At first glance, my closest women friends and I appear to be confident and worldly women, women who enjoy the privilege of education and opportunity, spiritual women whose natural orientation is to love and to serve.
One of us recently produced a brilliant documentary about grief.
Another just had her first book published and is the founder of an internationally acclaimed online school for women’s spirituality.
Many friends are exceptionally gifted artists, therapists, healers, and spiritual teachers—the kind who change the world merely with their perspective and presence.
One friend is a stunningly brilliant coder, using technology to evolve our collective relationship with currency.
Several friends are singer/songwriters—and when they sing, our hearts crack open wider to life.
Another dear friend is the founder of a conscious wealth management company that funnels tremendous wealth into opportunities for global healing and regeneration.
I could go on and on.
We are smart, strong, and devoted mothers.
We are daughters, sisters, lovers, and partners.
Our eyes shine from a place of potent self-knowing, and we walk with dignity.
To look at any one of us, it’s clear that we have learned to love ourselves.
Look a little closer, and you’ll discover that many of our marriages have failed, we’ve had partners who betrayed us, and we’ve betrayed ourselves time and time again—for image, security, sex, money, love.
We’ve been seduced by temptations of rescue.
We’ve learned about self-respect the hard way.
Our children have faced scary struggles of various kinds.
Many of us have walked a path of single motherhood.
Many of us have struggled with how to support ourselves on an artist’s or a healer’s or a teacher’s income.
More than one of us has buried a child.
More than one of us lives with a scary diagnosis.
More than one of us navigates the ongoing throes of mental illness.
We’ve each found ourselves flat on the ground, begging for mercy, more times than we can count.
Life can be heartbreaking. It is not a pretty picture on social media most of the time, let’s be honest.
It is a wild life, this human realm, and even for the most blessed and privileged amongst us, life asks so much of our hearts.
Life hurts and panics and puzzles us.
Life kicks us to the ground in pain, and then takes our breath away in its tender-loving mercy.
Life is brutal, and yet we are resilient. Resilience doesn’t mean we bounce back effortlessly from major life losses. It doesn’t mean we ever get over the grief of our lives.
But it is our human instinct to recover, to rise again, to blossom from the mud, to make medicine of what has broken us.
And I’ve got to say, there’s something startlingly wonderful when all our hopes for an unbroken life and body and world have been dismantled.
What freedom—when we’ve lived through the ruining of personal dreams and realize that we are, in fact, not ruin-able!
When we finally turn and face what we’ve been fiercely avoiding—financial failure, divorce, worthlessness, disease, death, despair—we recognize that we were actually designed to bear this.
Life encourages us to embrace our holy, imperfect, astounding resilience.
This is the way we come all the way home to Love.
Excerpted from my forthcoming book, Holy Messy Love ~ Parables from the Heart of an Everyday Mystic.