By Megan Mulligan HOLY FIRE

As I Step Into My Pain My Soul Gently Guides Me Forward


I clutch a street map, tattered from eternity, inside my glove compartment. Who has an atlas anyway? I mutter inside, chastising myself.

A tear-streaked face and puffy eyes squint to see the signs. Any sign, please?! I cry out loud — silently. Whimpering like a lost pug yearning for a spec of attention. Again, I scour the map. Searching for my current coordinates. Wondering how to ever get “there,” if I don’t know where I am now.

The voice inside me scoffs, tells me I’m not enough and never will be. My adult rises to shine light on what’s not mine — anymore — to hold. But my little girl, so accustomed to sorrow, accepts its mortal club.

The victim puts it all inside, and cries in grief, as my heart splits open. Melting into the acceptance of “what is” through the lens of self-pity.

And I stop. Stop all the madness for a moment, and search with painstaking eyes. Wondering what is, and what is not mine, to behold? Wondering if anything is, indeed, real?

Shaking my head I turn back to the tattered pages of my atlas. This time, using a light to see where I’m standing. Taking a tool from a kit that was once empty, and noticing its existence for the first time. There’s a structure, I see, it exists in a shape that was before, formless. A heart, molded by wood. Recycled cork from a forest inside my former life.

The tools are there for the courageous, like: love, devotion, faith, mystery, surrender, and trust. Picking up each one, I examine their form. Shapeless, each of them, with just a hint of magic to suggest they are real.

I wonder which one to use at a time like this, when everything is falling apart. When my insides are being shred by experience through each person, place, and thing that Existence brings into my 3D reality. When the lessons are too big to stomach. When I just don’t want to do it anymore.

My world grows dark at the thought. Looking around and wondering why, is it worth it? Am I better off to be without me? Why should I live?

I step into my pain, and feel the marrow in my bones shrink. Wailing into the moment, a cry like a bird limp by self-torture might make. Catching my breath, reaching for an old napkin, I clutch my chest. And I cry more. Old tears, wound up from deep inside my belly. Hot tears, burned by terror and fear from all the ages. I release them now. Let them go into the ether.

Eventually, I stop crying. My breath slows, and I stare at the map inside my soul. The one that’s been in my vessel’s glove compartment since before time. I mutter knowing it’s by virtue of Existence that I have a soul map at all. That we all do. And while I’m “lucky” to know it’s within, I feel cursed by the absence of X. Where’s my spot? I cry.

The journey, the one I’m supposed to enjoy, feels more marked by rocks and twigs then green grassy pastures. A battleground. So I spit on the map. With an expletive fuck you.

My consciousness rises to the battle, cueing the light to expand. And that, which started to recently glow, shines just a bit brighter.

Still, I mutter more. “Fuck you, light,” my ego mind cries. And, the battle of odds continues.

And while in this space of limbo — between the comfortable space of dark, and new glow of Love — my soul gently guides my steps forward. Out of the boxed car, out of the dust, and into the light. Where I belong and serve purpose.

The growing pains intolerable at times are opportunities, my soul suggests, to learn. The lit space is safe to set down resistance, and to step within acceptance, it says. Try telling that to the deeply wound mind of survival, says resistance. But it’s there, nonetheless, the knowing.

The way out is through. And the way is the light. Living in authentic truth. And until my heart and mind merge inside the space of peace, my Soul will continue serving as the compass. Guiding me through the atlas of life, that eternally exists within the heart’s glove compartment. The soul purpose yearning to explode inside the highway of life. Amongst the stars. Where one day, I will return home.

Photo by Chen YiChun on Unsplash

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.

Sip a little more:

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"The essence of your beauty does not lie in the shape of your breasts or the height of your cheekbones. It is not found in the flatness of your tummy or the roundness of your ass. The essence of your beauty lies in your ability to unapologetically own all of your pieces and lovingly embrace your whole self." —Jessica Basken of @rivermoonyoga ➵ Sip a little more from Jessica's magic here: @kayharr73 @ladypantzz @tanyamarkul @thugunicorn


  1. This is one of the most beautiful letters I have ever read. Thank you, gentle soul

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