This is the door you’ve feared to open. It is the door you must walk through. The way will be dark but I promise you the only true (redeeming) light is to be found on the other side of that darkness. You cannot lock away the darkness, for it will stay inside of you and eat at you. All of us must confront the things we locked away in childhood, the things that warped us and made us grow up into people we never wanted to be.
I was looking at stock photos on MS Word today, and so many of them made me think “Oh God, I want to be there.” And every single image I saw that elicited that response from me was of something from the natural world. A flower, impossibly complex and beautiful. A panda in the wild, staring at me with eyes that were windows into a soul not so different than yours or mine. A stretch of forest in peak autumn colors. The sky surrendering the sun into the sea for the evening.
This is where I wanted to be, with nature. Pretty much anywhere. How few of us have the privilege to spend much of our lives in communion with it. How few of us have the time to appreciate it as we drive through our busy lives in order to acquire and build the very things that are destroying all that we should hold most dear.
We have seriously screwed up, people. As I continued to look through images while caged within the confines of my workspace, I was reminded of the joy and awe that I was able to experience as a child who had the time and the opportunity to witness even the simplest of nature’s wonders. A picture of robin’s eggs in a nest built upon the limb of a blossoming tree, small symbols of the overwhelming renewal of spring.
This was our lives once upon a time. This is the environment we were created for. Not just on vacation. Not just on the weekend. We were meant to live our lives in nature. We ARE nature. When we cut ourselves off from her, we cut ourselves off from ourselves. Our true selves are locked in a dark room, afraid to even whisper. And yet that we are aware of that truth, though we do not permit it to enter our thoughts.
We have cut ourselves off from the songs of birds. We do not witness the awesome experience of a sunrise. We do not really understand what the word awesome once meant. We use the word to describe pizza now.
We do not know nature. We do not know the home that was made for us, that we were made for. We look to the stars as though we were explorers, never admitting we are not running to but running away. We fancy it a great and grand goal to be able to escape the environment we’ve very nearly destroyed.
Put away your fanciful notions—you will die on this planet. You and everyone you know will die on this planet. The question is will you ever truly live on it? Because you cannot truly live when the better part of you sits in the darkness of fear and repression. Society has taught you its trauma and you have incorporated it into your being and will pass it on to your children, and they to theirs, until someone is willing to open that door and face the pain. That which does not kill you will make you stronger, but first you must feel it. You must be willing to let it touch you. You must open yourself up to it when for your entire life you’ve allowed yourself to believe it does not exist at all.
We have to accept what we have done if we ever want to change for the better. What we have done because we have allowed others to tell us that's the way the world works. That murder is okay if you can justify it, that polluting our Earth is okay if someone makes money from it. We have to accept what has been done to us if we ever want to be free of it. And we can’t just do that with our intellect, we have to open up our deepest selves to it. Otherwise we are kidding ourselves to the grave.
We’ve got to set aside all our distracting and comforting beliefs, our looping programs that are triggered whenever discomfort creeps up in us. We have to let go of all the crap society has told us and just feel. We have to feel Hiroshima. We have to experience its full horror without trying to rationalize it. We have to feel centuries of slavery. We have to feel the Holocaust, the rape of Nanking, the Armenian Genocide, the Massacre of the Congo. Feel it. Feel all the horrors humans are capable of. Not to fellow humans only but to every living thing. Admit the horrors of factory farming. Acknowledge how it must feel to work at an animal processing plant, see yourself as that person operating the bulldozer that is tearing down a forest while an orangutan tries to step between the machine and its home. Feel it, admit it, let it inside, because that is what you and I and us are.
We are the ones polluting our rivers and streams, killing the life of the oceans themselves. It is not them, it is not the system, it is not the government it is not the corporations it is not capitalism or communism or men or white people or the Chinese or the Jews or the Trump supporters or the liberals. Don’t blame it on the powerful, because we are all the powerful, most of us just refuse to believe it. Most of us choose to lock the belief in the power we have by right of birth away because we have been traumatized. Most of us would rather live our entire lives only half-living because we are afraid to confront the trauma brought upon us. Because the people who caused it were grownups beating the resistance out of children the way it was once beaten out of them.
Just let yourself feel. Open yourself up to the inside voice rather than trying to make peace with the outside voices, those voices that were put inside your brain to silence your own. Whatever you feel is yours, no one can explain it to you. No one can judge you, no one can call you weak for confronting and dealing with that which tried to control you from the outside, which planted its seed in you and tried to make you act according to its example. Finding your own true self may make you think you look weak in the eyes of others, but it is far more important to feel strong in your own skin.
Feel what needs to be felt. Don’t defend, don’t deflect, don’t deny, just feel. It will feel as if there is a wave so great behind the damn of fear you have built that it will crush you, will destroy your entire world.
Let it splash over you. These are your feelings. Don’t deny them. They ARE you. Let it be released. Let YOU be released. As it does rushes over you, it will so completely cleanse your insides that the water will pour out of your eyes. Let the tears flow. Let yourself feel like you have never allowed yourself to feel before. It is healing. It will make you strong. It will make you strong in the way you always tried to be but never really believed you could.
When you open up that door, you are not letting the darkness out, you are letting the light in. You are letting it in so that you will never have to feel that fear again, you will never have to run from yourself or the life you want again. You will never again have to carry around that darkness, that fear, that lie.
You will never have to try to be strong again because the strength will flow through you, a strength greater than any you could ever have summoned through will. You have misunderstood what strength means. You have thought it meant the ability to behave as someone once told you you should if you were to be a man. Or a woman. Or acceptable. Or loved. Strength does not come from the outside, but from the inside. Strength is not achieved by carrying the bull shit of others but by freeing yourself of it. Strength is never again having to defend the stories and the narratives of others.
You will never have to be afraid again, because fear no longer has a place to live within you. You have opened that door where it sought refuge. You have subjected it to the light, and it has withered.
This is the door you feared to open, and it has brought light into the dark places. This is the dark path you feared to walk through, and it has brought you to a light that made all things clear. You are once again a child of nature, in touch with your own nature which cries out for the natural. Your path is clear, your mind is clear, your heart is clear.
You are free.
You are powerful.
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