I am feeling overwhelming gratitude right now. I feel like a vessel that has opened up and the universe is filling me with love. Or, rather, the love is flowing into me and back out. I am light – both lightness and illumination – and love and peace seep into and out of me. I have no negative thoughts or feelings – or, when I do, they are able to flow back out because I’m open.
Three years ago I was the opposite. I was in a bad situation, yes, but more than that I was tight – like a ball of rubberbands. There was no space in me. Everything was inward and pulling to the center. My negative feelings and negative situation couldn’t escape so they sat at my center and festered. I think of conflicts I had with people at the time and how I was too closed to embrace the other person and their needs.
It is startling to me to see the difference in me. For example, I had an impromptu get together with wonderful friends the other day. My house was messy, I was messy, but it was ok. It would be easy to think this was about the people in my life (awesome friends, more about that in a minute) but I really think it is a change in me (which probably helped me attract such wonderful friends). I have literally NEVER had a friend into my house without a week’s notice. No, really, I mean it. Ever.
Why? It is insulting to all of my friends to think it was because they would judge me for not having a perfect house and a perfect life. They are wonderful people and wouldn’t have cared about that. But I did. I cut myself off from people because to know me meant to see under the shell of perfection I was projecting to the world. I mourn the deeper friendships I could have had if I had been open.
Another example, I would never have been able to do a video class three years ago. My self-hatred at my fatness would have kept me from it. Now, I’m not free from any body image issues, but I’m not paralyzed by them either. I just did my first video lesson and you know what? I’m smart, and friendly, and warm. How could I have thought the size of my butt was more important than that? And I’m sometimes not smart or not as friendly as I hope to be and I’m fat, fatter than 3 years ago. But, you know what? I am wonderful. I am enough. And that is beautiful.
I’ve quite suddenly made the best two friends I’ve ever had in my entire life. That might sound sad but I’ve always been close to my family so I thought that was why I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends. And I do mean sudden. I’ve met them both in the past year and I love them so much it about makes my heart burst. I feel like we’ve been friends since birth. All the things I thought about friendship have been turned on their head. Aren’t people friends because they have something in common? I could make a list as long as my arm of how I am different from these two women. It isn’t about some beneficial convergence of hobbies or passions. It is infinitely more abstract and magical than that. I couldn’t tell you why we are friends. And especially not why we are such good friends so damn fast. But we are. And that is beautiful.
I am on the cusp (or perhaps I’ve fallen over the edge) into a career that feeds my soul. I always hear “do what you love” but so few people live that. I didn’t think I could. What if you love gardening? Or reading? how do you make money at that? I didn’t know you could feed your soul and contribute to your family’s income. And that is beautiful.
If I could talk to my younger self I would say to stop labeling yourself. Even good labels are bad. I was the smart one (so watch what you say). I was good at science (and therefore not good at art, or writing, right?). I was the pretty one (so what a disappointment to get fat!). I was the talented, outgoing one. These things meant to lift me up where huge weights tied to my ankles while I tried to tread water. Even things like virgin – a good thing until it isn’t. Until an honest expression of sexuality is terrifying. Be open, young Paige. Be open to be who you think you aren’t. Because you are. And that is beautiful.
My marriage has an open wound right now. But, once again, labels minimize the reality. I’m not the betrayed or the betrayer. I’m not the victim. I’m not the saint. I’m just me. A wonderful, meaningful human being and so is he. So, I’m open to it all. No labels just open arms to receive and to give. Life only has one purpose and that is love. Period. There is nothing else.
So thank you. Thank you, universe. Thank you, you who are reading this. Thank you, you rolling your eyes at my fluffy-speak. Thank you, me. Really, thank you me. You are beautiful soul. You are enough. And that is a beautiful thing.
I suddenly understand the title of book by Iyanla Vanzant. On day my soul just opened up. It really did. And there I was.