from my journal

burn it down

Jillian Arsenault — November 25th, 2022

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What happens when we don't listen to our inner voice?

A year ago, I was standing in a field staring at the stars and talking to the trees. I was asking for help. This what I do when I don’t know what to do; it’s the place I seek answers when I feel like I’m about to be shoved over the edge of a cliff if I don’t start listening.

I ignored the signs for so many years, happily telling myself all was well to avoid any disruption of my safely curated life.

But the older I get my body becomes louder and its voice stronger. It’s not willing to go unheard. The signals have become impossible to ignore and kick and scream if there’s something it wants me to know. No matter how much I don’t want to hear it.

So, I stood there, crying; desperate and begging for God/Spirit/Mother to show me the way: Help me get out. Tell me what to do. Repeating ‘I surrender. I’ll do anything. Whatever you want’.

This secret conversation with Source had been a long time coming. It took a lot to get me to the point I was finally willing to hand over my resistance, because WOW, how skilled we are at managing our lives to suit what our minds and survival parts think we need. And there’s no shame, it’s a potent and powerful survival strategy.

But at this point I didn’t have a choice, I couldn’t keep the internal voice quiet or intact anymore. There I was, full of fear and standing at the edge of something I couldn’t see into. It was dark, hollow, and unknown. But my soul’s message was clear, and everything was telling me to let it all burn.

At that time, I was deep into an 8-year relationship that was toxic, chaotic, and abusive. We were living together in our home by the river, but I’d been in and out of this specific relational dance more times than I can count. I wasn’t just tired and depleted, I was lifeless. I’d stopped laughing, playing, or dancing. I’d gotten quiet, appeasing, small and afraid to use my voice. I was dysregulated, stuck and frozen. I had no drive, fire, or inspiration. I didn’t recognize myself.

It took years of not listening to my heart, intuition, and body to get to that point, and it happened so slowly I didn’t see it.

Eventually I felt so lost, ill, and dissociated that I was pushed to my edge and burned it down. I loved this person, but did I love myself if this is what I could sacrifice?

So, I left. I packed a bag and drove away as graciously as I could. I put all my faith into the stars and trees I’d been praying to, and I left. And it was not easy. It was not happily ever after. I was not suddenly a phoenix rising from the ashes. It was a turning point that led me deep into the hardest initiation I’ve experienced and the most challenging year of my life.

I’m still right in the middle of the dark underworld of this descent, and it keeps asking me to sink in deeper. To gestate a little longer. There are days I try to fight and struggle against it, but I’m learning to trust the voice and LISTEN when the body and soul are quietly speaking.

Because if we don’t, it will nudge us over the edge of that cliff abruptly and dismantle our entire life structure if that’s what it takes. And then we’d have to learn both the lesson of trusting/listening, and the lesson of what it was trying to remove in the first place.

I wouldn’t change a moment of these last several months. Not even the ones I was laying shaking on my floor, alone, and breaking into a million pieces. Because when we’re breaking, we then have the privilege of choosing how we put ourselves back together. I wouldn’t change that for anything.

I’ve intentionally chosen to navigate this liminal and alchemical period single, for at least one full year. Culturally we resist the darkness of these phases, but they’re transmutational. The alchemy that takes place is magick. Slowly and patiently, I’m piecing together an iteration of myself I barely recognize. Softer, wiser, stronger. Initiated in the power of self-love and absolutely unwilling to self-abandon.

This process has been sacred, exhausting, beautiful, expanding, gut wrenching and at times, extremely dark and painfully lonely. But I’m here for it. Because I’ve never felt so powerful. I’ve never known so much love. I’ve never stood so anchored. I’ve never heard my soul so clearly or felt my boundaries so viscerally or gotten so close to the centre of my truth.

And that is liberating.

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