This is the story of my path- A metaphor of self-discovery
I was lost in the woods. I was searching. I didn’t know what I was searching for and so I never knew if I was going in the right direction. I thought I remembered a place, a house with a porch—I remember it like waking after a dream. I don’t have the details in my mind.
I would walk around looking for this place I couldn’t quite remember. I would take shelter in small homes and hotels along the way. I would go in for drink and food and drugs of various kinds. I was looking for a high…something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I never found satisfaction in any of these places and so I would always return outdoors to the woods.
There was snow. It felt like a dream. The snow was blowing and I had to shelter my eyes. I couldn’t tell if up ahead it was person or a tree. I fumbled around the best I could. I would see others in the blowing snow- their plight so much worse than my own. I would take pity but be unable to stop and help for fear of my own survival being compromised. I would wander between the trees confused and disoriented. I didn’t know. I felt like I didn’t know anything.
I kept on going into a home or hotel here and there. I found one so welcoming and warm that I stayed. I stayed for a long time. I had food and drink and friends. I felt loved. I thought this is the joy I have been seeking. And then in that thought, the walls and roof evaporated around me and I was outside once more. Now I was very confused. I was angry and hurt and betrayed. The wind picked up outside and I was sure that I couldn’t remember what I had I thought I could find out here.
I wandered in a different direction- I thought. No longer could I find stops along the way as frequent. My clothes became ragged and I couldn’t wash or rest. I was close to starving. Up ahead now, I saw the house from my dream. I walked up the steps to knock. I couldn’t bring my self to do it. I felt as unworthy as I could have ever imagined. Who was I to knock on this door? I was filthy and unable to care for myself. I was ashamed.
I stumbled back into the woods. I wandered some more. I found a place to eat. I rested a little, but never able to stay in one place very long. I became consumed with the possibility of finding this house again.
I came back to the house. I found it again. I don’t know why I had not been stronger last time. I forgot. Why couldn’t I knock on the door? I found my courage, knocked this time and when no one answered I entered the house carefully. It was old and warm. The colors were rich. The light was dim. To the left was a staircase. Ahead of me was a long hall probably to the kitchen. To the right there was a living room with a fire crackling and a warm drink on the table beside a big welcoming chair. There was a presence nearby-- watching without interfering. He welcomed me to sit and stay as long as I wanted. He did not turn away from my disgust and filth. He accepted me as I was in that moment- with all my imperfection. I wept. I stayed all night in that chair and rested.
When I felt stronger and more able to accept this place was the same house from my dream, I began to explore it. The presence remained, but never directed me. When I finished finding my way upstairs and through the rooms on the main floor, I made my way to the door to the basement.
I opened the door and immediately smelled the dampness of this forgotten place. I went down the stairs and found one lonely bulb hanging from the ceiling. I pulled the string and saw the mold and old boxes and books strewn around on the floor, forgotten. The stink and wet of the place made me cringe. I saw a door near the back corner. I forced myself against many thoughts of fleeing, never to return, to move toward that back room and open it. When I did, I saw more of the same and worse. The forgotten bowels of this old house-- anything put here was left to rot.
Then something magical happened. I began to fear that this place would be no different than the last where the walls and roof would evaporate. But instead, it was as if my willingness to see the disgust was the only thing required to transform it. It became more light than I thought possible in a basement. I could see clearly the corners of the back room and this entire sad old decrepit basement. And in this process, all the filth disappeared. It was seen and so it no longer needed to take up space. I was able to leave this sad place. I took a deep breath.
I walked gingerly back up the steps to the main floor. I could see this house now for what it was. It was warm and cozy. It had walls that welcomed you like a friend’s embrace and the presence that had been lingering in the front now asked me if *he* could have some tea?
I thought: “Why would he ask me this?” And in my surprise I realized that this was my house. I lived here. I had just never known my way home… until now.
This is the metaphor I have for my journey of spiritual awakening. I am home now. I am connected to the divine and I truly inhabit my spiritual house.
This means that I can live as the whole person of who I am. I am no longer disconnected from my true self- living in obligation and struggle. I now live from my own authority without fear or anger. I do not need to present outwardly something that I am not. I can be vulnerable and real and know that in my spiritual connection to self and to the divine, I am accepted and valued.
Since writing this story in 2009, I have used the metaphor in my personal work of being more comfortable in the home, of moving in and truly living in my spiritual house. This has been a process of getting more comfortable in my new skin; a way of being and of seeing myself.
Story is a powerful tool in the work of finding self and creating the life you want. Story is a foundation for communicating with the quieter and more hidden places within and drawing out the inner wisdom we all carry.
Thank-you for reading this. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by email or through comments on my blog.
This is the story of my path- A metaphor of self-discovery