When I started writing my story it was because women would say things to me like; “well, you can do that because you are strong” or “oh, you are that type of woman, but I am not”… and I was always a little shocked and perplexed because I still did not feel strong or courageous. I did not feel like I was “that type” of woman. And even if I did, I was still feeling the growing pains from all the work that I had done to get there.
I felt like I needed them to be able to see how far I had come.
They needed to know that there were steps that they could take to get from there to here… and then go even further.
So, although most days I feel like I do not fit in here in this modern society, and I would rather retreat to the woods and live alone with my children away from all the mess we humans have made of things, I stay. I am here. On the border. I can see the ones who are living in the light on the other side. I would be so much more comfortable there. But I stay here at the edge, so that I can light the way for my sisters. Call to them and show them where the path is. Leave some breadcrumbs for them as I take steps towards healing.
If you feel lost and alone. Know that I was there once, too. Some days I still am.
If you feel like your body hates you and you don’t know how to begin to heal… I’ll show you something to try, and then you can start to take some baby steps. Baby steps are wobbly and awkward and small… but they are the most inspiring, because they are the ones where you go from not walking at all to taking those first steps.
And I will be here to smile and cheer you on.
I will hold the candle and light the way as you wander.
The name I use for myself is Antevasin because that is the best description I’ve ever seen for myself. I was so excited when I found it in Eat, Pray, Love because it was the first time I’d come across a word that so perfectly describes me.
“A Sanskrit word appeared in the paragraph: ANTEVASIN. It means, ‘one who lives at the border.’ In ancient times, this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not of the villager’s anymore-not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent-not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. He was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
I am not a spiritual master or a sage. I am a seeker. I feel the pull of the spiritual world, but I still live in this world of calendars and clocks and yes, even televisions and computers. I am in this world, but not of this world.
And I love this term Antevasin to describe myself because I am quite literally living on the edge. I live at the edge of the woods, on the border of two towns. I have two mailing addresses for one mailbox. I am in the city, but in the country at the same time. My kids go to school and participate in some mainstream activities, but we also teach them to think for themselves, to believe is something larger, to strive for something more.
By staying on the border and teaching them about different ways to live, I hope that it will give them more choices for their own journeys. I teach them how to light a campfire with only one match, and how to climb trees, watch the flowers grow and listen to the birds sing. And I also get them all dressed up and show them how to sit quietly and appreciate a performance at the theatre or look at art in museums.
And I am a scholar. I keep searching, investigating the connections, and learning new ways to see the world. I love when I connect with others who let me see the world from their perspective, and then my soul grows some more.
Whenever I hear from another mom who connects with my story, who was inspired by my journey and it helps her find the courage to take another step on her own, it inspires me to let my light shine more brightly.
Being an Antevasin means “Looking into the unknown”, and that can be frightening. Taking that leap of faith can be huge. Turning from all that you have been taught, and all that you have known because you’ve heard that voice calling you, telling you that there must be another way.
You know that what you’ve been taught hasn’t worked for you.
You know it is time to try something new.
It is time to believe in yourself and start to tell yourself a new story.
You need to break the pattern and write a new story for the next generation.
Do not feel alone. I will hold the candle and show you the path.