Planting Seeds

My children give me gifts every day. This particular day, the gift turned out to be a  gift of the heart, and a reminder of all I have to be grateful for.

I am sometimes confronted with difficulty in how to discuss certain things with my children.These are most often topics that I don’t feel confident in how to communicate to them. I worry that I may stumble over my words and do more damage than good, or just be dismissed as “Mum, what ARE you going on about?”

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree:

I wasn’t the most self assured child. Yet I was a very hard-headed stubborn child. I doubted and questioned most things, including myself and others. I often felt a bit uneasy and not sure-footed. Or I felt self- righteous and all-knowing. Was it due to nature or nurture? I don’t know. I don’t think it really matters anyway. It was just the way I was. I was an artistic, sensitive, over stimulated heart-on-my-sleeve kinda kid with a curiosity and connection to the supernatural. All of the above felt like (and seemed like at times) a recipe for disaster, or at the least, I was trouble! My children seem wired in similar ways (minus the trouble part), and possess many other strange and wonderful attributes. Their particular uniqueness are obvious to other people who know them, despite whether they themselves know what they have. I feel I get them. I understand them. I know that we all have insecurities at times, but it still pains me when I hear my own children expressing any self-doubt. I just want to take it all away for them. But I can’t. I am only human as well, and I can only try to impart my experience and any tiny drop of wisdom I may receive. I do try my best.

On this particular bright and early morning I was gifted with a wonderful conversation with my eldest son. It began with me nagging to all three of them (more like AT them) about needing to be more motivated, trying harder, getting more organised, on and on ad infinitum. I was being a relentlessly whiney mum who obviously didn’t have much insight of when was a good time to spew a barrage of requests and commands at people. 8 am is probably not ideal (is there any ideal time for nagging, please let me know?!) I know that I was sounding frustrated because I was frustrated. I was offering problems, sighting offences, but not offering any solutions. I was on a serious role, and it could have gone on much longer. Trust me.

Then I stopped. I shut my mouth and I took a few deep breaths. As I inhaled I saw an image of a handful of seeds, and I was immediately flooded with insights that I felt I was meant to share with my son, Asher. (The other two had sneakily left the room by this point!) Because I surrendered and halted my own busyness I was now able to actually hear the deep in my heart and receive direction that he and I could share in dialogue together. The conversation began:

 “Let’s say you’ve been given a handful of seeds, (the seeds being a metaphor that represent your gifts), what should you do with them?”

“You should plant them.”

“What if your seeds were not planted in soil, and were just discarded onto hard ground or in the bin, what would happen to them?”

“They would do nothing, they would not grow, they would only shrivel up and die and that would be a waste!”

“What else do our seeds need?”

“They will need to be planted when the soil is ready, and then looked after. They will need lots of water, sunlight, and good soil. They will need lots of love!”

“What if you did all those things, and then you decided to forget about them after a time and they start to wilt, whither, or dry up?”

“You would be so lucky that they did not die and you now better take extra good care of them, spend even more time and pay even more attention to them then you did the first time. They need extra love, extra food, and extra hard work to get them to grow as big and as strong as they can!”

“Yes, this is all true!  You should remember to appreciate your gifts as they will be your resources in your life. The more lovingly you take care of them, the more you will be rewarded. Others will then be able to share in your gifts, as you honourably and generously give them away to the world!”

“Does everyone have a handful of seeds?”

“Everyone is given many seeds, many talents, many gifts in this life. Some folks seem to have been given better, more fertile soil right from the start. It may appear that they have an easier place to grow their seeds. We all are meant to work with what we have, and adapt to our particular circumstances and environment that we have been placed in this life. Even when it seems impossible to break ground, we should persevere and not abandon our gifts.We are all exactly where we are meant to be.

Be attentive to these seeds as they are your gifts from God. No matter whether your soil is dry, no matter whether you forgot about your seeds for a period of time, no matter whether you even know what the seeds will eventuate into, just plant them. Just water them. Place them where they will receive lots of light. Pay attention to them every day. Love them. You will surely discover what they are as they bloom into a beautiful sight! They will far exceed what you could have imagined in your wildest of dreams!”

This conversation was illuminating, beautiful and unforgettable. For both mother and son.

