Into the Light.

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
-Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

Such amazing words, read at a time when their meaning resonated deep within me. I have found that rarely is the path forward straight. It is full of twists and turns, unexpected angles and a need for optimism that a beam of light will bend to find and lead you through.

I am not alone in this. I have witnessed the struggle of those close around me as we become burdened with life's consequences. It seems there is not a person near not touched within the last few years by hardship. It is understandable that one would want to cover their eyes and fall into the deep clutches of depression but as one who has found their way through the recent events that paralyzed me, I know, the only way is through it. Through the denial, the anger, the fear and the numbness. It is with the passing of the stages that we come to acceptance and with that the ability to capture the courage we need to make the difficult choices with what life has spread before us.

But this is the hard truth and I choke upon the words, do I dare give them permanence in speaking them aloud? You can't go back. This is the ultimate acceptance that buries the passage forward. We can't go back, we must find our way to a new place in a new time. When I first heard these words, I shuttered. All I wanted was to go back. All I did each and every day was try to understand how to put the pieces back together in a collage that once formed the portrait of my life. I didn't believe it, couldn't believe it and never did find comfort in the understanding of it, even now. There is no back, only forward. Now as I have embraced the light again I see so clearly that this was always true. The only comfort I can offer is that what comes next could be greater than what came before. As the driver in your life you have the ability to take the bitter and make it matter in a way that offers pure sweetness. Yes, take lemons and make lemonade.

It is a reminder for me. I thought I already knew but I hadn't realized I had forgotten. The journey to find oneself is an evolution. We are not stagnant but continually moving forward and deepening this relationship can only offer more; more of everything. I thought I knew who I was and perhaps I did at one time. I am no longer that person completely, I am changed and I am always changing. I cannot be locked in a box or hung in a frame. I am a flow of constant movement and this is freeing. It is life.

As an artist I am finding new ways to see with old eyes. I feel fortunate to embrace these past experiences and mend the inner conflict with a colorful stroke of my brush. Painting these vivid experiences in color reminds me that I am a part of "their" story and they are a part of "mine." There is so much to offer and express, so much if we just crack open our souls and stand strong allowing all to see the jagged scars and broken pieces of who we are, rich with history and deep as the canyons. We are not stagnant, we are constantly in motion.