Shadows and Sunshine….

Shadows among sunshine,  Sunshine laced with shadows that follow. Arm in arm these two phenomena are inseparable.

June 2014 shortly after my 26th birthday I had ink etched into my skin. Marking as usual a momentous shift within. Inside and Outside. It reads, “Oh, what a life I’ve been given”

A statement I wear on my forearm – loud but not always proud. Many many times since then i’ve doubted my choice to etch such a prominent and visible reminder to myself and the world of the life I’ve been given. There is no regret….only curiosity as I ponder why….why this statement, what does it truly mean, and how do I wear it with pride?

A gift I’ve been given. A gift both received with open hands and smiles, but also likened to the gift you force a smile receiving. Saying thank you through gritted teeth and thinking, no, this isn’t what I wanted but being grateful anyway.

One day I sat on the bus heading to see my therapist. I sat with the realisations that I have a story to write, and that I desire for it to be in book form. I feel the sense of having to write, because i HAVE to, it seeps from me like a puncture you cannot find….and also because I have a willingness to share….

I want to share the wisdom I’ve learnt along the many paths I’ve traveled. You might not be ready and that’s OK too. The seeds I plant will grow in time. I am confident in this.

So what a life I’ve been given. Is the theme….a returning focal point. MY anchor. Deeply grounded in the seabed of gratitude. A culture of hating and embracing simultaneously the cards we are dealt along the journey of life.

People often ask me when I am in the public eye…..usually out of the blue “what does your tattoo say?” It is a cursive font and not easily read. I like it that way, although it prompts people to ask…..I guess that was one of my intentions. To engrave a conversation piece into my skin, for those rainy days…..a direct line into authenticity.

And when people ask me…..I usually spend many moments flustered and in panic, squirming in my skin trying to avoid answering, or getting clarity on whether I share truthfully or not. Do I have that right? To share deeply or to politely decline. Most people in my reflection will not expect what is about to arrive on their doorstep. Is it fair to deliver that without making sure they are ready?

One woman as I sat waiting for my therapist, coincidentally as I’d just finished writing this….these reflections….asked me within 30 seconds of my sitting down. “what does your tattoo say?” and as I squirmed in my chair, my uncertainty clearly visible she responded “”Oh, you don’t want to share?”

I had just written the opening piece to this story, what you have just read. I was still sitting with the question of whether this was something I want to share and how do I wear what I’ve etched into my skin with pride and strength, free from the silence of shame?

As I write this, I still don’t know the answer. Nor have I mastered this placement. I wonder if I ever will. We are always assessing what we are comfortable sharing in the public arena. I guess it stands. We don’t always have to share when we are asked. We should never feel pressured to divulge details with those who ask…..in fact the next lesson I am learning deeply from this is the act of discernment.

The desire to capture the wisdom absorbed from my journey is strong.

Funny that the desire rises when I am in the middle of the city. The public aura. Participating and feeding upon the hustle and bustle of peopel and movement. Rather than sitting alone at my desk, swayed and influenced by emotions and thoughts that crash upon my soul like tidal waves.

I have to honor my mentors and guides. The wisdom already paved that has served me well, and continues to do so. Torches in the night that illuminate what needs to be seen in order to navigate forward.

Life is not linear. Nor are any of our stories. Our minds replicate the spiral and we must learn to swing from it and upon it, with it alongside gratitude. Trust, faith, graititude, love, self reflection, responsibility, grief and loss, growth and accumulation.

I am far from perfect. Yet perfect in my imperfections.I take comfort in the shadows that follow me, attached and ever present but always changing. Morphing with perspective.  Shadows that have kept me warm, even the shadows which have gifted me coldness taught and strengthened me.

MY story is about finding passion. Speaking dearly of purpose and mission in ones life. The importance of finding this gem and polishing it like never before.

Holding tight to your dreams and visioning for a future you truly want. Our rational and controlling minds will always sweep those under the carpet at any chance it is given! Influenced by a society in need of healing and struggling to make ends meet. Taught to stay inside the box and punished for trying to climb out. The Matrix….unplug and reconnect with our true selves and divine power.

What am I learning from shame? How do I truly embody gratitude for abuse, trauma and suffering gifted to me in this lifetime?

I must not neglect the healing and happiness within my life either. Although my focus tends to naturally draw towards tough and challenging life experiences, it is because I allow these to fill me with a joy and appreciation. It is all about perspective and how we embrace our experiences that matter in the end.

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