You are beginning to understand, aren't you? That the whole world is inside you: in your perspectives and in your heart. That to be able to find peace, you must be at peace with yourself first; and to truly enjoy life, you must enjoy who you are; and once you learn how to master this, you will be protected from everything that makes you feel like you can not go on, that with this gift of recognizing yourself, even when you are alone, you will never be lonely.
I want to share some of the thoughts I've had these past few years not only to document this period of reflection, but also because I know that light of human connection is only formed through shared experience. You see, for several years I have felt shaken at my core and faced with questions about the kind of human being I want to be for the rest of my life. Woah heavy stuff, right? But all the same, I have felt a different pull into visions of what I would like my life to look like and the steps that are necessary to get there.
Whether these thoughts were stemmed from a product of getting older, political and environment shifts or a culmination of all the above doesn't change the fact that I have had to step into a space of discomfort. I have had to discard my apathetic, comfortable shell to find new roots where I can grow, to wake the hell up and figure out how I want to live my life, what fires up my soul, where do I find a home? Some may call this level of existential questions a quarter-life crisis, or my Saturn's Return, but whatever name you call it, that does not distract from the feeling of nothingness.
The truth is I'm still navigating these tumultuous waves, but over these past few years, I can at least say I have become more aligned in my search for meaning amongst the chaos. I have discovered that I find reassuring beauty in that I am a Child of the Universe. While these words can have a different interpretation depending on who you ask, to me, this means that I am worthy of my place among the trees and stars. I am enough, even if some days I feel less than.
If I feel too emotionally drained from the noise around me, that's Ok--I can choose to harness my fighting spirit another day. After all, there are allies who can also carry the flame of resistance and the world does not rest on one person's shoulders. Being a Child of the Universe means that I will always have space to learn, grow, and stretch into new skin. It means that my story is worth sharing to connect to the earth, myself and others.
In order to cultivate a life that feels more purposeful, I have had to reach deep into my own weaknesses and feelings of guilt or shame, become aware of their origins and my common coping and defense mechanisms. Only then could I begin the process of understanding my inner magic. The steps to this have looked like listening to new podcasts, purging my home of materialistic clutter, listening and reading to self-help books, walking outside during lunch breaks, dabbling in yoga and breathing techniques, and getting back to one of my creative passions, photography.
This hero's journey I am on is ongoing, but along the way, I can tell you that I have learned I am made of star stuff, and so are you. These trials you and I carry on our backs do not define us. Instead, I prefer to look at them as chapters to our bigger story.
In the final concepts of this shoot, I decided to strip away any distracting props or overt galactic themes. Instead, I decided to pay homage to our first home among the stars and space—leading to this simplistic magic Taylor and I created on this day.
My hope to you, friend, is that you find peace alone in your thoughts, a home in your skin, and new depths to your potential. These past several years, I've learned that growth never comes from places of comfort. Read, listen, meditate, reflect, and growth will surely occur. Be vulnerable and kind to yourself. As for me, I am always somewhere in between.