I gained heaps of insight into myself because of this conversation with Asher. I looked back at my choices regarding my gifts at various times of my life. I was sometimes quite careless and threw them away thoughtlessly.  At other times I lackadaisically scattered my seeds to the wind, praying that God would water and grow them for me when I didn’t want to do the work but I wanted the reward. I landed on rocky ground at times, and wanted to give up and walk away because it felt too hard. I compared my garden to your garden which always appeared richer and so easy to tend. I cried out “no fair!” from the top of my lungs, but this would not change the circumstance in any way shape or form. It was time that saw that I had in fact chosen the rockier soil because of my own neglect or self-will run riot.

I can now tell you that I was given beautifully rich soil from the beginning, I just had to pay attention and keep my eyes on it. It was always there to provide me with a bedrock, and wonderful growing conditions, I just needed to trust and have faith that my seeds would grow. I needed to make sure that my eyes were open, and were focused upward toward the sun.

I am watching my children bloom in front of my eyes. I have a responsibility to help them cultivate their seeds from their own integrity. This is an honour, and a hard task, where the ground sometimes feels unsure underfoot. It sometimes feels rocky, but I know that I only need to look up and I am provided with all the tools I need. This is the most important gift I have ever been handed.

I got to really appreciate one of my son’s gifts this morning. The gift of communicating from the heart. Thank you for giving a gift to me today, son. You are tending to your garden it in such beautiful and eloquent ways.

The Inhumanity Of Hate – Our Call To Action

The month of June, 2015. I am trying to sort out the common thread of current political and social issues we are facing on the front line. I am addressing these issues from a Christian perspective where I hope to diffuse the prevailing conservative fundamentalist thought. Christianity has been primarily responsible for these injustices of human rights throughout history. I hope to offer a voice that helps to merge these dividing lines. I am ashamed that in the name of God many people have been victims to injustice and abuse.This is not Christianity. This is not spirituality. This is religion. Religion is outdated superstitious law that caused so much bloodshed. Religion (almost universally) is enforced by those in power in an attempt to maintain, increase, or abuse their power over others. -Jake McWhirter (to read more of why Christianity is not religious, check out Jakes’s website).

Jesus was not religious. He was super cool and totally spiritual. I don’t do religion, but I do connect with the divine and try to live by the spirit.

Back to June, 2015. Stories of white police officers killing innocent African-Americans with no provocation. Innocent people being gunned down in their bible studies because of racial hatred. Civil rights in the forefront, from racial discrimination and violence to personal freedom to sexual identity and gender. The Confederate flag is finally being brought down. The rainbow flag is at full mast. There are so many people mourning and so many people celebrating simultaneously, many of them the same people. I am one of those people. I am mourning and celebrating. I am mourning injustice and hate, and celebrating freedom and equality.This is a month we will never forget, as it is a landmark beginning and ending that will forever alter history. We have a BIG job to do, as the unified tribe, to begin the journey of ending the hate and reinstating only pure love.

Are we not all equal in the eyes of God?

The stories of hate and the stories of love that pass down from generation to generation become the cloth we adorn ourselves in. Racism sewn from all kinds of thread. Passing statements like “those people are…different, bad, wrong… blah blah”, to obvious intentional hate and slander with expletives fill in the blank. Do we have the right to insult and assassinate the character of another human being? Perhaps we do, with the freedom of speech, but the prison of oppression we inhabit from this type of verbiage is anything but freeing for anyone. The language of love and acceptance frees both the speaker and those who are spoken of.

What have we been taught?

From subtle viewpoints to inherited belief systems (religion), we pass on what we know and what we have been taught. We pass on our opinions, right and wrong. We can’t help it. Our children succumb to the quiet whispers of separation spoken from our mouths and realised in our actions. Separatist thinking suffocates the soul. Hope of grace, love and fellowship fades. When we look down on another we forfeit our compassion. During this momentous month of June, same-sex marriage became legal across all of the USA. This is an act of love and an act to love through legislation. And couples are now rejoicing this win. This is beautiful, liberating and important. No matter what someone’s personal views on homosexuality are, as human beings they have a right to have love and give love. We have been living with social injustice and inequality for generations throughout many centuries.

Why is that?

