The Paths of Words

The Paths of Words

If you are ever in doubt, if you ever feel alone, tear it open and let it flow. Share yourself – every light flare or festering wound you may be holding inside; the fears of navigating new and unfamiliar ground or the hurts that have lingered unattended for far too long.

Your words will travel to a to a place where they will be gathered and protected by those intended, yet often least expected. Find those who get you, who understand your voice. Your stories were written in parallel. You are to be there for each other. Trust others with your words. They need them and you need theirs.

Feel it deeply. Don’t polish it on its way out or preempt the experience with the “shoulds”. The only way to wholly arrive is to have trudged through the “is” first. The “is” isn’t always pretty and it doesn’t always make sense, but feel it – it’s real and it must takes its course. Leave the water running long enough to stream clear. Experience the release of letting go of the bristly, spiky, heavy ball of “unshared struggle” inside, and begin to move forward a bit lighter.

Over the past year and a half that I’ve been writing this blog and interacting with an inspiring group of souls through various online communities, I’ve taken bold moves relative to my nature. I’ve shared my words. I’ve asked others to share their stories with me – their precious and sacred stories. I prayed that I wouldn’t hear crickets in return.

The messages I’ve received have changed my days in ways I could not fully describe. The connection I’ve made with these souls – some I’ve never even met – while navigating the loss of so many others in my life through transition and change, have in part kept me afloat. They’ve kept me stretching, feeling comfort in who I am and where I’m at, and they’ve encouraged me with the tremendous strength they’ve gained through their walk along rugged trails. They’ve inspired me with their courage – risks they’ve taken and dreams they’ve chased, even realized.

I had a 3-hour phone conversation with a “stranger” last night. A connection made right here in this space. I’ve admired her over time from a distance, sharing words here and there. She responded to a post in which I reached out for inspiration. Our stories mingled, meant for each other to hear. We laughed and finished each other’s sentences and thoughts, rounding out my understanding, validating uncertainties and fears, sharing our faith, aspirations and celebrations. She left me inspired and I woke rejuvenated in the morning. This is a small world in so many ways.

To share a story is like breaking off a little chunk of you to nourish another and sustain them for the journey forward. To remind them that they are not alone. To remind them that they are not flawed, and that life is messy and mendable. To help pull their feet from the deep muck where they may be stuck in uncertainty. To increase the capacity of their breath. To shine a light on their path. To share a lightness or humor in the madness of Life.

I believe that our gifted experiences are loaded with lessons. I believe we are meant to squeeze them, chew on them, and feed from the wisdom they offer. Give of your words freely – they are source of comfort, clarity, inspiration, and perspective to those around you. Help fill in their blanks, shifting meaning into the void.

And if you’d like to share yours, well, this is as good a place as any.

J

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