A Letter to the Man with My Blood on His Hands

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Picture shared on Facebook

I came across a photo prompt today and as I thought about all the words I would say, every emotion I was feeling came pouring out of my pen. I guess sometimes it takes this kind of event to cure writer’s block. Anyhow, this is what I came up with…

To the man with my blood on his hands,

Some say that death is the hardest pain to heal, while others say that it’s harder to mourn the loss of someone still alive… but me, oh I think that healing a broken spirit is much more difficult a task. I have mourned the loss of too many loved ones to count, and the loss of “love” even, but it has taken me 30 years to finally grieve for the loss of my innocence. I wish I could tell you just how much you broke me but I don’t even remember your name. I guess suppressing painful memories can do that to a person. What I do know is that because of you I have flinched every time a man has ever touched me. Because of you, I have built walls around my heart so high that most give up before ever coming close to reaching the summit. Because of you, I wouldn’t know real love if it slapped me in the face. And every time I’m betrayed by someone who claims to love me, my spirit breaks just a little bit more. Because of you, I’m also afraid of being alone. Because of you, I’ve allowed my flesh to be desecrated at the hands of merciless cowards. Because of you, I constantly apologize for things I have no control over, sometimes even for my own existence. Because of you…hell, who am I kidding? It’s ALL because of you. See ’cause, it is because of YOU that I fight my hardest to heal…to share my voice for all the broken little girls who can’t. And because of you, and every wrong path you led me to, I found my purpose! See I wish you no harm. I actually hope you’re well. I hope you have a very long life ahead of you with an excellent memory. And I hope your demons keep you company every night as you lay your head on your pillow. And I hope somehow, some way, you read this some day and see the face of the brave little girl you almost destroyed. You couldn’t silence me forever.

Capture Your Heart Through Art Project

 

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

WELCOME!

I would like to give a warm welcome to all who visit, and to give thanks for your interest in this project. If this is your first time participating in an event like this, I will say that your soul is in for a special treat! I previously participated in several monthly photography prompts, and also participated in a wonderful project a few years ago by Carly Marie about capturing grief. My heart was so moved by what I experienced in those projects that I was inspired to create this one to share with you all! I hope you all enjoy it.

WHAT IS “CAPTURE YOUR HEART THROUGH ART” ABOUT?

How many of us have a routine that we follow daily? Most of us wake to blaring alarm clocks, consume massive amounts of caffeine just to get motivated, and then shift our thoughts to auto-pilot as we begin our duties. We hurry through the day focused on completing our scheduled tasks according the ticking hands adorning our watches and walls. By day’s end we are tired, stressed and preparing to repeat the same pattern again the following day. But when do we stop to appreciate the little things? When do we allow ourselves to just BE at peace for a moment in time? “Capture Your Heart Through Art” is a photography/art project about being present, capturing what moves you and enjoying the beauty in the mundane.  There are 30 subjects, one for each day of the month of September, and a detailed description below to better explain what each subject represents.  You are invited to share a photo that captures the essence of your heart’s energy as you stop to experience each of these precious moments along the journey. Please be mindful to read the details below, as they will assist in guiding you through the steps of this project. Remember to have fun, keep an open mind and be present in the moment.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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(Descriptions below.)

HOW TO JOIN IN THE FUN:

First, let me reiterate that this project is meant to remind us to BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT, no matter when/where that moment may be. This is an interactive project designed to help each of us learn to fully appreciate our “normal day to day” and to find something to be grateful for in each day. With that said, you may be asked to do a little more than just take a photograph. You may also want to keep a journal or notebook to write down your thoughts and feelings as you experience each day. Please be aware that some of the prompts/subjects may require a bit of planning, such as sunrise, full moon, sunset, etc., so I advise you to read through all of the descriptions below carefully and plan accordingly. Please feel free to partake in this event as you so desire. Do not feel obligated to participate and/or share daily, as you may be drawn more toward some subjects and less to others, which is perfectly fine. Your creative interpretation of each prompt is strictly up to you, but I have provided some helpful details in the descriptions below to assist you with ideas pertaining to each.  How you capture and share the special moments along your journey is also left to your discretion. You may choose to preserve your experiences with your phone, digital camera, or any other device. Additionally, you may choose to share your photos online (publicly or privately) through your favorite social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Blog, etc.), or any other web-based platform, or you may opt not to share them at all. Should you choose to share your photos online, please caption your post/photo with the project name, along with the chosen day/subject.  For example: “Day 1: #Sunrise – #CaptureYourHeartThroughArt” (hashtags are optional). For those who decide to share their journey publicly, please note that the use of hashtags allows everyone participating in the event to easily access each other’s beautiful moments.  I will be sharing photos from my journey publicly each day on my Facebook and Instagram pages. Facebook users, you are invited to share your photos in the comment section of each photo thread I share as well, should you choose to do so. 

