In 2012 I sat in a big gorgeous cabin in McCall Idaho. I was scared, hurting, confused, shame filled, lost and broken. The large amazingly beautiful original painting of the one you see here by Melody Ross (minus the words), hung on the wall over my head. I felt deeply drawn to it. Although I wasn’t sure why, because at the time the notion of rising from the flames wearing wings seemed as much a fantasy as growing a horn and becoming a unicorn. I suppose it was the flames that called to me. That feeling of a fire sweeping through and taking down everything I thought I had, and everything I thought I was. That resonated, but a me, rising from the flames…nope. At that point it didn’t even feel like there was a me, only flames. I couldn’t have know then that just a few years later I would be hanging a copy of that original art work on my own wall with the words, “Then the RISING”, hand stamped there by me.
A few years earlier life had handed me what Glennon Doyle Melton calls, an eviction notice. It’s a moment, an instant, where life changes so radically that it’s gone…that version of your life, that version of YOU is gone forever, and you KNOW it. Then just like that you are thrust into the wilderness. A place where nothing is familiar, nothing makes sense, and the uncertainty of everything is terrifying. You don’t know where you are anymore, and most especially you don’t know WHO you are anymore. For me it was discovering a deep dark and awful secret. A secret filled with such ugly unimaginable wrongness. For some the moment looks like betrayal; financial ruin; divorce; death of our beloved; losing the job; the fall into addiction; miscarriage; or like me, discovering a once unknown truth that brings with it an almost impossible reality. The list is long and varied, but the destination is the same. The wilderness. That place marked by deep and abiding loss, AND as I eventually learned, also a place pregnant with possibility.
What I learned that day in McCall Idaho was that, held within the wilderness was also an invitation, an invitation to discover, to learn, to grown…to burn down all of the old beliefs and patterns that had stopped serving me, or maybe never had. Stories, beliefs, and lies I had constructed over a life time about who I was, what my worth was – or wasn’t, and what was possible for me.. It was an invitation to let go of those things and to find my way to the RISING of a truer, deeper, stronger more authentic me. To find my way home to myself. And I did, after tremendous hard work, soul deep work…where I looked at the hard truths, dug out lies, and obtained tools to guide and strengthen me in a new healthier way of living and being…I rose from the ashes a truer, braver, more aware, and better equipped authentic version of me.
Along the way I also discovered a few things about RISING. First…it’s hard as hell. It sounds spectacular and heroic when you see it in others, but Sister when you’re slugging through the wilderness it’s hard as hell. It feels endless and there’s not an ounce of glamour in it. I’ve also learned that it’s not a onetime deal. It’s more like a series of rising and falling and rising again. Because if you’re going to be brave with your life, if you’re showing up for your life, you’re going to fall. But here’s the most important thing I’ve learned…it’s is worth every bloody step, every ounce courage, every bit of digging deep, and every moment of facing the fear of uncertainty that it requires. Because there is no comparison to the freedom, joy and peace that comes with learning who you are, who you are not, and what you’re worth, then living from that place. Every step through the wilderness, every fall, every rising brings you closer to your beautiful authentic best self. I believe this possible for all of us. Because I believe in every single fall, in every journey into the wilderness, there is an invitation to rise. No matter who you are, or how vast your wilderness…every one of us can arise a stronger, wiser, truer version of our self.
So to all my sisters in the wilderness, I say…I see you. I see you’re blood and sweat and tears, AND I see your courage. Keep going…look past the fear… and find the invitation. The invitation to your RISING. It’s there and it’s worth every step it takes to get there. And the next time you find yourself in the wilderness, because you will, you will already know how to rise. You are beautiful, you are capable, you are perfectly made…you know how to rise. You are made for rising. Rise beautiful Sister, RISE!!!