People who tell you not to follow your heart have always perplexed me. It almost seems like they didn’t bother to do so in life, lost theirs along the way, and this is the reason why they feel comfortable giving you such ridiculous advice. Not follow your heart? Doesn’t it scream at you to do so, every day? Mine does. How can I muffle that cry? Why should I even want to?
Being more practical about it, I can understand that for some, being so in touch with your feelings (and even sometimes mercilessly overpowered by them) just doesn’t make sense, and that practicality and logical decision making obviously sometimes have to take hold in a rational, working life. I also get that giving yourself over to feelings can be scary. But there is beauty and even power in letting go and allowing your heart to lead you, in deciding to be vulnerable enough to take that chance, to open up and let all of yourself out, and allow the world in.
Don’t let anyone make you feel bad or shame you for following your heart. Keep it out, keep it open, and let it light your way. I’m not promising you that this will make things perfect (nothing does). Sure, your heart will get broken, but life wasn’t meant to be perfect, was it? It was meant to be lived and felt.
In the end, we will all be broken in some way. Many ways, even. Here’s the secret to accepting that: it’s okay to have been broken, imperfect, cracked – it’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way things are, and healing is possible. Nobody makes it to the end without at least a few cracks, most of us will have very many of them, in fact, and I truly believe that they actually make us more beautiful than before.
We all have the power to turn our broken parts into virtues, to learn and grow and share. I want to keep putting my heart out into the world, to keep following it to see where it leads me. Really, how else can you truly live?
“There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”
This work by Lotus Carroll is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
To license commercially, please email.
Day 5 Prompt – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Prompt Author: Alice Bradley)
Not too terribly recently (but not so long ago) something pierced my heart, and in fearful defense, I locked her away in a heavy cage.
I held on to anger.
I let fear and doubt grow strong and high, in thorny bush and tangling brambles. I saw the deadly brush thriving, and turned my eye, rather than cutting it down, as I should. It grew thicker and tighter around the cage of my heart until almost no light could break through. The more time passed, the less I even noticed it.
Her wounds too painful to see, even through the dense and thorny vines, I did not visit. With no warmth from another allowed through the thick canopy I had allowed to flourish, she grew colder, ever colder. No longer feasting on love (she deserved), comfort (she desired), the heart inside me grew weak, famished. She beat dimly for a great time; my body kept grinding mechanically through the motions of necessary life.
So hungry was she that, when something found its way through the tangling cover to her living tomb, she questioned it not, but absorbed it fully, wanting to consume, to be warmed. A fine and lovely trickery, this black ink was, but not the warmth she needed. And where had I been? It was my job to protect her, and I allowed her to be exposed to this clever poison.
Only when forcibly lead through the darkness by another was I able to realize how absent I had been, what I had relinquished so easily. He gave me the strength I needed to bring down those brambles and vines, though the process was painful, and many thorns drew blood from us both.
I am excellent at building cages, walls. I am a great grower of the thorny vine. I hold tight to anger. I harbor fear.
I’ve struggled with being truly loved. I’ve allowed circumstances to make me doubt it possible. That is changing in me.
I have slowly, this year, let go of the fear of being loved.
And it is warm in this light.
Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.
April 26th rolled past me, as it did you. It brought pain and joy and all things in between to him and her and them and the others. It was a day, and we all walked into and out of it, just like we do so many others. Some days leave their marks on you and those marks, be they soft lip prints or jagged, deep carvings, stain you. This is Life’s Tattoo. This is the one that can’t be removed; you just have to learn to live with your new ink. You may even find beauty in it.
I thought about this baby several times on this past day that happened like they all do, as clocks everywhere mark the time that slides by without any effort. It has been 2 years since that first miscarriage, the one that opened the door on a special kind of fear and loathing, and introduced me to the doubt of my female body. On this day I wondered, as I have so many times, who that one could have been if conditions had been just right. I sometimes stare off into nowhere, eyes distant, face slack, thinking these thoughts. Then I sigh deeply and swallow a lump in my throat; my hand may wipe at a tear that rolls absently. Other times I feel a peace, a moving on, an acceptance.
My world feels different than it used to so many moons ago. I am changed. There are some wonderful differences and there are, scattered about, some not so fabulous ones. These things, the changes both good and bad, are all just a part of the What Is. I can handle that. I can roll with it and still find a reason to be, see a splendor in life. It’s always there, waiting for me to rediscover it.
There have been times I didn’t think that was possible – that I’d be able to see beauty and feel bliss in life again, be able to even care if it was there or not. But I hold that knowledge, that truth, close to me now, as I live and breathe. This tender awareness seems to sit in the palm of my hot hand like a smooth pebble. It holds weight and feels cool against my skin. I like it; it grounds me.