Why do we feel so threatened by someone different from ourselves? We actually have more similarities than differences, when we choose to see them. We are all human beings with feelings, longings, dreams, goals, ambitions, pain and suffering.
My heart breaks for my fellows in Charleston, South Carolina. My heart breaks for the families of the victims. My heart breaks from feeling the sting of hate. My heart breaks for the decline of human compassion. But my heart swells in love as it breaks. My heart grows from this pain. My heart acknowledges the horrific tragedy and becomes softened in compassion. My heart grows in understanding and willingness to try to find common ground and conversation where the healing can start. My heart is eager to see what this will do to transform the human conditioning of hate. Our hearts must heal and change, never returning to these barbarian ways.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Luke 6:31

I am no expert on politics or scripture, so please forgive my simplified viewpoint. We are meant to love unconditionally, whether we think of someone as the enemy or not. We are meant to love beyond those who love us. It is speaking of performing an action, it is not passive. Do unto others. Doesn’t that unequivocally give us a responsibility to act? Jesus presents us with A CALL TO ACTION. You do not need to be a Christian to understand that this is a very clear request to have compassion for others. A moral code that benefits human kind. That’s what I’m hearing.

But wait a minute, I already do enough…

I remember fundraising for the World Wildlife Federation in my early teens canvassing around neighbourhoods. I noticed a particular attitude as I approached many front doors. When asked if they would like to help a particular cause or another or another, I got back “We already do enough.” Really? If it wasn’t happening in our own backyard, it didn’t matter whether the issues were environmental, political, racial or moral. We were unaffected. The over all attitude was that if it doesn’t directly affect me, I really don’t care. Apathy at its worst. Even if it doesn’t directly affect us, we are meant to care and act accordingly. I don’t think we can turn away from the glaring social, civil and environmental issues we are all facing in this current time in history. Now that it’s in our backyards, perhaps we will pay attention and do more than just enough.

He himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. Ephesians 2:14

I write in the spirit of inclusiveness, and non judgement. I write about the injustice done to multitudes of people. I take a risk at being judged. I do not like religion. I love God. The house of God dwells inside our compassionate hearts. I keep my eyes focused on the goal. I see that there should be no division between us. There should be no hostility between us. We should have no barriers between us. We should be in peace and at peace together. Because we have been given the gift of compassion, there is no room for divide. There are no laws and regulations regarding peace and love. The law is love, the law is peace. In this we have freedom and are one together. Undivided! Oneness!

My Brothers & Sisters and Our Hearts Call To Action.

So to my brothers and sisters in every city, I love you, I feel you, and I understand. I know we have so much in common. I know there is more we have alike then different. No matter where we are from, or what we do, or what colour our skin is, or who we choose to love, we are alike. We all have suffering. We all have longings. We all need love. We all want to give love. We all are seeking truth. We all want to know the reason for our existence. We are all sons and daughters.

So as I try to sort out my feelings on all of this, I review this heck of a month, and this heck of a life. We’ve been on a long and tumultuous roller-coaster ride. There has been a lot of pushing dirt uphill, and a lot of trying to carry the grand piano alone. But we actually are in this together. We get to look inward at our motives and review how we treat each other. We have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters and future generations to break the patterns of prejudice. We must begin to heal our own hearts, so we can dwell in peace.

It begins here in my living room, as I ponder my heart. It begins in this conversation over a cup of coffee or breaking of bread. It begins in the actions I choose to take every day with my eyes fixed upon what we are building together. It begins with an open honest discussion where I have failed you at times, where I was believing a lie of separateness. It begins with ONE HEART. I’ll start with mine, you start with yours, and I’ll meet you here.

 

 

Naked And Unashamed

So if you really saw the true me, would you still think I’m cute/pretty/beautiful (AKA, pruteeful?) I already knew the answer when I was a little person, and it was a big fat NO.

What do we identify as  beautiful? Shouldn’t it be the honest, raw, unaffected self, guts and courage and truth? I got really sick and tired of trying to keep up with the stories I invented to keep everyone “kind of” loving me. I was literally sick from it, in my youth, downing bottle after bottle of whatever I could just to be brave enough to blind myself from seeing any remnant of the true me. As I grew numb, I cared less. A whole lot less. I cared about nothing. I felt nothing. I was free, at a price, in the death of drowning from a bottle of poison. Don’t get me wrong, there were many wonderfully grand times as well, it all depended on the motive behind what I was doing. What was I running from? What was I hiding? Who was I killing? Why did I hate myself so much that I didn’t want to hang out in my own company?

