Shine On, Baby, Shine On!
I’ve started and restarted this article so many times. In each incarnation, I see glimpses of what I want to say but nothing solid…nothing that feels right. I’ve left bits and parts of each attempt in the file, just hitting a few returns and starting again. This morning, a clear voice comes through my meditation with a message: “tension is who you think you should be…relaxation is who you are.” This is an old Chinese proverb that I found many years ago but it is particularly relevant now. You see, when I was struggling with the article, I was trying to give a deep and profound message about peace coming from finding your true path. That’s still the message in this article, but originally I was trying to distance myself from the examples I was providing, trying to show this is a journey many of us take. Unfortunately, this is the very reason that the article didn’t work for me: I wasn’t connected to it. If I want you, as readers, to connect with these ideas, I need to start with a tangible point of origin…my own experience.
The question that spurred this article seems so simple on the surface: after spending my life wearing the cross, why am I so at peace now that I have put on the pentacle? I sent her a quick reply that when we follow our true paths, we find peace within ourselves regardless of the chaos around us. This is an honest and true answer but it comes without any foundation, without any substantial support. To provide that, I need to share my journey to this truth.
I was raised in a Christian household but as a military family, church was always a hit or miss kind of thing because we moved around so much. This gave me a foundation in faith but no real connection to anything concrete. The only real constant in my life was nature. I always felt most at peace in the open air, touching the earth in some way. I can remember spending sunny days lounging on the back of my horse while he grazed, just breathing it all in.
As I grew older, I discovered that I could listen to the forests around me, I could “hear” the stories the trees told. This isn’t exactly something recognized or condoned by Christianity so I kept it to myself. At the same time, I started seeing what looked like “holes” in people’s faith as they sat in church. It became easy for me to see those people who truly lived their faith (no holes) and those who only wore it on Sundays like their church clothes. Because I had to hide so much of who I was becoming, the cross I wore became more like an albatross around my neck than a symbol of salvation.
I started looking for something more, a path that could embrace the whole me rather than one that limited who I could be. Unfortunately, I married a man who not only rejected anything that didn’t fit in his narrow view of the world, he sought to destroy it. The day I discovered a Book of Shadows in the local library was one that set me on the path I’m on today. I can’t even remember the name of the author, but what I DO remember most vividly is the feeling of something inside me clicking to the “on” position.
Suddenly, I found a path opening from within me, showing me the magic that exists all around. I was still struggling with all of the stress of a bad marriage and the negative path I let myself be led to, but I was at peace. I was no longer trying to paddle upstream, no longer trying to be who anyone else thought I should be. When I finally got the courage to take my kids and leave my husband, I ended up with even more stressful things on my plate (not the least of which trying to raise my kids with no support and on about 20% of the income I was used to) but I had found my voice and I was walking MY path.
There is an ebb and flow to life, a natural rhythm we can all tap into. When we live our lives with respect to that rhythm, we’re able to handle so much more of what comes our way. Life itself is chaotic, but it’s not the chaos that brings us stress; it’s our reaction to it that allows stress to dominate our lives. Whatever your path, whether it involves the cross or the pentacle, dance to the beat, the rhythm of life created just for you. Find your voice and sing out loud. When you are who you were meant to be, you are a light in the dark, a peaceful haven in a world gone crazy. Shine on, baby, shine on!
In love and light,