I’ve finally learned what it means to love the clouds and the storms as much as the sunshine – and it hasn’t been as easy as that simple sentence makes it sound. Love isn’t easy, until it is. It takes work, until it doesn’t.
This is something that takes time to understand.
It took me many years to realize this. At first I only understood it from the outside in – it was just a conceptual understanding from things other people had said – but slowly I began to comprehend it from the inside out. Bit by bit I began to reveal the truth from within myself, and that makes all the difference.
It took time. It took time because I, like many others, have known real pain.
I too have been so wounded that even my tears were toxic. I, like so many others, have been let down, abandoned, and bruised. I’ve been kicked around and left lying on the floor of my life, afraid to get back up again after being knocked down time and time again.
I’ve felt real pain, but now I’m beginning to understand. I’m beginning to see how even the struggles are part of the greater plan – and this negates any possible reason to ever again be afraid.
The truth was once masked behind shadows and fog, but eventually the light of awareness will have its way. I once was blind, but now I can see. Now I can see that pain is a messenger – and it can teach you a lot if you aren’t intent on killing it.
The pain was trying to show me the way. It was telling me something about myself. It was showing me the parts of me that needed to be loved. Your pains are doing the same.
This, too, takes time to understand.
It takes time because it requires a coming back home to the self – the self that lives beneath the masks, behind the character, beyond the fear. The self that breathes not air but spirit, that speaks not words but truth, that drinks not water but love.
It takes time because it happens in stages – that steady recognition of oneness, that slow awakening from the physical dream. It takes time to see beyond the disguise of individuality and form to the unity of spirit within. It takes time and a great deal of courage to recognize yourself in another.
Slowly, one step at a time, we begin to see more clearly. One revelation at a time, we step more confidently in the direction of the light. One day at a time, we learn that we are always looking at love and love is looking upon itself. One layer at a time, we strip away the fears that keep us from seeing that all is God and that God is all, until eventually we realize that we’re looking at none other than ourselves.
That moment, when you dare to bridge the great illusory divide between you and the Divine, between the Divine and the world, between you and the world, that moment is when the winds of spirit rise to blow the fog away.
That’s the point of recognition that acts as both beginning and end of a journey, that marks the turning point of each spiral along the infinite staircase of growth. Oneness is the staircase, the climber, and the climb.
With this revelation, it all becomes clear. With this understanding, I began to see what it really means when I experience pain. I am the one who does the hurting as much as I am the one who does the healing. I am the ‘other’ as much as I am the ‘self’. I am the wound and I am the elixir. I am the observer and I am the observed. And so are you.
It takes time.
It takes time to make peace with the truth, because the truth is a destroyer of illusion, and illusion can be addictive – but addictive drugs keep us from really living. They blind us and leave us stumbling helplessly along. They sneak in under the pretense of numbing the pain, but all they end up doing is prolonging and multiplying it.
The truth sets us free, but only after it destroys what’s holding us back. First, it has to destroy the belief in separation. It has to dismantle the ideas of ‘us versus them’. It has to wash away the buildup from years of looking at the world as being ‘out there’ and of thinking of the Divine as ‘somewhere up there’. It shakes and rattles the cage, knocking us around as hard as it takes until we finally build up the courage to step out.
This, too, takes time.
But slowly the illusion begins to thin, like an early morning fog facing the heat of the rising sun. Slowly, you start to realize that we’re all characters in the same dream – we’re all aspects of one bigger self. You start to understand. We are all one. We are all one – and the only way to heal one who has been split into many is to acknowledge, accept, and love each part that has been divided.
We’ve all known pain. We’ve all experienced, to some extent, the sense of having exiled a part of ourselves. We exile the parts of ourselves that hurt, that we are ashamed of, that we regret, or that we fear. We push them away in the hopes that, if we just push hard and long enough, they will eventually cease to exist. But this isn’t how it works – healing isn’t about avoiding, ignoring, or pretending but about seeing, accepting, forgiving, and loving.
And as it is on the inside, so it is on the outside.
Once we come to see that we are all one, that we are all exiled parts of the same self, the real healing begins. Once we see ourselves in another, and another in ourselves, we can begin. We can begin seeing, accepting, forgiving, and loving rather than avoiding, ignoring, and pretending.
We can face anger and respond in love by realizing that the anger we’re facing is just another part of the whole that wants to be loved. We can feel pain without lashing out or hiding away by realizing that the pain is just another part of the whole that needs to loved. By looking beyond the flesh and bone to the unified spirit of life within, we can see that we can heal the world by healing ourselves – by committing to a life of acceptance rather than rejection, a life of giving and receiving rather than taking and clinging, a life of love rather than a life of fear.
Pain was never the enemy. The fear of pain, and the way it makes us close our hearts and fervently deny our connection is the enemy – and yet it’s not, for even that just needs to be loved. Pain is just a teacher. It’s the finger that points to a part of ourselves that needs to be felt, that needs to be accepted and loved.
This is how I learned to love the clouds and the storms as much as the sunshine. It was by learning to love myself. It was by learning to love the Divine – not just the pieces that made me comfortable, but also those that helped me learn and those that forced me to see, those that asked me to be courageous, and those that I felt inclined to neglect.
This takes time to understand.
So be patient with yourself, and I’ll be patient with mine too. One step at a time, we will find our way. One pain at a time, we will heal. One soul at a time, the whole will awaken.
It takes time.
© 2017 Cristen Rodgers