The Bell Jar

I haven’t felt like that in a long time. Worthless and meaningless. There is that shroud of sadness and incapability that I can’t seem to shrug off.
Waking up numb and not understanding why I am awake and alive. Getting up to get my daughters ready for school, yes, there is still enough in me to do that. Yet when they are gone I come back and crawl back to my bed trying to reach the fleeting shadows of the divine I was once able to embrace. My whole being is subdued and I feel like blood is literally draining out of my veins and with it all life force I have had. My ambitions are nil, my motivation is gone. I feel trapped and lost. I can still use logic and get up from my bed but do I want to? I am not lazy, I am demotivated, perplexed and disillusioned about the purpose of my life. The thoughts of hopelessness are keeping me shut up and isolated from other people. It’s like being in a glass jar or a bell jar as Sylvia Plath described so well. I know there is life beyond that but I am totally incapable to leave my trap.

7dd475bb3c5d1bff173af8991fcc6335I remember I used to laugh and smile and live my life to the fullest. Today this seems more like an illusion, or a life that belonged to someone else. That happy and confident person I once were is absent now. The bubbling with energy and perky woman who used to get high on listening to the loud music and dancing all alone in the middle of the night. The woman who used to stay up late to blog and make art. Woman who enjoyed getting dressed up and get the looks from men. Who would go rollerblading and then walk on the wall where no one else dared to walk and get a kick out of it.

Now I still get up in the morning and get myself ready for the day and my room still looks pretty spotless (I know, I am miss perfectionist) but that’s just a facade. Behind it is an empty, withdrawn look, and I keep looking down to avoid the eye contact with other people. So how did I get myself so low?

The feeling of lowliness comes as a result of failing to find my purpose. I have been on the spiritual path for many years and followed the call of the divine. I have prophetic dreams and meditate regularly. I can get in tune with the whispers of the universe and yet I feel as detached from it all when I look at my life. The worst is comparing myself to other people. The feelings of incompleteness and financial ineptness overwhelm me. Even though I know better not to look at myself through the lens of what other people achieved I still do it, and I feel so inadequate that it terrifies me. But lack of money or social position isn’t the worst. It’s the path I am on, the path where I risk everything that society values and go against the tide.

Occasionally I feel like an outcast and that weighs on me. Following my intuition I have left behind some of the safer and socially acceptable roads to financial and emotional security. While mostly I feel guided, today I feel like a loser. My fears surface and I feel let down, lost and trapped. The thoughts that prevail are those of being powerless, foolish and naive to trust in the powers other than my own intellect.
As I write these words I realize that there are many like me who are suffering, too. People on spiritual path who are authentic and listen to the whispers of god but somehow got overwhelmed and scared. I know some of them. We are functioning in the society to a certain degree but we are hardly getting by. We manage to appear normal but we are not.

The reason I am writing these words is to perhaps make it more known that these feelings are common and normal. That being a human means facing the fears and doubting your own self. Falling and losing. I am 44 and still looking for my purpose…

Am I a modern witch?

MoonRecently I went to a party where among other guests was my ex-husband. As I was striking a conversation with one of the visitors he noticed my accent and asked me where I was from. After I satisfied his curiosity he admitted that another person he had just talked to got very offended by that very same question. I glanced at the room and I smiled as I knew who that other person was. My ex would always get irritated if someone asked him where he was from. Looking at my conversationalist I casually mentioned that I knew who the man was and that he was my ex. At this point he started staring at me with an obvious curiosity and admitted that he never had a pleasure of talking to a witch. I thought I was about to burst into laughter and asked him where that came from. His response was that he just talked to my ex and he had mentioned that his ex-wife was a witch and cast spells. I was completely taken aback and didn’t know whether I should laugh or be offended. The man’s tone was partly serious and partly lighthearted but he wouldn’t elaborate any more.