The main point was that my authentic self had been bruised early on. That part was not my fault. It was not your fault either. It was just unlucky.The authentic self of me barely had a chance to form before it was stifled, judged, constrained, criticised. That was enough to stunt the development of authenticity, and breed superficiality and creative role play for survival. A role play game using real people, real feelings, real situations as my actors on my stage. That part was my fault, but I didn’t know it.  I thought that’s what everyone was doing. Weren’t you? I thought that not being authentic was the only real way to stay alive. No one was ever really themselves, because either they didn’t know what that was, or more likely, it had been taught out of them early as it had for me. Or so I thought.

I couldn’t know something was wrong that I thought was real life.  The roles I was playing were real to me. It’s what I thought humans did in order to survive. Maybe some of you did. I just know for a fact that I did. I had to. I had no other choice, and if I did, I didn’t know there were choices. I was just living… Well, surviving.

I did survive, barely. And so did you, barely, and I am sorry that I took you into my green room and kidnapped you, holding you hostage to act in my dramas with me, if you in fact, were actually “living ” and minding your own business and not actually choosing  to be cast in some Teenage Off Off Off Broadway production of mine. I’m sure I owe many of you amends. Please allow me to make them.

I just know that acting and making up fantasies was a heck of a lot easier than being real. It was a heck of a lot safer for me, and I thought that I was being a creative human. I just forgot that I was acting out a drama that was messing up actual lives. Mine not excluded, and yours definitely included. A few black comedies, but I had more aptitude for tragedies unfortunately.

So what is it that made this human so terrified of being seen? Was I living out the story of Adam and Eve? Like Adam and Eve who freely ran naked in the garden until they had the realisation that they were naked, and all of a sudden naked felt shameful. “Naked and  ashamed!” I related to that. I was ashamed for who I was. I always felt naked, and many times ashamed. Society fueled our negative self-image creating ideals of perfection that don’t even exist, dosing us with fast food, fear and consumerism to counteract the shame, perpetuating it on and on ad infinitum. Adam and Eve were awesome, beautiful and  free, and they knew it. Until they didn’t. Until they lost it. Until they thought that they weren’t. Until the enemy inside started lieing to them, placing doubt in their hearts about their authentic selves.  Until they felt that they had to hide from each other, themselves and God (their inner self, their heart, their love).

The enemy inside us affects us in the same way over and over again. Our soul goes to battle, against society’s standards of acceptability, conformity, consumerism, greed, apathy, illusion, delusion, illness, until and not excluding death. It makes us feel we are not even ok, never mind beautiful, awesome or free, the enemy makes us feel that we need to cover up and hide our true selves. Complete Soul Assassination, Spiritual Separation, Self Annihilation. 

Not unlike Eve may have felt, for me the shame game was on. And shame won. Not only was the inside not to be looked at, but the outside needed serious work as well. How could a young girl, with nothing but apparent innocence and beauty only see ugliness? Only hear a monster in her head, and see a terror in the mirror? Naked and ashamed. That was it. Through and through. Shame became the label that I identified myself with. Shame became my badge, and I was waving that flag. Identifying with the image, the actions I took followed and I lived immersed in acting out the lie. The story of my life became a full-scale production, lights, camera, action, an exact reenactment of the first draft when the seed of shame and self-doubt was planted. The seed of the lie. The “not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not talented enough, not rich enough, not cool enough, on and on enough” lie is what ended up ruling my life. It almost ruined my life, it definitely sabotaged my life until I woke up, and realised that I actually wanted LIFE.

I WANTED TO LIVE. Fully embracing all of life, and all the majesty in it, glorified in its jagged perfection of the past, present and future. As it is, unashamed, unapologetic and raw.

So I came to see that my open, honest, courageous truths that I thought were too frightening and ugly to share, in fact have proven to be the most beautiful parts of me.

 No one is cast in my productions anymore, I am not the stage manager, I’m not even an actor at all. I am a warrior for love because I have everything my heart wants, I am love. My spirit is awakened, I’ve heard the calls, and I have a soul on fire.

In its essence, truth is unashamed. Truth is naked… Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, the Princess and the Toad, the stories of so-called ugly misunderstood characters are transformed into beauty, their outward falsities transformed into truth, the ultimate love story that we owe to ourselves. These characters are testament to what is truly beautiful, when they were to be truly witnessed as their hearts were all along.

