The walk back to ourselves after a long hiatus is not a pretty, dainty walk. It’s a clumsy one, two left feet, putting one in front of the other, sometimes barely a shuffle, my feet never completely leaving the ground. Sometimes it’s a fitful march of furious stomps to the mental count of a drill sergeant in my head, deep voice booming at me, as he counts my steps of progress with a “hut, 2, 3, 4!” That drill sergeant is me, telling me to get it together, keep walking, no matter how I’m feeling. And there are other times that this walk is a wandering one, a clumsy, drunken stumble or stagger, as I walk in circles and become so dizzy I fall down and forget what (or who) I’m walking towards.
The walk back to our true self, towards acceptance, self-love and inner peace is full of missteps and mistakes as we walk through the pain, in spite of the pain. Oh, and the path isn’t straight. Not by a long shot. No, it loops around and goes up and down, backwards and forwards. And sometimes when you start to move forward again, a boulder shows up on your path, the path that was seemingly becoming a vast and peaceful sea of dandelions. You can’t climb over the boulder, or dig under it. No, it’s there for a reason. To teach you something. You could always simply walk around it as I have so many times, but it will come rolling towards you again, only a bit bigger and faster than the time before. The lesson has to be learned which means you have to go through it, chipping away at it, slowly and tediously. You don’t get a chipping tool. You have to deal with everything that boulder might represent for you with your own sheer will and determination. Grief, anger, loneliness, shame, guilt. And you chip away at it with your bare hands. With each tiny crumble comes a new and painful realization, but you must keep at it until you finally come away with a pebble, a lesson that maybe you put in your pocket, maybe you hold onto to remind you of the place you never want to visit again,
We all have that boulder, that struggle, that lesson that we just can’t quite learn until we hit the bottom of something. Oftentimes, that boulder has turned into a small mountain as we continue to walk around it, unacknowledged. Many of us lose ourselves this way and walk around in circles until we finally confront the lesson that has repeatedly come to teach us who we are, what we are here for, what we were put on this earth to do. As hard and painstaking as the chipping away may be, it must be done so that we can move forwards into our true heart of hearts, our true light where we will shine, just as God intended.