WHEN DOES THE FUN BEGIN?

September 1, 2017 marks the first day of the Capture Your Heart Through Art project. Remember that each numbered subject in the Photo Prompts photo above corresponds with that day of the month. Please understand that we are all in different parts of the world, therefore our time-zones and days may slightly differ. The purpose of this guide is merely to direct you to enjoy the moment you are capturing regardless of what time/day it is for others.

WHAT ABOUT THE RULES?

Rule #1 – THERE ARE NO RULES! This project is simply all about presence and enjoying the little things that this life has to offer…beauty in the mundane, so to speak. My only requests are that you: (A) RELAX and ENJOY each moment. Let your heart lead the way. If at any time you feel pressured to take and/or share a picture, you are not truly living in that moment. The photographs are simply meant to serve as mementos of our presence in each precious moment that we are alive. (B) Use your own photographs. Even if they are photos you may have taken previously, the purpose of this project is to fully enjoy and document your own personal journey, which will be different for each person. Appreciate that and be respectful to one another. We all have different lifestyles, interests, and paths.  (C) Protect yourself and others. No nudity/lewd photographs. This should be common sense given that most of us will be sharing on public platforms, but I feel it necessary to specify out of an abundance of caution. Additionally, as one of the prompts is “Adolescence” be mindful that this involves children, and unfortunately, there are some predators who exist in this world. Be cautious of how and what you choose to share.

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DESCRIPTIONS:

Day1Sunrise – The sun’s energy brings all potential life from within the Earth. And just as each new day begins with a beautiful sunrise, so does our journey. No matter where you are in the world, make it a point to rise with the sun. Gaze upon its vibrant rays and bask in its energetic essence. Feel the warmth upon your skin. Breathe slowly and deeply, and enjoy the tranquil moments of silence as a new day begins. Silence the mind and appreciate the sound of nature around you, the scent of morning dew, and the vivid colors that chase away the darkened sky. To prepare for this, be sure to Google (in advance) the time of sunrise in your location. Even if bad weather interferes, do not let it prohibit you from enjoying this moment. Take a photo of your surroundings as the new dawn breaks the sky (visible sunrise or not) to mark the beginning of this project. Describe your energy today and what you felt as you watched the sunrise. If you share online, please be sure to post your location along with your photo.

Day2Adolescence – There is something special about the innocence of adolescence…authentic souls untainted by the troubles of the world, carefree and pure at heart. Their spirits soar effortlessly, touching the lives of all who surround them with their beautiful glowing light. Many of our hearts have been changed forever by the birth of our children and the joy that they bring, while some of us have experienced the loss of our children and the toll that it takes on us. Take a moment to honor and appreciate the essence of those tiny beacons who selflessly share their love with the world. Enjoy their smiles and laughter and reflect on how special they truly are. Please be mindful that this photograph involves children, so sharing is left to your discretion.

Day3Joy – Have you ever been walking somewhere, perhaps the grocery store, or through the park or other public place, and you spot something that instantly brings a smile to your face? Something that makes your heart flutter with joy and excitement. Pay attention to your surroundings today and when you spot something that brings you happiness, try to capture it and describe what you enjoyed about the moment. If you couldn’t capture it, no worries, feel free to use any other creative means to share your story instead. This also applies to any of the prompts below.

