inside out-the flight of the fallen


{source}

{source}

She had wings, but it hurt to use them. Even the movement of the air against her skin was an agony that caused her to remain perched where she was, totally still. She held them as close as she could without touching her body and lifted her face to the moon, letting tears slide from the sides of her eyes and into her hair.

It had taken her a lifetime to reach this place. They called it The Turning Point, almost impossible to get to, jutting fiercely into the heavens as if daring God himself to lean down and look the adventurer in the eye. Her journey had been a hard one; the path excruciating. Traveling the road she’d chosen, she had been mauled by the righteous, judged, mocked and ground into insignificance.

Every challenge she survived had left its mark on her. The battered dreams, the falls from grace, the ridicule and attempts to bind had eventually torn the skin from her body and left every nerve exposed. She learned not to touch, or lean, or draw attention to herself. She clung to the shadows in an effort to remain unharmed, and after a while, the shadows consumed her. She became insubstantial, and worse…

She could not remember what joy felt like.

She had stopped flying long ago when it became too painful, thus her way had become slower and more difficult.She watched as those she passed seemed to lead lives of monotonous activity, all ignoring the bloody stubs where their wings used to be. She knew if she let them take her wings, her skin would grow back and she’d quit hurting. She could be like them, and live like them, and never have to be alone.

They weren’t taking her fucking wings.

So here she was, crouching at the very edge of the precipice, watching the Stubs moving like ants far below in the moonlight. Her desperation was so intense that for a moment she considered just letting herself fall to put an end to the torment of living inside out in a world of numbness. Or she could go back down, give up her wings, and become numb herself. Either would be easier than the feeling of not being at all. Never again being alive enough to feel love or joy.

She stood carefully, legs trembling with fatigue, and stared back down the rocky path. She turned, gingerly keeping her wings from touching her and stared down into the darkness and moving lights below. She waited one heartbeat, then two, and stepped to the very edge. Her head bowed for a moment in acceptance of what had to be, and she flung herself out over the edge.

Her wings glinted silver in the moonlight as she plummeted, the wind screaming against her exposed skin, and as she fell-her heart lit with joy at the freedom of this last flight.

No!

In the blink of an eye, she knew what to do. It was worth every risk to experience it all. She was stronger than her fears, stronger than her pain, and she would no longer be kept down. Her wings snapped open, strong and beautiful as she soared above those staring up at her in awe and wonder.

And the pain of flying was glorious.

The Mirage of She – Hiding a Heart of Thunder


She made an art of her disguise, although her greatest yearning was to be recognized, known, and accepted by those of like and thunderous hearts. She walked in the world, but not of it. She participated, and contributed, but did not belong. She worked, and laughed, and fulfilled her duties so flawlessly that those in her circle accepted the mirage; the illusion of her that would disappear if one were to reach out to touch her.

She remained concealed behind the reflection that allowed those around her to see what they were comfortable with, instead of the truth of her. She gave them their comfort in this, as her heart thundered in her chest, and her downcast eyes hid the flashes of lightning that preceded each rumble of the imminent storm of her.

She began to know, as her self-awareness grew, that the storm could not long be contained without causing irreparable damage. She knew the heart of her needed the wind, earth, fire, and rain that were hidden all around her; she needed them to manifest the reality within her, as much as they each needed her to do the same within themselves.

She knew for certain that there was only one way to tip the world from the false facade of power, into the glory of a world of magic and possibility. It demanded the courage to drop her defenses and let the truth of her call to the truth of the others at the far edges, and dark borders of their own lives. She had to be brave enough to open her eyes and let the lightning be seen, and the overwhelming thunder of her heart be heard as it responded. She had to show them how to create a new world with only the flashes and pounding to lead them through a shallow existence that didn’t welcome change. She needed the winds of change, the nurturing earth, the fire of transformation, and the rain of life’s mysteries to have a prayer of succeeding.

So she began.

There were many who turned from her, mocking her as she dropped her disguises. Those she loved shook their heads and distanced themselves from the discomfort of her self-searching and truth-telling. Although it grieved her, she let them have their comfort of space, and continued to call to those with elemental hearts, wild spirits, and souls of fire.

All that was not the truth of her fell away.

She took her seat, placed her fingers on the keyboard, and began to call to those who would listen, who could hear, who held inside themselves a Heart of Thunder. She called to those who were not afraid to bleed for the wrongs, and were willing to heal them. She called to those whose hearts were weary of carrying the armor of pretense. She called to those who were at last desperate to see, hear, feel, be…to unapologetically live.