I was baffled. I knew my ex wasn’t exactly enjoying the fact I left him. But to talk to strangers describing me as a witch? That was new and really puzzling. I sat alone thinking about it and realized that perhaps his definition of a witch was different from mine. Maybe he simply thought that women who are in charge of their lives are witches. Perhaps he despised the fact that I had enough power to live a happy and successful life without him and was a happy free spirit. If this is what defines a witch then I am one.

I am a tree hugger and I gaze at the moon frequently. I stand in a tree pose at the sunsets on the beach and watch the waves crushing down on the shore. I walk barefoot and watch the sky. You can find me often lost in my thoughts staring into the horizon. I let the rain drench me. My walls are covered with my own paintings and writing is my passion. I certainly use my own judgment and am discerning. I know I have strong opinions and I enjoy my independence and freedom. I feel sexy and love the body I am in. If these traits make me a witch then, heck, I am one. Many men fear independent, free-thinking women because they aren’t easy to manipulate and control. It’s amazing how many men prefer women to be submissive and not only in the bedroom. Women who think outside the box, who live their lives to the fullest and are in charge can attract only certain kind of men. Confident, brilliant, sexually active and emancipated women are often a threat to majority of them. It feels safe to label these nonconforming women as witches as this takes away responsibility from men to tame them, they are the evil forces of nature and can’t be curbed after all.

I learned to be free. I said no to being dominated, shunned and put down. It didn’t happen overnight but I believe my spark was always there. I only needed to unearth it, to bring it back from the deepest and most utmost corner of my heart. But once I reclaimed it nothing could stop me from being happy, loving, passionate and confident. I guess following my bliss and listening to my heart make me a witch. And if that is what defines one I am ready to fully embrace it and make the best out of it.

It’s OK to divorce

It’s OK to divorce.

I know that to bring up this topic in a conversation is an excellent way to polarize the group into two opposite and competing sides.

First will argue that everything that goes wrong in marriage can be fixed given the fact that both partners are ready and willing to work it through. The supporters of this opinion often view the divorced single people as failures who hadn’t tried hard enough, gave up and chose an easier solution. These people were most likely blessed with a partner who is open to negotiation, will do his or her share of self-improvement and is committed to them.

Now, I belong to the other group that believes it OK to divorce. Naturally, when we say our love vows we believe it is forever and for good or worse. But sometimes life is unpredictable…

sunset-476465_1280Not always your partner will be open to work on his challenges and not always things between two grown-ups can be repaired.
When I chose my husband I didn’t know he was controlling… He used a variety of controlling techniques that I didn’t know at a time were just his tools to get what he wanted. I felt often belittled, small and guilty. It started really early on in our relationship but I haven’t put two and two together. One of his favorite ones was, “I will divorce you if you don’t…”

He was verbally abusive. Nothing can be done if the other person thinks he is fine but you are the one who is always wrong. He won’t believe you when you are trying to negotiate or work things out. He will tell you it is your problem and not his. That you need to change or perhaps visit a psychiatrist. In my marriage I was guilty for everything, no excuses. I didn’t even know often what my spouse would view as wrong and when. It felt like walking on the eggshells all the time. My husband could explode any moment, he was like a bomb with a detonator, you never knew what would trigger him. And things certainly triggered him…

He was insane. At some point one of my neighbors pointed out to me to research bi-polar disorder. Interestingly, so many things suddenly started making sense to me. When I confronted him and offered to look for some medical help he turned the tables and accused me of being crazy. Talking to him didn’t seem to help as he would often not recall what we already agreed on and it was always like starting from zero.

There was no way I could ever raise two happy and socially adjusted beings and remain sane at the time with the man who was clearly destroying himself and us. The abuse was getting worse. After almost 15 years I felt like a shadow of a person I used to be. I vaguely remembered the vibrant and confident me from before the marriage. I became a meek, submissive and listless woman with a forlorn look in my eyes, looking much older and unhappy. Though I believe there had to be a spark of my former self buried deep inside my soul as I slowly started realizing that I could change my life.