So, real beauty does exist, in its ultimate truth, the surrendered heart in its ultimate nakedness, baring all…

And I saw myself naked.

And I accepted the ugly beauty that I am.

And I told myself my truth, and became a real person. 

And I learned to love myself as I am. The jagged, raw, honest, naked and unashamed princess that all true fairy tales are made of.

I Don’t Talk Politics Or Religion…Or Do I?

Politics, Religion, War, Poverty, Injustice, Greed, Apathy, Abuse, Corruption, Closed-mindedness, Fear, Consumerism, Wastefulness, Separation, Denial, Suicide.

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Maurice Sendak’s Classic, Where The Wild Things Are

Those words reflect a sad view of the human condition. What has this world come to? What have humans evolved into? Wilder beasts than the scariest of stories.

“The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another.”

To summarise Maurice Sendak’s wonderful classic story, Max’s mother thought Max was being a naughty boy. After going to bed without his supper, Max found himself in a dream like state, where he witnessed wilder beasts than himself, and at some point after teeth gnashing and terrible roars from the Wild Things, with great courage, he asked them to “Be Still!” Max became respected as the most Wild Thing of all. He became the King of the Wild Things. Yet, this sense of purpose was not what he truly wanted in his deepest heart. He only wanted to be accepted, and had the realisation that  his yearning for acceptance was not born out of respect from intimidation and fear, but out of pure, unconditional love. “Max, the King of all Wild Things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”

All of those words at the top of the page represent the human condition of not feeling loveable enough, not being good enough, not feeling a part of anything, not feeling important enough, therefore leading us to places and beliefs and ways of life that only lead us to the exact state of being that we don’t want, and that we abhor in others, and ourselves, like Max.

If I read that top list of characteristics, I get a nasty feeling in my gut. Surely I am not like that. Surely I am the exception to this malady of humankind. In some ways, perhaps. I don’t start wars, I try not to be greedy, I am aware of what I’m purchasing at the shops, I recycle, I try to self evaluate so that I am not in denial, I am kind to others, and I help old ladies in the shops if they can’t reach something or read a label on a soup can. So, I’m all good, right?

I stay away from politics, and I believe in God, but from a spiritual centred place, not in a “rules and regulations thou shalt not” kinda way. Yet I feel that I am meant to speak about these things that I apparently have nothing in common with.

Mainly, I don’t want you to think badly of me, because I really care about what you think. I don’t want to be judged, because, believe me, I learned a long time ago how to judge you. I was taught early on how to stand in a position of defence … Yet I say I am not a believer in War. So how come I have placed myself in the middle of a war, just by caring too much what you think of me? Obviously this is an individualistic, singular perspective of the internal war, the internal battlefield,  as opposed to the “big time blow ’em up” war involving countries, or even the world at large. What’s the difference?

Is there a difference in the wars we create, and the battles we personally face on a daily basis, and the world’s act of war?

Because I care so much about what you think of me, it can tear me up inside, it can lead to other ailments besides a defensive stance, it can lead to the biggest of all human dilemma, FEAR.

