Looking through old journals tonight, I realized that one year ago today I went on a personal pilgrimage to our mountain cabin in the high country of Colorado. I was actively trying to avoid suicide, too traumatized and exhausted to see straight, too hopeful to completely give in. And what I needed most was a solo journey past the foothills to restore the truth of myself.
I talk often about how I am a Colorado Girl. My dad, who worked his way through college as a fire lookout near Boulder, did his best to try to teach me what he knew about cross-country skiing, building a fire, hiking a 14er (I still haven’t accomplished that – it’s still on the list). And when I had nightmares, which I inevitably did, he would lay on my floor and talk me through visualizing the meadow he and I hiked every year until I fell back asleep.
I spent all of my summers getting dirty in Colorado. I’d spend a week with my grandparents where we’d pick chile peppers from a local farm and I’d spend a week at the cabin exploring old mines and new paths with my parents. These memories are more vivid and memorable than the ones I have of even my friends and teachers, with whom I spent more time. And while I’m not a camper (I have reasons) I could spend all day exploring and soaking in the quiet of my beautiful mountains.
During those summers when I’d have time to wander on my own with my walkman, I’d end up at a specific rock formation on our property that I used to call my Castle. I’d set up my teddy bears, ask them to bring me a pretty stone (rose quartz typically) to show “tribute” and their commitment to being in my kingdom. And yet, I ruled alongside them, taking care of the business that is a human’s prerogative (like travel arrangements) and they took care of their own business (like marriages or bear disputes). My bears and I each ruled our own kingdoms in cooperation and in harmony with one another. And in some ways, that was always the heart of my ideal vision of leadership.
This vision became part of a larger ambition to serve this state, improving the lives of its people. I am so very much in love with this state – the beauty of its diversity, the elegance of its quirks, the passion of its people. I wanted to bring the same harmony that the state provided to me without even trying. I know I can find myself both in my my hometown of Pueblo, which preserves the roots of my public service dreams, and the mountains, which preserves the earthy connection to my freedom-loving soul.
Transformation starts when we decide we are enough
As my life went on, as I went through trials, the idea of the mountains, the appearance of a clear lake against a backdrop of the Rockies, was always a calming force for me. To dip my toes in the cold rush of Boulder Creek, to smell the forest air after a summer monsoon, to be humbled by the vastness of the galaxy laid before you in the purest of night.
A year ago I was on the verge of suicide, a constant battle day after day. The stress, the retraumatization was too much to bear. And while I held a leadership role in our organization, I felt too exhausted, too tapped out to be effective. I stopped taking care of myself, a passive aggressive self-destructive mechanism that added to rather than relieved my misery. Sleep deprivation, one meal a day, and high stakes decisions at work with active, daily reminders of trauma? This dangerous cocktail felt much like the anxious uncertainty, dread, and anger that we see around us today. Where the injustices, the wounds, the betrayals, the disappointments, the dramas became so heavy, so intolerable that I had to burst out of that cage and get above it all.
In a dramatic climax, I left my job, got back into therapy, tuned into an 11:11 spiritual enlightenment call with my friend, Lisa Gunshore, in November and began shedding the perspectives and patterns of the past. And what I noticed more than anything was just how often I was making myself small so that others wouldn’t be hurt by the power of my light.
I was first called to this journey on December 13, 2012. There was a massive shift in my life, an urge, a drive to finally feel worthy of carrying a larger light in the darkness of our world. I was scared, I was small, I was contained. But even then I knew it would be profound.
I am in a period of increased sensitivity to my calling, my purpose but in particular, to the needs of others. My challenge is to become a light, to allow my heart to glow with the gifts I naturally possess. I need to stop shrouding my light, inhibiting my heart. I must trust my own wisdom. And I must trust that my needs are always met.Janet Rose – Solar Return
And while I’ve been steadily leveling up over the years in response to that call, something was always holding me back. A persistent thread of self-denial, of sacrifice, qualities I thought I needed to be a good leader. And yet, when I chose to prioritize my own life, to leave my job, take control over my health, and allow myself the rest my body and mind so desperately needed, my life changed, started to shift dramatically. The potential of my life started to unfold.
My life since November has been like a big, giant rose opening fully for the first time. Even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine what has taken hold.
Creatively the past 8 months have been the most amazing of my entire life. I’ve painted, I’m about 20% done with my first novel. I’ve given presentations on trauma-informed care and Mother Mary. I am a frequent guest on the Buddhist Biohacker YouTube channel. I’ve launched a business and website, Rose Connections, and am building my own YouTube channel under the same name. I didn’t expect any of this.
