Authenticity and Beauty in our Shadows

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a lot of things. I wanted more than anything for it to exist as a space where people could arrive, relax, wander around, sit down with tea, read some stories, jot down a recipe or two, and feel inspired to be all they can be in the real world they exist within. I wanted to help guide people towards live a life of mindfulness– to encourage decisions to be made from a place of love, compassion and understanding. In all of its most fabulous clichés, I wanted to make the world a little bit brighter– to help guide people on a journey to wellness and vitality.

There was another major focus I wanted from this blog space, alas, in my initial desire to fill the pages with recipes and nourishment, this other focus became a little lost.

I wanted this space to be one I could also fill with words, the words that flood my computer daily, that arrive to greet me at dawn and wont let me rest until they come to life on the screen before me. Often, these words, these outpourings from my soul, stem from a place of fear and darkness, a place of self doubt and self destruction. The voice is far from loving nor caring, and perhaps that is why I have banished these words from these pages. Alas, it is in the writing, in the process of turning thoughts to written words, that the emotions do a fantastical flip- in the release, I find hope, renewal, faith, beauty and love, yes, self love.

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Suddenly, as my recipes have been shared and my articles are being posted to various websites and magazines, fear began to rise in me-

How could I speak so openly of these doubts that greet me each day when I am supposed to be someone who has the answers, who is a pinnacle of health, whose bright eyes and open smile hide no darkness around the edges?’

After some soul searching this morning, a realization hit me. People weren’t looking for someone whose voice didn’t hold an inkling of a quiver or whose past was a path strewn with nothing other than sunshine and daisy’s. I know the people who understand me the most, the people who I gain more insight from than anyone else, are those who have tasted struggle, who have walked the path of rotten leaves beneath stormy skies. The people who have helped me on my own journey, did so because they understood the places where darkness swallows you whole.

So, to banish these parts of me would be serving no one. Authenticity exists in exposing the cracks and jagged seams, in shining a light in the hollows and gaps, in stepping forth and embracing the quiver and doubts.  On the pages of this blog it isn’t my intention to suggest that I have all the answers, nor that the path to wholeness is void of potholes and u-turns.  I don’t need to hide the fact that I often experience days where everything seems too much and my old demons saddle up beside me, feeling my weakness and going in for the kill.

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But in all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is this balance of light and dark that fills me, that makes me who I am, that makes the contrasts so exquisite and the gratitude for life that I experience so remarkable. The moments I endure now of loneliness and despair are almost treasurable, because I am not scared of them anymore, I can choose to wallow here, to self indulge in a few breaths of heaviness, because I hold the key to the door out again and I’ll never loose that knowledge of how to escape back to the light.

For so long I hid my past, the demons that lurked in my shadow, terrified of being caught out, labeled a fraud, dismissed as a pillar of strength because of the patches of weakness in fragile walls. When in all honesty, it is these delicate walls of weakness, that give the rest of my wooden-floored castle its insurmountable strength.

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Song lines are a perfect example of this. How often are our favorite songs ones of heartache and despair? How often do we feel connected to lyrics that speak the words of our heavy trodden path and give us hope- not because they offer us a magical answer, rather they shed light on our shared suffering– the inherent knowing that we are not alone.

 ‘My darkness is equal to my light.’

In a world shackled by judgment and competition, perhaps my presence here wouldn’t survive, but I don’t believe in this kind of world, nor do I wish to succumb to its dictation.

 

So here I am, in all my optimistic splendor and sunken shadows.

 

Ready for this voice of mine to be heard.

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