The treasure trove within

I’ve spent much of my life trying to chase a particular kind of experience, such as a relationship, owning a car, having a child, studying for a degree, carving out a career, going on holiday.

I believed that each of those would bring me joy and satisfaction. And while each of those things have value and brought me good times, they never satisfied the inner longing.

It has taken me almost to my mid forties before I could truly take in that I am what I seek.

I’ve heard it so many times. Most of us have by now. For some, it’s almost irritating, triggering a defensive response. It did for me on occasions. I felt like it was saying I shouldn’t WANT or NEED anything because it all exists within me. Not a hugely helpful thing to say to someone in distress.

Now I realise it isn’t saying that. Instead it is saying the following: By all means go out in the world and have fun. Enjoy the experiences that come your way. Seek refuge and healing in those beautiful people who want to help. Find a purpose, if you like, whether that’s self betterment or self service. Do what feels important to you.

Just don’t lose yourself in any of it. Realise that life is a gift, not an obligation. And at those times when it all falls apart, know that your joy or healing was never dependent on that one person or situation. The treasure trove has always been within you. You’ve been chasing a feeling, but a feeling can never exist externally, it can only be realised within. That can’t be taken away, even in the face of loss, even when it gets covered up, temporarily, by the shadows of fear or grief.

Yes, what I’ve been chasing all these years is my own joy, my own peace, my own self. I didn’t find them anywhere else because I was never supposed to; they were never there! I lost myself in the mirror. I thought I was in the world; the world is in me.

To anyone struggling with deep emotional pain right now, please take heart. You might not be able to see or experience it but one day the clouds will lift and you’ll realise that there is joy to be found even right in the thick of despair. It exists because it’s from Spirit and Spirit lies within you, it IS you.

All paths lead home

I’m a huge X Files fan and used to eat, sleep and breathe the show. I haven’t watched it in years but one of the many beautiful quotes that stand out for me is Scully’s sister Melissa saying ‘There’s no right or wrong, it’s just a path.’

It used to make me cry to hear it. For many years of my life I DID believe I’d taken the wrong turn, failed, or plain messed up. I thought God, the Universe or Spirit was punishing me because I hadn’t listened to my intuition, or had but made the ‘wrong’ decision anyway. I went to see an alternative therapist when I was young and impressionable and she reinforced this belief by implying that because I hadn’t learnt my lesson from one situation the Universe had needed to make my life even harder. I can see the logic behind her view but the problem is she presented it in a way that suggested that my entire life circumstances were an external punishment for not having listened to myself or Spirit.

I went through life suffering with thoughts that I was a spiritual failure, that I hadn’t been ‘good.’ Even as a small child I had strong morals and was determined to be good in the eyes of God. I wrote to Him in notebooks and prayed for the capacity to choose what was right. I was eleven years old! At thirty one I was lost in a spiritual depression. I couldn’t see my way out. I’d tried so hard to get it right, this thing called life. And somehow I kept going wrong.

Years later, I can see and understand that I wasn’t being punished, and that the choices I made, even though they weren’t always the best choices for myself, were only leading me back to where I was always headed, the only place I CAN be: my own Self. I couldn’t go ‘wrong’ in the eyes of God, or Spirit, because the Divine light was always within me, and whatever I experienced was yet another opportunity to find my way back home to my Self. (Please note: I’m not referring to decisions made by others that inflict pain or cruelty as that’s a whole other topic. )

The very human, wounded part of me, still reacts to this understanding. Like, ‘Hang on, there’s got to be something more to it than that? It has to mean more, surely? Why DID I go through that hell?’ Maybe that’s my ego-based personality not wanting to accept that the journey serves as a reminder that I am already home. In the film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s dream journey to Oz showed her that what she sought she already had within. Without the journey she wouldn’t have realised it. I don’t love or even like the journey in many places as it’s been incredibly hard and I honour that, but I see it for what it is: my path home.

As a child I knew this, I just framed it differently. I knew that I could draw on God, or Spirit, to show me the way to being the person I sensed I was despite all the external conditioning. I knew he would lead me home if I asked. I knew I had a lot of power at my disposal that I could draw on as and when I needed. But then I grew up. That’s the funny thing about this life – we are re-learning what we always knew. As Jesus said about young children, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.’

To anyone thinking, as I did, that you’ve gone wrong or are being punished: You’re not! You are a beautiful soul dealing with this crazy game called life. It’s hard. But trust that you’re always on the road home. It’s just learning to see through all the illusions and realise the light that is always in you and each of us.