It’s funny the way that, no matter what story you’re telling, you can never really tell all of it.  Every story is linked in some way to every other; and every beginning is really just the turn of a page in some greater book.  On and on it goes.  We’re all just editions in a library with no certain beginning and no known end.

I guess that’s why I’ve always found it difficult to know where exactly to begin when telling my own.  I think it would be far more fun to start with that moment when our collective tale begins than to pick a point on my tiny slice of the timeline – you know, that moment when the first bits of celestial dust collided, when the first flicker of light erupted from the darkness, and the first utterance broke the silence – but I admit it wouldn’t be fair to you or to me to write an entire book in an about me page, even if it is technically true that I am you and you are me.

I suppose I’ll just have to save my ponderings about creation, gods, the birth of humanity, and the interconnectedness of life for my blog posts and just say that the relevant chapter began when I was a young girl.  A young, self-conscious, and circumspect girl who was in love with the wonder of words.  What I couldn’t have known back then was that, as that young love slowly simmered, it would sear itself onto my soul and ignite a passionate, fierce, and demanding affair to which the woman writing this now is still devoted.

I always felt that there was something miraculous about the way that printed words could alter reality.  By simply turning a page, the outer world could completely disappear; and just by touching a pencil to paper the inner world could come to life.  It seemed as if there was a special kind of magic embedded in paper- the printed pages of a book or the blank pages of an unmarked journal- that beckoned me, pulling me into it like Alice through her looking glass.

Because of this intense attraction, and because I was painfully shy early in life, written words ended up being my first in many important ways.  They were the first to show me what the world looked like through the eyes of another person; and they were the first to make it safe for me to show the world what it looked like through my own.  At times I felt as if they were the first to really understand me; and that they were the first to help me begin to truly understand others.

Perhaps in part because we shared so many firsts, or maybe because of some uncontrollable destiny, my pen became a sort of magic key that could open a secret portal to my soul – a portal through which my deepest secrets, my purest passions, my love, fear, hopes, and dreams could safely pass.

Through the years, I became ever more comfortable sharing the truths that I was afraid to speak with the always open and always accepting pages of my personal journals.  Within those pages, I could experiment with fearless expression.  I could slip past the walls that I had built around my tattered heart – walls that were so high that even I had trouble deciphering what lie on the other side.  Writing became my primary means of beginning an important healing process and with that, an even more integral part of my ongoing story.

Only by the grace of this precious gift did I slowly develop the courage to begin the tedious task of tearing those walls back down; and with the first fresh breeze of vulnerability that brushed past my newly exposed heart came an important realization.  I realized that those walls weren’t just keeping others out.  They were also keeping me trapped within.  I realized that I had been hiding all of my mistakes and imperfections, all of the judgments and criticisms I adopted from others, all of the things that I believed made me less than enough behind those walls; and in the process of hiding these shadows I had nearly managed to completely extinguish my light.

This realization was a catalyst for my personal development, my spiritual evolution, and my further devotion to listening, speaking, learning, and sharing through written words.  I came to see that there was a bit of Divinity in me just as there is in the waters of the ocean and the stars of the sky.  I realized that, if I didn’t find it appropriate to judge a star as not bright enough, then it also wasn’t fair to judge myself that way.  And with that, my heart finally broke open and I began the long and, though sometimes difficult, ultimately beautiful journey of self discovery and spiritual awakening.

Once I made it through the darkest and most difficult parts of my personal adventure, I came to realize that this magic key wasn’t meant just for me – it could be a gift to others as well.  I could use my pen to throw the doors wide open and allow the truths that had so profoundly improved my life to find their way to others who are stepping upon the path that I walked myself.

Since then, I have devoted myself completely to going ever deeper in my understanding of spiritual truth and to not just flirting with words but completely immersing myself in them until those spiritual truths come bubbling up and trickle out into the world.  And so every morning I arise, I pick up my pen, and I unlock that portal to my soul and from it pour all of the lessons, the pains and the pleasures, and all of the truths that I’ve found, lost, hidden, and rediscovered as I journey deeper into my spiritual understandings.

I like to think of the things I write as little sparks of my spirit that I drop along the path behind me as I journey through life.  Their purpose is as much for me to remember where I’ve been as it is to comfort and help others who are also on their way.  I hope that there are some who will find inspiration and comfort in my words, or maybe only I take comfort in writing them – I suppose, even if the latter is true, that is still reason enough.  Either way, I continue with a heart full of hope because I truly believe that wherever we find soul-inspired passion and purpose united there we will also find life enough to resurrect a broken spirit, love enough to stitch together torn and battered hearts, and light that shines brightly enough to chase away even the darkest of shadows.

Cristen Rodgers