How Dare I Love Myself

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

“The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.”
— Joseph Campbell

“The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here is the place to have the experience.”
— Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God…
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
— T.S. Eliot, excerpted from the poem East Coker

“Melancholy gives the soul an opportunity to express a side of its nature that is as valid as any other but is hidden out of our distaste for its darkness and bitterness.”
— Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

“There are two very different paths of thought in spiritual awakening. There are those who believe that love is joy, God is love. That nirvana is just around the corner. And there are those who believe suffering is a path to self-awareness, wisdom and spiritual truth. For me, love and suffering are not beliefs…they are an experience. I have known both, all consuming, and as bedmates. The universality of these two emotions draws me into a deep, hot, fiery, disturbing passion to know life and know myself. My life is never lukewarm. It is hot and cold in motion. And most of the action goes on inside of me.”
– Marta Luzim

I wrote the poem How Dare I Love Myself more than ten years ago. I have posted it maybe two or three times. I am posting it again. Feedback on this poem: too intense, silence, stunned like a deer in headlights. It is hard to look pain in the face. Stand up to it woman to woman. Most don’t want to recognize pain, let alone admit to suffering. Suffering is a dirty word in our society. We are supposed say things in a positive way, find the good in everything; everything is a gift. Well, not all gifts are pretty. Not to say, if one chooses the mission, that one won’t gain wisdom from pain. But that does not mean suffering is gone. It just means you find a way to bring peace to suffering. Suffering forces us to choose life or death. Makes us look at life from all angles, a never-ending search. Makes us find value, precious moments when happiness seeps through the darkness. Revelation, according to David Whyte, is when we wake up and realize that we are mortal. That we die. “Revelation is not simply an act of receiving information. Real revelation has consequences. Revelation might orphan you from everything and everyone you know.” That we have to say goodbye to those we love. This awareness is not for the weak-hearted.
To stand in life without the frills of a heaven or hell, that there is life without knowing where the journey ends or begins is the most creative and courageous adventure we can join in on. But most of us want answers, solutions and not to feel our way through, experience our way into ourselves. Mostly, we don’t want to feel sorrow, sadness, hurt or anger. Joy is preferable. Frozen in joy, happy all the time. So when loss comes, they hide their pain. Think it’s wrong and move on. Then there some people who are afraid to feel joy. They feel safe in sadness, at home in sorrow, avoid the risk of love because there might be loss. Being human, we can never escape from any of these emotions…joy or sorrow. But we try anyway.
My suffering makes me question what forgiveness and self-love mean to me. It is a continuous process for me. A vigilante, a warrior, a wounded child searching for my own compassion and self-acceptance.
Life has challenged me every step of the way. I am sure that most of you who are on this journey of the human heart and soul have reached moments where you said, “AHHHHHHHHH I got it now,” and then BAM life offers you another hit on the head, another mountain to climb. That is why it is best to be prepared in life, present in the moment, ready to use your resources and continue to live the inexplicable and uncharted process of life.
Over the last seven years, I’ve had to recover from the tragedy of my sister’s suicide and the onset of a chronic condition called gastroparesis. This condition was a macrocosm of the microseism of my total life experience. I had to truly save my own life. It unraveled every trauma, past and present, and threw it in my face. It blew my house of cards down. It made me start at the beginning. My life raced before my eyes. Every wound that I thought was healed was ripped open and given a new layer and meaning. I was brought to my knees, humbled, and confronted with the deepest mystery of healing and loving myself. I found how human I am and how strong my spirit is. I found how fragile, sensitive, and emotional I am, which taught me a deeper meaning of self acceptance. I re-visited a deeper rage, sorrow and love. I had to reclaim my relationship with God. Rebuild trust and redesign my life. I had to stop hiding behind being a therapist and a healer and start to show and speak my own vulnerabilities; which has been through my art, writing, and intimate relationships. Being an emotional person, a human being first led by a spiritual fortitude that has always been a mystery to me, I had to face the rawest, primal and most painful places inside of me and then surrender and say goodbye to false ideas of who and what I am.
I am a human being. How wonderful to find that out. What a relief to know that. I didn’t have to walk on water anymore. I didn’t have to be or do anything anymore. Everything now was authentically a choice.
What do you avoid about being human? How do you hide your humanness? What does the human spirit mean to you? Tell me about what you suffer. What does your suffering want from you?

How Dare I Love Myself
— Marta Luzim

I am not enlightened, although I know I am immortal.
I lived many times, in many destinies, down many streams of light
I do not know how an enlightened being feels
I can only fantasize vicariously about eternal joy and freedom
and at moments, sweetly brief, like the smell of pure mountain air
I know the miracle of the Creator’s intention
Loving everyone all the time is a mystery to me
But I have developed a wisdom that comes with triumphs and defeats
directed by a path of invisible footsteps summoned by my need to heal my pain
I live my life being and doing, being and doing
then resting my weary bones
wiping away the dew of morning tears on my heart
in a silence that brings more tears
I am suspicious of these cries that spring from the well of love and grief
that speak to me in my dreams and in my longing for the Miraculous
I do not know if I can forgive completely
but I know I can stop blaming anyone for who I am and what I become
My forgiveness dwells in the blood that drips from my wrists
in every slash of self-hatred I’ve inflicted upon myself
Yes, I can forgive this because I understand my blood
I can caress its pain and embrace its ignorance
a mother to myself
Yearning for the day my blood will flow into Oneness
instead of  merely trickle in my brain, separate from human touch
I crawl closer to knowing this as I gaze into every person’s eye and see myself
So I climb the deep ravine of my soul to forgive the only person that I have not believed was worthy of my forgiveness
That is me, totally me, and the me in everyone
I trust with a blind faith that one day this will wash away the illusion that binds me to my hardened fidelity
Songs, blessings, burn in my veins chanting hymns of love
Great ecstasy waits for all of us
I have no claim to this Love although it claims me without mercy
Everyday I pry my heart open
forcefully twisting it around and around like an old rusty jar with its top stuck
left forgotten in the back of a refrigerator.
A little more, a little more each day I scrape away the dead juices cementing it closed
Patiently I wait, praying, oh, praying on my knees with hands clutched tightly
Over and over asking for my sight to clear itself so splendor can tingle in me
Until then I continue on like a waterfall merging into the river
the river into the sea
I live a little. I die a little and then live again
Hungering for the union of the cool ravishing tongue of the ocean waves
Eroding my past and my gut wrenching agony with each lick of its invigorating foam
Surfing, balancing, connecting to its billowy ride along the earth
This insistence, this demand I set as my mission is the only way I can love myself
Nothing more and nothing less
All my talents, my visions, my desire rests in the arms of this request
This heavy fisted appeal pounds down on my guilt, shame and arrogance
That says to me “I carry on, I carry on through it all.”
And this is my love song to myself
A vigilante on horseback yelping like a wild animal into the dust
I carry on, I carry on, I carry on
Guns ablaze, ready to shoot anyone who dares to stop me
A love that never gives up on me even in my darkest times
Even when I look in the mirror and see a she-devil staring back at me
I guess I am worthy to love if I carry on and on and on and on and on…
I know I am immortal and I carry on unenlightened and questing for more

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