“If you want the whole thing, the gods will give it to you. But you must be ready for it.” – Joseph Campbell
I know a goddess who lives here on earth. She beams confidence, strength and beauty with a steady, clear gaze. Her radiance includes everyone and invites us to join her in a circle of power and light. In another time I may have felt small or envious, but today she inspires me to be my best self.
Knowing someone like her is rad.
Once I was invited to show art and play guitar at an event she held. I was nervous and worried, but I did my best and later as things were winding down, her eyes held mine with fiery, unwavering sincerity. I stood transfixed in the small kitchen, only dimly aware of the crowd still milling around. She said the most incredible things, about a strength she saw in me, about my beauty that she witnessed and admired. To be on the receiving end of genuine appreciation and unfeigned compliments from someone I admired fiercely… well… I felt like my heart would burst, cliché or no.
I couldn’t breathe right, my smile was too big for my cheek muscles to hold, I was buzzing with pleasure and energy, and I thought I could float if I knew how. I took it in as best I could, we hugged good night, tears filled my eyes, and I asked my friend to please drive me to a park because all I could think to do was lie down on the earth.
Handling positive, healthy energy, receiving good things, accepting love, feeling joy… this should be easy right?
Well, actually… no. Not for me, anyway.
I have to make an intentional effort to allow the light and love to come in. Although my past molded me in ways that I appreciate today, I was also subjected to painful experiences that taught me to be alone, to hate myself, to protect my heart. I trained my brain and my soul to see reflections of my shame, ugliness, and faults. I believed at a very young age that there was something terribly wrong and broken about me, and for 30 years I fed that ravenous beast of a belief. Luckily, I’ve chosen to change my mind. I’ve thrown myself into the wild adventure to heal my spirit, rewire my brain, and practice loving my whole self and everything around me. I’ve discovered that, although love and light are our natural state of being, it has taken me a HUGE amount of practice and intentionality to open up.
Mike Dooley is right when he talks about those floodgates of abundance, trembling and ready to burst. They will! They DO! Waves of joy and abundance are ready to wash over you, but it feels overwhelming if you’re not ready.
So, how should you get ready? Well, briefly, I’d say Self-love. And there are myriad ways to learn about that. It’s different for everyone. Heck, it’ll be different for you from one year to the next, if not one day or MOMENT to the next. But here are two of my essentials that can support any path.
1. Clean out the gunk. Regularly.
Old beliefs, grudges, shoulda-woulda-couldas… this is mental clutter. Be brave, look at it, feel it, then let it go. You might try daily journaling or writing all the hurt into a letter that you burn, tear up, flush or bury. Clean out your cupboards and closets: peaceful physical space facilitates clear inner space. Move your body! Dance, stomp, dig in the dirt. However you choose, get the junk up and out, then be amazed at all the good that wants to settle in now that you’ve made some room.
2. Soothe yourself.
If your heart is a tiny clay pot that can only hold the sad and the negative, then you need to let yourself be molded into something new. Allow yourself to soften, believe that something bigger than you is gently tending to the brittle, cracked places, and do your best to trust the process. Create spaces that nurture and support you. Treat yourself like a perfect little baby that you adore and protect with all your might. Spend time in nature and learn from the plants — they don’t force, rush or compare their growth with the other plants, yet they bloom and grow at the exact right pace. Give yourself a chance to heal and the painful, constricted bits in your heart will dissolve.
Life is a wonder, and there is so much joy and love for us to feel and give to others. Yes, our hearts feel like they’re breaking sometimes, but I promise that with enough patience and trust, we will always be mended and able to hold so much more.