She called to them-her heart thundering against the madness of this existence as it is.

Can you hear her?

The Word Sorceress and The Sword of Truth


She watched them prepare to burn her alive. They were in a frenzy to put an end to her softly spoken observations, and the clear-seeing of her gaze as she looked upon them. She had held them spell-bound with her words for so long, it came as a shock when the truth of those words began to cut like the sharpest sword, cutting into ego, and slicing away lies beheld as truth for so long.

Her voice rang out across the clearing, reminding them of how they had searched so hard for the magic of life, only to recoil at its power when they found it within themselves, scrambling frantically to destroy it, or at least cover it up-forever out of sight if not mind. They winced, and hunched into themselves defensively as she asked them what they loved the most about their lives. Was there anything that called to them; gave them joy? Did the heart inside them beat in excitement for anything? What did their eyes behold that left them in awe of the world? What made their souls tremble with ecstasy?

They stacked the wood around her feet as she stood calmly before them, tied roughly to the stake in the center of their world. Nobody would meet her eyes, but she saw their reactions as her words struck home over and over again, and she would not be silent. She would not turn away from them now, even when their every action conspired to send her into the darkness she was safe from, but would be their prison if they refused to listen; if they refused to awaken from their slumber.

“You think to send me into the Abyss, ‘the regions of Hell conceived of as a bottomless pit’. I know that you do this because I am the whisper that screams to your heart, the light of awareness that hurts your eyes, the fire of purpose that causes you discomfort, and the finger that points to the frightening power of your own heart. I know you are afraid of all you are capable of, but to ignore this truth of you is to sentence yourself to the very hell you wish upon me.

I am the Life you look out upon, your fingers pressed enviously upon the glass of the window, seeing freedom, and never touching it with your own hands. I am the Integrity you lost to ‘blend in’ with the crowd, I am the wild, the bold, the fearless, and the joyful part of you that will always remain silent if you do not heed me now. I am the Word Sorceress, the Sword of Truth, the Light of your Soul, the Way to Joy. I am the very best of you, do you really seek to destroy me to blend into the world of today?”

As she spoke, many listened, many held back, some were even brave enough to try to stop the few whose minds were locked into public perceptions, and acceptable behaviors. But the frightened were many, and the torches in hand reached desperately forward to light the lies stacked around her. As the flames fed greedily on the rebuttals, accusations, and denials, she closed her eyes and whispered into the flames that grew in intensity.

“May these words rise on my breath, above the lies that burn.

May every tear that falls from me be just a lesson learned.

And as I dance upon the flames, my spirit turned to smoke,

Let every heart I long to save believe the words I spoke.

At last, when fire lights my heart, as it is wont to do,

May that illumination be the Truth that leads them through.

Remind those who would disregard the Soul they hold inside

That Hell is here on earth disguised as Life they once denied.”

The crowd grew silent as the crackle of the flames grew louder. There was silence and sobbing, sorrow and joy in that clearing as she disintegrated into smoke and flame, the flame of her sparking in the hearts of those hungry, and the smoke choking the perpetually dissatisfied.

As the smoke cleared, all eyes were caught by the figure of a small girl, heart yet untarnished by world or ego. She seemed to shine from within as she walked slowly to the edge of the fire and picked up the Sword of Truth the Sorceress had dropped in her burning. There was total silence, not even a birdsong, as she looked at everyone and smiled sweetly, turning to walk into the forest alone, the heavy sword cutting a path in the dirt as the tip drug behind her.

And those who were not amazed, were envious.

The Power of One – Every. Single. One.


The forest was dark and a little frightening as she moved around the clearing, gathering everything she needed to begin. She knew her purpose now, and it burned in her; her need to share it with the others almost an anguish in her heart. She knew it would be difficult for most, and sadly, impossible for a few to see and accept the truth that lived inside each of them; but she refused to give in to negativity or hopelessness. What if she was their only chance, their last one?

She began to place the things she’d gathered in the center of the clearing. She carefully stacked them one upon the other; her dreams of making a difference, her wishes for the broken hearts she ran with, her hopes for a kinder way of living, her longing for a network of scarred, yet whole warriors of the spirit to link across the world, the prayers and determination that all souls could be spun into gold, no matter their circumstances.

The sisters of the heart she had found on her journey moved around her, adding theirs to hers in the center as the forest seemed to grow even darker. They danced around each other in silence as they worked, not stopping until the stack of everything they had to offer reached their shoulders, almost blocking them from seeing each other. As their eyes met, they lifted their hands to their hearts and drenched everything with the only thing they had left to give.

