Earlier that day I had witnessed a group of indigenous Australians carry a coffin across the tarmac of the tiny airport in Darwin….a coffin containing the body of a deceased loved one, presumably on its way back ʼhomeʼ to a nearby remote outback community.
Their sorrow and despair had been, despite my own prior personal acquaintance on many occasions with the death of loved ones, never the less unsettling and confronting. The sound of their wailing travelled in waves on the hot heavy monsoonal winds towards me. Their grief was palpable.
I may not have been (or yet still be) an eloquent poet in 2012 but today more than seven years later when I reread the words I can remember those feelings again. I am transported back instantly to a moment from many years ago, a moment when I took the first step on the never ending path to growth, authenticity, and love….. to a time when I had renewed hope for myself, when the first whispers of something long forgotten were also blowing in the wind…to a time when something inexplicable was gently stirring inside of me. I could feel its very faint fluttering…. something I imagine akin to the moment that an already long surviving cactus remembers it can bloom into flower after a long period of resting and waiting till the time is right.
The moment of a great, grand waking up had arrived completely unexpectedly with an unspectacularly humble and faint whisper.
Today it is clear that the poem was a message of encouragement to myself, a green go light. A light encouraging me to let go of the need to control the journey, to have faith and to let it unfold, much like the cactus flower unfolds, naturally without actively knowing how to yet at the same time already knowing.
The picture the beautiful cactus flower paints is seemingly in stark contrast to the harsh, prickly thorns. The thorns a vivid reminder that thorns can prick us and make us bleed.
But then…doesn’t the beauty of the flower more than make up for the pain of the thorns and the uncertainty about how many times they may prick us when we reach towards the flower?
And so I am ready, ready to begin no matter what that brings. The first stepping stone I step hesitantly onto is labelled ʼSelf Love!ʼ
Self love. Most of us have heard the saying ʺYou canʼt love others until you love yourselfʺ. Can sound cheesy at times. Trouble is….many of us have wounds we carry around, often gathered during childhood. Wounds that say things like ʺYou aren’t worthy/smart/successful/good looking… (insert whatever word feels appropriate) enoughʺ. These wounds, unless healed, can leave us with nagging doubt and a heavy dose of fear….a fear which can stop us from taking further step(s) on the path to growth and purpose and spiritual fulfillment.
Carl Jung recognised this when he wrote ʺThere is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness consciousʺ.
So it seems the path to purpose ainʼt easy … but then if it was then everybody would be doing it wouldn’t they?
This is where self-love comes in. Self love, amongst other benefits, can help us to accept that we are not perfect, and that we all have ʼflawsʼ. Self love can help us to become gentle and loving towards the things we (or others) might not at first like or accept about ourselves. Self-love reminds us that no one is above us and no one below. We are all trying to work our way through our lives the best we can. True self love gives us the strength and fortitude to weather any difficulty in life….to be your own beacon in rough seas.
And so the journey continues onwards.