It’s been a while since I last wrote to you, or shared any news. 2013 marked a turning point in my life—a shedding of everything I thought to be true. In the midst of a divorce, I hit rock bottom. And yet, despite the darkness and despair, I found a way to stay healthy and strong for my young daughter.
I hiked. I prayed. I got back on my bicycle and made friends with the road and the dirt, and the space afforded me, ironically, as a result of co-parenting.
This wasn’t my beautiful life, I told myself, ashamed and terrified. But it was—and the longer I held that picture of perfection, the more I suffered until it shattered.
One day on a hike, it struck me that I had the answer to climbing out of the darkness. While writing DAMASCENA, I had just spent the last decade studying the life and work of the great Persian poet and mystic, Rumi, whose definition of a Sufi was “one who is able to experience joy in the midst of great disappointment.”
Had I been preparing myself for this tragedy? Or had writing the book been merely a coincidence? Was it truly possible to find joy in the midst of all this pain? Yes. Yes! Not only was it possible, finding joy was the only choice I had—unless I believed depression would serve me and my daughter better.
I stopped on the trail and laughed for the first time in months. I understood what Rumi was saying. Find joy. That’s it. Find joy! I looked around and noticed purple iris rings blooming early in mid-February. I felt a small joy. It was momentary, but it was real.
Each day, I looked for some small joy to know that I was stronger than the pain. And each night, I prayed for more joy.
Over the months, Rumi’s wisdom delivered me back to my heart. I realized the divorce didn’t break my heart after all. It broke it open. Wherever you find your heart today, I hope you can trust the love never leaves. Just claim the love as yours—and share it.
If you live in the Bay Area, I hope to see you June 5 from 7 – 11 p.m., Fort Mason, San Francisco, for a book launch and Rumi rave to benefit Litquake. Wine, words, ecstatic dance! We hope it will be a truly transformational night for everyone. The Sufi Mariam Baker will be performing the sacred dance, sema, and after the reading, I invite you all to get down on the dance floor and s... Read More >