Learning to love the broken places

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"The wound is the place where the light enters you." - Rumi

As I sat in meditation this morning, tears started to flow.  I had chosen "I surrender" as my mantra because I have not been doing that lately and know that my life works better when I do...  So I sat there practicing surrender, and there were tears.  Goopy, dripping, snot-filled tears.
And images from childhood came up.
As much as I've grown, as much as we all will grow, there will always be wounds that cut us to the core.

Wounds that shaped us in fundamental ways. Wounds that let the light in.

My parents divorced when I was 5.  The fighting up until that point had made for a less-than-pleasant household, but there was still love.  After the divorce, everything changed.  A desperation took over in all of us.  A desperation I now see was a need to feel loved and secure, but at the time I interpreted as me needing to fix things.  As my dad remarried, I must have realized fixing wasn't an option, so I tried to reach out to my new family.  They had their own wounds to carry, though, and my advances were met with coldness.

The original wound was cut deeper now.  Is there anything more devastating to a child than not being received with open loving arms?  Children ARE love.  So innocent and trusting...

For whatever reason, I decided that I wasn't good enough for the love I craved so deeply.  And so I set about trying to make myself perfect in order to become good enough.

Perfect grades.  Perfect manners.  Being seen and not heard.  Hide away the rawness, the shame, the pain, the deep grief.  Put on a perfectly polished suit of armor.  Give them no reason NOT to love me.

Except that it didn't work.

And instead of giving up the act and reaching out, I cut off and transferred my perfection-seeking ways to other areas.  Most notably to my voice.

Perfect grades and teacher approval weren't enough to drown out the "not good enough" thoughts.  I had to be perfect, even the best, at everything I did.  Constant soloist. First chair flute.  Section leader.  Drum major.  Performance Dance Troupe.  Surely something would finally bring me the love I craved...

The voice doesn't hold up to such pressure though.  The voice is like a child.  Innocent, trusting, reflective...  And the voice, like a child's essence, cannot shine when it's choking on pain.

My voice finally started to break down as a senior in high school and never really recovered until almost 10 years later.  The wobble went away with breath and registration work.  The laryngitis faded.  But the voice that could sing out confidently, proudly, sure of what it wanted to say was gone.

Until I started to see the light.

(Sounds cheesy, I know... but truly!)

As I dove deeper into my spiritual journey in my 20s, cracks of light started to shine on all this pain I'd been carrying around since I was 5.

Light illuminating the wounds, the deeper truths behind them, the thoughts and beliefs that resulted.

I started to see that, though these wounds had shaped me, they no longer needed to control me. That, while the pain was very real, continuing to relive it by holding on to it did not benefit me. And I started to see that every experience I had spent a lifetime lamenting also held slivers of good.

Were it not for the pain I carried for so many years deep in my soul, I would not be where I am today. Were it not for the connection I noticed between my emotional state, healing, and quality of my voice, I would not be doing the work I do now that nourishes me and transforms others.

Were it not for my wounds, I might not see the Light.

And let me tell you... it is breathtaking.

So next time you find yourself cut to the core from a wound, instead of hiding it or shaming yourself or shoving it aside, just say thank you.

Every wound is an opportunity for Light.