The Importance of Living from the "Inside Out" 

I originally posted this story on FB, but wanted to share it here too. The song at the bottom is a recent one I wrote, one of the many that look at the power of personal and spiritual transformation. Hope you enjoy!

1/26/19  Sat. night  11:51pm 

What an interesting day! It began with Theron and I attending an “Intro to Non-Violent Communication” workshop (en-route to which at least one driver caused me to use language that probably would disqualify me immediately). At one point we were asked to share, taking turns in small groups, what we felt were the keys to a happy life. While I can think of many answers to that question, what came up for me was self-love, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance, because I think my ability to have true peace, gratitude, empathy and appreciation for others was more fully realized when I could give those gifts to myself and heal old wounds, let go of old anger and feelings of unworthiness, guilt, shame that I’d carried for a long time. 

A short while later, I got a text from a friend that she and her husband were performing at a cool Antique Shop in the Opry Mills vicinity, in a strip mall off Music Drive., from 12-2pm. It was already approaching 1, but I decided to go and support them for the last part of their show. When I found the mall, the lot was almost full and there was a long line of people, 3 or 4 deep and stretching nearly from one end of the “L”-shaped strip mall to the other. I later learned, or heard, that the “Dukes of Hazzard” cast was signing autographs, in what I think was a theater of some sort, at the other end from my destination. Talk about a blast from the past – and still drawing that many loyal fans!! 

But that’s NOT the weird part (well, maybe a little, but...). The weird part is that, as I parked my car, I saw someone with whom I’d experienced a very painful break-up (painful for ME, at least) some years past come right toward my car, look directly at me with a moment of recognition, and walk past (apparently on his way to join the line of fans). It was weird because I hadn’t seen this person at all in eight years, and because in many ways, more than anyone with whom I’d had a relationship (outside my family), he symbolized the very epitome of what became a journey toward recognizing and ultimately “healing” or releasing those feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness within myself that allowed the cruel things he’d said, his treatment of me and the manner in which he’d ended our relationship to go way down deep, to cut me to the core. 

In that respect, I am incredibly grateful to that person, for forcing me to look at the pain and see that it was coming from inside myself, from the fearful belief that, somehow, he was right, that those things he called me were true. He forced me to begin to see, slowly and quite painfully, that I wasn’t aching over “lost love”, but over a feeling that I truly was unlovable. 

Today, what I experienced in the brief, odd (serendipitous?) moment of seeing him was not pain, but pure peace and JOY!! Joy at how far I’ve come on that journey (which I know will continue as long as I have breath in my lungs), joy and gratitude at having found a real and lasting love, built on genuine respect, caring, honesty and communication. I felt joy that, somehow, both Theron and I have grown through our individual, sometimes very painful experiences of the past to become more whole, and to find one another from that place of wholeness. 

This afternoon, as I walked the trails at Bells Bend Park, enjoying the beautiful sunlight, the green fields and blue sky, the sparkling of the Cumberland, thinking of all the good and wonderful people in my life, my heart was so full. Despite it’s challenges – and sometimes BECAUSE of them, I am more deeply in love with this life than ever before. Thanks for letting me share that.

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