I just got Melissa Etheridge's new CD, "The Awakening." It's a very personal release for her, which chronicles her spiritual journey from young adulthood, through career-building and coming out and loving her family and surviving cancer...and comments a bit on the State of Things. I'm enjoying it very much, and was particularly struck by the track "Message to Myself."
It's funny how you find just what you seek
Love is what you get when love is what you speak
I made every choice along the way
Each day I spent in hell I chose to stay
It's funny what you fear can make you weak
And truth is what you get when truth is what you speak
I've had on my mind several dear ones who are in the midst of meeting large challenges in various ways: perseverance, honesty, risk...any of them could spend a lot of time in hell, given their circumstances, but not one of them so chooses. They hang on to the determination to be loving, brave, generous and truthful about their lives, and each of them has been transformed in really beautiful ways. Each of them inspires me, and each of them has (in her own way) bloomed in her reaching toward the light. It's an honor to bear witness to the struggle and the growth.
It gets me thinking about why some people seem so much better equipped than others to deal with the challenges life throws at them; in the midst of the fire, some turn to ash and some are refined. I think it must have some connection to humility--and by that I do NOT mean self-criticism, but rather the ability to understand and accept your own place on your journey, coupled with openness to what comes next. The ability to bend when others would break. Finding new, deeper springs of love and truth within yourself when the messages from the outside do not serve as such. Finally, connectedness to other pilgrims, which also makes the trip worth taking.
In the final analysis, (and here's Melissa again):
All we can really do is love one another
Friends, you know who you are. Thank you for speaking love and truth. You are fiercely beautiful.