October 4, 2013

I’ll Be Wildly Dancing on Tables at my Birthday Bash. ~ Dominica Applegate

The awakening has begun.

We sure do celebrate a lot of events in our lives, and I understand why. Celebrations mark some sort of achievement and they simply get the happy chemicals churning.

Who doesn’t want some more endorphins rolling around in a state of frenzy?

This makes me think of my birthday, which just happens to be arriving soon. My birthday always makes me reflect on my life and accomplishments thus far.

After more than a few decades of life, I sometimes think I should have this thing called life down pat, but I have to admit I don’t.

Another year older. Am I wiser? Smarter? More accomplished? Richer?


The other day I ran into an old friend who seems to have it all on the surface. Great job. Great husband. Polite kids. Nice house. Immediately I started to compare myself to them, and then while driving home that day I almost began having a little pity party.

But, from out of the blue a thought entered my mind: the awakening has begun.

Hmm. I wondered why that thought would come right at that moment. Then I remembered that it was from a poem I had written earlier this year. A poem that speaks of a spiritual awakening I have been going through for the past few years. It speaks of how my awakening has come about through facing pain and trials. Through silence. Meditation. Tears. Resolve. Hope.

The dance began many moons ago

in the belly of a beautiful frame

before the soul was substance

before the soul had a name.

Swaying to the music

the darkness took the lead

caressed the soul so softly

promised to meet every need.

The angels took notice

did their best to warn

the cosmic dance had begun

well before soul was born.

Still swaying to the melody

substance broken with pain

time to close the eyes

brokenness falls like rain.

The awakening has begun.

Yes! That is what I will celebrate this year on my birthday!

My beautiful, hand-crafted, awe-inspiring, tear-stained path to awakening.

It only makes sense. I’m wise enough to know that if I acknowledge and celebrate my growth, my achievements, my hard-as-hell lessons learned, I actually foster more growth. Bring it, because I surely love to grow.

Let’s back the truck up for a moment, and take a look at where I have come from.

I survived my hell. Just a short five years ago, I was in a very dark place inside. I hit a spot on my journey in which I could no longer stuff my feelings (because I had stuffed them for my whole life) and a drastic turn of events caused me to free fall into my own darkness.

I grasped onto whatever I could to try to stop the descent, but my grip was weak. Depression, fear, anxiety, anger, and more negative emotions rose to my consciousness and I had no clue how to contend with all of them.

Quite honestly, I was a basket case having to deal with a cesspool of old wounds and zero coping skills.

It was hell on earth. It was agonizing. It was confusing and I certainly thought about crashing my car into a tree on a few occasions. But little by little, I faced my demons, the darkness, my incessant fears, and some festering wounds from my past.

I glaringly stared down the fear and doubt, determined to make it through without the help of chemicals or anesthetics.

Somewhere along the way I figured this was a descent into my hell on earth, but it was also an ascent to a higher consciousness. Perhaps a new level of awakening or awareness. Of course we don’t just all of a sudden come to full spiritual awareness. It comes as we bravely peel back the layers and layers of junk, hurts, hang-ups, to get to the guts of who we really are: our authentic essence!

I love this quote by Anais Nin: “And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

I found that quote in a book called Broken Open, which is a great read and helped me on my journey when I needed some understanding of why the heck I was so broken.

Why does dark have to come before the light? Why does pain bring about great transformation? Can’t we just evolve and awaken blissfully?

Yes and no. Pain and suffering cause us to dig deep. Ask questions. Slow down for just a minute and contemplate life. Purpose. Priorities. Maybe even meditate.

I have learned more about myself and life in the past five years than in a few decades and much of my awakenings have come through great pain and trials. I might have crawled and sobbed uncontrollably at some points on my journey to freedom, but the point is that I continued to move. It’s progress, not perfection. I get that now.

This year, as I celebrate my birthday, I am celebrating my awakening with all the bells and whistles. I’m going to unashamedly dance to the rhythm of my spiritual eyesight that sees beyond the natural. I am celebrating my path through the mystical dark forest as a broken, yet gorgeously beautiful butterfly with hope and determination engraved on my wings.

I am celebrating my accomplishments, my blessings, my health, my heart that is healing and more pliable, and my creative spirit that just won’t quit no matter what.

Life is happening all around us. When I get centered and take a few deep breaths, I can feel it. Revel in it. Appreciate it—all of it: the good and the not-so-good.

Sometimes I still encounter pain. Sometimes I still want to curl up in a corner and paint the walls with the blood dripping from an open wound. But I don’t. I keep going. I dig deep. I buck up.

I realize that even if I don’t understand what is going on the outside, my core is beckoning me to dig through another layer of garbage to get to the real me. The me that’s free and awesome. The me that wildly and unashamedly loves and dances the authenticity shuffle while walking down the street.

Let’s make a commitment today to not give up. Let’s not look back. Let’s not underestimate our accomplishments and our infinite power and potential.

Let’s all do the happy jig together.

Let’s celebrate our individual and collective awakening!


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Assistant Ed.: Moira Madden/Ed: Sara Crolick

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Dominica Applegate