I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power,
that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.
But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.
This poem has sung in your head at so many pertinent moments. Maybe you’ve never read it before or heard it spoken, but the hum of it was there, behind the other, louder voices.
It is the hymn of your experience.
It is a memorial for your pain: the searing pain, that ripping open when you’ve been rejected. The dull thud, that deep and heavy ache that settles in when you are unseen, ignored, overlooked.
This is your broken heart telling its story, and it’s quite a story.
We all have a story this raw and real and deep. I don’t care how much of a fairytale your life has been: if you have lived to what we call adulthood, you know the pain of a broken heart.
You know the confusion and terror of being alive.
You know the burden of trying to figure it all out.
And you probably know the pointlessness of trying to figure it all out.
Have you gotten to this part yet?
The part where you feel, in a shock wave that loosens your teeth and shatters your bones, that you are alone, really truly undeniably alone, in the universe? For a single clear moment you see it, you feel it, you look out at the nothing, you gaze into the void, and it shocks you and shakes you and breaks you and wakes you up.
Weeping does endure for the night, but what we don’t expect is that the morning will sear us with its light and beauty, that the joy might feel like burning.
You didn’t run away.
You wanted to. You wanted to run, you wanted to hide, but you took a deep breath and you stood there and let that burning intensity kill you, kill off the parts of you that were still afraid.
Or maybe you did run away.
You ran, you hid, you buried yourself in something (anything!) to silence the memory, to cover the sound. You got busy with one problem after another, inventing them, solving them, inventing new ones. We’ve all done that, too.
We have lived this cycle over and over. Sometimes we hid for years, decades, lifetimes in a silent obscurity.
That’s okay. There’s no rush.
Take your time.
Take as long as you need. Take as long as you want.
Just don’t believe it’s really the end.
The path before you isn’t closed. When you are ready to stop running away, you will see the new one. The next step.
Ah, there it is, you’ll think. It will seem so obvious, so simple. Why didn’t I see that before?
You’ll wonder about that for a minute.
Here is the answer: you didn’t want to see it yet. You were mourning the closed path. You were speaking the old words, unwilling to let them die out so you could learn this new language.
It is hard to say goodbye to a version of yourself.
It is a dying.
It is a death. Honor it with your grief.
Then stand up, shake the ashes off, bless what is behind you, and get ready to fucking dance.
Because this new melody is unlike any other.
You can hear it singing in the background of your soul. Do you feel it? It is the haunting, winding call, the insatiable wild roar, the joyful joyful we adore, the lifting lilting stomping rhythm of the universe.
Nothing can stop this beat, baby.
Listen to the words, the lyrics of your next level, instructions for the next step, playing and repeating and swirling around you, in you, crossing your path over and over again.
Don’t worry. You won’t lose them. You wrote this song.
Welcome back to the place you’ve never been.
The place of beginning. Each time it’s different. Each time it’s the same. You’ve been here before but you forget.
This time, slow down and remember. This time feels a little different. This time there’s a new ingredient in the mix: your own awareness.
We’ve graduated from kindergarten.
We learned some basics: colors and shapes, symbols and sounds. It took us a long time. We got distracted. Now, with what we’ve learned, we can recognize the patterns. THE pattern.
Remember that moment, the one that almost killed you?
The one where the purest part of you dropped into the muck, or the best thing inside you shattered, or when you felt your own isolation stabbing like a dagger?
Remember when you finally opened up your hands and let what you loved and hoped and dreamed slip away, when you gave it to the wind and the waves and the dirt and the light?
Remember when you let it all go?
When you chose to dissolve?
Remember when you quit looking back on the old tracks and let them fade into nothing?
That was it. That was the moment of your graduation.
Now here we are, back again to a place we’ve never been.
You don’t need to get ready. You are ready.
You don’t need to understand. You know.
You don’t need anything. You are everything.
Oh. This is going to be fun.