 

Day4Gratitude“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle | Blessings come to us in many different ways and take on many different forms. Incorporating gratitude into your daily life attracts even more blessings to be grateful for. Take a moment to reflect on everything  your heart is grateful for and write those things down. Take a photograph of your list and, if you choose to, share it. You may choose to express the things you are grateful for in any other creative way you desire as well. (In addition to this project, you may even consider keeping a daily journal for this purpose. The abundance of happiness you will find in doing so may be life changing!)

Day5Empowerment – We have all experienced something that made us feel completely alive in the moment, empowered and strong. Maybe it was an article or poem you read that moved you, or perhaps it was overcoming an obstacle or participating in an event for a great cause. Think about whatever it is that makes you feel a sense of strength, something that helps you face your fears. Take a picture of it, or use a previous photo you have to share with others and help to empower them as well.

 

Day6Full Moon – The moon, being the closest astronomical body to Earth, has a profound effect on us. Unlike the masculine qualities of the sun, the moon represents the nurturing, feminine, emotional, and creative aspects of us. The Full Moon is powerful and intense, creating a perfect time for self-healing! This is the time to release anything is no longer needed in your life. It is also a wonderful time to release any aspect of yourself that you may have outgrown. It is important to let go of these things to make room for, and welcome the blessings that you attract. Center your heart and write down the things that no longer serve you. Take your list outside along with any special items you wish (i.e., crystals, sage, candles, etc.) and underneath the moonlit sky, repeat the things you have chosen to release back into the universe. [I, personally, like to do this every Full Moon cycle. I take my written intentions, along with a candle, abalone shell or fireproof dish and a bowl of water. I place my palms into the bowl of water as a symbol of self-cleansing, then read my intentions aloud and light the corner of the page with the candle. I then place the burning page into the fireproof dish, allowing it to continue burning to ash, thereby releasing that energy back into the universe.] Affirm your heart’s desires and allow yourself time to feel the weight lifting away from you. Take a photo of the moonlit sky. Should you decide to share your picture online, be sure to post your location along with it.

Day7Spark Ignited – After cleansing and recharging under the moonlight, we should feel refreshed and revitalized. One of the metaphysical qualities of the moon is its ability to increase our creative flow. What do you enjoy creating? What ignites that spark of passion within your heart? Whether you draw, paint, write, make music, dance, or anything else, let your imagination run wild and share a photo of your masterpiece with the world.

 

Day8Favorite Book(s) – It is important to remember that the entire universe is connected. We can feel that connection in many different ways, sometimes even just reading a book. We often find solace in the words of others because we can either relate to their characters, their journey, wisdom and/or beliefs. Think about a book that you read that you completely resonated with. Share a photo of the book and describe the ways that it moved you.

Day9Perception“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” ~ Tom Robbins | Have you ever looked at something and thought it so profound, so amazing that you instantly felt a sense of excitement about what you are seeing? Perhaps others around you may not have had the same reaction because they perceived it differently. As your day progresses, pay attention to your surroundings. Look for the beauty in simplicity. When you see something that moves your heart, capture and share it with an explanation about the way you perceive it and what makes it special to you.

21101032_10211912732991724_256687613_nSanctuary – Is there a place that you visit when you want to recharge and center your heart? A place that offers serenity and peacefulness that you can completely submerge your spirit into. Think about a sanctuary that you feel connected to, a place you go when you need balance and clarity. Perhaps it is a garden, park, lake, beach, forest, or some other type of sacred space that you hold near and dear. Share a photograph of that special place and explain how you feel when you are there.

 

Day11Natural Beauty – Between magazines, television and social media, society is in a constant uproar about what defines beauty. We’re either too much or too little of something or another. Our outer shells are merely the vessels transporting our souls. It is what lies within our hearts that makes us beautiful! Each of us has a unique body with a special spirit. No matter your complexion, body shape/size, hairstyle, or any other feature, you ARE beautiful! Take a moment to appreciate the body you have been gifted in its natural state, no makeup, no filters, or any of the extras that society encourages us that we “need.” Take a selfie and write down all of the qualities that you appreciate about yourself.

