It was as if a light shone upon the passage between my younger self, and the self I am today.
The other day I met a young man, the son of a friend. He was open. We talked. About his struggles. His desires. His journey. How he could address some of this and find greater self-acceptance and healing. He was seeking to find himself.
Later as I reflected, I recognized myself in him – me at the beginning of my conscious journey. Me at 29 or 30 years old – 28 years ago. Similar to myself at that age, I saw in him the part that didn’t love himself. I saw the part that didn’t yet know he was at the beginning of a journey that would gather momentum, velocity; that that path of healing is its own reward and gift. I saw the seed in him, the seed we shared, which I had grown to a more developed place. I saw the years of unwinding, of living, of learning. I saw how much I had grown and changed.
I wished I had said, “You are on the path. When you are further along, you will look back and see how necessary each step was. All of these ‘symptoms’ are part of the path. There is no shortcut.”
I wished I had shared how there is so much heart in this journey of living. How the wounds become the light that you then shine out of. How the wounds teach. How the places you can’t love, then become places where you learn to love. How there is grace radiating from everything, every moment, every breath. How my life now, comes from all that was before, from the struggle to heal, to find clarity, peace, self-love, and joy. And because all of that was earned, grew organically from my grappling with it, what I have now is authentically mine to live, and to give. It is this journey: the finding the joy in the journey, the meaning in the grappling, the struggles, that brings us from the seed inherent with potential to the tree, grown, large and enlightened. The tree was always there, in the future, beckoning, calling, but the journey to it, the bursting through the hard shells of unknowing, the areas that do not see, or see incorrectly, and stepping into the larger self – that is waiting.
This week, an old boyfriend (from over 30 years ago) posted a picture on Facebook of me in my early 20’s. I looked into my younger eyes. Oh, who is that? I pondered on who I had been, the parts that knew so little, the parts that were already wise and guided. I saw how much I had not recognized who I was then, how much I could not love myself. I felt sad. I wished I had appreciated who I was, had loved myself more, valued myself more, recognized my worth more.
With this young man, I felt I was visiting with a younger aspect of myself. I saw the connection between us, although both he and my younger self, did not see our connection, did not know that our journeys were so similar – not in the outer details, but in the feeling tone, in how we both saw and did not see ourselves, in how we struggled, and fought to find ourselves, in how we hid from ourselves, in how we knew there was a future calling us, but could not yet see it. I felt reminded of the vast distance between who I was and who I am, between where he now stands and where I now live.
What a gift, to see the seed, the young growing plant, and to recognize it as the seed I once was, and see myself now as a much larger tree, with grace, swaying in the breeze, taking in the sun, radiating.
What I want to say to you, my younger self and my twin seed – Keep your heart open and try to appreciate all aspects of your life. Be kind to yourself. Your future self is already there waiting for you. Someday you will look back at a picture of yourself from 30 years previous. You will see who you were, who you now are. You will honor your journey. The tree that you will be is already there. The seed that you are has such great potential.
Thank you, Jennifer, for mirroring my thoughts…As you know, I have moved to another country within the last year. I have reviewed my past intensely in my new surroundings and your words are a great comfort.
Jennifer, beautifully written
Dear Jennifer: Weconcile is a perfect way to share your experience and your thoughts. It is also a way to have others, who are also on the Path to share back. I trust your new endeavor will have good consequence. Warmly, Janice
Jennifer- I can so relate to what you have written. It brought tears to my eyes. It is just beautiful. Thank you. This song by Leonard Cohen came to mind.
Leonard Cohen – Anthem
Beautiful article. Now I’m curious to see that picture of you from all those years back.
Thank you, Jennifer, this story is so meaningful. I’m sending to my daughter in hopes that it will help her true self shine through>