Rising from the Ashes

risingfromthefireEight years ago, I made a very difficult decision to leave a wonderful man and a predictable life. Not knowing HOW I was going to make it, just knowing that I WAS going to make it….

I moved to Taos, NM, barely knowing a soul, but knowing that I needed to be there.

And, my fucking world turned upside down, inside out, and all around.

I had never much cared for “religion”. Too much black and white. Too much fear. Too much non “Christian” behavior. It never felt “right” to me.

Something always told me there was more. I became a seeker.   A seeker of knowledge about subjects I had never heard of. The teachers showed up.   One by one they entered in. Each with valuable wisdom, knowledge and lessons.

Everything I once believed in – was no longer my truth. My head was spinning almost constantly.

I tried to wrap my head around everything. Not only was I trying to decide whether or not I was going to stay married (and spending countless nights in my 6 foot claw foot bathtub surrounded by windows, with Eva Cassidy blaring on the stereo, enough candles to fill a church, and…hmmm…..enough wine to feed the whole congregation!!!).

I was also faced with an astonishing fact.

Everything, I once believed, was No. Longer. True!!!!!

I studied astrology, numerology, the Tarot, the I-Ching, joined a chanting Buddhist group, learned the magic of the pendulum, participated in meditation retreats, did Native American church, enumerable sweat lodges, I became a Sundancer, and carry a pipe. I learned I was clairvoyant, empathic, and a seer.   Omg…seriously went against EVERYTHING I believed in. People where I came from made fun of people like me. Avoided them on the streets. Whispered behind their backs. Shielded their children from the “crazy old woman.”

And one of my biggest lessons was about to be given.

Was the draw of my soul’s longing stronger than my fear of being rejected? Not being liked? Made fun of?

Turns out it is stronger. I’m uncovering, daily, little bits and pieces of the puzzle of why I am here.   With each piece, I become more centered…more…well…me.

I was, and am, still a seeker….seeking higher knowledge and knowing. It’s in me…but there are ceremonies that I am strongly drawn to for answers.   I made the decision to go on a shamanic journey – a plant dieta.

My last night was my hell. I did not think I would make it through. Everything I had pushed down so deep inside was boiling out. Again, my mind had me convinced I would not make it. I was in a hell of my own making.

Just when I was about to give up….I heard it….a familiar sweatlodge song. Strong, strong voice.

“I’m here for you.”

Plainly spoken and clearly heard.

“You have a choice. You can stay in your hell, or you can choose to rise up like the Phoenix.”

He was gone.

I looked at the woman who was helping me.

“I’m going to make it.”

After the journey was over, I went to the man who sang the song and told him what a gift he was. He told me, “I always know what I am going to sing before I come. This time nothing came to me.   I didn’t know what I was going to sing, until I opened my mouth. I was transported into a hot, hot, sweat lodge. The kind that you feel your skin burning. I could only sing two verses, because it would have killed me. So I had to quit.”

That was it.

He was there helping me. On some other level, he knew. He knew what to sing. He could feel me burning in my hell. We were connected. Our souls knew.

He followed his intuition, and sang the song that pulled me out of my hell, and spoke the words I needed to hear.

“Rise up like the Phoenix.”

That is where this painting came from.

From my journey.

From me reconnecting with my soul.

You see, the Phoenix is me.  And you.

Blessings,

Paula

 

4 Responses to Rising from the Ashes

  1. This was was beautiful & very inspiring! Thank you for sharing your stories, your paintings & yourself!

  2. Walking away from comfort into the unknown is such a brave move to make. You have such strength deep from within! I see it in you writing and in your art.
    I have been on a spiritual path… it seems with me that each time I judge others for their spiritual path, it is inevitably the next one I am destined to take.
    Three years ago as I was about to be confirmed in the Catholic Church, after years of pitying “those Jesus People”. I asked for guidance as I knew I didn’t believe a lot of the teachings of the church. I very clearly heard a voice and the message was like that old song, “I don’t care how you get there, just get there if you can.”
    That message was so profound. I don’t think we have to follow any set path, just the seeking of God, Spirit, Love is goal. Be it in a church, synagogue, cave or mountain top… They can all help us to evolve and learn love! I am in awe of your spirit… You are soaring!!

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