Day12Music Soothes the Soul – Science all but confirms that humans are hard-wired to respond to music. It is not a tangible thing, you cannot hold it in your hands or even see it in a physical sense. Yet we have spent majority of our existence creating beautiful instruments, melodies and sounds that have the power to soothe our souls. That moment you feel emotions coursing through your heart while listening to music that moves you, you are experiencing the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is a signaling molecule in the brain. Think about a form of music that caused you to experience goosebumps/chills upon your skin. Perhaps it is a song, an instrument being played, a singer’s voice, etc. For this prompt, I invite you to share a recording, link or video of your favorite tune and give a brief explanation of what you feel while listening to it.

Day13Perfect Imperfection – The Japanese practice an outlook of the world centered on the acceptance and adoration of transience and imperfection. This practice is called “Wabi-Sabi.” |“Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect” ~ Richard Powell. | Characteristics of the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, and appreciation of natural objects and processes. Take a photo of something you find to be perfect in its imperfections and explain what you see in it.

Day14Healing Waters – Water, is a great necessity, for without it nothing can live. Along with Earth, it has the ability to bring forth life itself. It is a purifier, with wonderful healing and cleansing energy. When we swim, water supports us. When we are thirsty, water hydrates us, the same as rainstorms do for the Earth. It is a free spirit flowing and shape-shifting as it so desires. Such is the greatness of water that spiritual regeneration cannot be done without it. Think of an aquatic location that gives you peace and comfort. If you can visit there today, do so and submerge yourself or your hands into the healing waters allowing yourself to be fully present in that moment. If you cannot visit today but have already gone to a location like this, feel free to share that instead.

Day15Perseverance – When I think of the word “perseverance” I visualize a flower growing through a crack in the cement. It is a reminder that where there is a will to do something, there is a way. We merely have to believe we can achieve it. What have you overcome despite hardships and struggle? I invite you to share your story, along with any photos or other items that correspond to it. Or should you happen to see something today that resembles perseverance to you, capture and share what you discover.

Day16Love – Love is the most powerful emotion of all. It has the capacity to heal, to forgive, to encourage and to bring an abundance of joy to our lives. It is my hope that one day through love and acceptance we will change the world. Whether it is the love of your family, friend or romantic partner, take a picture with that special someone in your life and share with us why that person is so special to you. How have they captured your heart?

 

Day17Light Up The Darkness – Much like everything in this world, we are subject to the law of duality. We each carry within us both light and darkness. It is merely our perception that causes us to see things as being positive or negative. But darkness can be beautiful too, for without it, there can be no light. For this exercise I invite you to be as creative as you wish. You may choose to draw/paint something, take a photo, write something, or anything else your heart desires, to represent the beauty found in the darkness. Share your art and give a short explanation of what you find beautiful about what you observed.

21122198_10211917887280578_269231371_nCurrent State of Soul – We are a little more than halfway through this project and I’d love to know where you are in your journey! Take a selfie to reflect your current state of soul. Explain how you feel, what you have learned, what you desire, anything that has moved your heart throughout this project. Even if today is a hard one to handle, share your story…you never know where a helping hand, or a light in the darkness may come from.

 

Day19Giving Back – With tomorrow’s New Moon approaching, it is time to clear your personal space and make room for the many blessings coming your way. Let’s make this a time to give back to our community! There are so many positive ways to give back and share our hearts. Maybe it’s spending some time with family or friends, lending a hand to someone in need, or perhaps making a donation of some sort to a local organization. Whatever act of kindness you choose, do so with your whole heart, expecting nothing in return. Spend the day being kind to everyone you encounter. Remember that even smiles are contagious! How did you feel today? What did you notice about those you came in contact with? How was their energy affected by yours?

