“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” ~ Charles Bukowski
My search for love has been extremely elusive. I have endlessly looked for it in other’s eyes, bodies, words, and actions.
This long search led me down a path to a total lack of self-awareness and self-love, which led to a numbed-out life.
I lived an artificial life by choosing an unrelenting love, which made me want to numb every aspect of myself. I recovered from that “love,” by numbing more, until my days were filled with feelings of hopelessness, of life fading-away, and wanting more.
Finally, after a long deep slumber, I ever so slowly (as if not wanting to break my own heart) began to come back to myself. I felt an awakening slightly emerging with each new day, and I wanted to share it. My words were met with angst, anger and judgement which left me confused.
I was opening up and others seemed to be fighting me on it. It was as if my spoken words were daggers to their heart. A short conversation with a friend, telling them of my path of self-discovery of true wants and desires was met with harsh words and the immediate ending of the entire friendship. It shocked the hell out me, making me rethink my inner work thus far. Deep down I knew I had to follow my intuition, which was to speak from my heart. I didn’t know why, but feeling my way through was all I had.
With an ending comes a beginning…
While browsing social media, I came across elephant journal’s call to join their Elephant Academy program, but making the deadline was not in the stars. But, when the deadline was surprisingly extended, I felt it was a sign and I was all-in. I used my sunlit Sunday to apply. It was as if the bright light of the day was inside me, leading me along. A few days later I received an acceptance email from elephant journal and my heart almost burst with joy, laughter and gratitude.
Accepting elephant journal’s invitation was the best damn decision I have made—ever. I made it solely for myself. Applying for the apprenticeship was a turning point in my life.
At first I didn’t even tell anyone. But, as the apprenticeship took off my self-confidence began to show, friendships bloomed, life commenced. Finally, I began to share with others that I was in the Academy, that I am a writer.
I began to notice something.
People began to meet me. As I participated, people reciprocated my openness back to me.
It was thrilling to engage in my growth—expanding my heart, embracing openness, trusting myself with expressions of my own thoughts.
This step I took for myself, in the name of a love I have for writing, has inevitably led me to discover and love myself.
I have learned a few truths about myself and (I believe) of our world and humanity:
Our first truth:
We should speak our thoughts, especially when they are loving, genuine and heartfelt. If there is conflict, communicate mindfully, yet don’t hold back or keep it in. The world needs our mindful heart-driven words to help and heal others simply by witnessing them, hearing them, and mirroring them. I have found when I express my thoughts it creates a kind of bond with another that wasn’t between us before—as if we are sharing or exchanging an energy from heart to heart.
“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” ~ Maggie Kuhn
Our second truth:
Have presence, be present and be seen. Even when we are scared.
You and I are more alike than not when it comes to our feelings, paths, and relationships. Show the world who you are. Show the people around you who you are. Be brave with your words and speak what is on your mind, in your heart and what you are going through. By doing this I have found relief from much unnecessary anxiety and heart-angst.
By speaking our truth it sets us free. It sets our thoughts free and allows us to live forward—not in our minds, but in the now. The true heart travelers will be with you. You will find your “witnesses.” As I travel through my awakening I look around and find myself in a truly different place, different space, different mindset—an awakened approach to my life where I have become brave enough to follow my heart over my fear.
“He who is brave is free” ~ Seneca
Soul searching has been going on for centuries…and it all comes down to one thing:
It is all inside—our happiness, sadness, oneness and wholeness—all we need and want. When we truly and completely go inward and love our selves fully with everything we have and everything we feel, the love comes. It really does.
I have been looking for 40 years (give or take) and I have found it.
I have found it.
It isn’t with me every minute and there are days that I wouldn’t know self-love, but I now know it is within me. It ebbs and flows and I know that it will come back to me.
One of my a-ha moments just recently happened. I said to myself, “I have never seen and felt the love of others that I feel these days.” I immediately realized that the new people in my life are a reflection of the love I have in me—a giving accepting patient love.
It is extremely difficult to believe even now, but deep down I feel it. It is truth. I am Love. You are Love. We are Love. Without following my dream, my inner heart’s calling, I don’t think I would have experienced this life change. I am absolutely thrilled that I answered my heart’s call and that elephant journal held out its trunk to pull and push me along on the path.
“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.” ~ John Steinbeck
Image: Cecille Photography
Editor: Travis May