I turned forty recently. It was a fairly uneventful day. This is how I preferred it, since I’ve never been one to believe in the relevancy of age. However, it was on my fortieth birthday that I received a fateful gift from my friend, Annie. I met Annie via a “Newbies” page designed for “transplants” to the Big Island. She commented on one of my blogs and I discovered she was also a writer, but with a lot more experience than me. We met for coffee and became friends. It was later I learned Annie had certain “psychic” abilities. She began doing Tarot readings for island residents. Then, on the day of my birthday, she offered one to me.
I arrived for my reading feeling hopeful. Since moving to the island, life has been “turbulent” to say the least. Starting life completely over is not for the weak. Nearly a year ago, I left my career, family, and the only “home” I ever knew with my husband and two daughters to pursue our dream of living in Hawaii. Since arriving, I have made many great friends, I have seen beauty beyond words, and I have experienced love like no other. I have also had to push myself harder than I ever thought possible to find “my place” here. So, I hoped that my friend could provide me with some direction in this matter.
Annie began the reading by having me select some cards from the Taro card pile. She turned each one over and began. For over an hour she spoke of what she saw in the cards. The direction I sought became more clear as she rattled on. She held nothing back. She described my fear perfectly. She condemned me for holding in my “light,” explaining that the world would not judge me for letting it shine. Quite the contrary, they needed it. She told me that writing was my platform. That I must let go of my fear and continue the pendulum forward by taking action.
Much truth and insight came to me through Annie’s reading. Her acknowledgement that I had been “holding in my light,” only releasing occasional “bursts,” struck me the hardest. I knew she was right. So, I asked myself, what was holding me back? Why am I afraid to share my gifts? Why are any of us afraid to do this? Why do we question ourselves and believe we are not good enough?
I realized it truly was fear holding me back. Where did this fear come from? I recognized it was coming from my thoughts. Stories in my head that I’ve routinely told myself. Stories I have created based on personal life experience. “People will think I’m arrogant. I don’t have what it takes. I’m not a good writer…..”.
Connecting with my “true” self has been a process. I began this process in middle school. It was then that I understood I had been living my life to please others and I had lost myself completely. I knew there was a bright, shining spirit in the rubble somewhere, but I had buried it so deep that, somewhere along the way, it disappeared into the vast abyss of my thoughts. Finding myself seemed impossible. I didn’t know where or how to begin. I was scared, so I buried myself further. In my elementary years, I found comfort in food. As I got older, I escaped through eating disorders, then alcohol.
I was living a lie because I wasn’t really living. I learned to “play it safe.” But, hiding behind addiction eventually catches up. When people are not true to what their spirits brought them here to do, they become ill. Sometimes ill in the body and sometimes in the head. Regardless of where it shows itself, disease is a sign that something is not in harmony and change is necessary.
As I entered my thirties, I was unhappy. My repeated negative thought patterns grew like a cancerous tumor. My symptoms included depression and other ailments. I recognized it was time to make a decision. I knew my spirit was ready to break free and I was determined to get to it. I didn’t want to remain buried any more. So, I began to dig.
Digging is hard work in any sense, but digging in the spiritual sense can be absolutely exhausting. I decided I needed help. So, I went to a counselor. With her assistance, I began to sort through the heaping pile of shit that I had spent years creating. It was hard work, but I kept going. Sometimes, I would unearth a rock. A hard spot that seemed impossible to get through. Just when I wasn’t sure if I could keep going, I’d find a way to break through the petrified mass blocking my path to the light that was becoming more and more visible as I continued forward. I was beginning to see small “bursts” breaking through the pile as I shoveled more rubble aside. Sometimes, all my hard work would nearly fall apart when a small landslide hit, but I wouldn’t allow that to stop me. After a moment of rest and wallowing in self-pity, I jumped back in and continued shoveling. I knew if I could dig faster than the rubble could fall, I would have no choice but to reach my destination.
It was around the time that these “bursts” of light started showing that I landed in Hawaii on a plane with my husband and two daughters. Shortly after arriving on the island, I experienced another landslide. Old patterns of thought began to return. “You’re not good enough. You will never be able to afford this life. You can’t write.” It was then that I received my fateful gift.
My tarot-reading friend reminded me of my goal. My ultimate destination of unearthing the spirit that is dying to break free. She reminded me that my period of rest was over and I would not be able to keep the pendulum going without action. So, it was time to pick myself back up, tell the negative thoughts they were no longer welcome, and finish what I started.
It’s taken me forty years to recognize that I was doing this “life” thing wrong. I used to think it was about creating the best version of me possible. About praise and recognition from others. However, what I neglected to realize is that the “best” version of me is already right there. Silently waiting for me to unearth the chaos surrounding her and appreciate the spirit that remains constant and perfect. We all have perfection inside of us, but some never recognize they are covering it up. The ability to just be seems like one of the most difficult things for humans to achieve, but the ability to do this is the difference between joy and sorrow, sickness and health, surviving and truly living. I am still working on this. Even as I sit here writing this blog, I question myself. Then, somewhere, not-too-far-away, a little voice inside me speaks. She reminds me that I am not my thoughts. I am not my past. I am not my job, my kids, or my wardrobe. I just am. It’s not always easy. Sometimes the cancerous thoughts return. So, I continually remind myself to focus on the moment at hand and all that is good. There truly is so much in our lives to be grateful for. Once we become aware of our self-mutilating thoughts and convert them to thoughts filled with love, appreciation, and self-respect, we slowly begin to uncover the “perfection” that encompasses all we are. It’s never too late. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 40, or 80 years-old. I believe it’s time for us all to find our light and let it shine bright.