What I'm about to share with you is the antithesis of everything we've been taught.
It's my own ah ha moment that I know in every cell of my body changed me forever.
I write about living a happy, positive, healthy lifestyle- and while I'm not changing my tune, I am going to shine a light on a subject no one really wants to talk about, but truly fulfilled people know about.
And that is the power of despair, disillusionment, and desire.
Most of us are taught to think positive and diligently watch our thoughts, actions and outlooks on life- which works for a little while- but what so many teachers don't tell us is this: only doing that is like dressing ourselves in beautiful clothing after not showering for an entire week.
From a distance we'd look great, but up close and personal, we would smell terrible!
True fulfillment and happiness lies in the exact opposite of all of those practices.
Long lasting authentic happiness, happens when we do some archaeological digging which takes courage-huzpah-nerve-balls-strength-tenacity-resolve-determination and faith.
Faith, as in faith in yourself.
Life can be undeniably hard. Growing up can be brutal; and thriving in an adult world can be stressful.
When we're hauling around a whole bag of despair, disillusionment and desire behind us, without stopping to take a peek, we're going to have an even rougher ride.
When we stop for a moment and reflect, we lighten our load.
We deserve to be happy in this lifetime, and we're capable of having it all.
But it's not really about being deserving or even worthy. It's about being human.
Just look around at the people you consider having it all, are they any better, kinder, more worthy or deserving than you?
I'd say not.
Having it all has nothing to do with any of that. Having it all has everything to do with saying yes to it, accepting and receiving the gifts of the Universe- God- your higher self- love- …whatever you want to call IT.
We stop ourselves from having it all when we ignore the pain we carry inside. All of those thoughts, beliefs and disappointments from our past are in there trumping our positive thinking in every moment; but most of us are afraid to stop for a moment and really feel the despair.
Almost all of us are afraid to admit our disillusionment and let ourselves really experience the desires we had for this life. When we feel our desires, despair comes in the knowing we haven't achieved those desires, but that's only the opening.
Yesterday I admitted that my soul (in fact all of our souls) aches.
We ache for what we know to be true. We have a perfect all knowing spark of divinity residing inside, but as time goes by, it's small yet powerful voice starts to fade as the loud thinking mind takes over.
The thinking mind believes what our parents told us, starts to inhabit our disappointments versus moving past them, and eventually clouds over our innermost desires with the cataract clouds of it's so called adult rational thinking.
Those small bright sparks inside that come into this world filled with hope, anticipation and innocence get squashed so often that we let the desires we had for this lifetime slip through our fingers like slippery drops of mercury.
I stopped running from that dark place I had encapsulated over inside myself like a foreign tumor in my own psyche, and finally let myself really feel it all yesterday.
I closed my eyes, turned off the phone and went inside. At first my mind raced as I forced myself to listen to my own inhales and my own exhales; but then I forced myself to feel all of the disappointments in my life, the pain of betrayals, and the many false starts.
I really let myself marinate in the misery of it all, and I knew I wasn't alone.
Being human isn't easy, but the potential we have is awe inspiring. This potential is constantly thwarted by self doubt, playing it safe and wading just close enough to the edge of the happiness fountain to taste and retreat.
As I let myself really experience the dark side of my life, the tears came. The despair felt suffocating. The hopelessness washed over me so deeply that I knew in every cell of my body why people end their lives.
But I stayed with it.
As I opened one manhole of dark memories and disappointments, another would appear before my eyes and I dove in willingly- I had nothing to lose because I was already lost.
In my mind's eye I fell deeper and deeper into the inky blackness of my disappointments and disillusionments. I felt angry with God. I felt left behind and forgotten, and the tears came even harder.
And then…something broke inside.
In the midst of that darkness a light appeared. In the midst of my despair and angst, I felt peace wash over me.
And I felt an emptiness I can't describe. I'm a writer and the words fail me because the emptiness was so vast and so deep that it swallowed me whole. And in that empty vast place of nothing- I felt everything at once. I felt peace. I felt love, and I felt potent.
I can't pretend to know who or what or why. I can only share that in the despair, in my disillusionment, and through admitting my disappointment in the desires cast aside so long ago, my tears carried me to a place of profound peace.
I felt like my soul had been rebirthed into a fertile dark womb of potential, and in that potential I found my way back to innocence.
What I know with all my heart is this: in emptiness lies peace, and in that peace, everything we desire is available. It's not about living a good life, thinking happy thoughts, or going through the motions of moving past our pain.
Having it all requires that we give into the darkness inside ourselves instead of running from it.
The way out, is in.
When we move through the darkness we all carry, there is a light, and that light leads us home to the innocent all powerful abilities of our soul.
The soul inherently knows happiness, the thinking mind does not.
I hope you'll dive in.
This post originally appeared in The Elephant Journal