Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She was fiery, intuitive, passionate, lovely and kind. When she spoke – she declared truth, no matter who needed to hear it. She asked questions and inquired about traditions that had always been.
She lived with a fire in her soul, though she didn’t know it was there.
She was raised in the kingdom of the black and white, ruled by a King and Queen controlled by their own fears and insecurities. They birthed this baby girl and didn’t know the precious fire they were given.
As the baby grew the Queen began to criticize, condemn and shame this little girl. The princess could never do anything right. She felt there was something deeply amiss with her. At seven years old – she felt “wrong”, “bad” and “dirty”. The Queens everyday questioning, dismissing and controlling behavior towards the little girl eventually led her to crumble into silence.
She rarely spoke. When she did – it was truth, but it was quiet. Never received, heard or taken seriously. She was a “pain”, “too emotional”, “too sensitive”, “self-centered”, “selfish”, and “sassy”. The Queen reminded her of this daily.
The little girl – of course, being born to the King and Queen, loved them dearly. She thought the kingdom of the black and white was the only kingdom. She wanted to stay there forever! She thought that if she ever lost the King and Queen’s love she would die. She thought she would never be able to survive. She wanted to be just like them, to please them, and to make them proud.
The King loved the little girl, though he could never show her. When he was mad, he was very mad. When the little girl would stand up to the king and speak truth – his evil rage shut her down. She became frightened – she learned to serve the King and make him happy. In reality, this was the only role she was given. Her job was to “be kind and nice and sweet – and if she wasn’t, she was commanded; “don’t say anything at all”.” She also learned that she must grow into a quiet and submissive woman, find a man whom desired to serve the Master, and follow her betrothed to the ends of the Earth.
Desperate to please the King and Queen – she did exactly that. She followed all the steps that governed her life, while all the while the fire in her soul longed for something more. She felt always different, than the King and Queen, a part of her felt she never belonged in the kingdom of black and white. She spent her days longing for the unknown. Why? She had no knowledge of anything else, and so like a good little princess – she put her head down – lowered her voice – followed the governing and grew up to do exactly what she was asked.
She married a prince. A wicked prince. At first, the prince caught her eye. He was charming, delightful, funny, and he appeared to be loving. As the days and years went on – the princess became sicker and sicker while the wicked prince embraced concubines and harlots in front of her very eyes. When she spoke of her pain and disgust he used his strength and fists to keep her quiet. She begged him to love her, and despite her pleas he devoured female flesh like a lion devours his prey.
The princess was devastated. She thought he would cherish her and her alone. The fire in her soul went dormant. She closed her heart completely and pretended she was happy in the kingdom of the black and white. She was numb, alone, cold, bruised, painfully hurting, tired, and utterly lonely.
One day, she was wandering in the black forest and a huntsmen caught her eye. He approached her, he asked her to do things she wasn’t comfortable with, but the more he devoured her flesh like the prince, the more she craved the feelings of desirability. Her loneliness was numbed by the evil excitement the huntsman offered.
She knew she could no longer carry the shame of her treacherous life. She hated herself in the depravity of the black and white. The pressure from the King and Queen, the Kingdom officials who would not listen to her cries for creativity, value, vulnerability and expression. She was isolated and left broken, small and damaged.
In her dreams, a soft whisper spoke to her soul – it beckoned her to come toward the light, follow the river and trust her heart. In each dream with the whisper as her guide, she followed the elements, until one day she arrived – where the light met the water. In her abandonment and delicate frame she met the whisper face to face. She bravely took his hand and followed him into the shallow. She was robed in the ashes of all the ways she had survived. Leading her deeper into the water, a hand on her shoulder, the princess burst into tears. She said “I have made such a muck of my life. Take this – you have to help me, tell me what to do, whisper.” As she said this, she vulnerable removed her ashes so the whisper could see every open wound she carried on her skin. Standing deeper in the water – feeling the mist of the sacred flow on her face, the whisper held her face in his hands and said, “I will show you – stay in the light with me.”
She awoke, back in the kingdom of the black and white, yet this time, it was different. The walls of what had been built around her seemed permeable. This was not the light. Little by little, she began to use her voice, her body felt stronger, she put pieces into place that had been forgotten and stood up for what she needed. She read, listened, and learned from the whisper.
Her world began to open before her very eyes. The unfolding was slow, methodical and organic. When this happened, it meant that she would have to step beyond the only kingdom she ever knew. She would have to risk stepping outside of the wood – pain or no pain. She may have to open her heart in vulnerability and explore the things that threatened and frightened her identity in the past. If she wanted to grow – she must leave the kingdom of black and white and embrace the world of grey.
Was it wrong? Would she dare trust another human being that didn’t speak the rhetoric of the black and white? Was it a sin? Was she turning her back on the Sacred Spirit in her heart, or did he embrace her growth too? Was the Spirit leading her to step beyond the wood?
Each person she had met so far, gently guided her down this road of light, closer and closer to the boundary line of the black and white. With every new movement of her own intuition she became more healed, more confident and fully known. This made her steps on the road ever stable, steadfast and clear. She moved because she trusted herself – rather than the King and Queen of the black and white.
The King, Queen and Wicked Prince heard of these moves she was making. They furied and protested the princess, but she continued to move forward in strength. In her newfound loudness and valor – the people of the Black and White- shamed her growth. They viewed her as a blemish, a “lost soul”, and a blind sinner while attempting to govern her choices, for they only knew her as “the imprisoned one”.
Her voice became the loudest empowered by the Whisper cracking open her soul just a little more every day. As luck would have it, the road of light did lead her straight to the world of grey. She was free!
The people in the grey were so different than the black and white. They didn’t judge, they listened to her heart, they allowed her to make her own decisions, she didn’t feel shame, she felt taller and louder.
These people embraced her uniqueness, they told her, they loved her gifts, differences, passions and mind. These people valued her time, honored her wishes and spoke life to her bones. These people led her TOWARD the Spirit – not away, cowering in fear of the Creator.
She had so many interactions with these people, she began to validate herself. “It’s okay to be in the grey.”
“It is okay to have fun”, she told herself.
“It is okay to get to know someone.”
“Not everyone is going to take advantage of you.”
“It is okay to speak up, and do it loudly.”
“It is okay to have different types of relationships”
The world of grey – was not grey at all. It was VIBRANT with color, sounds, sensations and feelings. It was loud and soft. It was knowledge and wisdom. It was light and truth. It was passion and discernment. It was life and death, joy and sorrow.
The world of grey was all of these and more. The princess lifted her hands in this world of grey and twirled. It was hers – she was here – and she soaked in each of these gifts like rays of the sun on her skin.
She was strong enough to embrace this world. She smiled in delight at the liberation of soul – the dissolution of bondage, and the breaking of chains.
Twirling, smiling and watching for the next brick of light to be laid in the grey. She would wait, watch, enter, embrace and BE.
To hold the tension of the grey, was her happily ever after.