Unbounded love flows throughout my heart. Relentless in vibrancy and undeterred by negative extrinsic exposure, it remains ever-present and grows stronger with each day. This love has long been the spotlight for the ensemble cast of my love life, basking my partners in the luminous warmth of my focus. This light took its cues from the presence or absence of that person on my life’s stage, following their every move and often lowering to a dimmer setting when they left. So focused on that one person, my love light was unable to reflect upon me, illuminating my own soul or my own worth.
And how could it? With all the light flooding in mega beams toward someone else, there was no energy for my own needs. Pouring it all out, I glossed and polished another's soul while depleting and cheating my own soul. My obsessively analytical brain knew the score, but my heart simply could not stop or even slow its love compulsion. Show after show would shut down, lights went out and the empty stage lay in wait for the next production of my love story.
Then, I became the Mother of two girls who instantly became the biggest and brightest act in my ongoing love story. This is so easy when they are young because wee humans need exactly that - the spotlight of your love and focus to nurture their growth. My pattern of chasing others with my spotlight was beautifully camouflaged by my Mommy life.
One evening when my oldest daughter was a couple of weeks away from her ninth birthday, we were having our nightly conversation, wrapping up the day’s collection of happiness, hurdles and hurts. She was sorting through some social struggles and seeking guidance.
My words to her described the value of being true to her own individuality, shining her unique light and not - under any circumstances - to selectively dim her light for anyone.
As the words left my mouth, I saw the image of my shadow on her stage, and though well-defined, it was not remotely aligned with the advice I was sharing.
I was not living true to my own words of wisdom.
The shadow I cast was not of a woman shining her individual light with the rheostat on its highest setting. Instead, my shadow reflected an uncertain soul, standing in the shadow of her own light, quietly gagging on the reflux of her deepest fears.
In that moment of disconnect between parental advice, aspirations and the life I was actually living, I experienced an awakening. A rather rude one. My own words had literally sucker punched my facade, knocking loose all my carefully placed, tightly wound layers of insulation.
Prior to that moment, I’d always imagined the future lives and loves of my daughters as healthy and wholehearted. I visualized their loving self acceptance - self awareness that inherently trumps self worth based on acceptance from others.
With this, they would intrinsically magnetize and surround themselves with individuals who would treat them with unfiltered acceptance and unbounded respect, loving them as they are - their true selves. Their life paths would hold space for them to exact their genuine selves and live in harmony with the people in their lives.
Later that night, my restless soul, now having my full attention, began speaking its litany of truths. As my family slept, I paced the halls and rooms looking for a way out of the trap I’d set, slipped on and settled myself into. The image of my daughters dwelling in my shoes - even for a nanosecond - was bigger than any fear I’ve ever known.
Haunted by this, I began to exfoliate my many layers of insulation. Each layer yielded clues and cues of the woman buried within. Every reveal would fuel my desire to see beyond the next layer. My mega spotlight began to illuminate the spaces that needed the deepest excavation.
So many patterns of thought and life strategies held no value; they were habitual and at best, inauthentically perfunctory. Leaving that familiarity of well worn paths was both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. The deeper I went, the more my soul expanded. I developed an insatiable desire to feel my own light and bask in its warmth. This grew beyond anything previously experienced as I danced in my own spotlight, filling my stage with shadows of a wholehearted woman.
Bold in its expansive glow, my light found its way to me where it has remained ever-present. Once my soul’s hiding places were fully illuminated, my vision was liberated from the shadows of fear and thrust into the light of wholehearted living. Shining beyond the limits of my past and stepping out from the darkness, my love continues to grow. It is immeasurably shifting in its strength and direction.
Turns out, I needed to turn my world upside down to flip my soul right side out. There are times when my pace stalls and drifts into old patterns and times when my pace flies at breakneck speed towards my wholehearted authentic self. With the ability to redirect my spotlight, I am a soul at peace, a woman in love and a mother modeling what I want my daughters to embrace and expand beyond.
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