You Ask Me How I Made it Through the Darkness?

And there amid the darkness, I saw a brilliant light, burning through the shadows, with strength to win this fight. I heard a gentle whisper, the sweetest I’d ever known, “I’ve got you now, My beloved child. I’ll bring you safely home.”

JN Fenwick  (© 2019-22)

Why do we only become open in our hour of deepest desperation? 

They broke me. Over and over again. This world. My expectations of it. My ego and my illusions. And still, I kept coming back. Hoping for a different outcome. Seeking salvation they could never give. They had none. Because their focus was always on the breaking. Suffering IS their power. 

Trapped in mind, chained to addiction, dragging my past behind me, I was lost. There was no separation. The cage was secured. And I existed only within its boundaries. 

The peace and freedom I longed for were nowhere to be found.

And then my hour of desperation came. I was exhausted, bone-weary, soul weary. I had no strength. No will. No hope. And I was terrified. Of everything. 

Of opening that door and witnessing everything I was pouring out of me in a tidal wave of pain until there was nothing left. I was afraid of being nothing. So I held tightly to the pain. It was all I knew. 

Until the day a small, quiet space within me exposed the truth. On my knees. Wracked with sobs. Alone. Afraid. Consumed by darkness, I awakened, for a brief moment from the interminable nightmare.

I heard it. I felt it. In the middle of the storm, calm emerged. Was this the eye? The quiet prelude to an even greater onslaught? Even so, I was drawn to it. I took a breath. I felt the air enter and leave my body. Felt it in my bones. In my soul. I took another. And another. Until I was focused only on my breathing. It was me breathing. Me existing. Me. In this cage. 

My mind was silent. Still. No thoughts. No noise. No worry. No fear. That second, that single second became another. And then another. And another. Until all I was, all I felt, was peace. 

I had no name for it. No label to call it by. I had never experienced anything like it before. All I knew was that it was powerful. And very, very real.

I accepted it. Let it permeate from within me. From my soul. Into my bones. Along my skin. Until it suffused my every thought, my every breath. 

I stood on shaky legs and the cage creaked. I took a small step and the door wobbled. I took another and it opened with a small click. Another and it slowly widened. Another. And another until I stood at the threshold. I stopped and glanced behind me, only darkness. I turned and glanced before me, only mist. I closed my eyes and, inhaling deeply, connected with an unmistakable awareness of my being. 

I exhaled and stepped outside. I was still here. I remained. I slowly moved forward, aware of each step, of each breath, of every molecule, and the flow of energy coursing through me. 

The cage receded. The mist evaporated. Those first moments became hours. Hours turned into days. Days to weeks. Then to months and now to years. 

And I am still here. 

Stunning image of our daughter, Nichole, taken by her sister, Emma Rose, November 2021.

Letting go. It’s not easy.

It’s not supposed to be.

But it’s also not the impossible thing we make it out to be.

We’re wired to hold on.

We hold on and on and on.

We hold on to the idea of love as tightly as we hold on to pain. 

We hold on to resentment.

We hold on to happiness.

We hold on for dear life.

We hold on for fear. 

We just hold on. 

We tighten our grip.

Accept the shackles.

Carry the weight.

And carry the weight.

And carry the weight.

We suffocate our souls.

Weigh down our hearts.

Punish our bodies.

Bruise our bones.

We hold on so damn tightly.

And trapped in bondage we come to fear the very thing we need most.

But what if I could assure you that letting go doesn’t mean falling?

What if I told you that letting go means flying?

Would you let go?

Would you let all that tethers you fall away?

Would you drop all that senseless weight and soar?

Would you?

Here’s the thing, a caged bird doesn’t know it’s caged until it’s freed. 

And once freed it never again seeks that cage.

Once its wings have touched the open sky,

once its song has echoed against the mountains, it is forever free.

We are that caged bird.

And we don’t recognize our cage either.

Not until we’re freed.

Not until we’ve soared.

Not until the mountains have heard our song.

Only then do we see our cage for exactly what it is. 

An illusion. Created in our minds.

Fed by our fears. And locked by our own hands.

Freedom doesn’t beg us.

It doesn’t barter with us.

It doesn’t scream its presence into our battered souls.

No. It simply waits.

Out there.

With the blue sky.

And the warm breeze.

And the endless ocean.

And all the patience in the world.

Because when we finally taste it, freedom knows our cage will shatter.

And the only thing we’ll carry with us from that place

is the knowledge that all along we knew how to fly.

JN Fenwick (© 2021-22)

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