Her eyes looked deeply into the eyes of her mother, then beyond, at the angels who had escorted her on her passage into this world. Her face lit up with a big smile, the first of millions that would follow. Even then, at seven pounds of barely-unfolded, long, skinny, downy, newborn beauty, she was a bright light.
Her parents saw this, and her grandparents, who woke in the night to soothe her feisty hungry cry, saw it too. So did her aunts and uncles, her siblings, her parents’ friends, strangers passing by, and later, her own little friends. She herself however, couldn’t see it yet; children have to wait a little while before they see how brightly their own lights shine.
But shine she did. Her essence glowed brightly through all her years of childhood. She was a tall strong flower that swayed and danced in the wind. And while the grown people around her saw and loved her large bright essence, children were sometimes afraid of it, or envious. Some of these children went to some lengths to trample her bright blossom. Each time it was trampled though, because she was young, it came back quickly and easily.
One day she became aware of her bright light. She remembered how it had hurt to have it trampled at times, and now understood what had happened those times she had been knocked to the ground, struggling for breath, and she felt angry.
So she tried to hide her brightness, but it wouldn’t stay under cover. For a while, wanting her path to be easier, she tried to divest herself of it completely, throw it under the car or against the mountains, or at those who had hurt her. But like a boomerang, it returned to her, over and over again, often with great force, knocking her own self down and smashing her own blossom yet again just as others had done.
It began to tire her deeply, this being thrown at, and throwing, and getting winded, and eventually she began to hurt in her bones, her muscles, the deepest parts of herself, and for a long time she could hardly walk. Her mother saw her deep fatigue, and went to her. She stroked her hair, heard her words, saw her tears, and, and held them carefully. She breathed them in, and slowly, as her own fear began to dissipate, began to offer stories that had helped her in her own time of deepest fatigue. Stories of how the lessons of living with a strong and bright essence can be difficult, but that they can also yield powerful gifts that heal the pain of others.
Your strength and light can confuse or threaten or blind others if you’re not careful, she told her, but when you embrace it with wisdom and love and humility, it will also heal them when their bones ache and they have lost their footing or their breath. It will help them understand their own gifts.
And others with a strong bright essence, she went on to tell her, will always be there to help you too, no matter why your tall stem might be deeply bent, your blossom resting face-down on the ground at that moment. She told her that together, they would sing healing songs, and fly. She told her that strong souls are our teachers, and that they can’t be permanently quashed or discarded. They return and return, to shine brightly and sway and dance in the sun, and to sing together with others who sing the same song.
(Many thanks to Francesca Mason Boring for her images of Makua, the Shoshone word for soul.)