A note to the girl I was

It’s midnight as I sit at my computer and stare in puzzlement at the book on my desk. Earlier today I had pulled a book from my shelves, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. It is a book that, in my mind, I started working with about a year ago. One that got shelved because I was “so busy.” I just had a discussion about that book a few days ago, and so I thought it would be a good idea to start it again. Inside that book is a piece of paper that I had done a writing exercise on, and it is dated. December 16, 2010. I couldn’t believe my eyes; how could I have put this away so long ago? The purchase of this book, this piece of writing that I had done, was almost five years ago. Before my divorce, before I had yet to find the strength to utter those words. When I read what I wrote, I was at first embarrassed; I almost tore my pages and put them in recycling.

More than that, I felt so sad for the person who wrote those lines, the girl who had no idea the strength that was brewing inside. So instead, I wrote back to her. I shouldn’t be ashamed of who I was. If ever I thought that I hadn’t changed very much in the past five-years, here is my proof of where I had come from, and who I have discovered along the way.

I am unsure of who I am.

I am torn between who I am and
who I want to be.

I try to be a
kind, calm, gracious
and accepting person,

yet I feel inside like
a cold woman who
can’t let go, takes
things too seriously,
and remembers events
much like a bitter
elephant.

How can I be one
without losing the
other?

The person I want
to be sometimes
makes me feel weak,
like a timid girl.

Yet who i am is
killing my soul.

Can I be one without
losing the other?

Do I dare choose?

-AER, 12/16/10
After reading this I felt suddenly like my life’s timeline was linear, as if the past was still alive, as well as the present and future. I wanted to reach out and embrace the girl who was me. I replied:

It’s okay.
I am right here.

You were always
who you wanted to be,
you were only scared.

You are a kind, calm,
gracious and accepting person.

You were not a cold woman.
You were abused, tired,
lonely, and scared.
You were lost, but finding
your way.

You didn’t have to lose yourself,
you were there all along.

Who you wanted to be,
who you are,
is strength, is beauty,
is courageous. You see these
things everywhere, feel them,
wear them like a
comfortable old hat.

Your soul is happy,
because you have grown.

You didn’t lose who you
were, you healed her.

Welcome home.

-AES, 6/24/15

 

Once upon a time, I thought I was broken. I can thank at least a dozen people who lent a hand in piecing me back together, but at this hour, alone with my soft music and honey-almond incense, I bow my head to the person who wrote those sad, lonely words so many years ago. I thank her for not giving up.

Namaste. -Amy

© Amy Sampson 2015

Find your passion, ignore the fear

What is your passion? What lights you on fire, revs your engine, or gives you that profound feeling of peace? Do you even know what it is? Do you follow it?

What is it about following our passion that is so frightening?

Everyone has a passion, something that sparks that light within them that is seen by everyone who knows how to recognize it. It’s a musician that gets lost in the song, a pilot who truly feels alive when above the clouds, a runner who feels euphoric after mile five.

Not everyone, however, pursues their passion. Why? So often, daily life gets in the way. Or fear. Or fear of messing with the routine that we have so carefully put into place, the routine that keeps our walls around us, protects of from the winds that can destroy our house of cards.

My passion? The one thing that has made my soul happy since I was a kid? Writing. My goal in life? To be a famous author. The number of books I have written? A handful of short stores, a few hundred poems, three children’s stories, and one non-fiction in the works. Not one full-length, publishable book that would make me a famous or even not-very-famous author. Everyday for the past handful of years, even before my daughter was born, I told myself that it was something I would do tomorrow. I have put my passion, my light, on hold for WAY too long, all for some day-to-day nonsense that I just couldn’t break away from.

Why do we do this to ourselves? If we are on earth in this physical form to learn a lesson, to become better people, why do we deny ourselves the basic freedom to do what makes us happy? Yes, I know that we all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but it’s deeper than that. If I can find the time to check Facebook and read a book, I can find the time to write. And that goes for all of us; following our passion does not mean we have to quit our jobs and leave our families destitute. It means making the time to find what makes us happy, and doing it.

To deny yourself the right to follow your passion is bad, but there is something worse. And that is stopping someone else from following theirs. I see it all the time, and it is almost always fear based. If someone you love, someone you count on suddenly gets happiness and fulfilment from something else, that seems terrifying. What is more terrifying though is to stand in the way, either directly or indirectly, of another human beings path in life. People were born with desires and talents for a reason, and it’s up to them to figure out what that reason is. If we stand in their way for our own benefit, no matter how well-meaning or innocent our reasons, we are stunting the growth of another’s soul.

We have to let go of that fear. We all know that control is an illusion but we struggle to accept that. I struggle with that fear, and because of past experiences, I have a very difficult time of anything that I see as changing my personal universe. I want those that I love to grow and do anything that makes them happy. And at the very same time, I am so scared that they may find happiness outside of me.

