“You must give up the life that you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
I’m lagging somewhat in updating this story. Each time I sit down to write, flicking through my journals to the notes about memorable occasions that I made on specific dates, I feel an uncomfortable knot in my midriff. It’s a combination of “Darn, that happened four months ago, I should have written this sooner”, “Can I recapture the essence of the moment?”, and a discomfort about reflecting on the past.
But my hesitation in writing is also more than dragging the past back into the present, I realise, as I sit here staring at the screen. It’s really about having the courage to share the journey through the inner landscape as well as the outer – to document the journey not only through India but the journey through the territory that lies outside my comfort zone. Many people have said that I’m very brave and courageous to be travelling around India on my own. I think I take that outer bravado and courage for granted somewhat. For me, it’s the inner bravery and courage to face my own being, and to allow the changes to happen there so that I can gently become my best version that takes all my courage.
“Step over the edges of your comfort zone.
Look around. This,… this is where the magic happens.”
Roughly five months ago I sat on this veranda while learning my Reiki Level II. Just over a week ago, I stepped back onto this veranda, and the sense of how different a woman I was hit me. There’s a deep knowing, a ‘something’ that spoke up, that showed me a marker so I could see a difference over the passage of time. Travelling on my own I don’t see it, I’m too deep in the process, but looking out again over the view, I saw my five-month-ago self sat reading her notes. I remembered the feelings of excitement, the trepidation of the unknown, the doubts, the hope,… Even though there are no specific words for it, when I stepped back upon the veranda a week ago there was a blossoming inside. A recognition perhaps. I have changed.
The accumulation of my experiences travelling, alongside the outcome of some intense, deep healing back in February have been chasing me around Rajasthan and Rishikesh. Even though I thought I was allowing them space, it’s only now that I’ve come to a full stop here, blessed with and so grateful for this gorgeous view of the Himalayan foothills rolling away into the horizon, that I’m taking stock and unpacking the mental and emotional backpack that I’ve been carrying.
What’s rising now is the issue of self-expression. Of self-confidence. That not only am I allowed to occupy this Debra-shaped space in the universe, but I am allowed to express myself too. And I find that it’s one of the hardest things. To express, with integrity and personal responsibility the truth that is in my heart and the unique talents that I have. To express them, not because I seek a response of some kind,… but because I owe it to myself. I owe it to the teenager who kept everything inside and wouldn’t speak unless spoken to. I owe it to the young woman who never had the courage to follow her heart and who is now,… finally,… doing something about that. I had to leave the structure of my familiar, my known, in order to start to discover who I am. And even as I type this, I’m shaking my head and thinking, no, it’s not that I necessarily have a problem with expressing myself, it’s that I have a problem with allowing myself to be seen. And heard. And received.
Which is why, I guess, in the midst of the discomfort, I am staring down that old belief by writing and sharing this.
This is what I’m inviting healing into at the present time. This is what I’m opening to, the belief that I do matter, I am a valid part of the universe, I am a cord in the web of many, and what I have to offer, like what you have to offer, is beautiful, and needed, and brings much joy.
When I was in Rishikesh, the Universe guided me to a women’s circle (facilitated by the lovely goddesses at Awakened Spirit Yoga). How to describe a women’s circle? For me it’s an invitation into healing in a sacred space that all of the women present create. It’s a space that is a container to hold whatever arises. It’s a space of sacredness, of opening, of honouring my own being, of connecting and being with myself and others without judgement and with compassion. It’s a space to listen, truly listen and, if I dare, allow my voice to be heard. It’s a space to be held, a space of discovery. It’s a space to share and receive. It’s a space of creativity and truth, of healing and love.
During the circle, a question was posed: What is love to you? There was time to allow the answer, and at the end of the exercise, an invitation to share what had been discovered. I was not in a place to share, feeling vulnerable, disconnected, emotionally fragile. I wanted to be healed from the sidelines. I wanted to be alone in the company. After a few answers had been shared, a woman turned to me and boldly asked “I would like to know what you wrote.”
Universe, you have got to be kidding me. There was nowhere to run.
After a deep breath, I replied, “I’m not really in a space to share at the moment,” begging her with my eyes to understand and leave me be. I can’t remember if she prompted me further, or if, in the spotlight, I caved.
“Love is the security of my hand on my heart.” As soon as I started to speak, my emotions, which I’d been trying to withhold, started to flow. I spoke some more, the details eluding me now, but one thing I do remember saying is “Love is acceptance.”
Love is accepting my fears, my vulnerabilities, just as they are. Love is accepting the parts of myself that I really don’t like and am trying desperately to change because I think that they’re holding me back. Love is accepting that I struggle to express myself, not only in voice, but in sharing the art that I create, the music that flows through me, the skills of healing that I am learning. Love is accepting myself exactly as I am in this moment, without judging my character traits as something undesirable. Love is the security of my hand on my heart as I accept myself.
What I learnt that day was that sharing may be scary but it’s also incredibly rewarding (even if the Universe does have to drag you kicking and screaming to do it) and that so many of us share these same fears. It’s easy to become disconnected in a process, and a humbling relief to be reminded that what you think are your own issues are sometimes not just your own. There is a collective wound to heal. And, as I think of the wisdom shared in that circle by the other sisters, when we share our essence, we not only initiate our own healing but gift others with the inspiration for their own healing too. I know that I was certainly gifted that day. And that we are all spirits on this journey, together.
“Lately I have come to a sort of realization; that this fear of sharing our soul medicine has been embedded generations deep. I think we as women have often confused being humble with being shy, and being confident for being showy or egotistical. I know i have had a hard time dancing the line between sharing myself confidently and feeling like I am showing off, but I have come to realize that the intention behind WHY you do what you do defines you. If i was to share my music with the intention that everyone will think I am so amazing and more talented/better than others, then yes. I would be showing off, and my music would not be healing anyone, it would rather be disempowering others to find their own strength. But, if i instead share my voice with the intention to just share a raw piece of my soul with no expectations of anyone liking it, that raw truth comes out through my music and ends up inspiring and empowering others to work with their own medicines, whatever they may be. I want to extend this idea to you. Share your music with the pure intention (which we all know you have!) to just share it because it heals YOU. Share if you want to because its important for YOUR journey. Share because what lives inside of you can be medicine for others.
I know that when I put in the work to be vulnerable and share what my heart says, I begin to heal not only my own fear, but any fears I’ve carried for the women above me. I know that when we heal ourselves, we heal each other, all the generations before me and the generations yet to come. When we heal fears and traumas that have been carried down, we end the cycle there, and give birth instead to something new. I know that the human race and especially women are rising back to their power, to their collective harmonious strength. We can play a role in this awakening, this remembering, this connection to our highest power when we let the Love of God move within us and express itself as the medicine of our souls. Music is the gift God gave you, please never ever be afraid to share it with the world.”
I invite you to read Kearsley’s story here.
Present location: Gamru, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.