I am finally learning at age 45, to accept life in all its forms. I struggle with anger and anxiety, but can hold myself in these spaces with grace. I can be present with my friends and family without feeling like I need to flee. I can breathe through the moments of grief and pain like I would comfort a small child who wants only to be held. I can acknowledge myself with all my flaws, beauty and complexity, and honor the individual that I am.
All of this I accomplished in small, slow, baby steps.
I have come to understand the inherent wisdom that is gained through walking and surviving the dark sides of life. Without darkness, there is no light, without pain there is no love. We all long for peace, love and serenity, but until we’ve danced and held our own shadow, the avoidance of these experiences will forever be a road block to cultivating inner light.
Walking on the earth, hugging a tree, sitting in my garden with the plants I care for, smelling essential oils that life my spirit, these are all the ways I sooth my soul. Reaching out to others for love and support, a milestone that has been daunting, is also essential to my soothing. For without this, I am just a lonely person surrounding by a planet full of people.
We are meant to be kind and compassionate to the parts of ourselves we do not like. We are meant to live in love, together as one community. I’m not sure which comes first, community or self-love, but it really doesn’t matter. Start with one and then move on to the other. Learn to love and adore who you are. Learn to share your shining light with those around you. Take a baby step each day towards your own self-acceptance. And in doing so, feel your heart with all its pain and beauty.
Let your humanity sing.
Photography by April Aronoff