I spent time recently with a group of younger women as they gathered for a monthly spirituality circle hosted at a vintage clothing boutique. I was struck by their eagerness for this kind of community, their willingness to share their hopes and fears, their generous support of one another in kind words and encouragement. There was so much positive affirmation going on that I wondered if each woman wasn’t projecting her strength and beauty onto the others, while holding her insecurities close to her breast.
One woman with a radiant smile and soft, sweet demeanor told me about the harsh self-judgment she dishes out on an ongoing basis. She yearns for an inner tranquility that eludes her, she said. She’s had tantalizing glimpses of such peace but it seems far beyond her reach. She despairs of ever crossing the gulf that separates her from what she seeks. At best, it is years and years of hard work away, she believes.
“You’re closer than you think!” I wanted to say to her, and to every woman in that group. The yearning alone means you’re on the journey. You’ve identified something you want, or something that is missing, in your everyday life. The mistake is thinking that it’s to be found outside of everyday life. We all yearn to be lifted out of our routine reality and transported to some other realm, some sphere of otherworldly perfection. The truth is that what we seek is already here. It’s inside us, available for the asking. We have to ask, though, and then we have to listen. We have to be willing to receive.
The hard work my new friend spoke of is the work of dismantling the belief systems that keep us from knowing our inner light. And it is hard work, for most of us, because we let go of those beliefs so reluctantly. “But this is who I am!” we cry. “And this is what I’m not… not good enough … not strong enough …. not worthy enough …” You fill in the blank. We fight against ourselves, refusing to accept and integrate our own strength and beauty.
Keep going! Keep questioning and seeking and expressing your desires, frustrated though they may seem. The very act of asking those questions means you have turned the key and opened the door. The fact that you are seeking means you have stepped through it. There is a very long path that lies ahead and there isn’t, at the same time. We are all on this journey together and will be as long as we live. And yet that which we seek is already here, fully present whether we know it or not.
Dare to believe that. Dare to embody the strength and beauty you long to find. Dare to take that next step, no matter how small, toward embracing your own inner wisdom and peace. You are closer than you think.