Sometimes the only solution to saving yourself is to leave the other person. There was no way I could work things out while I was being systematically destroyed. In my case it was a verbal and emotional abuse and it left me degraded, bereft of my self-confidence, humiliated. I can only imagine what physical abuse can do to other women…

This leads me to say that if you haven’t been in my shoes you won’t know what toll it takes to live with an abusive partner. You won’t ever understand how it destroys you, demeans you and puts you down. Clearly, if you are able to fix your marriage it means you haven’t been in my predicament. Be happy and pat yourself on your shoulder for doing the right thing but don’t go around condemning others for not trying hard enough.

Love Letter

I love you. You know this if you can read my eyes.

My love to you is like an ocean. It’s deep; it’s immense and has its ebb and flow. It’s ever-changing, multidimensional and many layered. Sometimes I want to just hold your hand and gaze into your eyes which are like millions of galaxies holding the creator’s secret to life. When I look in your eyes I am intoxicated and full to the brim ~ they are the mystery of complexity and simplicity, all in one – the art of what makes us human. I look into the windows to your soul and I am in awe as I can see the stars that you and I were created from eons of years ago. When you smile I tremble because in your smile I see the love you hold for me, the passion and the childlike innocence you have buried behind the layers of your hurt. I love that boy full of mischief that is still there. When I gaze at your naked soul I can see clearly the glorious and wounded you. And I know you are as perfect as I am with your flaws and imperfections. You are every inch as human and god-like as I am.


When I run my finger through your hair I feel an electric spark running from my palms through the rest of my body. It’s magical. It’s as if our bodies and souls are connected at the core of existence and we recognize each other so well. It’s enough for you to touch me, play with my hair and I am sent to the stratosphere. I die each time you take me in your arms. When we make love I lose the sense of who I am and I cease to exist. The cosmic dance of our bodies, the blend of our breaths, the passion and tenderness all come together. So deep and so potent our love is that we become one for that short moment in time. The moment when we forget anything and everything and the time stops. We breathe in the eternity and exhale the now.

Because of you and for the sake of both of us I am ready to discard what the world has taught me… The dogmas and the rules. Now the only truth that matters is the light of our love. The light that can lead us to discover new worlds. This luminescence is freeing and suddenly I feel I can fly and I dance and create new realities, more brilliant and dazzling than ever. Holding your hand I dive into the ocean of physical and nonphysical realms where I stand liberated and tall. That’s where I meet my goddess self, all-knowing, radiant and compassionate. I am united with the universe, I remember the moment of the Creation and the moment of the Destruction and you are there too. This moment last both forever and hasn’t happened yet. Yet, the fleeting feeling of it is etched in my memory now. I still hold your hand and am back to Maya, the world of illusion that we humans call the reality. Yet this time I remember who we truly are. I look at you again and smile…


There is a basket with yarn in the corner of my room. It’s filled with crochet hooks, knitting needles and of course skeins of yarn of different colors and texture. For quite some time I have been intentionally avoiding looking in this corner simply because what once used to be a promise of possible knitting projects was now a tangle of yarn. Somehow bit by bit once carefully placed skeins became a mess. As I was looking at it I was aware they were a pretty good representation of what was currently going on in my life, too. A tangled mess of unfinished projects, a sad reflection on my life.

A postponed meeting here, an unfinished piece of writing I was preparing to publish but never got around to doing it, a divorce in the works with plenty of paperwork to be completed. As I was looking at the basket I was more and more aware that certain things always take priority. That was the case with my own life. As long as I was struggling with finding a sense of financial and emotional security some other projects were put on a back burner. I was truly in a transformative stage for over two years and I was getting exhausted by it and looking forward to finding some balance.

