The Pillars of my Life

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. -Henry David Thoreau

When everything has been burnt to the ground you find out who you are. You find out what you are capable of. When you find yourself buried in the ashes of what was only two options are available.

Stay in the burnt remains. Let them cover you, eventually smothering you, blinding you to all that is. You are stuck in the past. Your feet cemented in pain. Here you will stay. And here you will die. Death in this instance is no longer living life. Death befalls us all, some experience it while still alive.

Or you look at your feet, cemented in pain. You look at the burnt ashes of what was to see what truly remains. The beauty of life. Slowly, sometimes with great pain, you chip away at the pain, you feel the blood come back to your feet. You feel the first bit of freedom as you wiggle your toes.

And then, one day, you break free. You make the choice to let go of what was and embrace what is. The moment you do this is the moment you are transformed. You are no longer the person you were before everything burnt to the ground.

Whatever was burnt was what needed to be burned. To be cast away from your life. What remains can never be taken from you without your consent.

Adversity has a common thread for all of us. But what remains is different. We all experience adversity differently. What remained for me was what I lost but was never truly gone.

These are my pillars. These are the primary colors of my life.

Love. Freedom. Choice. Trust. Joy.

Without these, I cannot paint the masterpiece I want to paint. With them, I can paint anything I want. These colors make up the full spectrum of all the colors in the universe.

I lost these and my life was empty. I have found them, and in turn, myself. It is with these colors that I stand before my blank canvas. Brush in hand I can paint anything I want.

Adversity stretches the boundaries of who we are.

The expansion is painful. It stretches what we know to be true. It breaks preconceived notions about ourselves. In that breaking is pain. Pain at what we thought we knew. Freedom when we see what is true.

Some say when you come out of adversity you are forever changed. I agree. But we can choose to go back. What we choose to go back to, will never be the same. You cannot stand in the same river twice. But some try. And within that effort will lie suffering.

Anything that expands can contract. Physics. Plain and simple.

Allowing this contraction to occur is allowing fear to speak with a louder voice than freedom. All the noise, all the chatter. And fear is the voice that rises above.

How do we stop this? We push forward. We let go of the pain of the past, but hold on dearly to the lessons we learned. We know, we understand that within our new boundaries we will face pain. But we know we can meet the challenge. We learn to hunger for it.

But it is a practice. It must be nurtured. Cultivated.

I’ve seen the other side. And I want more. Why would I want to go back to what was?

Love. Freedom. Choice. Trust. Joy.

All their own pillar. Each capable of standing on its own. But when together, when all cylinders are firing, unstoppable.

They intertwine, they have synergy. And the energy that results is powerful. Free. Intense.

It is up to me to continue to harness this energy. Accept the gift life has given me.

Now.

Not later.

Now.

Keep the magic alive.