When I was 16 I wanted to be Sarah McLachlan’s backup singer.
Not in an abstract, “OMG how cool would that be?!” way. Or in a teenage fan worship kind of way. More in a “THIS is what I am meant to be doing, THIS IS MY DHARMA” way. I would practice in my car, those lilting soprano lines soaring high above the melody, adding beauty and texture and meaning. Playing the “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” album over and over as if it was the soundtrack of my life. Chances are if you were a passenger in my car in high school, you witnessed this first hand. It was so apparent how perfect I would have been in this role, don’t you think? Couldn’t you attest to it too?
There may have even been a letter sent to Sarah stating as much. No reply of course; she already had a backup singer, a lovely and (begrudgingly I admitted) talented blonde woman named Camille. Who was not in high school, not 16 and dreaming of a way out. It didn’t diminish my vision anyway. I knew my calling, it was so clear. It’s always so clear at 16, before doubt, before fear, before cynicism sets in.
It never occurred to me then that I could (should?) aspire to actually BE Sarah McLachlan, or the Katie Devine version of her. To be a headliner, to be the star. Somehow the supporting role felt more natural. I could stay in the shadows if it meant someone else’s light shone brighter. It wasn’t about me at all really.
Something shifted. It does that so often. Moving towards 18, towards the end of naivety, the focus narrowed. Suddenly I needed to be the star. The president of the choir program, the soloist, president of the sorority, salesperson of the year, the boss. Look at me, listen to me, focus on ME.
It’s such a weird thing, being in the spotlight. You realize you can’t see much beyond it. You can’t see anything really, it blinds you, this light. Everything else is dim, so you just shut your eyes.
You stop seeing. You stop listening. You stop really hearing. You forget who you were. You forget who you are. You forget there’s more.
My eyes were pried back open this year. It took 15 years. It was like waking up that first morning after you have LASIK. You fell asleep on the couch, vision distorted, dizzy, senses dulled by the Valium that had finally kicked in, but still anxious because you didn’t know how the world would look like tomorrow. And then it’s tomorrow, and everything looks different. Everything IS different. The 7:03 glowing on the alarm clock, the red Christian Louboutin logo lit up outside your window, Al Roker and his weather map. What you have seen every morning for 2 years (or for 10 years maybe, how long has it been?)…nothing looks the same. And you realize how little you could actually see before.
It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s liberating. Maybe you mourn all of the wasted time spent walking around in a blur, squinting, never really focusing. Maybe you can’t sleep because there is so much to see. Maybe you even look deeper, and wonder what you do with all of this newly acquired clarity.
My eyes are now open. Now what?
I had an “intuitive reading” a few weeks ago by an amazing astrologer, Danielle Paige, to try to understand all of this stuff that I am now starting to see, to make sense of what it all means. Learning more about how the planets were aligned when I was born, and how it impacts my thoughts and actions was enlightening. Danielle explained how our journey is all about moving from our South Node, which is ruled by the qualities we’ve brought into this world, where our actions are deeply ingrained and come easily, to our North Node, which is in direct opposition to our South Node but is where our soul resides. Our true fulfillment, our karma destiny if you will, comes from continualy moving toward this North Node.
I took 10 pages of notes; I didn’t understand a lot of what planetary alignment and houses and rising signs all signified. But I did hear that my South Node, maybe in a past life (high school, college perhaps? They almost feel like another life), was ruled by I. That there was possibly an overdevelopment of ‘self’ in this Node, with a lack of attention focused on THEM. My North Node, conversely, is all about other people. My real purpose, pursuant to astrology anyway, is to help, to support, to inspire OTHERS.
I don’t fully know what the tactical application of this knowledge is yet. And still, it resonates. It begins to fill a void that seemed to previously only contain questions.
This week’s theme in yoga correlated with a project started by Jen Pastiloff and Karen Salmansohn through a recent blog Jen wrote titled “Light Sender”. The call to action was simple:
Be someone who lets your inner light shine through, so you might shine and rise to your highest self.
Be someone whose light inspires others to shine more brightly, igniting their inner embers, and brightening their inner darkness.
Be someone who is a beacon for love, light and forgiveness, whose light sheds illumination on the steps to take which lead to the highest good.
Ask yourself each day what you can do to let your light shine more brightly.
BE A LIGHT SENDER.
It’s simple really. So simple I knew it at 16. Isn’t this what it’s all about?
I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I want to BE the spotlight.
Let me shine it on you, so that you too may close your eyes, so that you too may re-open them and see clearly, with wonder, all of the beauty that surrounds you.