Life has its sense of humor and has offered me some surprising lessons. One of them them, in particular, was to never expect I was done with my share of spiritual learning. Over the period of last couple years I have learned more than in my entire life. Which meant many nights I was wide awake tossing and turning with pressing thoughts rambling in my head. “Have I made the right decision?” or “Will I be able to pay the rent?” “Can I love and accept another person with all the bad and good stuff?” and “How to love a person I am?” were some of them. For over two years I was feeling as if my life was upside down and felt like living on the edge. This is when I found out about the dark night of the soul. As I searched to answer some of my questions related to the intensity of the experience I was going through I finally understood that I was just waiting to emerge from my chrysalis.

butterfly-332355_1280This reminded me of a caterpillar held captive inside its cocoon and its painful transformation that takes time. The caterpillar doesn’t know how long it will take and neither what is happening during the metamorphosis. It always takes time, I kept reminding myself. The universe works its magic while I am in the state of suspension, miraculously unaware of what new person I was going to emerge. I truly felt it was a never-ending process of keeping the faith.

Sometimes all it takes is the right time and life shifts to make certain opportunities available. Yet, even armed in that knowledge I was sometimes miserable and on the verge of losing my trust. The only thing I really needed was trust and not the logic. The cold-hearted logic was my enemy. If I relied on my mind I would be scared to death. My choices during this two year process of shedding the old were purely based on the whispers of my heart. How else would I ever dare to move away from my husband with my two young daughters even though he threatened to destroy me. Then again, I followed my path fiercely when I found love again even though my head was telling me it was not the right time. During that time I often found myself questioning my choices immensely simply because they were flying in the face of my upbringing and the values I acquired throughout my life.

Then, one day I woke up and looked again at the dreaded basket with the yarn. This time, however, I picked up the skeins and carefully separated one from another. Then I sat down and slowly and patiently untangled all the knots. I was surprised, it wasn’t that difficult as I have imagined. All it took was the right state of mind and a will. Coincidentally, that very same day I got news that changed my life. I finally was moving forward and in the direction I was happy with.

The Art of Manifestation

The art of manifesting may have seemed like a witchcraft, a taboo practice perhaps reserved to a kooky magician in a black cape or a witch quietly brewing her magic potion in a huge cauldron. It may even invoke a sense of fear if you consider it a closed society practice taught by few to their carefully selected apprentices.

Yet, today it is a buzzword so widely and flamboyantly used in media. Not only this, it seems to attract quite a following, judging just by the amount of books that are selling the secrets to improving our life by applying the art of manifestation. It’s this New Agey thing and the most fundamental basic law of the Universe. Even so, it is widely misunderstood and requires some examination.

I have unknowingly practiced the art of manifestation in my younger years albeit without realizing what I was doing. Here the adage “Be careful what you wish for” takes on a real life meaning. I am sure many of you have done exact same thing, wished for something so much it came true only later to realize it wasn’t really that good. I clearly remember in my early twenties I had wished to have my own small apartment and a dog. Guess what, I got it 4 years later as a result of an abrupt divorce and even though I loved my apartment I didn’t like the fact that I was so alone in it and my only companion was my Saint Bernard. Similarly, I wished for some smaller things that came to my life too late or not exactly in a way I wished for.

That was in my twenties… Now, later in my life I have come to better understand the principle of the art of manifestation.

Here are some ground rules:

New1. Find out what it is that you really want. Make sure this will make you happy. Look at it from as many angles as possible. Imagine unknown factors that can influence your wish. Take into consideration if your wish is a positive force that will benefit others as well rather than make them miserable.

2. Now once you chose your wish, you need to focus all your thoughts on it. This is your intention. Imagine it, dream it and breathe it. Meditate on it.