Fear is what drives all of these conditions. Politics thrives on instilling fear into the public at large, making false promises to keep us safe from the bad guys, pointing out who the bad guys are, meaning that we are somehow the good guys. Who gets to decide that? Again, we are judging a whole people from a black and white perspective of good and bad, right and wrong, just because they live somewhere else, and wear different clothes, and build different temples or mosques or churches. So there we are, involved in politics, judging the world based on some fundamental beliefs systems that make us right, and them wrong.
Old School Organised Religion (O.S.O.R. I just made that up!)  has given God a really bad rap over the years as well, because of the authoritarian perspective of separation, of alienation, of original sin (as if we are all bad inherently, and just have to try to become less bad. This is a really flawed theory I think, and only feeds the sickness of the soul we grow to have from our separation from our fellows), of bad and good, and mainly because of the reflection many pose as doing God’s work, in the name of God, as they kill anyone who is not agreeing with them. That is not an act of God, that is an act of man, of MAN IN FEAR.
I am not a politician, and I am not a preacher, and I am not a war monger, but I am a human being. I get to play whatever role in this tragedy, or comedy or masterpiece that I choose… That depends on me. I don’t want to try to get into the politics of the world, I don’t want to try to begin to talk about religion, but I do feel that I can talk about the human condition, because I do qualify for that. As we all do.
So, I am guilty of having greed, I can get into thinking of myself too much, and I can lose focus on the important things when I get wrapped up in what I want, and what I don’t have. We know that the world is still suffering greatly with millions of people in need of basic life essentials and it’s easy to remove this from our awareness when we get busy in our lives, and like a horse with blinders, we sometimes only see whats in our own back yard. The first step for change from where I sit today, is to see that the greed of one culture, is creating and perpetuating the poverty of another. That does not sound “fair” to me, as equal lives on this globe, we all deserve the basic human rights of food and water. So, I get to think about that, and feel that, and see what responsibility I have in all of it.Then I get to act accordingly.
When I can see that we are all the “same” in that we are all unique, individually beautiful creations, then I feel more able to see you, and be able to help you. We are all a part of the tribe of humanity. When I get out of myself and stop focusing on whether or not you are judging me, as I judge you judging me, then I can get in a place of complete love with you. I can feel the connection we share, the life that we both bring, and then can have fascination by the different views you may have to mine. It’s refreshing, and often illuminating and life altering.

So I choose to be open-minded, I choose to be empathic, I choose to be compassionate, I choose to be giving, I choose to be caring, I choose to be proactive, I choose to be a warrior for light and love, justice and equality.

I don’t want to commit slow soul suicide, which is death in itself. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to help this planet be a little better and brighter because of me. I am writing this as all of us. The “I” in this story is Us. Together, united, healing the planet in one smile, one step, one decision, one surrender at a time.

Our Scars Tell Our Story

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

None of us are perfect, but we are all beautiful.

Have you ever messed something up so bad that you didn’t think there was ever going to be a way to fix it? Maybe you made choices in your life that you thought were right at the time, only to find that they weren’t? Or you made blatant choices that you knew deep down were not right, but you didn’t care? Have you ever been in desperation? Have you ever felt that there was no way out of the pain that you were in? Have you ever hit the bottom of your soul, only to have the bottom drop even further? If not, I am surprised that you are even human.
As much as the isolation creeps in when we feel we have messed up, or failed in some way, the most painful part is that feeling of loneliness. That feeling of complete despair, as if we are the only one that has ever been through what we are going through. That feeling of hopelessness, and unworthiness can not only freeze us in our tracks, but can propel us to make even more bad decisions if we stay in the place of shame. Shame is an incredibly debilitating emotion, that serves no one. There is a big difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is necessary to our growth, because it is our barometer of right and wrong action, our conscience, or that still, small voice. Shame is what happens when we identify with the guilt as a description of who we are. It becomes our identity, our label, and we begin to live from this place of shame. If we begin to believe we are bad, or we are evil, then naturally our actions will follow that statement, thus perpetuating the cycle of behaviour that is hurting us and others in our midst.
I’m not implying that we all are walking around with guilt or shame all the time, but I would be surprised if you haven’t experienced either of these. I think it is one facet of being human, and a good place to start sorting out how to live truly awake, truly alive. Shackled by shame keeps us dead, keeps us living the lie we keep telling ourselves to who we are. Eventually we can forget that bright-eyed child we once were, who saw life through amazement and wonder. We forget that we are beautiful, scars and all. We didn’t know that in these moments of despair, we have the greatest opportunity to grow, and to heal. When we surrender to the absolute human-ness we possess, and know that everyone makes mistakes, of varying sizes and we will all make mistakes again. We will see the same old story come around for ourselves if we don’t seize the opportunity to know ourselves through these hardships.
Not only can these errors in our lives teach us about ourselves, bring us into our hearts, but the best part about it is that when we do learn and grow from our pain, we have an amazing gift to give someone else. Compassion. We let them know that they are not alone. What we have done has been done before, and someone has suffered as greatly as you are. Others have overcome the guilt and the shame and have become a success in their lives because of it. They have inspired and transformed those lives that were without hope.

So let’s let the light in. Let’s be courageous in our searching for the truth of ourselves. Let’s love ourselves and forgive ourselves of what we have done. Let’s not forget the past, but find a way to give it away. Let’s express with our unique creative voice what our story is. We all have one, and it is uniquely ours, scars and all.