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Friday, December 30, 2016


2016 was a shit year. It was the kind of year that smelled like a cow’s ass, but like the glow of morning sun on a drop of rain, my verdant heart learned to shine. It was the pain inside that burned me to ashes, and it was the cruelty of another that provided nutrients for new growth.

Experiencing a new level of cruelty brought me to my knees and left me questioning everything around me. This year I experienced what true hate feels like.

I used to think I had to tell all my “secrets” in order for someone to truly love me. Wanting a magical ticket to validation, I trusted and spilled the beans to someone this past year who, in the end, was undeserving of said trust. Getting to a place of trust and surrender was huge for me, so this massive betrayal was a murder on my heart.

I hid from my past for a long time up through my early 30s, and I did well – I even had some fun -- but as life started dealing blows to my heart, it became harder and harder not to look into the proverbial closet of my life.

I didn’t want to count the black dresses lined up. I didn’t want to look into the reflection in the mirror that was hiding in the corner motioning to me. But, it was like the closet door flew off its hinges, and it was time to walk into myself; it was time to take a hard look into that mirror.

Over the years, I’d been bagging away events in my childhood like old clothes for the Goodwill. The reality was too ugly to bear. Old memories were painful, surreal and bizarre to comprehend. It was easier to focus on the good memories and bury the bad, not knowing how to blend the two. But, like a bleeding rose, I couldn’t bloom, and the cobwebs hiding my memories began to blow away as I tumbled into the darkness of my own history.

Since that day I’ve been on a nine-year journey getting real with myself. I bravely opened that metaphorical dark closet and learned how to tame the dragon inside of me with a whole lot of love. Regardless, that beast still rears up his scaly head and throws fire at me. That’s life. We get burned.

For almost a decade, I’ve read every helpful book I could get my hands on. I wrote a journal of my feelings. I cried a lot of tears. I watched sunsets and attended seminars seeking to understand my own mind and emotions. I hoped to forgive others and forgive myself. The pressure bubbling up inside of me needed release.

Balancing the snowy white and sable dominos of my life hasn’t been easy. Sometimes I think I have everything in balance and then a slight twist has everything crashing down, leaving pieces scattered for rebuilding.

Eventually, self-love blossomed within me and a crimson flower rose out of my heart. I thought I had it pretty figured out except that awful responsibility for things out of my control growing up. Those events confused me.

Always wanting to make sense of everything, I assumed responsibility in order to move on, but that left a dirty feeling of unworthiness that counteracted against my lovely new petals. My logical mind knew it was silly to adopt responsibility, but my emotions wanted to take a flaying; that was more common ground, my comfort zone born out of dysfunctional circumstances.

And this is why I gave my power away.

Looking for permission to be loved, I shared shameful events that happened to me, things that were not my fault and out of my control. I believed that I wasn’t loveable unless the object of my affection knew everything that I’d been through and still loved me, as I loved him knowing what he’d been through growing up. In desperation, I needed that confirmation from a deep cavern inside me that I hadn’t even explored nor realized still existed.

Yes, I gave a lot of power to another individual in determining my value, and it never occurred to me, until this past year, that I don’t need permission to be loved; I am love already.

But before feeling the soft warmth of dewy sunshine, I stood in the storm of hate. For me, this was new territory. No matter what life dealt up to this point, I always had a safe haven in my capacity to love and feel compassion for others -- even people who have been cruel.

It is my opinion pain and sorrow are a natural part of the human experience as is pleasure and joy, so I embrace the pain as a teacher. I had come to a place of accepting that dark and light hold hands inside each of us, working together in a natural order to the yin and yang of everything. Like lovers, the light and dark intertwine, both needing one another to create new life in any matter on earth.

Like a seed waiting in dark soil, gaining nutrients for the journey toward the light, we’re born out of the darkness of our mother’s womb into the light. And out of the darkness and after the pain of new birth, there is growth. For it is through the darkness, “the soil,” that we find “nutrients” for expansion in the light. It is divine order and natural to our state as human beings to blend light and dark for growth to the next phase, onward and onward, upward and upward.

But for the first time, hate prevailed and I took my heart, my light, and threw it away from me. I let only the darkness in, where, quite honestly, I was more comfortable. I stared it down and realized just how powerful I was against it.

My heart is physical, but love is eternal, and love dwells within me, deeply in my heart space, with my soul forever. And that love is pretty powerful. It kicked hate’s ugly face beyond the moon; it danced with the stars and bowed to the sun. After my magick jig, I took gold out of the sky and built myself a new heart.

We’re never going to have everything figured out. We’re never going to stop growing. We’ll just die little deaths along the way. And, in the black ashes of our lives, new growth will rise.

I’m still healing from the events of 2016 and the years leading up to it. It’s not easy to forgive those that have hurt us, and it’s certainly not easy forgiving ourselves. It’s also not easy looking in the mirror and being honest with the things I don’t like about myself, the things I need to own up to and change, and learning to embrace my imperfections and love myself anyway. But, like the seed of a plant, we have to create cracks in the shell and push through in order to rise into the light.

I prefer sitting in the calm after a storm, feeling divine light warming my face, but I have learned to be awed by the beauty of the rain and I dance in the darkness.
Every year brings new experiences and new blooms. So here’s to a new year and cheers to the hidden gifts ahead. Permission is not needed for us to be loved. Love is a part of our natural order and something we can gift ourselves.

If another cannot see the light within me that I see in them, it is unfortunate, but with all my heart I wish them well. I walked the line of hate and circled back to the space of love. I slept with the darkness and woke up to the light. A new bloom is on the horizon.

Statue of Christ photograph by Rex Wood 
"Somewhere beyond comprehension and observation lives the divine. Divinity choreographs the migration of consciousness, beliefs, and constantly refines inadequate behavior.
Praise be to God, who is where life force meets relationship." 
-- Rex Wood