3. Talk about it, as words are an incredible energy, too. They are a vibration. Write it down. When I had my wish I chose to write it down with a stick on the sand at the beach and wait for the wave to erase it. I wrote it with a chalk on the concrete and with a pebble in the dirt. I spoke my words to the wind. Putting your wish outside your body, vocalizing it gives it additional energy. Meditate on it. Sing it. Remember to use positive words like “I will,” “I can” instead “I don’t want” or “Never…”

4. Believe in it. KNOW it will happen. Don’t just hope. You need to truly believe in it and know. In other words, if you chose to have doubts you will be sending a mixed message to the Universe and it will slow down the manifestation of your wish or cancel it. I know it is hard sometimes to be always positive and I have had my moments of doubt, too. I recall times when at night I would be starring at the ceiling above my head and wondering “What if my wish is too selfish” or “Perhaps the Universe has something else in store for me.” Yet these were just few instances and overall I knew deep in my heart it would come true.

5. Let it go. As hard and absurd as it sounds it is really how it should be done. You can still keep it inside your heart and whisper it to the wind but by letting go  you allow your anxiety for a particular outcome go away. It means you need to stay committed to your wish but while doing so you relax and don’t obsess about how, when and where it will manifest. If you choose to let it go you don’t need to run all these possible scenarios in your head. Remember that your mind knows its limits while Universe doesn’t. You may not be able to envision the way your wish is to come to life because you have not seen the vast expanse of the Universe and all the options that are available. Once you stop worrying about it you will allow the Universe to work its magic.

It works. Sometimes it takes longer and many people give up after trying for only a little while. One particular wish of mine took me 18 months to take shape. From the moment I conceptualized it to the moment I could see it happening was a long way. Yet, every morning and every minute of those 18 months I knew it was going to happen. I prayed and I thanked the Universe for it even before my wish was granted.

New beginnings

There is an overwhelming and quite riveting sense of new and unknown coming to my life. It is waiting to manifest itself and I am profoundly aware of its presence even though I cannot tell yet what it is.

94478297ba5134deec1134b1be12fc79I have been waiting for a sign, I have been praying for the new to come into my life for a long time. Being in transition is not the easiest thing. I felt like I moved on in many aspects of my life over the past two years and yet there is so much more that needs to undergo a change … So I waited for the slightest hint, I meditated and chanted. Waking up each morning and not having a desire to open my eyes, getting up only cause there is a rhythm to the day that needs to be followed. Each passing day was hard, as I didn’t know where I was going, I felt like I was floating on the river of life allowing currents to move me along with the flow of the universe. There were days when I felt at peace knowing and trusting that I was on the right track. Feeling blissful and happy.

And then there were days when I was facing my own fears, the demons of the past conditioning whispering into my ear about possibility of failure and lack of security in my life. The more I feared the more it was a struggle to stay positive and embrace my new life of not knowing where I was being led. The strength I needed to remain focused on the light and to keep an absolute trust in the universe came from many sources.

Love was definitely the most powerful force that kept me going. Love for my daughters and love of life itself. Even in my darkest hour I was still able to remember that my children are the light of my life. Life itself is also very forgiving, one day I was smiling and laughing and the next in my dark mood contemplating what’s to come. I felt the journey through the unknown territory of life was intoxicating at times. And scary…

Today I finally made a breakthrough … I realized that all my expectations mean nothing, that all I am trying so hard to envision and manifest is just my illusion ~ or Maya because I don’t know the grand scheme of things. I sense but I don’t really know what is the best for me. I, a Capricorn, like to plan ahead, this gives me a sense of stability and security. Yet, as I am attempting to follow the less trodden path, I am unlearning to rely on all these things we usually depend on to feel a sense of worth. Money, recognition coming from having money and fame, social status – these things surely make life easier when we have them. Try to lose them and see what is left…

With my new awareness I sense that it is OK to live life without these things. Last two years I was shedding my preconceived notions of what a person needs to be confident. Instead I started seeking the courage and worth within myself, in my heart. It was right to lose my expectations, too. Because with my somehow limited vision I am not able to comprehend the complexity of possibilities that are available to me on a cosmic level. Stubbornly I prayed for things my mind could grasp and never for the ones that are outside the scope of my narrow experience. Not that I am narrow-minded but simply because there might be more to life than I know.

