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Still I’ll Rise

“Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.”
~Maya Angelou

It is within you to find strength. Dip down into the endless well of power that lives in your soul, dear heart… It’s where you will find your vigor. And yes, sometimes it is through pain and loss that you find your courage. Because in the end, your most ass-kicking moments will eventually lead to the rising of your strongest traits. That scar on your soul can be a doorway into deep wisdom.

You don’t get stronger in this realm by playing it safe, tiptoeing through your life. Fuck that! You awaken your mojo and empower yourself by getting fierce with your fears and walking straight into the fire. You face your crap, step up to the plate and deal with your issues. You rise up to each and every occasion that is presented to you.

Consider this: it’s possible that our most soul-challenging situations are bestowed upon us to help us grow… And when we shy away from these “opportunities,” we remain stagnant.

In my eyes, a rich and expanded sense of who we truly are is eagerly waiting around the corner, waiting for each of us to just seize hold of the very next opportunity. In fact, that “future self” has its eye on you right now… and it is very patient.

No one is going to come save you. The sooner you realize this, the better. When the shit hits the fan in your life (and you never know when it might), your true strength will be called forth. And you will have a choice: to find the courage within yourself to overcome what you’re facing, to thrive in spite of the odds, to dance in the midst of the storm.

Or not.

And has “not” ever really worked well for any of us, my friend?

Consider this: it’s possible that our most soul-challenging situations are bestowed upon us to help us grow… And when we shy away from these ‘opportunities,’ we remain stagnant.”

Here’s what I’ve discovered: Choosing to say “Yes” to overcoming and thriving and dancing, no matter the chaos and crazy and heartache one is facing, is what makes people with the most scars the strongest warriors. And they are the most interesting, most compelling, most admirable people. They have done the work.

Lately, consenting to weakness has become my #1 turnoff… or maybe I’ve just really come to love the attributes of the strong. For the strong have stretched their boundaries, they have put their cowardice out to pasture, and they have arisen as mighty.

As strange as it might sound, there is so much beauty in the trials and tribulations of our lives. But you have to be willing to move up close to whatever debilitating fear is there within you, so you can see it… and in seeing it clearly for what it is, then you’re able to look beyond it and appreciate what is sitting there before you.

A perfect example is when a person you love is nearing the end of their life. If you are terrified to face death with them, you’re probably going to miss out on some pretty extraordinary moments. These people are close to heaven, and some real java-juice is running through their veins (check it out, the angels are all around them). But if you’re preoccupied with your fear, how in God’s name are you going to experience the sacredness of each moment (“the precious present”) with your loved one?

“In moments among my various agonies, I noticed the beauty that surrounded me, the wonder of things both small and large: the color of a desert flower that brushed against me on the trail or the grand sweep of the sky as the sun faded over the mountains.”
~Cheryl Strayed, Wild

How can you help anyone when you aren’t even helping yourself? If nothing else, let that be your driving force to get strong.

At this point in my life, I know I have seen a lot… and like everyone else, I have experienced some seriously dark days. But I have taught myself to reach right in and pull out the gold, even when I’m scared as hell of the darkness in front of me. In the midst of the tidal wave, I choose to stay calm. My mind goes digital, every single time. “What do I have to do next?” is the question I ask myself. I stay present and just act without thought. I’ve trained myself like a ninja. Head up, eyes open, maintain a state of acceptance and take right action. This is the formula for dealing with the most intense moments.

I come from a family of extremely strong women. My mother and our cousins have shown me how to face intense fear square in the eye and just deal with it. It’s a family trait that has been passed down to me. When one of us goes down, we come together like a tribe of fighters and plow through. Collectively we have buried our parents, siblings, cousins and many more loved ones. It has given us a tenacity and solid backbone I instinctively look for in friends, men and business associates. In my most agonizing times, the people around me have shown me how to live. Characteristics to adopt and attributes to discard. Clear as day, I am shown who I am and what’s the next right thing to do.

My pain has given me so much. It has actually been my greatest teacher. And experience has shown me when the intensity sets in, it’s time for another growth spurt. A karmic whirlwind we cannot stop.

Despite the madness, still I’ll rise.

You empower yourself by getting fierce with your fears & walking straight into the fire. Click To Tweet
Valerie Gangas
Valerie Gangas
After a life-changing, 20-minute meditation, Valerie Gangas embarked on a personal journey which culminated in this blog as well as her first book, Enlightenment is Sexy. Through her writing and speaking engagements, she aims to offer some insight into the process of spiritual transformation and growth—namely, that it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but that overall, it’s worth staying the path.

1 Comment

  1. The famous German philosopher Friederick Neitzsche said: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Conversely, there’s a form of Japanese pottery that purposely breaks a ceramic bowl and then repairs it with gold or silver laquer to make it more beautiful than the original. It’s a perfect metaphor for turning scars into beauty and strength. Here is a tanka, a Japanese form of poetry, I wrote about this Japanese art. http://theuncarvedblog.com/2013/04/11/kintsugi-japanese-pottery-inspires-poetry/

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