When her feet touched down on the other side and her knees buckled under her weight she felt as though she had passed a point of no return in her journey. As she stepped forward and worked out the shock from her heels she promised herself that she would not succumb to doubt again, that she would trust that inner voice when it told her where to go, no matter how frightening the prospect. She left the blackened clearing behind, vowing to simply listen and trust.
Her path took her up into the mountain range she'd seen from the distance, at the top of which dwelt the person she sought. As she climbed the path the scenery around her erupted with life and her eyes beheld vast fields exploding with plants and food from the nutrient-rich soil. It was a reminder of how the amazingly destructive power of the lava she'd leapt across could give life to so many things not seen at the source.
She watched as farmers tended those crops, as villagers in the nearby collective cooked them and consumed them, as children danced around the fire where their dinner steamed and grew stronger because of its sustenance. It was all part of the whole: all valuable, all sacred.
She had an epiphany then, looking out over the life and lives that all relied upon each other. She realized that she too was whole and that that shadow she'd spent so long fighting and hating was a part of that. All of her was valuable. All of her was sacred. And while she may find herself getting unbalanced at times- while the darker parts of her may have spoken too loudly while the lighter parts were ignored- all of those parts were still a part of her whole. She was not broken, not lacking, not a thing to be fixed. She was beautiful.
She felt a growing sensation of warmth and radiant light growing in her chest as she thought these things. And she felt that energy spreading far beyond the confines of her own body; connecting her not only to the fields and the plants and the animals and the people nearby but back to her family and friends and everyone she had ever held dear- everyone she would ever hold dear. She realized that she, like the beautiful system of life surrounding her, was intricately and infinitely connected. Not only was she whole within herself, but she was part of a greater whole that was sustained, fed and rejuvenated by love.
She closed her eyes and breathed then, content for the moment in just being. Without moving forward, without doing anything. She felt light and love in the very air around her: the wind whipping across the fields and up the mountain, the breath in her lungs. She felt boundless and free.
She didn't know how long she stayed there. It seemed like an eternity and an instant all at once. But as she resumed her long walk she did so with love in every step.