Day20New Moon – Unlike the energy of the Full Moon, the energy of the New Moon reflects a birthing cycle. This is the perfect time for planning and seeding your intentions. The same way that a seed planted into the earth requires a gestation period before it breaches the ground and reaches for the sunlight, so do your desires and intentions. This is the manner in which our ideas are manifested into reality. As mentioned in the cleansing ritual I described in the Full Moon prompt above, intentions stated out loud or written down on paper, hold power, so be mindful about only stating those things that you truly want. With that said, just as the moon has its phases, so do we relating to our individual needs and desires. This is why I update my list of intentions each new moon cycle. Feel free to take the same steps as mentioned in the Full Moon description above, but now focusing your heart on your future wishes. As we are viewing the dark side of the moon, it will not be visible in the night sky. But, I still invite you to take a photo of your surroundings, and should you decide to share your picture online, be sure to post your location along with it.

Day21Intentions Set – So now that we have set our intentions, pay close attention throughout the month as they start to manifest. You may want to keep a journal or notebook to keep track of the items on your list that have come to you. What does your path look like now? I invite you either to write something, take a photo, draw a picture, or use some other creative form, to symbolize your current path and what it holds for your future. Remember, not every prompt in this project is something that you have to share. This is strictly optional. The purpose is for YOU to be present in YOUR journey.

Day22Colors of Life – Colors are often associated with the emotions that we experience in our daily lives. As such, emotions can be reflected in art through the use of color. When someone feels sad, we identify that emotion with the color blue, much in the same way we connect the color green to sickness and red to love, and so on. Today, I invite you take a look at all the colors that surround you during different parts of the day. Pay attention to the feelings you experience in conjunction with the hues around you. Observe how they may affect your mood, if at all. Choose 1-3 moments in the day and capture your surroundings. Note the colors that stand out to you and give a brief explanation of how you felt in those moments.

Day23Seasons – Just as the Earth has seasons, so do our hearts. As I mentioned, we are all in different parts of the world, so some of us may be experiencing Summer, while others may be experiencing Winter. Take a photograph of your surroundings to reflect the current season in your area. Be sure to post the season and your location along with it. Give a brief explanation about how you feel during this time of year.

 

Day24Explore – Today is Sunday in my part of the world, which gives me the perfect opportunity to go out and explore a little. I invite you to join me! Go out and explore your city’s off-beaten path. You may decide to check out some local favorites or even some quiet spots in nature. Observe your surroundings and how you feel when you are there. Take some photos of the things that capture your heart. Share with us what you love about it.

 

Day25Spirit Animals – Animals that approach us and make their presence known to us carry with them a message from our ancestors and loved ones. Pay close attention when the raven calls to you, or when dragonflies land nearby. Observe the fluttering wings of the butterfly and the playful squirrels as they run by, for these creatures are trying to speak to you and are sharing their wisdom to guide you along your journey.  The challenge today is to be open to seeing the world around you beyond the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take time to notice when an animal comes near. Do a little research by simply Googling “______ spirit animal,” depending on what animal makes their appearance to you. For example, if you cross paths with a monarch butterfly, simply search for “monarch butterfly spirit animal.” You will come up with several results. Read through and see what explanation is better understood by you. Some of the sites I personally enjoy are: http://www.universeofsymbolism.com/butterfly-symbolism.html and http://www.spiritanimal.info/butterfly-spirit-animal/. If you were able to capture a photo of your animal spirit guide, share it along with the message you received from them.

Day26Graceful – Have you ever been to a ballet and noticed how gracefully the ballerinas move across the stage? Or perhaps you have seen a swan as it glides across the water so elegantly. When you see something graceful today, take a moment to capture and appreciate its beauty. What do you notice and feel about it? How does it inspire you?

 

 

Day27Blooming – As we continue to grow along our journey, we begin to bloom from within. That inner beauty is outwardly reflected and often noticed by our friends and family. There is, perhaps, nothing more beautiful than a person falling in love with who they truly are! Take a photo of your favorite flower to symbolize the ways that you are blooming from withim and describe how its characteristics remind you of yourself.

 

Day28Senescence – Senescence by definition means “the condition or process of deterioration with age.” Just as we age throughout our lives, so do our surroundings. As humans, we naturally fear the process, but there is much beauty to be found within it, depending on your perception, of course. I often find beauty in crumbling statues and buildings. I also find beauty in the elderly and the way that love causes them to act like silly teenagers for a moment. Take a moment today to appreciate the beauty that can be found in senescence. Share a photo of what you see and give a brief description about your perception.

