Spirit and energy, words that took on new meaning a quarter of a century ago. A time when I truly embraced the fact that I was a free spirit. Something everyone in my young life seemed to want to stifle except for my dad who was also a free spirit.
It was the beginning of a brand-new journey, totally embarking on The Road Less Traveled. Two roads diverged in the woods and I, certainly, took the one less traveled by.
My eldest son who was two at the time helped me embrace the inquisitive spiritual side of my being. I let him take the lead and we followed his curious, creative, and highly energetic spirit down new untrekked territory. He gave me the strength to dig within, to heal wounds that needed healing, then to venture down new avenues, previously, I never before would have embarked on.
Five years later, with the birth of my second son, my spiritual sense grew even stronger. At the time, my life was in a place of total transformation, one I embraced completely and passionately.
At the time, the biggest part of this alteration was entering the gym and making the weight-room my new home. It was an environment that allowed instant transformation. I embraced the lifestyle of a bodybuilder.
I was given the gift of a friend, also a fellow bodybuilder, one who possessed a strong knowing of a deeper spiritual world. His mother had been 100% Cherokee Indian. He was raised in the beauty of the Ozark mountains and had been taught an appreciation of Mother Earth.
He spoke of the Earth’s energy. Although, I had never heard these words before, it was something I felt deep in my core. Unspoken words of my father, yet passionately, instilled within me growing up in rural Minnesota, surrounded by the magnificence of my native land.
My friend would speak to me of energy. How I possessed a strong powerful aura. How to care for and manage this gift. How to remove the Ego from my being. He would speak to me of worlds I had never known, worlds most people don’t know exist, deeper levels of consciousness.
His words were completely foreign to me, and although I couldn’t begin to grasp their enormity, I knew they held truth because I could feel it. Over time, my appreciation would grow.
Life would throw me many curveballs; the birth of a third son, ongoing health problems, (later to discover related to severe mercury poisoning,) divorce and alienation from family, and my father’s suicide. All I knew was to go deeper into the spirit world I had uncovered and further down the road less traveled.
I had been living in Minnesota, working as a critical care nurse in a Level 1 trauma hospital, encompassed by trauma and death on a daily basis, yet surrounded by people who would feed and nourish my spiritual quest. I was raised Catholic, but Christianity took on new meaning. God’s love more real.
Suddenly, I found myself faced with a new conundrum, the challenge to move my family to a foreign land (what some call Oklahoma). Committed to listen to the voice within, with the spiritual support from the hospital’s chaplain, Greg, someone who would become an integral part of my survival, I moved. Almost instantly, I found myself submerged in complete darkness.
Mother Earth’s rewards that fed my soul were instantly gone; the freedom that movement and exercise created, the purifying quality of the lakes from my youth, the empowerment of the greenery and environs discovered in my awakening land, and the seasons that cultivated my spirit had all vanished.
Surrounded by desert terrain, my spirit began to shrivel. My world instantly flipped upside down. All that I had learned over a lifetime, suddenly was reversed. I somehow had fallen into a dark void and could not comprehend.
Five years into a six-year sentence, at the age of 40, the negative forces won out. After a lifetime of fighting to hang onto my free-will, stay true to my spirit, I was finally broken. My spirit had been eroding away, but precipitously, it was left in ashes.
The choice was to surrender to death or commit myself wholeheartedly to a power greater than myself. Humble my physical being to the energy within, leading me into an alien world. I succumbed. The love of my children was my food source. It kept me moving, kept me focused.
One of my life’s mottos had always been, “The only way through it, is through it,” so with a stronger faith in God than ever before, onward I went.
Dark energy trying to swallow me unlike ever before, I stayed more grounded and attentive than ever before. Time would yield my reprieve. I finally received my physical freedom, allowed to move back to a land that had always felt like home, Columbia, Missouri.
In the midst of the darkness, I always heard a powerful voice telling me, “They have no idea who you are. You have no idea who you are.”
I knew at my core I possessed an imperious gift for healing. I witnessed it on countless occasions as an ICU nurse. It was my time to turn within and use those gifts on myself and my family. Time became irrelevant. The material world unfamiliar.
Far so distant, I could not recall what it felt like to possess that deep spiritual peace that so long ago had fed my soul. I would hear words or see visions and follow them. They would bring me closer, lift the dark energy. Allow forgiveness of myself and others to occur. Transcend.
Last fall the words became clear, “Free at 53”. My 53rd birthday on the horizon, I committed to a new workout regime, not rigid, but daily free-flowing. I knew exercise, nature, and music would return my freedom.
I began walking our 3 ½ acres more frequently. The land we had cleared at the bottom of our backyard hill, near the creek where a new fire pit had been put in, commenced as a sacred ground. I would walk “the stations” nature had provided for me, allowing my mystic self to unfold.
I didn’t know what would emerge. It seemed like it would magically occur on my birthday. Though a wonderful memory was created, it didn’t happen that way. I knew I was absorbing the powerful energy of my children, but time would be needed to transform.
New Year’s Day passed. Anxiety suddenly replaced the wonderful peaceful energy I had been experiencing. A few more days to ourselves before returning to school and work, we lounged around the house, trying to keep those emotions at bay.
One morning lying in bed, I felt nudged to organize some papers that had piled on my dresser. I took out the box that contained all my important files. Sorting through them, I ran across several from the dark days of my past. One of my “stations” in my sacred land was the old fire pit where I would walk by and imagine burning any negative energy that still lingered within.
With a fire blazing in the basement wood stove, I knew it was time for me to burn any remnants of my past. I immediately gathered all my painful dark memories and tossed them in the fire. It was time. It was what needed to be done.
The next morning upon waking, I called my dear friend Greg, who had become my spiritual guide over the years. We had nurtured a strong spiritual bond. I told him of my past weeks experiences and how it had commenced the prior morning. He affirmed what I had done stating, “You’ve burned all the negative energy.”
As with the frequent magic of Greg’s words, it was almost instant, an energetic shift. Any lingering negative energy resolved. I was placed in circle of peace. A place of calm. A place of love.
In my mind, I had been reflecting on the 12-year anniversary of the moment my spirit went up in smoke, left in ashes, January 5th. It was no coincidence that I had found those papers and burned them just 3 days prior.
The 5th passed with new unfamiliar emotions within my being. Peacefulness. Bliss. Harmony with the earth. Harmony with myself. I was feeling life anew. My senses were heightened. Colors more vibrant. Sounds clearer. Taste more flavorful. Touch more alive.
It instantly came to me. After decades of struggle and years of darkness my freedom had been given back. The phoenix was rising.