Love.

The light within each of them leapt out, igniting the huge stack of Everything They Offered, and it began to smoke and hiss, the flames flaring, growing, running from dreams to wishes to hopes, to leap victoriously up into the blackened night sky. They reached their hands out to each other, holding tightly, as they let their eyes, for one glorious moment, be blinded by all they desired written in flames for the whole world to see. When they heard no sound or movement surrounding them, their eyes met again, flickering with a little hesitance, concern, and a tiny bit of sorrow. She slowly turned away, lifted her head, and froze.

They were everywhere.Just at the edge of the clearing, eyes watching, faces flickering in the firelight. There were others behind them holding back, but not running. She held out her hands in welcome and held her breath.

Then came the first one, cautiously, slowly, carefully protecting the small flame in her hands from being extinguished. She stepped to the fire, pulled her own offerings from her heart and added them to the stack before tossing her light in with the others. The fire danced joyfully, and her eyes ran wild as she dropped to all fours, as her real self ,then turned to motion the others with her head.

Do it.

They came forward, one by one, guarding their lights and dreams and loves. They found the courage to step forward and add them to the fire along with the others. With each act of courage, each dream and light offered, each captured One dropping free to all fours, the fire grew…and grew…and grew…until the power of what they had created illuminated the sky as if lit by the sun, the moon, and every star.

We turned as One and gathered around her, around them; the original warriors of light. We bowed to her and her sisters in the face of their joy and tears, and we knew what could be done with the Power of One, because each one matters.

Each one of us was critical to the fire of change.

Every. Single. One.

The Last Interview of Prince Charming-Finding Mr. Right


She stood as he did, and they faced each other across the interview table. She offered her hand politely, and as Princes are wont to do, he lifted it to his lips and brushed them across her knuckles, smiling quite charmingly before he took his leave. She huffed a dejected sigh and sat back down on her throne. It suited her perfectly. When she had taken her place as Queen, she had, after all, built it herself with her own blood, bone, heartbreak, and indomitable will. Every time she came here, and took her place, her power replenished itself with the reminders of each victory, every triumph, every goddamn time she stood back up when knocked to the ground in battle.

Although she knew she could withstand any uprising, and the power over her world was in her hands alone, she still searched for the One who would be King. She interviewed endless Princes from various kingdoms, but they all ended with her standing and offering her hand, their charming smile, and a mix of dejection and relief when they left the Throne Room. It was really getting to be too much of a bother, and there was plenty in life she could experience and enjoy if she decided to just let the search die off here.

She knew that many thought her efforts foolish, that she was wasting her time better spent doing normal kingdom things. She heard the whispers as she passed by of those who had not yet found their soul; the ones who said she asked too much, dreamed too big, burned too brightly. She heard them, and she laughed to herself, because absolutely NEVER would she minimize herself to another’s standards again. Never. Again.

She slumped a little on her throne of bones and heartbreak and tapped a finger against her lips as she pondered her Queenly list of Kingly requirements. She wanted a King who was a man first. A warrior, a poet, a lover, a wolf. She wanted him to be her kingdom, her fortress, her laughter, her light. He would be willing to stand in front of her and protect her with his life, with the greater courage of living for her each day. In return, she would give him all of this and more.

She could almost imagine the look of him, the strength, the feel and sound of him. Sometimes she missed this King; this man she’d yet to see. Sometimes she thought she felt him out there, breathing, fighting, waiting, searching for her just as she searched for him. Then again, maybe she’d taken one too many cracks upside the head from the sword of Life, who can say?

She remained lost in her thoughts until the sound of heavy boots striding towards her caught her attention. She turned her head to watch the man who strode across the room to stop directly in front of her, his head lifting slightly to acknowledge her, instead of bowing.

Complete and utter joy rendered her immobile. She saw the armor of a Lion Hearted man, a strong face, his eyes burning with the determination that only comes when you’ve learned to rescue yourself. There was no doubt, she recognized the look that she saw in the mirror every day. Everything in her came to life as never before and she was electrified by the magic arcing between them in the silence.

His lips curled in a half-smile as he extended his hand to her and left it there, letting her decide her future.

She stood to face him, eyes locked, and put her hand in his, along with her heart. Then they smiled at each other in recognition of all the other times they had found each other and loved.

Victorious.