This rose is unfolding faster than I can keep up with. And I love it. I have never felt so alive and vibrant in all my life.
Accepting the Rose Quartz Crown
On June 25th I celebrated the 3oth anniversary of my calling. And while a post detailing the origins and insights of that calling is certainly in the works, suffice it to say that after 30 years I needed a huge shift like this to still be able to do the work I was called to do. I was resistant for a number of reasons, but the biggest was that the new archetype I was being asked to embrace was that of the Queen.
The Mountain Queen.
I’ve talked about this shift a lot, particularly on Instagram and Twitter, but even back in 2017, when I was fresh in a new job, I could feel the call of this image, I could feel myself inching closer to accepting the crown. But messages about deservingness, embedded deep in my psyche unraveled the opportunities I could have taken to make that a reality.
The image I have in my mind always moves and humbles me. Crowned with rose quartz, I offer a Temple of Acceptance and Unconditional Love. I offer a structure, training that works with the heart instead of against it. I have a rose in the palm of each hand. A white rose in my right palm, representing the Divine Masculine, active, legalista, wit, and knowledge. A luscious red rose spilling out of my left, representing the Divine Feminine, receptive, intuitive, earthen healer. And from my palms, I create a bright pink, crystalline rose, an integration of Masculine & Feminine, a compassionately powerful union. And in this image that shows up in my meditations, this beautiful, pink crystalline rose atop the temple acting as a lighthouse calling seekers to a new home.
I fought myself over this for a long time, feeling unworthy of the role. Feeling too small, too insignificant, too egotistical, too unprepared, too inelegant. And yet, and yet…the signals never stopped, the imagery only grew stronger, the inspiration to reclaim my deservingness became impossible to ignore. I had to be all in or I would continue feeling out of balance forever.
We are all being called to offer our beautiful and unique talents to creating a better world whether we think we’re worthy or not. We are all being called to accept the divine purpose within, and the responsibility we have to give of our true selves, not the ones others told us who we should be. And the only way we can do that is by stripping away the structures within ourselves that have been holding us back. Stripping these away brick by brick, intentionally and compassionately until the true self shines through.
Last week when I was up at the cabin with Warrior, Husband, and my kid to celebrate the 4th of July in some peace and quiet, I was also there to give thanks to the Mountain for always being there for me. For always providing a safe space for me.
As I sat at my Castle settling in for a mediation, my foot slipped and uncovered a cache of rocks that I had collected as a child. Evidence of the tribute I had asked from my stuffed animals. I suddenly laughed out loud. Because I realized in that moment that all this fretting over my purpose was for nothing. For I had been training for this all along. I had set this path into motion from the very beginning.
All this time I felt I was unworthy of a role like the queen, yet when as a kid, I had already been living the exact thing I’m trying to create. What am I fretting for? I just needed to remember Who I Really Am and I could stop being so afraid. I literally asked for and planned for this as a child and now the grown-up me was trying to stop it from happening? Oh hells no. I ended up creating a circle of those stones, to protect the innocence of that vision, the earnestness of that calling, the purity of my intentions to serve others.
That’s when I decided that there was no turning back. When I chose to truly inhabit that space, to accept the Rose Quartz crown being offered to me, the blessings immediately started to flow. It’s been thrilling and so rewarding. The public ownership of my story. Sharing a declaration to the world about Who I Really Am. This unlocked a future that I’m has exceeded all imagination.
By recovering myself, reclaiming my dreams I have been able to become the person I most needed in the midst of my darkness. In embracing my own authenticity, owning my own power, leading with vulnerability, I am living my life in the way I wished I had seen more of growing up. It was only in surrendering to the call of the universe, reconnecting with my soul that I truly found the me that had been there all along.
I am sharing this to say – Shine on, you crazy diamond. Trust in the truth of your vision, in the authenticity of your voice and the magnificence of your vision. Accept the sparkling crown being offered to you and become the person you most needed in the middle of your darkness.
Write about why you want to do this challenge:
As I am getting back into being more actively, rather than passively, polyamorous I find myself hitting against a lot of dark edges of my core self. The part of me that finds myself undeserving of attention or recognition or care or love or admiration or…or… it’s fucking exhausting always passing up opportunities because I don’t find myself deserving of keeping them. I do this with the people in my life. I do this with my work. I do this with my own abundance.
Maybe it’s about healing the Catholic in me. Or the Mexican in me. Or the genuine overachiever in me. But this is my core work. And my commitment is to shining some light in this awful pattern of mine and healing it from within.
