Chapter 1

The Before

I have often thought about being. What does it mean to just be? What is being? Why are we beings here on this planet? What is the point of it?  

I spent years chained in the dark of my own being, stuck in horrifying memories and feelings that swirled about in the darkness, those inner twists and turns of the gray matter of my brain, my nervous system, and all the other cells that comprise my physical body. Each of these cells has stories to tell, communicates a particular emotion, and connects to all the other cells and parts of my body. They whisper stories among their thin walls, shrieking in alarm or excitement or wailing in grief. Their inner workings and processes so affected by and affecting the whole of me, a giant cycle of my life. The process of birth, growth, harvest, and death played out on so many levels.  

When I started my spiritual journey, I really didn’t have any particular set belief of what that would be aside from the Christian background in which I had been raised and which I had eschewed permanently at sixteen. I rather unconsciously thought of myself as a a person here to do my best, to be good, whatever that means, and to treat others how I wanted to be treated.

In the process of  becoming more aware, all my subconscious beliefs were supremely challenged. My spiritual awakening knocked me around, or perhaps more to the point I knocked myself around, trying to figure it all out: those existential questions – what is truth, what is being, what is good, what is love, who am I, what am I? 

I angsted better than a teenager, which is saying a lot. I tore myself up and the universe tore me down, like spiritual bootcamp. I got my ass kicked by myself with some help of the spirit variety – there is nothing like have visitations in your own home by uninvited guests to jumpstart your spiritual awakening. 

Ghosts, whether a small kitten that winds itself about my ankles in front of my pantry door, a gentleman in early 1900s garb, hanging out beside my bed, or my grandfather standing there staring at me, is unsettling to say the least. Although I didn’t mind the kitten at all. He was really sweet.

The awakening and what I subsequently refer to as spiritual bootcamp that was the beginning of my journey was scary, startling, beautiful, and wondrous. My light was pretty dark – think a shop light as viewed by astronauts from space. However, as I grew more balanced, centered, and grounded, my light began to grow ever brighter.

My shop light bulb was pretty dim in the beginning. I have melted the casing on my shop light, shorted it out by exposing it to the elements, tore off the plug, smashed it, stripped the wires bare, and have in point of fact had to replace the light bulb a few times. With each spiritual repair my shop light actually became bigger and stronger – the more I hacked away at the case, the faulty wires, and exposed it to the elements, the brighter the light kept growing, which is the total opposite of what I was always taught. We think about nurturing our light, shielding our light, and protecting it, but with my own inner light what I found myself doing over and over again was stripping it down, doing away with all the crappy parts, and repairing it to reveal this 100,00 watt bulb that illuminates.

I actually had to destroy myself in order to restore myself, to let my inner light shine so that I could see myself clearly and see the way forward more clearly. Don’t get me wrong. I love the dark, too. It is just as beautiful as and equal to the light.  However, I had way too much darkness of the painful kind that had to be blasted away first. 

Interestingly enough, I learned that this is part of what we are all trying to do here on this planet – chip away our own dark to reveal our light. The dark is still there, but we allow the light to shine out. It is my fervent hope that eventually with enough unconditional love of ourselves and others, with enough compassion, with enough courage and willingness, we can all heal and shine our lights more brightly.

So, I started and continue with myself because I wanted to change.

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