The Road Behind Me

There will always be farther to go; but I’m proud of just how far I’ve already come.  I’ve stripped away layer after excruciating layer of who I thought I was, what I thought I knew, and what I wanted to believe.  I’ve cleared away the rubble and put out the flames, and discovered my soul buried beneath.  I have faced fears and conquered demons.  I’ve unveiled truths and illuminated shadows; and through it all I’ve learned that love will always prevail.

Broken and bleeding in a pit of fear, I was lifted up on the wings of love.  I learned to love myself and my journey; and now I am in love with love itself.   I love this earth and her creatures, the wind in her skies, the water in her veins, and the fire in her heart.  I’ve fallen in love with the stars and the moon, the light of the sun, and even the darkness of night.

Like a star being reborn, I had to collapse in upon myself until my true essence broke free and scattered in an ethereal cloud of love, hope, chaos, and fire.  I’ve died a thousand deaths, each time reinventing myself brighter, stronger, and purer than before.  From the midst of destruction, I became the creator of myself.  From the midst of darkness, I became my own source of light.

I wasn’t born with courage or strength.  I had to take the path less traveled and pick them up along the way.  When the time came, I didn’t stare down my fears like a natural born heroine.  I trembled down to my bones and I turned back more times than I can count before I finally took one tentative step forward, followed by another and then another.

And I didn’t learn to speak my truth with grace.  I learned it through countless failed attempts that ended in snickers and sneers that scared me away.  Time and time again, I had to speak with a trembling voice and with my face flushed with fear before I finally figured out how to just let go and allow my soul to naturally sing.

I didn’t question my beliefs passively but catastrophically.  My knees quaked and my stomach churned while I watched the world turn upside down.  But I pushed on.  Because I knew that there was something more.  Something pure.  Something unafraid.  Something loving.  Something true.  Something that was within me all along.

With much time, many tears, and a good measure of trust, I slowly started to learn.  I learned to embrace my vulnerabilities.  I learned to laugh as I stripped away the falsehoods and uncertainties that cloaked my spirit.  I learned how to follow my heart instead of my head.

And I’m still learning even today.  I still have times when I instinctively try to hide or downplay my truth, my light, my flaws, my shadows.  But now I believe in myself, I trust my divine guidance, and I trust the process.  I know that beauty doesn’t come from perfection but from authenticity, that strength doesn’t come from hardened armor but from a softened heart – and this helps me overcome that instinct no matter how strong it may be.

I’ve learned, but I still have my days.  I have days when I look around and it seems as if everyone else is much farther ahead.  I see other people who never knew fear as intimately as I.  I see other people who knew unconditional love earlier than I.  I see other people who walk gentler, who love deeper, who are braver, kinder, smarter, stronger, and who see things more clearly.

I see them and I’m tempted to backtrack.  I’m tempted to fall into those same old feelings of unworthiness, of insecurity, of self-judgment.  I’m lured into questioning myself – whether I’ve come far enough, if I’m trying hard enough, or if I’m progressing fast enough.

But I no longer fall into that downward spiral because I understand that this journey is mine and mine alone.  I know there’s no sense in comparing one path to another, no standard that can apply to different souls.  I know that those who seem so far ahead were once just like me, and I can learn by paying attention to the clues they left behind.

This understanding has planted within me a burning desire to leave clues for others in much the same way, to help them navigate their own way through the wilderness.  And so I do my part.  I do my part by sharing my own story of survival, discovery, learning, and healing, by putting it all out there for everyone to see.  I am committed to giving others what I once wished I had – a glimpse of what the process can look like, an honest portrayal of the struggles, and celebrating the triumphs.  I will share what I’ve learned as I’ve taken down my own giants, faced my own monsters, and dispelled my own shadows.

I know now that the best way to help others is by helping myself.  By continuing to grow and by refusing to compare.  I understand that every journey is as unique as a single snowflake glistening in the evening sky – but one that’s taking place among countless others.  Now I trust in the power of my authenticity to work in mysterious and profound ways; because I know that we’re all in this together, and together we can bring beauty and light even to the darkest of each other’s times.

© 2016 Cristen Rodgers

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  1. This is perfect: “I know that beauty doesn’t come from perfection but from authenticity, that strength doesn’t come from hardened armor but from a softened heart – and this helps me overcome that instinct no matter how strong it may be.” When we live as we are, not who we think we should be…perfection emerges. Thanks Cristen! You’re awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are on the exact same road. Comparison can be halting. But you are enlightened enough to realize each bring has their own timeline. And really there is no pushing it. Even if you want to move as fast as your neighbor, you can’t. You have to let your story of love unfold. Such peace in this and I hope today is filled with equal peace and love.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The beauty of our roads is that they are individual. It would be dull and trampled if the path we walked was the same one all others had traversed. Each of us having a fresh trail to travel means new footprints set and unique sights to see. We then teach each other as not all of us have seen the same things. You have inspired new thinking in me this morning! Thank you

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on A Healing Grief and commented:
    I came across this beautiful blog post and just had to reblog it. It reminds me of my journey. Please do follow the blog of this beautiful and talented Spirit, Cristen Rodgers.


  4. Cristen, this post is absolutely beautiful. Delightful, actually. It allowed me to let myself off the proverbial hook for judging my own journey and wishing I was further on down the “path.” Your words fell over me like a blanket of kindness, settled on my shoulders, and kept me warm through the day. Thank you for being so open and transparent with all of us. We love you.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is so beautifully and understandably written, Christen. Thank you for writing about each of own individual journeys, this is so important to realise. Love also your new profile photo, you look lovely!


  6. Christen, I’ve reinvented my self so many times in my life, died a thousand deaths, and have had to go in search of myself again and again , guided by that force and the little voice that has shown me the way, sometimes the dark cold wind has extinguished that light, yet it’s been rekindled and still drives me everyday, as it’s done for decades. Thank you for summing up ‘the journey’ some of us have dared to take. It’s the wild horse that can’t be tethered. Someday, if our paths cross and we can talk, it will be a pleasure.

    “I’ve died a thousand deaths, each time reinventing myself brighter, stronger, and purer than before. From the midst of destruction, I became the creator of myself. From the midst of darkness, I became my own source of light.”


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