I am a forest, and a night of dark trees; but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
I have always responded to the call of darkness. The lure. The fact that so many others are frightened of it pushes me deeper into the woods, into the caves of humanity to witness and share in the deeper parts of the psyche. But not just to witness, to stand guard, to lend strength, to share and participate and give the wounds salve until they heal. It’s not the draw of the macabre. It is the draw of desire and spirit. Pure and hallowed to delve deeper than the normal person would.
I serve the darker edges of humanity but specifically the wounds we carry. Wounds…be they physical, psychic or emotional tend to cause us the greatest amount of fear in our lives. And we guard our deepest, darkest fears more than anything in the world. Sure, you think about people who seem to wear their woundedness on their sleeve…almost boasting that they’ve suffered through life and are here to prove to humanity their strength. But what I’ve found is that they don’t put the greatest wounds on display…only the ones that they can wear without harm, without exposing the deeper ones that lay underneath. Those….those they guard fiercely and fight anyone who tries to disturb them.
The only superpower I really have is I am the person people trust with the greatest of their wounds. Their sorrows, their intense pain, their embarrassments, their sense of not-good-enough…these fears of divine dis-love that they try to keep secret from the rest of the world. They tell no one. Not their spouses. Not their lovers. Not their parents. But they tell me.
They tell me or rather….they show me. They creep slowly through the recesses of their psyche, the part they are barely aware of normally. The instinctual and immediate part of themselves that they can’t access unless someone trespasses against that territory. They invite me in. Grasping my hand for strength,clutching at the light that I bring with me for fear. Fear of the monsters laying in wait to overcome them and take control. Maybe if I’m there the monsters won’t attack. Won’t hurt them. Won’t try to take over their world.
And even now as I write this, I’m flooded with the memories of when this has happened. When I’ve seen all of someone, even the big, bad monster they thought they were holding at bay. The anger, the greed, the resentment, the frustration, the hurt, the deception…I’ve seen so much of it. And it is beautiful. It is beautiful because each person’s big, bad monster is an accumulation of humanity. It is a creation of our selves…and it is a part of ourselves. It is the part of ourselves that we’ve discarded, hoping that it will never return. Hoping that it will never find a way back into the light.
And I am overwhelmed with emotion because these people I have encountered have trusted me with it. With something so precious, so grotesque and fearsome…something that resembles them far more than they want to know.
Because at the end of that journey, I show them. I bring a light to the mirror and stand them next to their monster figure and show them…this is you….and I love you both. I love the monster and who you’ve tried to become in order to hide it. I love you both.
It is almost too much for them to bear. To feel that something so ugly within themselves can be loved and cherished. “Aren’t you afraid?” they inevitably ask me. How can I possibly be afraid? I can’t pretend to love someone without loving the fullness of who they are. And by embracing the beast I can now finally love the full person. Does the beast lash out? Yes. But only because it has been relegated to the darkness for so long it can no longer recognize how it feels to have light surround it and hold it safe.
But more than anything, I embrace the fullness of someone. Their light and dark…and I show that it is possible to melt the divide between light and dark within our own lives. That by embracing your own darkness and treating it with kindness and love that we heal the fears that placed it in the darkness to begin with…and that itself is love. True, abiding love for our own self.
This kind of healing isn’t a wound to be worn on the shoulder as evidence of your own bravery, to prove that you’ve suffered…it is one that glows from within and is embodied in your full presence and countenance. It is not a braggart’s courage,but a wounded soul who is now radiant with the joy of life. Nothing more needs to be said. No words are needed.
In an instant I can tell the difference between those who have walked through their darkness and embraced what they have found….and those who are still hiding it, protecting it and projecting the lesser wounds as their evidence of their “confidence”. I can tell…and the more one brags about their wounds, their victimization, their suffering, the more those words are just really big, giant “Keep OUT!” signs to loved ones and others that they will do everything in their power to keep their secret monsters safe and in the dark. They don’t trust themselves, they don’t trust their partners and they surely will never trust a professional to lead them to true healing. I don’t bother with them. They will continue to live a false life soaked in duality, an alchemy that falls flat and leaves them sour and needy.
No…I praise those who have done “the heavy lifting” and I await them at their next crossroads…when a new dark corner threatens to swallow them whole. I stand alone and wait for them to see me and invite me in when either everyone else has abandoned them or are too shallow to see the transformation, the little death, that must occur for them to heal and move forward.
And I am rewarded…like in the quote above…with roses and riches. Such beauty and such abundance of soul. I alone have been entrusted with their stories for I saw their darkness and did not run away or avoid it…I stood by them and loved them to the very end.