“And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”
– Mumford & Sons, “After the Storm”
There lives beside me an old weathered woman who experiences herself only as a burden. The weight of her body hangs around my neck both as an albatross that pulls me down and as a noose that strings me up; the irony. Like Cinderella, nothing that she can do is good enough, so she works harder. She lives a life rife with pain, sadness, loneliness and misery.
Broken from so many years of toil without any harvest, her eyes are downcast and empty. The rags that she calls clothes hang from her body, muddy, torn and tattered. On her hands she wears the callouses and blisters from all of the work she must do to in punishment for her crimes against humanity. As a beast of burden, she is yolked and on her hunched shoulders she carries the shame of my mistakes, my errors, my imperfections – the things about myself that I do not want to see. These burdens have aged her more than 20 years beyond my own physical body.
When I turn to see her in the light, she quickly looks away trying to hide her eyes in shame. She draws her shoulders forward in an effort to make herself unseen. It is now that I know what I must do to bring her back into life.
Sitting in stillness, I open my heart to this woman through my compassion. In my mind’s eye, I place her inside a bubble, setting her atop a beautiful and perfect lotus flower. I fill the bubble with the golden green light of my heart chakra. Being surrounded and infused with unconditional love, her countenance begins to immediately turn around.
Her metamorphosis is more stunning than that of Cinderella. She blossoms beautifully in this new light. Her yoke vanishes while her rags are replaced by colorful silks. Light sparkles from her eyes and her back straightens, no longer deformed and burdened. Her hands soften while her shoulders relax. A soft smile graces her lips as our eyes meet.
I no longer see her as separate from me; no longer is she a caricature of my unwanted parts. The bubble begins to disappear and the lovely woman, Grace, moves into her place in my heart. Once separated, we are now one.
This, for today, is my process of reintegration. Tomorrow, I will find other pieces of me that have been left out in the elements to weather. By opening my heart in love to those pieces, once identified, I bring them back into me. With each bit of myself that I love, I have more love and compassion to share with others.
I encourage you to find a way that is authentic for you to begin to identify and love the ostracized parts of yourself. They may feel hurt, afraid, lonely, sad or angry. What they really need is your love, the gift of which only you can truly give to them.
Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography @ Freedigitalphotos.net