There have been moments in my life where I felt like humanity was lost on human life.  Recently I have experienced things that inspire me to rethink that mode of thought.  The pattern began when I began to smother parts of who I was to satisfy obligations to family and career.   For years I was caught up in satisfying those obligations to maintain a stable life within a nutshell that I now realize was a shell of obligations that I imposed upon myself.   While choking the life out of my own dreams, it was difficult to see that other people could do good for others because that was in their heart and not because they were obligated to perform a duty.

This journey I have been on in recovering from a “mild” traumatic brain injury has taught me so much about my Self, relationships, obligations, hopes, balance, our social conditioning and my place within this life.  In the beginning, I was frustrated because I could not communicate adequately or function well on my own and this uber-independent woman that managed and controlled everything was now depending on everyone else to help her get by.  Then I went through denial and just forged ahead forgetting to focus on healing which led to anger because I was not healing.  When you have painted yourself into a nice corner, I have now learned, you just have to wait for the paint to dry then you can turn around, see the beauty of the colors and walk out of the corner.

That is where I am at now.  Walking out of the corner and recognizing the beauty and grace of each stroke, some are covered up in multiple coats with a few different colors that have now blended to form a beautiful collage that I could not see before.  Being able to see that masterful kaleidoscope is a very powerful thing and was only facilitated through staring so intently at that damned corner that I had no place to look other than inside myself.  Once inside there, I gave myself permission to be mad, to forgive, to give responsibilities away, to breathe, to love myself with all of my flaws and to embrace the dreams I have held dear.

I must admit, this is a guided tour where the walk to the corner was a rather misguided trip.  The guide came to me through conversations with many-a-friend over campfire, reflective reading, walks alone with the iPod and camera and reading.  The guide is a girl I know from a long time ago.  She has always been there for me and I rarely listened to her because she often encourages me to be self-indulgent.  I never have wanted to be perceived that way.  As of late, I discovered that she is also a very rational, even-tempered person that balances her encouragement for my flighty artistic side with just the right amount of responsibility to my sustentative needs.  She is a beautiful young woman and she has grown up so much while I wasn’t paying attention to her, flourishing without my interference.  We reconnected when I was in California on a walk by myself one day.  When I turned the corner, I saw her where previously I saw a weary middle-aged woman encumbered by a life of servitude.  She looked exactly like me, bathed in light, happy, relaxed and she was smiling at me like she was giving me permission to be me and nothing more, expecting me to be nothing less.  I felt warm and comfortable, like my mother was hugging me.

When I made that connection and centered my Self again, I began to see my life differently.  That is when I started to see that I had placed the limitations on my life and I am the only one with the power to free myself of the limitations so that I can pursue the dreams I had out away.  I could see where I had held myself captive by own sense of obligation and it was time to let go of the attachment to obligations that were not necessary to make room for healing, growth and love.  And, a funny thing happened.  I began to draw my boundaries and have endeavored to not over-obligate, I wanted to do things for people not because I had to and that opened a space inside so I could see the same humanity in other people.

My guide is very special to me now and I always listen to her, even though it’s hard to bring her voice forward from the din at times.  She does remind me to balance my actions between duty to myself and to others.  I understand now that she has always been with me, in my subconscious, urging me along, patting me on the back, lifting me up, fending off attacks from betrayers.  I brushed her off and steeled myself against her compassion like I did everyone else who fell short of my self-imposed unattainable expectations and just drown her out with work and “ethic”.  She has taken a mighty stand against that part of me, quieting the doubts and fears that I have projected upon others.  She is my Artemis and that is the best guide to have through this colorful journey to humanity.

Accepting the humanity of other people, well that is another journey called humility that I will write about on another day.  Right now, I am going to sit back and enjoy this train ride up the Pacific Coast from San Diego to Los Angeles to see a friend.  And to see a campfire, full of color lapping one over the other, ever changing and entrancing.  Man, I love a campfire with friends.  That is one of the best things in this life.