Do not fear the darkness, embrace your light. Release what no longer serves your life, release all that has wounded your soul. Change is beautiful. Emerge when you are ready to bloom again.
~ J.V. Manning
I got lost in the beauty of a warm fall day. My thoughts meandering around my mind as the sun warmed my face and my eyes drank in the autumn splendor in my back yard. The sky was an impossible shade of robin’s egg blue with clouds so puffy I imagined sitting on one and just floating around. There was a stillness to the afternoon that made my soul sigh in contentment. Sitting there, with my feet up on the rail of my deck, coffee in hand, I was completely lost to the magic of the moment.
A soft breeze stirred up, bringing that undeniable crisp smell of fall and the colorful leaves started to flutter. All of a sudden the quiet was broken by the sound of falling leaves and the crunching of a passing squirrel on the forest floor. I sat there mesmerized, watching the wind gently shake the leaves free from the trees and float them gently to the ground. Aside from the squirrel and myself, there was no one to see the tree shed parts of itself it no longer needed. It knew that the leaves had served their purpose and now in a beautiful, colorful finale, allowed them to drop from its branches, leaving them bare in their wake.
Every fall the trees lose what no longer serves them and as they drop the leaves from their branches, they seal the empty hole left behind, protectively. Then, they follow a process that protects them from the elements and settle into themselves for the long winter months. It is within these long, dark and cold winter months that the trees do the real work. Healing and strengthening from the inside. Knowing instinctively the work needed to be done for them to grow and bloom once again.
The bright and stunning colors are autumn’s way of showing us that change can be beautiful.
My eyes followed a leaf as it floated to the ground, landing softly on the vibrant pile surrounding the base of the trunk and my mind wandered to all I have shed over the past few years. I’ve exuviated so many things that no longer serve my soul and how beautiful, if not incredibly exhausting, the journey had been.
So much of that journey, no one knows about. No one knows how much I have lost, how much healing and strength it has taken; no one knows how brave I have been and how incredibly lonely it was. No one knows how much I have released and how I have had to cauterize more soul wounds than I even thought possible. No one knows how very much I wanted to quit at times. No one really can appreciate how much I have confronted, made peace with and healed from. We all have our private, inner journeys that no other soul, however close, can be a part of. Until it’s over and we are stronger and more confident; willing to use our journey to help others along on theirs and we become brave enough to speak our truths, the inner work remains unseen by those around us.
With each leaf that fell, I attached something I had released.
There has been little fanfare to all I have accomplished in the past twenty years. Our inner journey doesn’t make the front page. There are no celebratory moments to receive accolades and praise. Just that quiet knowing at the end of the day that you are one step closer to being whole. How our lives transform is the confirmation of our success. How we live in the “after.” How we love again, breathe a little freer and how we help others. It’s that inner knowing that you have released what was no longer a part of your soul and just as the trees do to the hole left behind by the falling leaf, you sealed the wound and focused on your healing. Then were brave enough to come out of the darkness, focused on what it was going to take for you to get to the next chapter in life.
Either you change in life or you don’t. You can cling to what no longer serves you because it’s known, or you can shed the old ways to make room for new growth. Some changes do not require anything more than us consciously deciding to let go of something. Then there are deep, penetrating soul wounds that we must address. We cauterize the wounds with knowledge and lessons learned and we pull in on ourselves to heal. The brave ones will bloom again when they are ready, just at the trees that make it through the winter do in the spring.
At that moment, sitting there watching the leaves fall away, I realized how very much my life resembled the cycle of trees. They find their strength, not in the bright summer months when water and the sunshine are plenty but within the dark, cold winter months after shedding all the armor of the leaves, down to the very bare essence of themselves. Our real work is done in the dark, lonely moments when we pull in on ourselves to face the monsters of experience, standing bravely within our own inner light to do the work needed to heal and move on. When we strip ourselves down to our very essence to rebuild our lives again whole and complete, releasing all that no longer serves our happiness we find our spring. Our time of new growth.
While our inner journeys are often dark, cold, lonely and confusing, they are necessary and beautiful in their own right. Appreciate all you have released in those quiet moments when no one was around. Acknowledge all the work you have done and continue to do every single day. The accolades will be found in a life well lived. Be brave and grow again. Strip to the very essence of you and focus on what it is going to take for new growth in you and in your life.
Do not fear the darkness, embrace your light. Release what no longer serves your life, release all that has wounded your soul. Change is beautiful. Emerge when you are ready to bloom again. For with each kernel of truth you embrace, you plant a seed of healing. Eventually, all will come together and the seeds of change will bloom vibrantly from within.
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