For a long time, I was of the traveling tribe, longing to experience life in vastly different corners of our world. As soon as I was old enough to escape my childhood town and fend for myself, I tried life on for size in San Francisco, Chamonix, Auckland, London, Hong Kong….settling down close to home soil a decade later to start a family.
What was I looking for, all those years? Adventure, I suppose, freedom, of some sorts, but mostly I think I was looking to solve the riddle of life. What I learned, though, came in the form of a slow revelation. Despite the surface differences and the exotic settings, once I had conquered new territory, I soon fell into pace with the surrounding crowd. Life here, wherever I was, was broken down into small moments, just like it was at home. So my main lesson after all these vagabond years was that life is not lived in dazzling metropolises or in valleys nestled in between the majestic Alps. Life, as it happens, is always lived inside my mind.
Having discovered that, I thought I could live in one place, in peace. And I did, for many years. Until my mind became trapped and I lost myself in it, lost myself in my thoughts, in my surroundings, in expectation, in work, in being a proper adult and a mother. My energy, dangerously low at times, was split over too many tasks, my sense of self too fleeting, my desire to please and produce all too present. Identifying all these causes may seem easy, but from the inside of my mind, it was everything but. In the beginning, I knew only that I was an outcast, unable to cope, and everything beneath this supposed fact was a blur.
Slowly clawing my soul out of the prison that held it captive has been, and still is, a journey that demands more endurance, conviction and determination than any of my physical and geographical travels. It required me to dive all the way to the bottom of the pond and emerge with new but ancient knowledge that was always inside of me but hidden underneath layers and layers of societal labels. It required that I grew nails so I could dig with more focus and defend against intruders. It required that I took the time to get to know and listen to my captured and compromised soul in order to release its energy and infuse my spirit.
Humans much wiser than I have said that trapped creativity is the most dangerous energy, one that can wreak havoc in human lives. Having been found guilty of enclosing my soul, of living in a mind-created prison and knowing no way out, I know this statement vibrates with truth. A trapped and damaged soul, when found, requires as much attention as a wounded child to heal. Who wouldn’t feel indignant after being neglected in dark captivity for far too long, who wouldn’t feel fear and develop anxieties when picturing the possibility of being discarded into that same crevasse yet again? Trust takes time, trust takes living by example, trust takes making promises and honouring them.
So. Soul, this is my solemn vow: From this day forward, I will wear no labels but my skin.