Saturday, August 5, 2023

Chasing Dreams and Lessons Learned

So many miles have come between me and the land of my birth.  If I think about it too long, my heart starts to ache for the sound of the ocean, a strong and cool salty sea breeze, and the sound of gulls.  How many days did I sit at the shore just to feel the power of the waves, feel the enormity of the depth and the breadth of the ocean? Through sunny summer warmth, and cool, cold and stormy days, I’d find my way to the coast and gaze for hours in solitude.  I miss those days sometimes.  Fortunately, those memories will always live in my heart and bring me comfort still when most I surely need it.


As many in life have come to know, the land of your birth won’t always support your dreams and if those dreams are strong enough, you’ll pack up all that you own, kiss your loved ones goodbye and begin a journey to find whatever it is that calls to your heart and soul the most. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to go to far to begin to fulfill my biggest dream.  It was a simple dream to own a home on my own - large enough for me and my children, a yard big and green filled with flowers and trees, and some space to breathe with rare beauty.  I did find it and I’m so grateful.  But these words echo in my mind, “now what?”  

In my mind I have visited the echoes of yesterday and the enormity of lessons learned, love lost and found, broken, and bruised pieces of my heart and psyche along with the strength of the inner light that can and will carry you through the darkest of places if you just find a small shred of hope to hold.  I have not lived an easy life by any stretch, but I have learned above all else to trust my inner most urges and intuitions.  In all the times that I learned to listen and heed my inner guidance, I have found resolution to outer and inner conflict, new paths where all once seemed obscure and a beautiful light to reveal what lay hidden in the darkness (that of my own thinking and that brought to me by the lessons of others).


 When I look at all that I have accomplished, I feel really good.  Humble beginnings was the start to my story.  Where I am now I am not married to because I have learned in life that all is fleeting, transient and impermanent at every level.  I have come to know that it is not what I have and what I have done that matters most.  The greatest of my life’s lessons has been learning to take a measure of comfort in what is as it is in the absence of judgement or fear.  I have grown and gone far beyond anything I ever expected.  It only took me learning to let go of what this world, society and my family expected of me.  The conventional has never suited me and I will no longer entertain it.  I am content now, more whole and happy even - most days.


Life lessons still come and the pain can sometimes feel soul crushing.  But the key to leaving that prison is accepting what is, sitting with the pain without reacting, and allowing yourself to cry, shout, scream or be.  In time, we expand beyond the painful spaces within us.  We learn to bring in more light to shine more clearly into the darkness and we find our way back to the sun as long as we spend no time in resistance.  That is so hard and can take years and years.  It’s not an easy lesson facing grief, sadness and pain.  These things are part of the human condition and when we encounter them we must always remember – this is not it.  It is not all we will ever feel again.  We will expand, we will grow and as we do we create more space within us to take in other things – joy, love, curiosity, hope and so much more.  I think the pain never goes away but we take in more and with balance, we learn to live with the good and the bad seeming within us.  It’s amazing how that works, and it has worked for me time and time again.


 I stand here today so grateful for all of the mountains I have climbed, the darkness I have faced, the disappointment, the anger, the bliss and love – all of it.  My time is not yet done.  I just plan to live a little wiser, with more patience and acceptance.  Maybe find a little more courage, curiosity, and wisdom to face the rest of my journey wherever it is it may lead me.  I think sometimes the journey is within and without simultaneously.  How can it not be?  It’s like magic at times and it can make me laugh or cry depending on how I look at it.


If you take anything away from this piece, I hope you take with it hope, trust in your journey and yourselves to live your lives as perfectly and as meaningfully as you were meant to.  Count your blessings and lessons both (you’ll find they are one and the same in the end).



© Copyright 2023 Janice Harter (photo and words)

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