Out of the Ashes (the growth of a seed)

When a forest is burned, what grows back often does not resemble what was lost. The searing flames cut away the old, they leave the soil barren and empty. But in this emptiness a miracle takes place; something new is given a chance to live. The seeds that had remained buried and dormant for so long are granted the space they need to struggle for the light. It may be months before you see them peek out from the wreckage, but they always emerge. Humans are more similar to the forests than we ever dare admit.
It is an inevitable reality that we all must walk through the flames; it is the price we pay to truly live. Often times the person who emerges from the fire is far different than the one who stepped into it. Six months ago I was shattered. I stumbled through my days wondering how the world could still turn even though it had cracked. And yet now, the first green sprouts are beginning to bloom.

There is pain in the loss, in the knowledge of what can no longer be. But there is a power too, when you realize that the worst has happened and you are still alive. You find a new purpose to fill your empty spaces, you pay tribute to the person you were before, and you learn to love the one you are rebuilding. It is not an easy process to grow a forest again on scorched land. It takes patience and kindness in a world that doesn’t always foster those two ideals.

When you find yourself lost in that barren landscape, one question echoes through the emptiness: what will you allow to grow in that broken place? This is the distinction between us and the forests we love- we get a choice to foster and cultivate what is left when the world changes us.

Give yourself permission to grow again, do not clutch the arid landscape of your life before. This is perhaps the hardest thing you will ever have to do; to acknowledge your pain and the way it has transformed you, to forgive, and to take the first steps towards healing. It will take time; all beautiful things do. But you are worth it, your journey is not done.

You have to feel it- everything, though there are days you may think you will break under the pressure of it all. The only way to grow is to let those rains wash over you. If you fight it, tuck it away, run from it- the pain will only make you hard and bitter to the world. But opening up to it will transform you.

Often those who have been through the worst that the world can offer are the ones who show the deepest kindness and compassion. These are the ones who will willingly step back into the flames carrying buckets of water to create a path for those still lost in the fire. These are the ones who took their broken pieces and patched them together with gold; they respect and acknowledge their damage, and are made all the more beautiful for it. Growth is not easy; it will be the greatest struggle of your life. But give yourself permission to do it anyway.

I struggled for a long time. It took me six months to realize that I was angry with myself for things I could not control. It took me half a year to acknowledge that I wasn’t willing to let myself heal, that I didn’t think I deserved it. I was carrying around so much grief, and I didn’t know what to do with it all. But you see, grief is really just love overflowing. I needed a place to put it. So I decided to start with me.

I sat down and wrote myself a letter. I acknowledged my pain, why I was so angry. And I forgave myself. I was finally ready to take that step. And then I did the thing that had scared for half a year: I gave myself permission to continue on with my life. I won’t say that I ‘let go’ of what happened or that I ‘moved on’ because I don’t think that’s always possible. I didn’t want to move on because that felt like forgetting; and that is something I won’t ever be okay with. But I acknowledged that these broken fragments are pieces of me that will always be here. I am a kinder person for them. The journey is only just beginning, and it takes effort every single day to keep growing, to show myself love and kindness, to remind myself that I deserve both. I was burned to the ground, but I survived; and now it is time embrace the girl who was strong enough to grow from the ashes.

Summer Solstice and Magical Mayhem

Today the world embraces you with light and radiance. The summer solstice is upon us, up here in the northern realms of this beautiful blue orb we call home. Throughout history, this day was marked as something special; it stood for enlightenment and renewal. It was a time for intensive passions and boundless potential. It was this way for our distant ancestors, lost amongst the ruins of our ancient civilizations; and it is still true today, amidst the distractions of modern technology and all of its many complications.

The symbolism is not lost on me, especially with the direction my life has been slowly leading me this past year. This summer will be one of change, I can feel it down deep in my bones, reverberating through my soul. So much hard work over the past few years is beginning to grow ripe with the promise of impending fruition. I’m terrified and elated knowing that those goals I wrote out so long ago might soon be tangible realities. 

Truthfully, I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not fighting tooth and nail to gain just an inch of ground. It seems that overnight the obstacles that blocked my path suddenly turned tail and ran, leaving the road deserted at dawn the next morning. It felt too easy, and perhaps it was. Then again, these have been things I have been chipping away at for years, slowly and steadily knocking away at the looming mountain, searching for a path through it.

As some pieces are slowly clicking into place, I am reminded that I still have so far to go in other areas. It will be a relief, knowing that I can narrow my gaze and focus on each step that will take me where I want to go. My attention has been pulled in too many directions lately, I zigged when I should have zagged, and I lost my footing. I will be the first to admit that I have let myself get overwhelmed, that I took my eye off the ball. But here I am, rising on my unsteady feet, back straight, muscles tense. I am ready this time.

I am sick to death of my own excuses, bored with my recent complacency. I am done with meaningless distractions that kept me occupied but unfulfilled. I am irritated with the well-intentioned advice from people who think they know the best way for me to live my life. I’ve come full circle and no longer need to listen to to their doubts as they question every decision, attempting to push me in the direction of a path they deem worthy when I was right where I needed to be all along 

I will always be the first to admit that I’m clueless, that I’m making it all up as I go. I will proudly proclaim that I don’t have a damn idea where I will wind up. But for the the first time in ages, I feel like I’m right where I need to be, working towards the things that matter. These small successes- these tiny changes in my daily living- they are all the proof I need that I was traveling down the right road all along. It was not an easy one- I’ve always been the type to take the long way around. But I’m okay with that because my struggles brought me a deeper sense of appreciation for all of those little trivialities we take for granted.

Tonight is the magical night of the summer solstice; and I can carry in my heart my own midsummer night’s dream. This is a time for passions and rebirth, it is a time for crystal clear vision, an enlightened and enriched soul. Tonight is a night for fairy dances and dewdrop dreams. The lazy rays of the sun kiss your cheeks and remind you that the world is still a beautiful place, the shadows that land on your palm rekindle the evocative mystery that still surrounds us. Take a deep breath, you beautiful human being, be present right here in this very moment, and remember the magic from so long ago. Rediscover an old story, breathe life back into an old dream, find the spark that sets your soul on fire. The world is full of infinite possibilities. Let the symbolism carry you away. And remember- this can be a season of change if you are only willing to embrace it. Be fearless, my friend; sometimes the bravest thing is accepting that you are standing exactly where you need to be. You are an ember burning up the sky; dance in the evening rays of this beautiful day and remember the magic that our ancestors celebrated on this night so long ago. You are free, my dearest lovelies, you can do anything, you can be calm serene waters or wild chaos. There is no wrong decision. This is your path, and yours alone to follow. You can do this, I feel it in my bones. This will be a summer of change, this will be a time of growth and discovery.