I have learned another truth during this time, as well. A less fabulous one, I’m afraid. In every situation during the past two years where I have said to a group of women (of any size) that I have had miscarriages, at least one of them always shares that she has had one, also. There are too many of us. Why does it never fail to shock me, even though I know well by now how often it happens?
To all of you who have experienced this or other painful loss, I thought about you today, too. I felt sadness and tension, and then I released it. I sought the love and peace in my heart. After soaking it in for awhile, I released that into the universe, too.
I hope it finds you, much like a cool pebble that might just land, unexpectedly, in your upturned palm.
A lot of times I walk past it on my way to do other things without even thinking.
Most days I can pass by it at least once without noticing it there.
Every day I look at it and think of how empty it is.
I’ve thought about taking it apart and putting it in the garage, where I will not see it as often, or be tempted to picture him there.
I’ve stood before it crying because it isn’t being used.
I’ve wondered why it remains in my home even though I don’t think it will ever have use here again.
I contemplate whether it is unhealthy. I worry that it means I’m broken.
I’m not ready for it to go anywhere. I’m not entirely sure what that means. I know what you think it may mean. It’s not that. I’m just not ready.
I know that at some point I will be. And then I will do it myself, and it will be okay.
But for now it stays.
There is a crib in my hallway. It is wooden, and lonely, and it just waits and waits for a someday that never was.
It’s been a very long year.
This past Sunday was an anniversary.
But not the kind you celebrate with an extravagant weekend getaway.
If you’re like me, it’s the kind you await with anxious trepidation, wondering what sick emotional games your head and heart will play with you.
The bottle of Prometrium prescribed by the kind, helpful, and compassionate doctor on the other end of the phone with a sobbing, fretful, worried mother that night, one year ago last Sunday, still sits in my kitchen cabinet.
I still don’t have the heart to throw it away. Yet, I have no use for it. Seeing it reminds me of the baby. That’s not a great thing, but it’s not altogether a bad thing, either. It’s just… a thing thing.
Even though that first miscarriage ripped my heart out, and then I got an injection of Unexpected Hope only to suffer another Cosmic Sucker Punch, I have experienced a bit of healing in a whole year’s time.
But I don’t want to forget. And I don’t mean forget the babies (which I most certainly will not). I mean the pain.
There is something about the pain that is left after something that tears at your heart so fiercely. There is something about it that I don’t want to lose.
That sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Perhaps it’s just the idea that this pain is the only thing I have left of this baby (of both of these babies), and the thought of letting go of it and moving on is just… well, shitty. Unpoetic as it may be, that is the best word for it. Letting go of that pain feels shitty.
If I can smile all day long every day (even when I’m looking at the damned bottle in the kitchen cabinet), then it feels as though I have nothing left of them. As if it does not matter that they were here one moment and then gone the next.
Fault me for it if you will, but nutty as it sounds – this pain is a tragically beautiful thing, and I don’t plan on letting go of it until I am holding my babies somewhere. Whether that is in some eternal dream or Heaven, or wherever else… that’s when I’ll release this gnawing grief.
Until then, that very pain helps me appreciate every hug, flower, and ray of light in this world. Because I’m a foolish girl, and when the light of the sun shines too prettily for too long, I have a tendency to take everything that’s good in my life for granted.
This pain? The way it lingers and sometimes flares up? It taps me on the shoulder and says, “Be grateful, woman.” It’s my reminder.
I refuse to even want to let go of that.
This past Sunday, I planted flowers for our lost babies, who we call Taylor and Davin.
They were purple alyssum, a choice made in order to simultaneously bow my head to another soul that was spirited away too soon.
I could want to be numbed (and some nights, I kind of am) or I could wish for complete healing, to leave these feelings behind and forget them.
Instead I’m going to hold onto what’s left of this pain, and when it feels the most raw, I’m going to try as hard as I can to turn that prism of pain toward the light, so that it creates the most beautiful rainbow I can make that effer shoot out.
(In case you were wondering.)
Today we went shopping to pick up juice, creamer, vitamins and margarine.
On the way to the back of the store, we passed the baby section.
I gave it the finger, as hard as I could, the whole way by.
Never even looked in that direction.
Hand high up in the air, That Lone Finger stabbing relentlessly at the air that it was slicing through, I walked on by, emanating the directive.
You know. THE directive.
I think that’s right on par with where I should be in the healing process.**
**According to Lotus’s Handy Dandy 23423042394 Step Guide to Healing from being SUPER Frackin’ Pissed Off at the World at Large as well as Specific Elements of It in Particular, thank you very much.
