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When I was a child, the orientation to magic and the mystical was easy.
Summertime as a kid meant hot summer games in the yard with my sisters and cousin, Nicole, who visited every summer from Mississippi. We were princesses and witches and mermaids. And vivid were the squeals that would emit from our mouths when a little feather seed ball floated past in the breeze, which we’d excitedly point out as a passing “fairy!”
We’d spend day after day at my grandmother’s house. One sweaty, sticky night, long after tag in the grass and baths to wash off the itches, we lay in my grandmother’s big bed, whispering and giggling and trying to feel sleepy despite the heat. There’s a moment in the evening when the light tips into dark.
This particular evening, as the darkness filled the room, we all grew quiet. At the foot of the bed, emerging from the gathering dark, stood a massive angel. His wings were awe-inspiring—white, glowing, and so dominant on his being, they filled the entire room to the point he had to curl them up close to his body and they still touched the walls. He stood there, head slightly bowed as if to assure us that, despite his unfathomable size and power, he was there to love and protect us. Then, as quickly and quietly as he had appeared, his form disseminated into the shadows. Nicole said, “Did you see that? That was an angel!” We all had seen it.
I told this story to someone once, and she said something like, “I wish that had happened to me. I’ve had nothing in life like that.” I wish everyone could have an experience like that. It is something that has given me immense comfort, strength, and support. However, I also believe we all have millions of powerful reminders of our divine origin, unique to each of us. We just forget to look for and integrate them into our daily life.
In Vein of Gold, Julia Cameron assures, “In the world of spirit, there are no orphans or step-children. Each of us is a child of the universe with an enormous endowment available for our use.”
I think every one of us has experienced envy in relationship to what someone else has been given. My yoga teacher, Scott Miller, says, “It’s not the thing, it’s the relationship to the thing.” Likewise, it’s not ourselves, but our relationship to ourselves.
When we feel lost, or tetherless…when we don’t know what we’re “supposed” to do, we can feel like an orphan with no home, no tribe, no guiding force to claim us. This comes from our perceptions (the story around) our worth. (Full disclosure: prior to sitting down to write this, I had a pity party for myself because why couldn’t I get an easier gift? Why does writing have to be so hard?) It is so easy to fixate on what isn’t or what someone else has, or how much easier things would be if we just had more or less of what someone else innately possesses, especially when we are unaware of that pattern of thinking looping through our brains.
So then, what does Cameron mean when she says there are no orphans? If there are no abandoned people, then there is no “blacklist” barring any of us from the abundant love, energy, inspiration, courage, and creativity the universe offers. We all have the resources available to us, continually, to uplift, guide, encourage, correct, and support us as we move through life. But when we are attuned to all that’s occurring outside ourselves, we lose the bandwidth to tap into it.
So how do we correct this relationship to ourselves? How do we claim what’s already ours? How do we love ourselves when we don’t feel loved by the source from which we emerged? In short, the opportunity lies in moving toward the unknown. When we feel abandoned or worthless, it is so much easier to avoid and numb this fear. However, what would happen if we moved toward it—if we got curious about it?
When I was at one of my lowest points in life, I was working a wonderful job at which I was extremely successful. But I was miserable. I felt trapped and I thought I surely must be one of “the forgotten.” This shame story felt accurate, but it was limited by my relationship to my perceived worth and circumstances. It was a narrow story with narrow possibility.
It was only when I grew curious about what else could be, that I entertained the idea that maybe, just maybe, there could be more for me, too. More that aligned with what lights up my soul. More that gives me the courage to take a baby step toward the unknown. This period of searching felt like feeling the walls in the dark room. I had no one to tell me where the doorway was or even to assure me that I would get out, but I was already so low, it was worth it to take the chance. That little flame of curiosity around “what if” grew stronger as I continued to search and uncover clues, resources, or reminders that I was, indeed, on the right track.
The beauty of it all was that it led me back to myself. My true self. Which healed the story around my perceived worth and, in turn, opened the door to many miracles that I still can’t believe occurred.
Basically, taking steps toward the unknown is how you’re found. But it’s hard. And it’s scary. So, here are some tips to support you as you take those steps toward your brightest, most fulfilled, true you.
First, be support or resource-oriented.
When we are miserable, that misery becomes the lens we see the world through. Make a list of people who love you and believe in you. We don’t have to go it alone. Even if you have one person on your list who you can call for a quick cheerleading session or pat on the back, it’s someone in your favor. Make a list of your unique gifts—even if they seem quirky or not worth anything. I am a great mischief maker. It’s one of my favorite qualities. In my previous job, it didn’t have too much room to play. However, in the work I do now, my mischief is brilliant at lessening a tense situation, helping us to laugh at ourselves, and in seeing things in ways not typically considered. It’s a boon.
Make a list of all of the skills you bring from your various experiences. When I was a server at a jazz club, the other servers and I would dance with the customers because it kept the vibe high, and the customers would stay and enjoy more food and drink. This taught me to read people and energy. I’m good at making people feel like they belong. (I’m also a good dancer.)
Keep a notebook of “evidence” to track the various ways support shows up daily. I began writing down little things like, “I saw sunflowers blooming on the side of the road. I got a letter from my amazing uncle. I saw 304 (one of my lucky numbers) in a license plate. I took all of these symbols as little love letters from the divine, cheering me on. The more attuned to the support that was already in my favor and that showed up daily on my journey, the more abundant and obvious those little pieces of evidence that I am loved and belong became. When I’d get down, I’d revisit the evidence file and it would remind me of how much was already rallying in support of my quest.
Second, keep your eyes on your own path.
When other people around you seem to be cruising along, it feeds that orphan narrative that, “Everyone else is happy. Why am I not?” Your path is expressly unique to your perfect unfolding. Comparing to others only threatens to reinforce that narrow narrative of lack. A trick to discovering if you’re trapped in the comparison game is to ask yourself, in the midst of your thoughts, “Is this thought serving me?” If it’s only making you feel worse, it is most assuredly not. Most often, the comparison thoughts are the ones that suck us back down. When you catch yourself in that place, tell yourself, “No, self, this thought is not serving me. Let me get back to that evidence file.” And then steep yourself in the reminders that you are, in fact, moving forward.
Something that helped me to keep my eyes on my own path was to carry crystals. I would pick one out that aligned with what I felt the present lesson was, for example, speaking my truth. I would carry a blue calcite or lapis lazuli in my pocket or tuck it in my bra and, when I’d catch myself in that worrying or comparing space, I’d hold on to the stone and connect to the journey I was on—the unique lesson I was trying to conquer—and even just that small physical reminder would make me feel like I had a mini cheerleader in my pocket, serving toward the direction I was moving.
The last tip is, perhaps, the toughest. It is to do, in faith.
This one is best achieved with the inner-warrior energy you possess. Do, do, do. Don’t overthink. Don’t doubt. Choose possibility, put yourself out there, and do the work.
Write the article. Paint the painting. Cook the meal. Make the secret Instagram account. Schedule the meeting. Make the ask. Just take one step after another toward the place your soul beckons.
Granted, to do any of this, it is critical to begin to listen to that soul voice. But, tuning in to whatever is already in your favor and what lights you up is a great place to start.
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” ~ Jean de La Fontaine
You can keep avoiding what is beckoning you, but that choice is ultimately reinforcing that orphan narrative. You are no orphan. You are a creative being with limitless potential.
Step onto the path. I’ll see you on the road.