Day29Reflection – As we near the end of this project, I ask that you take a moment today to reflect on your journey this month.  What have you learned along the way? Have you learned anything new by participating in this project? Pause for a moment, stand in front of a mirror and gaze upon your reflection. What do you see differently about yourself compared to a month ago? Take a photo of yourself and share with us how you feel. What are you most proud of yourself for? What would you like others to see in you that you see within yourself?

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha

Day30Sunset –The same way that the sinking sun brings closure to each day, it will also serve as the finale of this project. Make it a point to allow yourself a few moments to enjoy all that you have experienced along this journey. Reflect on the things you have learned, the things you have let go of, and the things you will take along with you from here on out. Make yourself a priority today. Let this day be one that you spend honoring your heart and doing whatever soothes your soul. If something is weighing heavily on your mind, make today the day you choose to bid it adieu and just enjoy the present. Find a quiet location, or one that is special to your heart. This may even be your sanctuary from Day 10. Wherever you decide to go, allow yourself to be fully submerged in that place and enjoy the peacefulness that encompasses you. Find a comfortable spot and try to let go of your thoughts completely.  Take in all of the sights, sounds and scents that fill the air. If you wish to say a prayer or meditate, feel free to do so, but do not feel obligated.  You may also wish to journal about how you are feeling, etc. When the sun begins to set and the sky begins to darken, take a picture of the evening sky. If you share, remember to post your location along with it. Share with us where you visited and how you felt when you were leaving. If there is a time in the future that you start to feel stressed, unbalanced, or overwhelmed, use this picture to remind you that sometimes all we need is a moment of peace to recenter our hearts and restore our strength.

Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.                 ~ Kristen Butler

I hope that you all have enjoyed this project as much as I have enjoyed sharing this experience with you.  It is my hope that through this exercise you have discovered an exhilarating appreciation for your life’s journey. Even though this project has now come to an end, the way you have learned to view the world doesn’t have to. Take a moment for yourself each day and continue to capture your heart through art!

With all my love and light,

Dena Daigle

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From Junkie to Juggernaut

So, let me just tell you a little something about that “Junkie” you sit back and judge from that saddle you ride so high. That “Junkie” is someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s parent, someone’s lover; that “Junkie” is SOMEONE WHO MATTERS! That word “Junkie” churns the very pits of my soul.

When I hear that term I can literally feel, all over again, the emotions I felt the first time I was called that disgusting word. Shamed, degraded, dirty, discarded, abandoned, unloved…all felt simultaneously, but I guess those are the feelings that were intentionally invoked by calling me that vile word. And perhaps what cut the deepest was hearing that word slip so loosely from the lips of the person I admired most. You see, at that point in my life, I was at my very lowest. Broken, beaten, hopeless, alone… completely shattered!  And when you’re already in fetal position with your face buried in shame behind your palms, the last thing you need is to be kicked while you’re down.

People will look at you and see the monster you have become, but never do they stop to question, “why?” “Why did you turn to drugs? What happened to you?” I have been sober for 14 years now, and to this day no one has EVER asked me those questions. Frankly, I’m not sure that anyone cared to know. Hell, they probably still don’t. But you know what? I DO! I care because I want to heal. I care because I know that in recognizing those triggers within myself, I can assure that I never make the same mistake again. I care because I’m tired of watching those I love become statistics. I care because I want to help others who are lost on that lonely road just as I once was.  I care because I live and love from my heart, in all of its purity! I care because I LOVE those misunderstood souls that this twisted, self-righteous, judgmental world calls “Junkies” because I see myself in them. And do you know what else? For once in my life I finally love ME! I have worked very hard to overcome many obstacles in my life. I have grown from a weak-minded “Junkie” to a fucking Juggernaut, and I dare anyone to try to stop my shine!