Also, I have something(s) to share with you soon. Not now, because I don’t feel like it yet. But soon.
Today’s Photohunt Theme is “Road”
I took that photo about a year ago. It’s been quite a long year, and yet, in the moment, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. The road was long and winding. A lot of it was uphill. There were definitely potholes. Once, I even hit a sinkhole. It felt like I would never escape that. It left me with some scars I’ll carry with me always, but I think I’ve climbed out of the hole now. And we’re driving ever onward.
The road may have been a rough one, true… But there were enough fun and thrilling curves to ride, and the number of speed bumps was low enough that, well… the light you see up ahead in that picture?
Well, I still see it, too.
It’s that time of the month when I’m more emotional than usual. More sad. More stressed. More angry. More prone to tears, what ifs, and blank stares.
Recently, a long-time and very dear friend of mine named Jenny sent me an email that carries important words, and good advice. I asked her permission to share it with you all, and she agreed.
So, for any of you out there who are feeling, have felt, or will feel the same way I do right now, maybe you’ll find something here that helps you turn it around, or just to deal with it more effectively. Or maybe just to make it through another day without feeling like giving up.
I know you didn’t ask for any advice, and so against my better judgment I’m going to offer some without solicitation, and I hope you’ll forgive me for doing so. You know my story, you know about all my failed pregnancies. Five years ago, I was struggling. My life wasn’t turning out like I wanted. I had dead babies instead of living ones. I had no answers and no health insurance to help me find answers. I had crazy moods and baby hamster hairballs in the shower drain and an empty womb and it wasn’t what I had planned. All my friends were on their 3rd or 4th child by then. I was tired of going to other people’s baby showers. I was broken hearted every time I looked in the spare closet and saw baby clothes and gear staring back at me, taunting me with their uselessness. I absolutely hated to hear any pregnant woman complain about her nausea, her swollen feet, her tiredness- what I would give for any of that. After the hopefulness that came with each positive pregnancy test, came the fear of loss, the inevitable emotional investment and hope, and then the emptiness of actual loss.
Then came this moment where I could see clearly: While I really do believe that most of the pain of the human experience is self-inflicted, some things are truly beyond our control. My life is not always about my choices. Things happen to us, and we get no say in how they turn out. What could I do about my childbearing life at that point? Could I change history, or even my obstetrical future? No. The situation was out of my hands. But the great realization was about gratitude. Could I hold my babies and raise them and nurse them? No, but I had other opportunities that my friends with little babies did not: I could go out of the house for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time. Heck, I could go out of town if I wanted. I could give blood, and do upside down yoga poses. I could make love to my husband without the let-down reflex squirting breast milk everywhere. I could work and take night classes. I could sky dive and ride roller coasters.
I couldn’t control what was happening to my body. I had to resort myself to the fact that 1- I may never know what is causing this to happen, and 2- I may never give birth to another living child. Rather than dwelling on those uncontrollable elements, I chose to focus on what I did have. The summation of the realization for me was this: Be grateful for what you have, when you have it.
I could spend my time and energy wanting what I couldn’t have, wishing for something beyond my control, hoping for karma or God to sort out the kinks and make everything right, or I could make the most of what I had right then, even if it wasn’t what I had hoped. I realized that no matter what life is handing me, I have a multitude of blessings to make the journey pleasant, even wonderful, if I choose to see them. Life is fluid, ever changing and shifting. I would not always be in the place, emotionally, mentally, that I was in then. Who’s to say if I’d be in a better one or not, that is also out of my hands to a degree. I knew that if I did have another child, I would have a host of other challenges, as well as blessings to appreciate. But for now, this is what I had. And I owed it to my husband and living children who were depending on me, and to God who gives me each day, to make it count for something. If not, life would end up passing me by while I hoped for what was around the corner. Be thankful for what you have, when you have it.
Again, know that I care and I want you to feel well and whole. If I’m full of crap, you won’t hurt my feelings to 1- roll your eyes and hit delete, or 2- write me back in all caps and tell me how wrong I am.
Of course, I didn’t roll my eyes. I nodded and cried. And now I look back at these words often.
I think I’m going to take Braden to the park on Thursday and watch him run around and remember that the day he was born to me, whole and alive, was such a special blessing. Every day after that with him (even the tough ones) has been another special blessing in and of itself. There’s really nothing bad that can happen that can ever take from me the great gift of everything I’ve experienced so far with my son. So many wonderful things and moments – there’s no way to catalog them.
Today, I am thankful for that. And remembering to be thankful for that makes the other stuff easier to deal with.
Thank you, dear friend.