I recently met an amazing person. "Met" may not be the right word though, as I've known of her for the last several years. I saw her card in the office of my chiropractor and the local coop. In fact, in a recent summer evening when astrologers predicted northern lights in my area, I met her at the base of a mountain and we shared a headlamp (as I discovered the batteries of mine had died at the base of said mountain). And in fact, my initial reason for contacting her was for my son, not even for me. When it turned out he could not attend the scheduled appointment, I knew it was time to LISTEN. And listen I did.
While most people are cruising in their boats, sipping beers, and waiting to light off fireworks on July 4th - Independence Day - I experienced my own independence day nestled onto a massage table in the office of a Shaman, Reiki Master and Crystal Healer, Jen Knight.
It was during this session that a dialogue came up about independence. Not only was I independent, but I exhibited a fierce independence most likely brought on my by upbringing, growing up an only child among other sorted experiences that I don't need to go into detail about here.
There is so much that can be perceived or projected from those two words:
Fierce having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.
Independent free from outside control; not depending on another's authority.; not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
It was then that I truly settled into this definition of myself. It explains a lot really. At first it was like getting hit in the face with a brick, a new four letter word. But I let the dust settle. I sat with this for a bit and reflected back on how this had played a role in my life.
I have exhibited independence my entire life. It began as a child when I used to wander alone in the woods behind my home or when I would "get into trouble" with cousins when we wandered the Chesapeake Bay every summer when we all visited our grandmother in Reedville, VA. I longed for travel and adventure and envisioned of all the places I would go when I "grew up." I loved National Geographic Magazine, I dreamed of being in the Peace Corps, and pictured myself helping others around the world.
The universe had other plans.
Independence took on another role, that of mother to two amazing boys, and now men. When you become a mother the fierceness inside you grows. You would do anything to protect them and I did, to the point of alienating a lifelong partner thinking I was doing what was "best" for everyone when really I was just draining my energy. This fierce independence was not serving me in its current form. Protective, controlling, rigid, and introverted, entirely focused on the boys to make sure they had the best.
As a women, especially a single mom, which I became when my children were three and eighteen months old, it was so easy to fall into the mode of always needing to take care of myself, and everything around me. While we may justify this with the best intentions, it is really the result of one or both of these things... the EGO's desire to maintain control and/or the FEARS that when things get out of control we have no CONTROL and the you-know-what is going to hit the FAN.
It took nearly seventeen years of companionship, 21 years of motherhood, a lot of self-work, yoga classes, meditation, and healing to figure out a healthier dynamic for the relationships in my life. There are many that I choose to let go of, they no longer server my highest purpose, and others that may be amended in time. We shall see.
But just as I was acknowledging the unnecessary hardships that this characteristic played in my life, I also practiced finding the light in the darkness. Had I not developed a fierce independence would I have been able to move to a new town, all alone with two small boys to help give them a better life? Would I have been able to survive in a patriarchal dominated workforce for 18 years? Would I have had the gumption to start my own business? Would I have the spirit, determination and organization skills to lead life-changing retreats for people all over the world? Would I have had the skills to travel around the world like I do, often alone? Each of those small milestones is a gift onto their own.
So today I share this story because I want to come back to a theme that I am sure you will see in many future posts - the light versus the dark. My son often tells me you can't have the light without the dark, and I agree with that to a point.
Our society is designed to obsess about the darkness. Watch the news if you need this validated. Cynicism is a tool for power and it is easy to fall into a trap of cynicism, darkness and loss of hope about ourselves. But obsession about our "faults" leads down a slippery slope that is hard to recover from.
But, I assure you, you can turn it around anytime.
It all begins with turning to the dark parts of you and finding the light in them. It follows by asking questions about this darkness is it still serving you? Can we reside in the light of our darkest moments to celebrate the characteristics we may call crazy and step freely and fully into the greatness we are and have offer? Not "great" in the sense of ego, but great in the sense of divine radiance knowing that our soul chose this bodily incarnation for a reason.
Don't waste it. I know I won't.
So Happy Fierce Independance Day - let your superhero cape fly!