In the past year I have come to terms with my sexuality. I have faced the end of my marriage. I have had affairs. I have fallen into a love unlike any I have never known and I have had my heart broken. I am now raising my young daughter on my own and preparing to go back to school. Everything is different than I ever imagined. I feel very strong, and filled with passion, but unanchored to anything. I want to be powerful, creative and connected to my center but I am lost and disconnected from myself. Where do I go to find myself? How will I know that I’ve arrived?
As women we often anchor ourselves to all the solid things around us. And then, without warning, we find ourselves in a place where nothing is certain. There is no longer anything to tie ourselves to. Nothing to create an illusion of security in an insecure world.
This is the time to find the anchor within ourselves.
Grab a mirror. Look at yourself until it begins to feel uncomfortable. Until you want to turn your head. Fix your gaze on the woman who looks back. Now look past the surface and see all the women inside her. Name your motherline. All the strong women who have come before you. All the women who have lived through their own personal hells and joys.
Your sweet grandmother. Your amazing mother. Your own fierce self. Meditate on each one, their strength and what they passed to you. Honor all that they have given to bring you here, all that you have given to become who you are.
Now take that overwhelming passion inside you and harness it.
It is valuable and true and you have spent too long offering it to everyone but yourself. Gather the energy and nurture the spark that lives within. This is divine creatrix power. This is the birthplace of all creation. Pull in everything that you have always given to others and hold it close. Coax it to the surface. Claim it as your own. Hold it in your center until you hum with it. Until it burns. Until it begins the necessary process of distilling you down to your essence. Your core. Your one true thing. You.
Now you are ready to really begin.
There is no prescribed path. No steps I can give you to deliver you to some neatly anticipated outcome. But we begin with a question.
What brings you to your center, to the root of you?
If you don’t yet know (and it’s okay if you don’t) you will have to try and try and try until you find it.
Get messy. You can do yoga and dance and write and meditate to dubstep until the beat pounds through your bloodstream. Get out the paint and canvas and markers and glitter and glue and see what comes.Hula hoop until your hips spin with enough energy to recreate the universe. Spray paint the truth of your heart across your living room wall. Go deep into the heart of the natural world. Get hopelessly lost and then perfectly found in the middle of the deepest forest or put on your best boots and drive somewhere the streets hold no memories and walk until you find yourself. Talk to the birds and wild beasts. Scream at the sky. Change everything. Write and write and write until you cry. Cry and cry and cry until you’re empty. Find a downtown club and dance till you sweat and ache.
Strip yourself down. This is not a one-time thing.
Here's the truth. It’s going to be uncomfortable.
You’ll move in and out of truth and peace and beauty and breakdown. You’ll want to run away from yourself. You’ll want to run toward the first thing that offers external comfort. But hold steady. Just like you’d want a lover to do. Nurture that inner fire. Stay there. Right there.
Bring it home.
This journey lasts until the end of your life. You will find yourself over and over again, and the woman you discover will be both new and familiar every time. You’ll know. And then you’ll forget. You’ll feel just as lost and without anchor as you do right now. But you’ll begin to see the beauty in the middle of the broken pieces. Each time it will get easier and easier to remember.
Easier and easier to find your way back to the purest essence of you.
Every time you lose your way, just come back to the mirror. Face yourself again. See the woman who gazes back at you, with all that she has and all that she’s lost along the way. Learn to recognize her truth and beauty and wisdom. Greet her with kindness. Offer her love and thank her for her wisdom and service. Smile slowly.
And begin again.[hr]
The piece above originally appeared, in edited form, in the first issue of Amulet Magazine.
Uncommon Sense is an ongoing series where I respond to comments and questions that stir my heart. They arrive by email, by text, by comment. They speak to something universal in me, and my response comes quick and sure. If you have something stirring in your heart and would like me to respond – please send me your message. I cannot respond publicly to all messages, but I do promise – with everything that I have – that I will honor it and keep it safe.