Through the eyes of someone that could teach me about myself when the true strength had always existed in me.
It’s very true that people come into our lives to teach us something about ourselves. I had never learned so much about myself then through the eyes of how someone else perceived me Through the journey of getting lost on my own journey, I came back to where it all started. Back to the place where I was forced to face my own ghosts. Forced to be put back into the place where I ran from everything that from that attempted to destroy me. Everything and everyone I caused pain to and caused pain to me. Forgiveness is a strange thing when you look at it but we all have that capacity.
You see, I made the biggest mistake I ever could have made; I ran from myself. I took the shortest and quickest route to what I thought was finding myself. I ran across the world and explored. I attempted to find experiences that healed the void inside of myself. The void that was destroying me every single day as I ran from the shadows of the past. The love that I denied and hid inside of myself for a lifetime. I blamed so much of my own current predicaments on the bad experiences of my past. The people who harmed me, who left me, who abandoned me to the darkness. To the darkness they did leave me.
Yet the biggest lesson there that I had to learn was that I’d only truly abandoned myself. I truly gave up on me and accepted my lot in life to be the victim of circumstances out of my control because I couldn’t control myself. But what I failed to realize is that all of us are in pain. We’re all tired. We’re all trying to find something to understand who we truly are. But deep inside of us is the universe trying to show us that we are larger. We are the one thing that we deny ourselves. Our hearts are the true strength: this is the key to life.
I truly became a lost person. Unable to understand my own self any longer until the day I looked in the mirror and said to myself,
“This is a curse. Love is a curse. Life is a curse.”
I saw a stranger in pain from abuse, trauma, and putting strength forward to others. When I looked deeper into that mirror, I saw not only the pain of those that I may have hurt along my lost path to self preserve; but the internal pain I’d ignored for decades. The pain of someone that could only understand pain. This was my suffering shadow. It had finally come to show me who I was. Through all the signs. Through all the dreams. Through all the ghosts. Through all my fighting. It had finally come to show me who I was and what I was doing. The one person I should have loved enough to give more to: myself. I inflicted the pain that others had done to me onto my own self time and time again and cursed love even though I never gave up on it.
But what was my own shadow trying to show me? What was this person standing before me in all of my own harsh nakedness? Bearing down on me with truth and filling me with these torturing lessons? What I had denied myself? The creative visions I had all but destroyed in the face of survival? Hurting myself?
My light had been stunted and I had been all consumed by programs and illusions. Here, my shadow had to show me the darkness. It had to push me into the darkest deepest reaches of myself. I still find myself in this forests shadow. Perpetually wasted is not an existence. I remember. I remember the hope of authenticity and how important it is to me.
The love of life. Cycles. No repeats. My darkness had to be embraced to show me the truth of my own mind and experiences that I let destroy me. I could no longer sit back and ignore the battle that my inner self, my soul, had been waiting to have with me. It was ready to fight me. Is this being awake? I was frozen. Frozen. This is strength. No one can take that from anyone. Get back up. Get the fuck back up. That's what I've always done and I'll do it again.