Updated: Dec 12, 2018
"I'm tired," she moaned.
Walking the path that she had traveled so many times before, carrying heavy loads upon her shoulders. The path's worn grooves and potholes becoming increasingly treacherous with the ever-increasing weight of her obligations.
The skies were dark and loaded with storm clouds. She bent forward as freezing rain pelted her. Shivering, she plodded along. "No one hears me, no one cares that I am in pain. I am alone."
She sat down along the stony path, placing her burdens alongside for the moment. Her feet were blistered and torn, her back aching. "My heart is breaking, my spirit gone. I cannot go on. " She cried into her hands.
She cried until she had no more tears. Her face swollen, body frail, shivering in the gloomy weather she felt small and insignificant in the dark wilderness. But with effort, she got up, strapped on her heavy baggage and trudged on.
"You're lost," whispered the wind through the trees.
"No I'm not," she mumbled. "I've traveled this path over and over. It's very familiar to me. See those well-worn tracks? I've been here over and over again."
A dark creature walked into her path, it's foreboding silhouette outlined by the intermittent glow of the moon beyond the cloudy sky. "Just because you know where you are, doesn't mean you are on the right path." It growled.
"Get out of my way, leave me alone!" she pleaded. "You don't understand. This is the path I chose so long ago. The Others say I must stay on it."
The dark creature seemed to grow with intensity. Snarling and snapping, it lunged forward and knocked her down. With what little strength left for resistance, she screamed out in pain as it attacked her, shredding little of what was left of her dignity. Soon, it grew weary of its folly and left her to die, alone, torn apart, defenseless.
She lay, half-conscious for hours. As the first light of dawn appeared on the far-away horizon, she heard a commanding voice say "Get up! Get up, dear one! Get along, you know what you need to do!"
She rubbed her blurry eyes and asked, "Who's there?"
"I am the Wise One, the one who resides inside." said the voice. "Look up, dear one and hear me out! No one can make this journey except you. But what path you choose is up to you. You can choose to stay on this rocky, lonely painful path or make a different choice. This choice is simple, but you have to choose the right direction for you, not for anyone else."
"How, where? I'm scared! What about all of my obligations, all those along this path that expect me to be here, to stay here? To carry their load? What will they say, what will they do to me if I leave and find another way?"
"Well, what good are you in this state, on this path, to anyone? You are spirit-less and depleted. You cannot carry for others without dropping your own," remarked the Wise One. "You were meant for much greater things than doing the Other's work. But you must claim the life you were meant to live!"
She sat up with this comment, struck with realization. "You're right, they left me for dead! I am nothing to them, but a beast of burden! But I could be so much more. I need to find a better way."
Her eyes brightened, a glimmer of hope touched her soul. She picked herself up and dusted off the dirt and grime. "I can do this," she breathed. "I can heal myself and gather my strength for the journey ahead."
She paused for a moment to consider the heavy load next to her, filled with the Other's obligations. "It's not mine, so I shall leave it for them. I will carry my own, but only my own," she promised herself.
And with a skip in her heart and determination in her soul, she chose a different path.
Finding our way to Self-worth can be challenging. Somehow along the way, we are trained to believe that we must give up on ourself to give of ourself. That somehow, to believe in our own self worth is selfish and a waste of precious time that could be spent caring for others.
My early adulthood was spent chasing society's ideals and carrying the obligations that I thought a "good woman" should shoulder. Until I could no longer do it. I remember the moment realizing I couldn't go on anymore. I also remember the moment of realization when, ironically, I was at Sunday mass and the priest said that "life is to be enjoyed." I had never been told that before!
Despite this momentary encouragement, my efforts to break free and claim the life I desired was met with resistance and judgement from family, friends, and even complete strangers. Society does not like a woman seeking her own happiness! "The Others" are the personification of the pressures we feel that limit our dreams and keep us down and "in our place."
What I discovered in those dark days, was a spiritual messenger who saved me by providing words of advice and clear direction. She is a voice of reason and encouragement, of unconditional love unlike any I have experienced. She is the "voice from within" our own spirit that speaks to us when we are open to listening. It is our "gut instinct" or "intuition"... I prefer to think of it as my older, more wiser self reaching back through my pysche and coaching me through life, sometimes pulling me forward if needed. When lost and confused, I just ask my older, wiser self "what is the right direction for me to take right now, to get to the place where you reside?"
Imagination can be used to envision the future we desire, and to provide the information that we intrinsically know if we have the courage to hear and an open heart to receive. ~KAt