Within the process of self-healing, I have learned the importance of allowing ourselves the time needed to reflect on our personal growth and progress. Take time to appreciate your victories, for in those moments, you may find additional healing in ways least expected. Learn to appreciate the small steps you have taken equally as much as you admire your greatest leaps and bounds. Understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with self-love and being proud of your accomplishments. SELF-LOVE DOES NOT EQUAL SELFISH, and taking the necessary time to reflect within will allow you to learn your strengths and weaknesses in order to see where you still need to focus on improvement.

If you want to know what you are really made of, stand beneath the light in front of a mirror, and rather than looking at the image portrayed before you, stare into the shadow instead. What do you see behind the mask you wear? I will tell you that it is within that very darkness that you will find the key to unlocking the chains that imprison your soul, but you must first have the courage to face the demons of your past. You must be braver than your fears in order to free yourself from the attachments that hold you hostage. Self-reflection allows you to grow, to find solace, love, acceptance and healing, for your purpose is often found within your pain.  Your journey is yours and yours alone! Although soul work is not easy, it is detrimental to our well-being.

It has taken me a very long time to realize that. I have had to do a lot of soul-searching to come to the understanding that the only way to truly heal is to own my life experiences. So own your truth! We have all been through something traumatic at some point in our lives that changed us. But being victimized does not make you unworthy of love, nor does it mean you have to BE a victim forever. Thinking of yourself in that manner is more harmful than helpful to your personal growth and mindset.  That weakened state of mind is what led me to making some of the most horrible decisions I have ever made in my life.  But, we ALL make mistakes, and those who say they have not, well, I say they haven’t done much living. Sure, some of us make bigger mistakes than others, but it does not mean we have to live the rest of our lives hiding in embarrassment of our choices. Accepting who I really am has taught me that the only person I need to impress is ME, and I am extremely proud of myself! Stand proud in your truth and the lessons you have learned along your journey. Do not be afraid to share your story because you never know who you may be helping by doing so. No one is perfect, but we are perfect in every imperfection.

It Rained Today

I gaze upon a cloudless sky, a vastness of blue as far as the eyes can see.
The melody of chirping birds echoes beyond this field of silence.
I find comfort beneath the shade of a weeping willow,
and am reminded of the seedling you planted in our yard that day.
The sun is playing hide and seek between the swaying branches,
casting shadows upon my skin while the wind softly tousles my hair.
I sit there with a pen in hand staring at a blank page when a nostalgic scent fills the air.
My mind is submerged in distant memories of times filled with love and laughter,
and suddenly I feel a tiny droplet of water fall onto my hand, then another.
I open my eyes and look towards the sky 
only to find that the beauty of it all remains the same.
There is not a cloud in sight and the sun is shining even brighter than before.
As I brush the hair away from my face, I feel dampness upon my cheek.
It was then that I realized those velvet dewdrops were tears I had shed,
the wind blowing through my hair was your gentle fatherly touch,
and the warmth I felt upon my skin was but the closeness of your being.
I sighed as I was reminded that another day has passed, and you are still gone.
And with not a single cloud in sight, it rained today, as it often does within the depths of my soul.

In honor of my Father, Freddie J. Daigle, Jr. 2/2/1964 – 3/1/2003
RIP Daddy…see you on the other side

Happy Father’s Day!

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Unshackled

Women, generally speaking, are emotional creatures by nature. Some deem empathy a curse, others a powerful gift. Nevertheless, we feel every sentiment as deeply as we feel every chastising word…down to our very core. Each blow endured by the broken-hearted forged the piecemeal armor that now adorns our delicate skin. Yet a kind word and gentle touch from a kindred soul has the power to throw all inhibition out the window. We are but living, breathing, paradoxes…one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

We often guard ourselves so relentlessly that we actually block the greatest gift of all…LOVE. We build walls so high that even the most skilled climbers come crashing down before reaching the summit. Sometimes, we become so bitter that we conclude an opinion about men in general, forming the very stereotypes we, ourselves, oppose. But, there are also those who are brave enough to give love another chance. The ones who never turn their backs on love because we know in our hearts that there are still good people in this world. Though we are not without flaws either.

