The following memoir/essay is published in “I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening: Discovering Our Personal Truths” by Diane DeBella.
How many of us stop to think of that defining moment when we realized we were the subject of our own story?
As women, we are conditioned from an early age to be the caretaker, to be the subject of everyone else’s life. We are the daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and confidants of countless other women and men, and we forget who we are and what we dreamed we could be.
For myself, that defining moment would not come as a mother. I lost a son mid-pregnancy, and although this event changed my perspective forever, it is not the time I realized I was the subject of my life. Even as I spent days afterward gazing out of the window at a magnolia tree, brought into full presence and awareness of myself as Spiritual Being, with the branches of that tree representing to me each climbing phase of life until the only way left to go is “up” and away into the sky, it did not define me.
The definition would come years later when I was sitting on a rock, alone, in Tuolumne Meadow in Yosemite. The alpine lake was crystal clear, midnight blue and enveloped in pure silence. There has ever been a more serene moment I have experienced. Completely connected to Spirit, the world fell away below me. I no longer felt the rock beneath me. Reflections of my life past, present and future surrounded me and I realized that all struggles, all happiness and all will to survive to bring my dreams to fruition is a co-creation between my Self and the Universe. I create and re-create the definition each day. Life itself did not define me.
Some would say that life is about friends, good times, family, financial success and even the ‘mistakes’ made is what defines a person. Those things are a part of our life experiences and are the result of choices we make along the way – they do not define Who We Really Are.
As I sat on the rock, in one of the deepest meditations I have ever experienced, I felt profound sadness at the thought of leaving behind everything I had known, or thought I had known about who I was. I did not want to leave this place. I did not want to return to the reality of what lay at the bottom of the mountain. I wanted to dive in to midnight blue of the icy lake and cleanse myself of that which had held me back – my former Self. Yet, I did not want to taint it with my grief and despair.
I climbed down from the rock, transformed. I knew I would not be the same person as when I climbed up and took my seat. New life experiences were going to come my way and nothing would look the same. During those days when I was counting branches of the magnolia tree and measuring them as struggles we climb, it never occurred to me that one day I would find it easier to climb up a mountain than to coast down it and return to life below.
Making my way back to the car, I was careful in walking across the meadow. There were native plants and flowers that I did not want to crush and destroy. Visitors during John Muir’s time compared Yosemite to a cathedral. Even to this day, I will remark about how “I will not let anyone trample my meadow”. Those that have are no longer present in my life. This is sacred ground, my meadow of being Subject.
I am constantly evolving. Becoming an author and poet is such a small part of what I have co-created since that time on the rock. It has been a dream manifested. It brought me here, to writing and sharing this post with you.
As time has passed, I have realized each day, in everything around me, that the story is mine. The subject is me, and the ending will be how I write it. I Am much more than my story.
And so are you.
– Cairenn Rhys