Much like a coal miner coming out of the cave they work in, the light looks brighter – shockingly so – when we emerge. The air smells fresher. The sounds sing sweeter.” – says Chani Nichols about my Leo path. Ah… I’m not sure she realizes just how spot on she is with this.
You see … About 6 years ago I decided to leave a life that was seemingly so stable and lovely and secure. From the outside it was beautiful and perfect. But inside I knew I was dying. And as I look back from an even deeper place, I know now, there wasn’t anything wrong with my life; I just wasn’t being true to myself. I had hidden myself behind so much and I knew I couldn’t shine until I faced it all.
I knew I had to leave, but there was so much preparation that had to happen. I slipped into an underground survival mode and went to work. I stashed money away, worked my ass off, and prayed every day. I prayed for forgiveness, for clarity, for protection, for grace, and for truth. But most of all, for freedom.
Freedom from my pain, my past, my hurt and the lies I told myself about what my life was supposed to be. I had put myself in a safe little box but my light was not shining … at least I didn’t feel it. People around me could see it, but my heart was so clouded by my past, I just couldn’t see it. And I didn’t feel safe to share it completely. There was healing to be done and it couldn’t happen in the space I was in.
I knew I had to leave in 2009 but spent an entire year planning and praying. Then, in 2010 I traveled to Squaw Valley with two very dear friends and on our way back to the NW, I told them I would be leaving my current life. I was gifted this beautiful bracelet that I have worn every single day since.
In 2011 my life completely unraveled and I was scared shitless. The noise outside of my head was so loud and it was an effort to block it out, listening to only my heart. I realized that this underground journey had only just begun. Through fear, guilt, shame, rage, grief, judgment, ridicule and projection, I kept walking, kept yoga-ing, kept praying, and kept diving in deep.
Only 11 months into the first transition, in 2012 I was offered an opportunity to change my life even more and I took it. It would change things drastically and force me to step out onto a huge ledge. The ledge I stood on was this:
You are going to be alone – this is your path.You must be self-sustaining – you cannot rely on anyone for help.
You must leave your two daughters for an indefinite period of time.
I could stand on the edge of those fears and peer over the side or I could leap. Heart wrenching; still brings tears to my eyes when I think of it. But the BIG DREAM required BIG RISK so I leaped. And keep in mind, big risk is just that, it’s a risk; there are no guarantees. And let me be clear; the BIG DREAM had nothing to do with fame or fortune … only freedom.
Truth, freedom and love. Period.
My move wasn’t all roses and chocolate. Nope. It involved being vulnerable, transparent and it involved hard work, and sleeping on lots of couches. It involved asking for help and kicking ass. It involved me looking at all of my dark stuff with truth and compassion. It involved setting boundaries that hurt and put me into a space of even more needed isolation. It involved losing my mind over my heart, big time. It involved leaving my soul mate whom I loved dearly. It involved crying alone and meditating a lot. It meant putting lots of miles on my car in the hopes to make a difference and an impact.
You see, when you leave it all, I mean all of it, and arrive with only what fits in your car, you start over. You believe, you trust, and you keep moving, and you keep loving. You keep praying, you keep yoga-ing, and you keep moving. There isn’t time for intimacy, or partnership, or doubting, or partying. There’s work to be done when you rebuild for the sake of a big dream.
The Guru Mantra, Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Ganesha and Shiva all became my consort. A far cry from the Catholic home I grew up in that’s for sure. But it worked! Quan Yin was my protector every single day. Live in compassion for it all.
In 2013 my lovely daughters moved back in with me. After nine months of being apart, nine months of traveling into the dark corners of my life, nine months of deep introspection, I emerged a lighter being. My heart was at ease. But still, work to be done, as always. Still somewhat underground.
Truth, freedom and love. Period.
In 2014 I could afford to take my kids to Palm Desest on vacation. I exhaled, finally. I stopped worrying about how I was going to pay for food, clothes and gas in my car. I could finally breathe a bit easier and didn’t grind my teeth at night. I stopped fighting about what I thought was fair or just and began falling into the space of flow instead.
This year… this year feels good. I am dreaming big. I see my light and I am moving swiftly into an even brighter light, which of course is scary, but so necessary.
We live in an apartment that is on the bottom floor of our building and faces the trees. We don’t get direct light but it’s beautiful. We just bought a little furniture set to sit out on the deck. My kids do their homework out there and argue over who can use the table. I have to get the other one now to match, so they both have one. I can do that. I have the resources.
I think of these words from the wise Chani Nichols,
“You are ending a recent and significant underground-type of journey but the good news is that it ends with Friday’s solar eclipse/new moon. Above ground you go!
Much like a coal miner coming out of the cave they work in, the light looks brighter – shockingly so – when we emerge. The air smells fresher. The sounds sing sweeter.”
every time I walk up three flights of steps and emerge from the beauty of my safe place, my apartment where I became self-sustaining, self-loving and at ease with growing. The words that permeate my heart when I emerge every, single morning is
“I am so ready to move up into the light.”
It’s time to dream bigger than you can imagine. Don’t plan it, just move into the light without fear, doubt of worry. It’s time.
By Dana Damara
“My passion on the mat is proper alignment, powerful breath and effortless flow so you feel that off your mat. Your practice becomes sacred space where you arrive to find more meaning, depth, authenticity and integrity in your life."
- Dana Damara: mother, author, yoga instructor, speaker and yogini.
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