Women like us have the ability to conceal emotions as if we’ve never known heartache at all.  But often times, things occur that remind us of the pain we’ve buried within our bones. Those suppressed memories then float up to the surface where we relive them all over again causing us to compare, to remember, to feel the very things we’ve avoided. Unfortunately, it may also cause us to inadvertently hold the person we love accountable for someone else’s mistakes. This is an extremely unjust situation!  (It is also why self-healing is vital to our growth!)

We sometimes tend to forget that men too, can be emotional and vulnerable. They carry sorrow like heavy baggage, much the same as we do. Although they are often better at keeping their feelings at bay, we need to remind ourselves that they too have experienced heartbreak, betrayal and loss. We must remember to show compassion to one another when words fail, and to have patience with each other when insecurities prevail. You see, we’ve all been devastated at some point. That is why it is imperative to heal and to love ourselves so that we may lead those who love us by example. Unchain your heart from the shackles of past trauma. Elevate one another and give your love a chance to blossom into something beautiful.

-Dena Daigle, Phoenix Ascended

Haunting Recollections

syn·chro·nic·i·ty
ˌsiNGkrəˈnisədē/
noun
  1. the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

“Synchronicity . . . consists of two factors: a) An unconscious image comes into consciousness either directly (i.e., literally) or indirectly (symbolized or suggested) in the form of a dream, idea, or premonition. b) An objective situation coincides with this content. The one is as puzzling as the other.” [“Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,” ibid., par. 858. – Carl G. Jung]

With that said, today’s synchronistic events highlighting Addiction have brought up some mixed emotions from my past.  14 years sober and I should be proud of myself…at least that’s what I’m being told today. But I’m not “proud” of anything. I don’t feel like I did anything special or profound to be proud of. It was my choice to start using in the first place, just as it was my choice to decide that life was much more beautiful without heroin.

Instead of feeling “proud of myself,” I’m reminded how and why my addiction began. I’m reminded of the man that supposedly loved me, yet left me there overdosing, and how he eventually lost his life. I’m reminded that I could’ve been laying there in cold blood beside him had I continued my path of self-destruction.  I’m reminded of the dwindling list of faces I call “friends” who have lost their lives due to the poison coursing through their veins.  I’m reminded of the countless families suffering the loss of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.  I’m reminded that an innocent child will never know what it’s like to have her mother because she chooses her next fix over the starry-eyed beauty she created.  I’m reminded of a Mother with declining health who, not only has a daughter in jail, but now raises her grandchild while enduring her own battles. I’m reminded of the darkness and how it almost snuffed my flame.

These haunting recollections are kept locked away in the basement where very few visitors get the opportunity to enter.  You see, I keep people behind the red ropes of the museum that is my mind and only show them the exhibits I want them to see.  But I’m tired of being silenced by fear. I’m tired of hiding my past in fear of judgment. I’m tired of seeing those I care about losing their lives because their addiction is hidden from the world by the very people who “love” them.  And I’m tired of carrying the weight of my shame on these shoulders.

So, no, I’m not proud of myself…but I am grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned, for the driving forces pushing me to continue writing, for the beautiful souls I have met along this journey, and for the shunned addicts whom my voice is now an advocate for. I’m thankful for finding my life’s purpose! – Dena Daigle, Phoenix Ascended

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Astral Navigation

I am a traveler amongst the galaxies, a wanderer on the path obscured,

a bohemian spirit who’s lost her way in the twilight a time or two.

But you see, my dear, darkness is not a place that we should fear.

It is in that desolate place we bury our broken bones

and strengthen our weary hearts for the journey.

Solace is found in the darkest hours by recognizing the light within ourselves.

The winding road that leads to enlightenment is not paved,

nor is it outlined on a map guiding us to the celestial heavens we seek.

Our souls come equipped with internal astral navigation,

but we must silence the mind in order to follow its directions.

-Dena Daigle/Phoenix Ascended

Birth of a Phoenix

I am not that petrified little girl I once was.

I have picked up my sword to slay the beast more times than I care to admit.

And although he may have won a round or two, the final victory is mine.

A fiery-souled Goddess was forged from those expiating flames,

and I will never surrender before defeat

for it is impossible to kill that which burns to live.

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