Once upon a time there lived a girl who wished she was anyone but herself. She felt sad, alone, desperate to not be the youngest sibling in this misfit family. She believed her purpose was more noble, more important, more enlightening than the rigid rules and expectations she could barely abide.
And she was right. Or so it feels to me today.
Because today I bring a message of Gratitude and Beauty, of looking where we want to go, of focusing on small things. This is noble. And important. And enlightening.
Through the lens of today I can look at that girl I once was with all of the compassion and tenderness that I ached for then. I can feel her blossom with this attention. I can sense a shift in her, a realization that these days will not always rule her. That one day she would no longer need to wonder if her twin had been taken from her, daydream she was an alien, wish she was adopted or envy the boundaries of autism.
Yes, one day she would feel whole.
And it would take years of reminding herself of the simple things, things that seemed to run counter to all she was taught as a child.
“The only reason to do, or not do, anything, is because I want to.”
“I am the only one responsible for my happiness. And I am responsible for my happiness only.”
One day she would read about the functions of a mother and choose to nourish herself now with all that she had not received.
There were difficult times, then and since, filled with worry, painted with self-doubt, drenched in shame. Especially the shame of being so unhappy when her life had been so easy.
Where you look…
As I look back now, I begin with that shame. I did not lack for food or shelter, for clothing or education. I was not in danger, that I can recall. What right did I have to be so sad?
I remind myself that each person is on their own path. That this path, with all of its awkward nervousness, has been mine all these years. And, today, knowing the joy I live, the expansive heart that beats within me, I even feel some pride.
I found a path that worked for me, that brought me from bleakness to this beautiful now.
This began with my belief that “where you look, there you will go”. That the things we give our attention to are the things that grow the most.
This shifted to a path of Gratitude that became richer and more meaningful the further I followed it. Thankfulness sparked Awareness, opening the door to Community and spurring my heart to Kindness.
In this flow of Gratitude, the world, and our hearts, shine with her light. The light of Gratitude. The light of the Divine. A light I want to share with all I meet.
If you know me online, you know that I look for Beauty in all things. Especially in small things. That I consider it my joyful duty to show you the amazing world we live in at every opportunity.
The fact is, I’m not all rainbows and butterflies, though I share them often.
After all this time, I still find I have little patience for people who stay inside the vortex of sadness. For those who seem to choose to be fired by bitterness, but not joyful excitement. For those who can point out all that is wrong, but can’t seem to see what is right in their world. For those not willing to take that first step to change.
…There you will go
My journey has been years of walking this path, of spiraling around the call of Beauty. Alternating between running towards my heart’s calling, and stumbling into health issues and self-criticism that beg to pull me down.
It’s not always been easy.
I’ve not often talked about the not easy parts.
My heart knows that I feel joy more purely for having felt sorrow so sharply. That light is difficult to see on its own, but shines brightly in the darkness.
My heart knows this, but I’ve been afraid to tell you.
I was afraid that too much attention to the pain would make it grow, that attention to my darkness would allow it to envelope me. That I would be pulled into the vortex and be defined by my pain.
That I would become the person who tries my patience so, wrapped in a cloak of sadness.
By fearing that darkness I gave it power. By not seeing my own old scars, I stumble over their debris without learning their lessons. By not showing you where I came from, I’ve only shown you the parts of me I thought you’d want to see.
And so I begin by showing you these scars. Timidly, worried you may find them insignificant or that you will find my message less Beautiful now.
Yet hoping its Beauty will shine even brighter against the backdrop of my own pain.
Teresa Deak is a writer, Tarotist and photographer, the creator of the Gratitude Tarot, and sharer of hugs and butterflies on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.