She runs for shelter into the wild woods, desperate for someone, something to peek into her soul and make some sense of everything. She needs guidance, but more than that, she needs comfort. She feels so scared and alone because out in the wide world, life keeps asking the impossible of her. And everything she wants to have and to hold just feels…impossible.
It is times like these when she feels the most unworthy of love.
Her feet lead her into a quiet hollow among the ferns. Crouching, she digs her nails into the cool black dirt. Fistfuls of moist earth come up in her palms, crawling with worms, and it seems as if she is unearthing her darkest and most terrifying feelings, the ones she doesn’t dare to speak out loud because even thinking about them brings her pain. To speak them might make the pain worse.
Yet in the bones of her fingers it feels, strangely, like she is finding herself. It feels like she’s touching the very pain of how awful she feels, but instead of getting overwhelmed and collapsing from the pain, the pain collapses instead.
What had seemed so sharp and threatening in her mind had become, once confronted, merely as dangerous as the worm wriggling across her knuckles.
She feels soothed, as if all her pain needed was to be held and seen for just a moment of acknowledgment.
A breath fills her lungs, one that’s bigger than any she’s taken in a long time. She lets it out with relief, feeling liberated from the weight of her pain. Now she has room to breathe and to just be. Now she can believe again in how real her life is, how she has a powerful right to claim space in this magical world. To claim happiness, success, and yes, even love, too. “Thank you,” she whispers, with a glance up at the quivering moon shining through the tree branches.
She leaves the wild woods to return to the wide world. She brings back trust in what she’d found there, at least briefly. Trust that she is on the right path fades so easily when a new challenge presents itself. It is so tempting to travel old escape routes then, but she is learning not to go where the excitement is only imagined from afar. Sometimes enough trust remains in her like a tiny mustard seed, and it’s all she needs to hang on.
Other times she has to run back to the wild woods, until one night it dawns on her that wherever she is she can follow the moon for guidance.
If it wanes, she wanes with it, going inside herself to seek that still, quiet place where the Goddess walks and talks with her. She uses her Goddess-given imagination, and clarity arises. It drops in like a tarot card flipping over with the perfect message. If the moon waxes, she grows full with it, with all the gifts of music, food, and friendship that the wide world can feed her.
She claims her own wholeness by the light of the full moon. She claims renewal of her crushed bones, her bruised heart, her burnt flesh by the silvery soul-light that glows through her own skin.
“Trust,” she reminds herself when she gets stuck. Trust in herself, in the good intentions of others, and in the unfathomable ways of God/Goddess/Mystery. Eventually, that tiny mustard seed of trust takes root in her, unfurling its green leaves in the center of her being. And that’s when things get really exciting.
Dreams and desires overflow from wellsprings inside her, keeping her alive and lush with purpose. Yes, lush and dripping uncontrollably through her body is the life force she now tends with a fierce devotion. She knows her dreams and desires are holy. She does not suppress them for not fitting the tidy confines of what’s considered “acceptable,” nor does she fling them away when their fulfillment doesn’t manifest immediately.
The bigger the dream, the longer the wait. And oh, she loves most of all when her desires come true in the most unexpected ways.
Her peace of mind stops depending on having to know all the answers before every step of the way. How liberating it is to admire a star without needing to understand it!
Life becomes a sweet journey that unfolds with surprises around every curve. Her path turns like a spiral with dizzying ups and downs — anxieties which she accepts and even learns to embrace — from rock-bottom dregs to celebratory new beginnings again and again. There are always old layers of self to revisit and uncover for the lost treasures that hide within them.
Love comes and breaks all the rules she lives by. And though she herself is a rule-breaker, she often fights the chaos with dagger-sharp claws. Then Love whispers to her, “Bend,” and with juicy, impossible willingness, she allows herself to bend. The more she comes into her power, the easier it is for her to bend, for a Woman of Power knows that she will not break — at least not deep in her innermost core.
She also knows she cannot love another unless she carves an altar into a corner of her chest that is devoted to loving herself.
Every act she commits of loving herself, of allowing herself to be just who she is, and to be enough, is an act of love for another. What she gives to herself cycles down and around and rises up into a gurgling brook, streaming from her mouth as loving speech, shining from her eyes as loving adoration.
She claims this self-love as hers to drink, hers to bathe in, hers to luxuriate in. This love is her home. This love is her encircling nest to warm her when the season is bitterly cold. This love is an oak tree of strength rising up along her spine, arching her spirit into the sky with a curving simple statement to the clouds: She belongs here. She belongs everywhere, on the moss and stony ground and in the dark, mysterious, rootsy Otherworld below that too.
Sometimes she still gets lost.
So when she finds herself inevitably sinking into despair once again and running into the wild woods for a sign, or for some kind of certainty, all she has to do is remember. Remember who she really is. She is darkness and light dancing with each other. She is the ecstasy behind her pain. She is the trust pounding steadily in her every heartbeat, pounding loudest of all right before she takes her greatest leaps.
She is the river merged with all the streams of her desires, and when she truly believes she is worthy of receiving her most heartfelt desires, that is when she flows with such vigor and grace.
She is Love, and there is no wrong choice when Love leads the way.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt.
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