An awake heart is like a sky that pours light. – Hafez
When I originally read that line in my college English class, the first image that popped into my head was that of a toasty warm, sun-filled expanse. Nothing but sunshine and good vibes.
Fast forward a few years to the place that I am at now, and I realize something crucial in re-reading that line: Hafez didn’t mention the sun at all. In fact, he specifically used the word light. Re-read that line again without the image of the sun popping into your head. What does light mean to you?
I’ll tell you what I now see and feel from Hafez’s words. It’s this: Light doesn’t just come from the sun and it isn’t just warmth. It’s illumination.
It’s awareness. It’s clarity. It’s understanding. It’s hope. It’s a path. It’s an inner fire.
I was in a world of darkness with the discovery of my husband’s two decade long sexual addiction. And I felt very much that darkness would follow me the rest of my life. In simple terms, I thought my life and marriage were over. I believed the sun had set on me and felt my heart prepare to embrace an indeterminable and icy hibernation. I shut down and entered depression, lost with seemingly no light to guide me.
We all enter similar periods in our life of either comfortable security or ominous depression and mental unrest, happiness and joy or debilitating hopelessness. At that stage of my life, in those first days, weeks, and months after discovery, my heart was the opposite of awake. It felt dead and buried. Six feet under. I couldn’t fathom a way to accept it all.
One day, early in my journey and in the middle of a very ugly cry, I staggered up from the floor and stared hard into the bathroom mirror. I saw my face. I was so very tired and grief-stricken. I saw the red blotches on my skin and the mascara running wild and dark. But then I saw my eyes. And by some miracle, I saw they were still shining. I gripped the edge of the sink and leaned in close, inches from the glass. Yes, I confirmed, they were tired and wet, but they still shone with something other than grief. I saw me. I felt me.
But then I saw my eyes.
And by some miracle, I saw they were still shining.
It startled me, honestly. I felt like somehow trauma had unlocked a wormhole into my soul that let me peek into my heart and see that it was indeed, still awake. It was alive, just waiting to get the chance to pour the light I thought addiction and betrayal had snuffed out. For the first time, I felt hope spark. I felt in a very small way, alive despite it all.
So I had a choice: either I would remain in darkness and go back to the floor, or I would wash my face, woman up, and choose to see the light around me and inside of me. I could–with a lot of daring–rise up and fan the flame. I could get my fire back.
You see, I used to think that if I could just get rid of the darkness If I could just fix my trauma and cure my husband’s addiction then and only then my light could be rekindled and my heart could finally and completely awake. Healing seemed to lie in some magical place where the sun never set.
It was a mirage. And I followed it too long. Instead, the truth dawned on me brighter than any self-imposed need to control every facet of my life: I finally admitted and accepted that my life did not have to be pain-free to be filled with light.
I could take a fresh perspective. I could create a new future. I could be me, and more. My life could be messy and still worth every breath and step in the right direction to healing and happiness. I could heal the darkness inside of me one degree at a time, and let my heart warm itself by allowing light to live and grow there. I could–and vowed that I would–feel alive again.
It’s not the absence of darkness that promotes healing, but rather it’s the amount of light and fire that we create and pass on in the darkness. It’s the compassion and warmth we give to ourselves and others. It?s the wisdom we seek and practice. It’s the future we allow ourselves to dream and heal for.
Through my healing journey, I’ve discovered that light and illumination continue to spill and fill into the cracks in our lives even when our hearts are broken and warmth seems a distant memory.
Every woman has an awake heart filled with light–no matter how broken. Our hearts are big like the sky. It’s in our nature. I have it and you have it. Flourishing does not mean we live in eternal sunshine with zero trials. No, flourishing is living and triumphing in spite of those trials. It’s the true warriors, those brave and beautiful trauma troopers, that learn to trust and set their own hearts on fire with healing and grit and humility while in that dark place. Those are the women that truly flourish because they know the darkness, sometimes walk in it daily, and yet choose to rise and be brave. They choose the light that comes from within their own hearts. They choose healing.
We are a tribe of light. We have darkness in common but it doesn’t define us. What defines us is the light that we carry and the awake, tender, courageous fiery hearts that we choose to honor and heal.
We are alive.
We rise and bloom strong…even in the dark.
Bloom specializes in providing online inspiration, support, and education for women who desire to move forward from the grief and trauma associated with infidelity, betrayal, and unfaithful relationships. Click here to learn more.
(Art by Satsuki Shibuya, ?Lunar Eclipse”)