I recently picked up a book titled “Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration” by Meera Lee Patel. I hadn’t been feeling great mentally for a few days when I came upon this little treasure. I’d gone to the mall to get a head start on Christmas shopping, and rather than leaving with gifts for others, I left with this journal as a gift to myself.
The book is filled with insightful quotes intended, I believe, to both make the reader smile and spark a moment of reflection/examination. The quotes are painted with watercolors. Every page brings with it new colors and therefore a new experience. With each quote comes a writing prompt on the page opposite.
My journal is open in my lap right now.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
What gives you light?
I believe I have two wounds where the light enters me.
I have a wound in my heart where my loved ones who have passed once lived. The first wound, without a doubt the largest, came about when I lost my dad. Over the years the wound has grown slightly larger with each fading soul. I also have a wound in my stomach where disease has replaced health. Some days this wound aches more than others. This wound is a constant, as Ulcerative Colitis is chronic, but it feels different every day.
I know what it is like to hurt and to feel pain. I know what it is like to have holes, figuratively and literally, in my being. I know what it is like to feel broken from loss and I know what it is like to feel broken from the exhaustion of a sick body.
I allow light to fill these holes because if I didn’t I would be filled with black. And who wants to be filled with black?
I know death, I know disease, and I know darkness. But I also know that life is continuing on around me every second that I feel wounded and allow myself to wallow in it. So some days – most days, actually – I let the sun in. I open the windows and let the golden hours fill my open wounds, in the morning sunrise and the evening sunset.
My angels, the losses I’ve experienced, make me proud. Proud to carry the memory of such honorable people around with me at all times, in the section of my heart that is still big and bright and free of any wounds. My disease makes me brave. Brave because I know that nothing is guaranteed. Life can change drastically at any given moment without a single warning… so why not try it all?
My wounds have motivated me to accomplish all of my greatest achievements. They allow me to relish in the glorious feeling of true happiness. They push me to seek adventure wherever and whenever I can because they are there to remind me just how short life may be. They were there with me in Italy, in France, in London, in Ireland. They will be there with me on my upcoming trip to Thailand. My wounds were a part of me when I swam in a waterfall in El Yunque Rainforest and when I decided to skydive and fling myself out of a plane. My wounds were there with me when I was accepted into college, and they are here with me as I continue to earn my degree as an Art Therapist.
My wounds have made me so fragile at certain points in my life that on good days I want nothing more than to absorb all the light I possibly can and live as passionately as the day will allow me to.
My wounds are the place where light enters me, replacing all the black.