This past weekend I went to a party at my friends house, and his band played. It’s band that was put together thanks to internet connections, and all of the members have regular jobs and families, yet they get together to share in their love of music. And when I sat and watched my friend, singing his heart out, I could see that light in him. It’s a light that I haven’t seen in a while, and there it was, lighting up the night as the sun went down. My heart was, simply, happy.  In that moment, my fear was lifted.

I will continue to follow my passion, and I will support those I love in following theirs. Because once you see that light in another, you recognize it in yourself. You see it all around you, it is something to be nourished and respected. It’s the only way.

What is your passion? What lights up the part of you that makes you feel alive, that makes your heart happy and your soul feel alive? Do it.

Namaste. -Amy Sampson

© 2015 Amy Sampson

 

My work in progress – Chapter One

butterfly

 

Chapter One – The Climb

By Amy Sampson

 

I am lying at the bottom of a well, void of water but still damp. Although I can see light at the opening, none shines to where I lay. On a good day, I can pull myself to a sitting position and lean my back against the stone wall. A gentle trickle of dampness soaks my shirt, but I don’t care to move. Most days, I lie on the bottom, looking at the light but never seeing. No one comes for me. I can hear their voices, but I know that they don’t even know I am here.

I have heard people say that when they are sad or depressed, they feel nothing. That’s not the case in my well. In my well, I feel an oppressing sadness, a weight that pushes me down and holds me there. So even if there is a reason to hope for a way out, I’m being held down.

Sometime over the last couple of years, I have decided to fight my way out. I got tired of driving past a body of water only to imagine what it would be like to drive my car into the thin ice covering. To let the water flood in through the cracks and seal out the oxygen I needed to think. I was sick of looking for a way to dim the ache, of looking for a way out but not seeing the rope that could save me. I was not suicidal. I never thought “I should drive into the lake and let myself die.” The thought wasn’t there, just the imagery. I wasn’t suicidal, although I knew if I ever told anyone how I felt they would label me so. I would not have left my daughter and my family, and I have a strong belief that those who commit suicide are really committing themselves to the agony of witnessing what your destruction does once you are gone.

I was not suicidal, but I was killing my spirit. I let myself live for my daughter, and to make others happy. The fantasies I had of escaping my life were just that, but it was enough to keep me there, on the bottom, for so long. My internal fight or flight battle was deeply ingrained in my soul. Not changing your circumstance is a choice, and it is one that I subconsciously made because I was too afraid see any other option, and I was literally frozen.

One day, I opened my eyes, took a good look at my reality, grabbed onto one of the slick moss covered rocks that was my prison, and started the long climb out of the well. I pushed aside the heaviness that was in my heart and slowly, painfully climbed stone by stone, until I reached the top. There was no one to cheer me on when I finally pulled myself, wet and tired and gasping for air, out of the well because no one knew I was there to begin with.

And while I may sit on the stone that surrounds my well from time to time, I will not fall back in.

On my journey, which took years by the way, my outside world changed immensely. I left my husband. I let myself give and receive the gifts of Reiki and acupressure, each saving me in their own way and showing me that helping others is extremely healing. I fell in love, and remain in love, with my true soul mate. I still get sad, I still feel the heaviness creeping in. But with the love I allow myself to feel and my knowledge that the universe does not want to knock me back down, I remain on solid ground.

This is my story. I can’t tell you how I got myself into my well, how I allowed myself to get so lost that I ceased thinking I was important enough to be saved. I can’t tell you because it doesn’t matter; we have all been there. Whether you had a long and painful descent to the bottom or one day found that life pulled the rug from under you and you went down, we have all had a form of debilitating sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness. Many of us have found ourselves looking down the barrel of a gun or the bottom of a bottle, or perhaps gazed up into the sky wondering, “what’s this all for, anyway?” Or thought, as I have so many times, that we were stuck with no way out.

I can promise you this: You are not stuck. Every single one of us has the ability to change our lives, learn from whatever personal horrors we have lived with, and see the light. For every action, for every thought, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every darkness, there is a light. For everything that you see as ugly, there is beauty. And for every lie, there is a truth. The shift has to come from within in order to see it.

You are not alone. I know how hard it is to believe that to be true. I have been in a room full of people, smiling, talking, kissing hello, and felt loneliness so deep my bones hurt. And I can promise you, the person that you are searching for to make that loneliness go away is waiting to be discovered within yourself. We all have an immense power. We are alive, we are breathing and our hearts are beating, we experience happiness and sadness, love and fear. That, my friend, is a miracle. Life is not science. Life is a gift. And if you take my hand and share in my journey, I will help you to discover the gift that is within you.

© 2015 Amy Sampson