Giving Up The Ghost-The Perils Of Living Dimly


I could see through her. It was obvious that her lack of substance was not apparent to anyone else, but I could see where parts of her were so thin as to be translucent. She appeared to leave the world undisturbed as she moved through it; unable (or unwilling) to notice the beauty and the possibilities all around her. It was as if there were a veil between her and the real world that she didn’t have the strength to rend through, no matter how she longed to feel her heart beat again.

Her soul weariness was evident, and when I finally caught her gaze she just stared at me quietly, without without even a hint of a smile. She shrugged a shoulder and looked down and carefully removed the few remaining dreams and treasures she had that still clung to her, and let them flutter to the ground between us.

I was appalled and for some reason frightened by this, and I demanded to know what she was doing. Her eyes widened and her voice quivered a little when she asked me if I could really see her. When I told her of course I could, the almost desperate expression that crossed her face left me with a deep sense of unease. I fidgeted a moment and started to turn away, knowing it would be easier on me if I did. Her whisper stopped me before I could do so.

“You’re the only Hope I have of living in your world”.

I was astounded and horrified, was she dead? Before I even spoke, she was shaking her head and answering my question.

“Oh, I’m alive…but I’m not living”.

I was staggered by her words, and my heart was thundering like a thousand wild horses set free. There was an almost insane look of hope in her eyes that squeezed my heart and made me want to run for safety at the same time. The growing determination I saw on her face caused my chest to tighten and compress, making it difficult to breathe, her hands clenched into fists at her sides as she waited for some mysterious sign from me that remained lost in my growing panic.

I looked past her and saw the trail she had left behind her disappearing far into the distance. I saw discarded dreams, crushed hopes, relationships buried under piles of neglect, talents set aside and scarred by mockery, and worst of all-drop after endless drop of Hope all along the way. She stood before me, losing her last remaining drops, and dared me to turn away.

I lifted my head and looked directly into her eyes as my chest loosened and my heart began to beat strong and steady, like a promise to myself. I lifted a trembling hand to reach out and touch her face in compassion…

…and my fingers brushed the coolness of the mirror.

Pieces of Her


Her scars were calling to us, the odd beauty of the pain she carried drew us closer, whether we willed it or not. In the dim light, we could see her bending down to choose a tattered piece of this, a scrap of that, and periodically sit quietly for a short time and stitch it onto herself. With her own hand. She didn’t make a sound but the occasional tear would slide silently down her cheek to land on the piece she was stitching~and then she would smile to herself and stand, looking for the next torn piece of her that was relevant enough to sew back on.

You could tell she had been a great beauty at one time, by the world’s standards, but every piece of her was from a different heartbreak, and her destruction was evident in the face we saw now. She would look at us from time to time, and give a sweet little half smile, as if she knew something we didn’t. But when we dared to meet her eyes, they were a clear burning flame that left us in awe, and somehow ashamed.

The next time she sat to begin her stitching, with considerable nudging from my tribe I stepped closer to ask her a question. She looked up at me and raised an eyebrow bisected by a thin scar, questioning what I believed was my folly.

I met her eyes, and they broke my heart, but I held her gaze anyway as I spoke. I asked her how she came to be in such a patchwork state when she had obviously been a great beauty. I asked her if it hurt when she stitched those pieces of her back on, and how-I wondered-did she decide from all the torn and broken pieces, which ones were worthy of bringing back into herself.

She started slowly, and her voice was as torn as her appearance, but her eyes never wavered from mine, and the Truth bled through her every word. She told of a fractured foundation, a hopeless grasping of home, her longing to feel safe. She spoke of the slow and insidious death of her joy and spirit, the rejection of her heart, the silencing of her voice. She did not cast blame, saying only that she lost her clarity of soul~and when her fingertips no longer touched the others of the universe, she was lost.

She explained to me, in a voice that filled my heart with tears, how she sorted through every heartbreak to find the one piece, every time, that made her living worth the effort.

I was spellbound by her story of a love given, greater than any I had ever known, her infection of  ‘life-blindness’, and the loss of her power with the loss of her belief in anything that mattered. Every once in awhile, as she told her story, a tear would fall again, and in it I would see the sorrow in every single one of us reflected in its shine.

As she spoke to me, the others drew closer, unable to deny the pull of her soul made audible. She told us of battles won, and lost…the sorrows of love squandered…and her final, agonizing acceptance of her own power.

You could have heard a pin drop in the silence following her last words. She looked at each one of us, cauterizing our foolishness, and stopping our breath.

Then she stood, just as a single beam of light broke through, shining into the heart of her for the first time. She allowed herself to be filled with wonder, and we struggled to take the next breath…she glowed with an inner fire…

And we had never seen anyone more beautiful.