A million miles away, through a stained glass window of change I’m still learning to appreciate, looms the landscape of my heart. The cement walls don’t cave in on me anymore, but the weighty doors feel ancient, and I need help pushing them all the way open. The sunlight of the universe’s infinite love shines down through my crown and warms my soul to the core. I finally feel connected.
Connection means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Connecting my feet to the ground didn’t seem important before I read some of Jeff Brown’s books. Who was this guy, walking barefoot through the woods? Turns out that it didn’t matter, because the guy walking through the woods is all of us. Now, as I close my eyes and look up to the sun, crisp mountain air in my lungs, and firmness of wet dirt under my bare feet, I start to see what he meant. It’s not just “grounding and centering,” as I have been taught in meditation with the skilled David Stevens. It’s not just being in nature, absorbing every essence of the senses I can, connecting flesh to flesh or flesh to mud, or hands to heart. And it’s not only as I’ve learned from Pema Chödrön, breathing into the space, accepting and feeling until it expands and becomes bigger than you, until you are truly connected to all that is.
It’s all of these things.
The idea of organized religion never appealed to me because it was frowned upon to “pick and choose.” I was raised with the idea that if the Bible says it, then that’s it. End of the story. But when I started realizing that who I was contradicted quite a few bible verses, the shame rolled in and the fear dominated my life. As I was healed by the spirit of love, and as I grew stronger in recovery, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt…I was loved. I knew, I heard and I felt in the depths of my soul, when I handed my life and will over to my higher power, that I was loved exactly the way I was.
I’m not here to describe what I think God is or isn’t. And I’m most certainly not here to agree or disagree with ANYTHING. I am here to connect, to bear witness, to carry my torch, and to surrender to the idea that we all have a story, and that story really matters. Hearing other people’s stories in my darkest days saved my life. And I am compelled to keep sharing mine, no matter how terrifying that may be sometimes.
Guess what? Your story matters too. I know this in the depth of my heart. Don’t ever think otherwise. You are so blessed to be alive and share this journey. Your unique and compelling journey to find who YOU are is universal. Don’t hide it under a mask or a in a deep crevasse…let your light shine through.
In the big book, it says that we can’t apologize for our creator. In a discussion I was privileged to witness about this passage, someone brought it a step further, saying, “If GOD created me, and I don’t apologize for my creator, then I don’t apologize for myself either. I can’t be ashamed of who I am and I can’t be ashamed of the greatest power in the universe, THE SOURCE of all.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Then, the weight was lifted.
Fighting cancer made me just that little bit braver. Facing my truths wasn’t a brief coming out celebration on a backdrop of fear and a future of uncertainty. I wake up every day and choose to be as GOD created me.
The instants where I am self doubting or insecure are more fleeting and less heavy. I have smiles, joy and exuberance, even when I am alone. The idea of any kind of mood altering substance seems extreme and worthless- now that I have found something different- an awakening.
No artificial high could ever duplicate the intense passion that breathes life into my heart and soul day by day. Never have I felt so much gratitude. Never have I been able to breathe and be lighter. My priorities have shifted dramatically. I am taking action from a space of love and acceptance, not fear and shame. I am reaching out in the spirit of service- not out of obligation, but out of gratitude. I’m truly connecting.
To me connection is the reason we are on this planet. If I’m not real, I can’t connect with you, it’s as simple as that. The connection to myself has to first be established in a concrete way. My connection has to then expand to include the infinite love that surrounds us all. Before I can embrace you, I have to embrace me, and vice versa.
You can’t buy connection; It’s priceless! And you can’t fake it. This is the real deal. The whole enchilada. I am so thankful I don’t have to lie about who I am anymore. I don’t have to fake a smile, or say what I think people want to hear. Today I have the gift of self awareness and authenticity. Owning up to exactly who and what I am opens me up to allow my creator to foster a deep soul connection on a daily basis. Being willing to grow and learning to trust my source means I can surrender and accept the change that makes connection with my family, friends, mentors, heroes, and greater community possible. Without connection my life is an empty journey through a meaningless vacuum. And I know for certain I am here on the planet for much more. You are too. ❤