Now that I have spent eight or so weeks with myself, immersed in the long process of reclaiming a house from mistreatment and a farm from neglect, I'm becoming keenly aware that the process is mirrored within my soul.
I was sitting on the porch the other night, after working all day on some tedious, highly physical tasks. I was exhausted. My feet ached, my hands hurt, my shoulders and back were stiff and I was thinking about my journey, about my truth, about people and how they try to change us all. Well meaning or not it seems that life is sometimes a process of maneuvering around one obstacle or another, one person’s idea of who we are vs who we really are, deep down, in our own soul.
One time, long ago, I made what my parents considered a horrible decision to quit my job as a bodily injury adjuster for an insurance company and go back to school to pursue my eventual Master’s degree. My job paid well and I had a company car. What was I thinking? I was thinking my soul was dead but I couldn’t explain that to them. Let me be clear – 10 years in the insurance industry was a great deal responsible for my view of the world as I know it. To be fair, going on 20 years in public service has not negated any of that view and probably only added to my anger at the world at large but that is a whole other post…
Regardless of eventual job choice, that decision sent me down a path toward my truth. I was at the same time experiencing an awakening of magic in my life. I had discovered that there WAS something I believed in, Artemis had spoken to me, I was devouring magical writings and spending time in chat rooms and “meeting” tons of new people on that same journey. Odd things began to happen. Doors opened in my soul, friendships were formed, toxic people faded away, long discussions in dark pubs took up the majority of my spare time, nature spoke to me for the first time since childhood and I ventured into the world of myself. There was no one in my life but me and every moment was taken up by magic, reading, study, contemplation…
My ex always said I used to talk about this time in my life with a wistful tone that other people used when talking about a lover or their teenage years. He was certain I was romanticizing it, not seeing it clearly, like we often do when the past is long gone and its hardships somewhat faded. But he was wrong.
While I sat on the porch the other day, exhausted and alone, I thought about how hard this is. This thing I have chosen to do. And my next thought was not of doubt, or even of some misplaced cocky determination. My next thought was simply that it was right for me. I am right where I need to be, right where my life has been headed before. All things come to pass and all paths lead back to our truth if we only open ourselves to the voice of our own soul. Our longing. No matter how different that longing is from someone else’s, no matter what they are telling us we should want. We have to listen to ourselves.
I’ve not chosen a path that’s not convenient or even wholly practical. I’m not on a typical journey, nor have I ever been really, despite meanderings into the world of expectation and “normal” patterns of what life should consist of. A part of me always stayed hidden, longing, like a zoo animal of some sort, who despite her “natural” habitat provided for with regular meals and man-made climbing apparatus simply wants to feel her belly grumble with hunger, to hunt, to sense danger, to run, to be….a lion. Yes, a lion that has forgotten she is a lion still has an instinctual memory of the pads of her feet meeting the earth. She still dreams of the smells of her path upon that earth, the sounds of her homeland.
The road to our truth has twists, turns and stopping points along the way. Most recently I spent a year and a half resting. Thinking. Planning. Wondering if there was any way to get back on the path that I had so desperately fought to be on so many years ago. And there was. And I’m here. And it is hard. But, it is my truth. I’m fierce in my beliefs because I’ve had to defend my “different” since the first moment I can remember. Sometimes I built a better fortress than others. Sometimes I lost myself and other times I was barely able to hold on to anything of myself.
My truth has tears. Just this morning I read something and I cried. I cried for a creature I didn’t even know. I cried for the world we live in. My truth has blood. I’ve shed some already and I’ll shed more I know. I’ve buried the dead and wept. My truth has sweat and pain and exhaustion. My truth is lonesome and sometimes dicey. But it speaks to others too and I will find them. My tribe.
I’ll open my heart and my doors to the things that others ignore. The things that are forgotten and used. I feel kinship to them in a way because I too was once wild. I’ve known the feeling of being captured, rounded up, worn down. I’ve stared out of the equivalent of cages where my soul was locked away and I was bartering for the opportunity to let her out, just a little, so that she could take a single breath. So now I am in the middle of my life, tipping toward the end and I have little to show my soul in terms of proof of my commitment to this truth of mine. But still she smiles. Because my truth has magic. And hope.