We all have our stories. Of what happened, why it happened, how hard it’s been, how long it’s taken, what it means (that’s a BIG one) and of course what has been ‘lost’. They are the stories that at least to some extent make up who we are. They are our defining stories, shaping and contouring our personality, our lives in so many ways. They can be empowering or disempowering and often a mixture of both.
I had one of those stories. A story about my ‘dark night of the soul’. What initiated it, how hard it was, how much I lost, how much it hurt, what it meant and on and on. Over the years of course the story changed to some extent and the gifts that were many and generous, were claimed. But it wasn’t until last summer when I flew back to Amsterdam- the place where my own descent into the underworld commenced- that the final chains of my story, those tendrils that had wrapped themselves around me, making my breath catch just a tiny bit, let go. It wasn’t until I could breathe fully, and deeply and expansively, until I could stretch out my arms to their fullest capacity, that I felt fully free. Free of the story, free from the weight of it, the shape of it, free from the contours that moulded what was possible for me and my life. The old story had lost its meaning, its significance. It no longer limited me. It wasn’t ‘me’. I could create something entirely different; I could re-create myself according to my wildest most delicious desires, my imaginings of self no longer curtailed by old stories of pain.
Reweaving the story; Amsterdam 2017
Arriving in Amsterdam, I felt this curious sense of explosive joy. Like a power inside of me was unleashing. I didn’t understand it. It’s not like I hadn’t been back here since I moved to the US years ago. On that first morning after an all night flight, sitting in a cafe having breakfast, something was clearly different. I wanted to take pictures of everything (I’ve lived in Amsterdam for over 15 years so that in itself was a bit odd) and even though I hadn’t slept all night, I wanted to run out and embrace the city, walk the streets, see the sites, yell ‘I’m home!’ What?! Taking into account that when I left, all I felt was relief, a sense of expansion, an opportunity to get away from the claustrophobia that I felt, the contraction, the smallness of it all (inner city Amsterdam only has about 750.000 inhabitants), this desire to reclaim this city as ‘home’ was curious to say the least. In the days and nights that followed, I walked the streets, explored the various facets of Amsterdam, the places that I loved to go, where I used to buy my books (top floor of the American bookshop), the coffee shop that has the best apple pie in Amsterdam (on the corner of the Noordermarkt), my favourite retro shops, my favourite spots – and tree- in Amsterdam’s central park (the Vondelpark) and on and on. As I was doing this, exploring, feeling, celebrating the city, I slowly realised that I was reclaiming myself. Those parts that unbeknownst to me were still lost to darkness, that were still clinging to the memory of how much the cryssalis had hurt, were being invited into a different experience. One that said, "it’s ok, you can let go now, see how much beauty this city has offered you, how much you were held, how much you were supported. It’s ok to come out now, into the light, into LIFE. It’s ok to allow yourself to be seen, to celebrate your becoming, the end of this journey in this shape.”
By the end of my trip in Amsterdam, I felt full to the brim of love for this city. I could feel how deeply it had held me, supported me at the darkest time of my life, and that everything it had gifted me would forever be a part of me. I had reclaimed myself.
To be continued... smiles.
Beautiful, if you are reading this my invitation to you is as follows: what spaces and places within your own self are waiting to be reclaimed? What stories are no longer serving you and are waiting to be retold? What chains have wrapped themselves around you, shaping the way you perceive yourself and what is possible for your life? What powers and capacities, gifts and magic are waiting for you to make them come alive? What facets of life are yearning for your touch? Where is life patiently waiting for you to come dance with it? How can you allow yourself to fully unleash…?
With love and deep appreciation,