"If you're experiencing devastation," he said, "it means you haven't been devastated enough yet. Get fully devastated, until it has no more power over you."
The words pierced my chest, puncturing through my laptop from the youtube video I was watching. The timbre of his voice, in contrast to the strong impact of his words, was calm, almost zen-like. Over the last three years, this bullseye hit on my heart had been an experience I started to expect as I had learned to trust him as a profound spiritual mentor. I paused the video and gasped for breath wildly. After swallowing hard, I slowly nodded.
Matt Kahn had summed up what I was experiencing, intimately.
His blade of wisdom was more than a hit with good aim. It was the samurai warrior master's level "secret weapon" of all Big Dreamers.
Like dreamers before me, my personal rendition of devastation was a step by step walk through these hallowed chambers. So far, my dream of living fully within a gift economy as a musician has looked like this:
MY STEP ONE: I have experienced hunger, poverty, and debilitating fear. Two panic attacks, an excruciatingly difficult time receiving, feeling like I had to "prove" my worthiness before I could feel supported, feeling ridiculously insecure, jealous, hopeless, sick, and depressed. I said I would quit the dream if my worst case scenario ever happened, and then found myself living through that very scenario a year later. Topping it all off, at times when I have been afraid to be vulnerable, I needlessly let myself suffer for way too long by being too scared to ask for help.
Under proverbial shade trees along the road, I frequently check in. Ok, good, I still have a pulse. I ask myself the most important question in the whole world for any dreamer to get gristly honest about...Am I still going to go for this dream?
MY STEP TWO: Life then decided it was time for me to experience the next level of devastation. This time it was a chronic, extended inner war to the core of my heart. I used my samurai sword to slice open my deepest fears rooted in control, worthiness, comparisons, ego, and personal preferences. When I resisted the work, I felt like I was dying. But when my surrendered arms were finally thrown wide open, everything got... clear. Circumstances hadn't changed, but with my arms open, at least I had room for joy, trust, and gratitude in the throes of my being devastated.
Another resting place, and another check in. Ok wow. I made it through that one, but I may want to quit now. Don't I? I'm so uncomfortable. Devastation feels absolutely horrible. And yet, I'm still alive. And if I'm honest, I'm happier than I have ever been. How is that possible? So am I still going to keep going?
MY STEP THREE: Like for many of us, I have learned that what comes next if we keep walking the dream walk is that steps 1 and 2 repeat themselves multiple times, until thorough devastation of all the ick, the guck, the density of all things that do not serve the fulfillment of my highest dreams has been decimated out of me. Could it be true that as I commit deeper into my dream, there's less and less to devastate? I don't know that for sure. But I do know that as I keep committing to my soul's purpose, there is more and more room in me to experience joy, trust, and gratitude along the way. And that is no small thing. In fact, that might be everything.
Check in. Yep. I get it. I do NOT have to love it, but devastation is my friend. But in this check in, I have something very important to add. My awe and appreciation for the capacity to find genuine joy, trust, and gratitude amongst the most dire circumstances has deepened within me into the most sacred of bows. If this is a habit you are also cultivating within your character like I am, I drop my sword, remove my shoes, and kneel before you in humble prayer. You are seen.
Thus far, my results from repeating these three steps has been living my dream with authentic joy, trust, and gratitude for 3 ½ years, performing 81 Dream Walk Concerts, in 14 countries.
Writing that sentence feels really, really good. Has it all been worth it to be able to write that one sentence? Yes. Alright, Life. What's next?
My dream is thriving. Within days, I am recording my new album in a studio outside of L.A.
This album says "I see you." You, who are walking your courageously heartbreaking, devastatingly beautiful path toward your dream. This album says, "Let me sing a song while we dream walk together."
The album is my gift for every samurai warrior dreamer who deserves a little kindness as you walk through devastation, like every big dreamer before and after us.
If we choose to keep walking, I suspect we'll get devastated enough. And we will also have no choice but to make it to the other side.
With love, Emily
You are invited to add your name to the Dream Walk album's dedication before midnight on September 30th. Go here: patreon.com/themillionkisses