From today I promise myself to be open to endless possibilities life has to offer and stop envisioning self-limiting scenarios. I will be more grateful for what I already have and especially for the love and the people who are on my journey with me. I will stop defining who I am and who I am not. Choosing words to describe my life and myself is like setting my future in stone.

~ with gratitude,


Trusting the life, again…

Tonight is the night of new moon and I am struggling to put my mind to rest and stop looking for solutions when all I truly need is to give in and trust. That one simple truth that I have been trying to master for a long time somehow eludes me tonight. I am all worked up and tense, trying to envision, foresee and guess what the future might have in store for me.

Yes, it is hard for me as, I like to have a plan, and a detailed one at that. It gives me security and peace of mind to know what’s ahead. And yet, here again, my life is throwing the same difficult lesson at me. It feels so hard to navigate in the murky waters of existence without a compass. Why is it so hard to let go?

Why do I have to doubt my own intuition now? I have been toiling for years to make that quiet yet insightful voice of my heart really strong so that I could hear it well. It proved to work well under varying circumstances. I have heard it in the midst of my self-inflicted dramas when I was agonizing over the choices of my love life and the path I need to choose. Every single time I listened to my heart and followed its advice I was on the right track. So why tonight?

I have heard the answer to my question many many times. It was whispered by the wind, spoken to me by the tree I hug so often and I could read it in the cloudless sky. I have heard the voice inside my heart telling me that it was all right and still… I cannot let go of my distrust… Is it because it is so against the logic? Because I am going against the rules?

It is shocking to see so many signs pointing to let go of my doubt. I see them everywhere. I talked to my best friend and he suggested to relax and just be. He knew what my tired soul is going through and offered a heartfelt piece of advice – the same I heard in my dream. Then I opened my Facebook page only to see the same message right in front of my eyes:

“Listen to your heart, don’t allow fear to dictate your choices.”

So now I decided to make a conscious choice and be a little lighter and a little more relaxed and trustful. I will burn the candles and incense tonight to celebrate the new moon and dance away my fears and doubts.


Fantasy world

Just playing with my old painting and the imaging software. This could be a good illustration to a children’s book. A fairy city perhaps…


© monika mraovic

and one more…


© monika mraovic

Eye in the Sky

EyeintheSkyEye in the Sky

Oil on canvas, 24″ by 36″


I wasn’t raised as a confident person. My parents didn’t buy into new-fledged doctrines that are so popular now that children need to be given their voice and deserve unconditional love. Instead, they just tended to their business at hand and hardly chose to spend quality time with me. I don’t recall hearing them praise me, it was rather opposite, I often remember being told I needed to exercise more, get better grades and follow the rules. As a child I didn’t develop strong self-confidence, although it was most likely a combination of many factors and not entirely my parents fault. In a way, they did their best given the circumstances. Growing up into a womanhood I was suffering typical woes of a teenage girl. I was looking in the mirror and not liking what I had seen. Even though I knew my self worth had nothing to do with those extra pounds around my waist I still couldn’t manage to feel radiant, powerful and confident.Tree2A

However, my major lapse in self confidence happened when I got married and decided to be a stay at home mom. Somehow, over the years of being financially dependent on my spouse and aggressively depreciated verbally I felt I was losing my ground. My levels of confidence dropped significantly, I started seeing my worth only in direct correlation to services I was performing for my family. I no longer felt I deserved anything at all because I wasn’t bringing in the money. I was under impression that my worth depended on usefulness and not just my mere existence. I think this happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice how low my confidence was and how deeply it was affecting me as a person.

Only later when I returned to my regular practice of meditation was I able to realize the miserable state of my affairs. I became a shy, withdrawn person. I lacked not only confidence but also enthusiasm, energy and the spark in my eyes was gone. Slowly, ever so slowly I started emerging as a whole person again. I started redefining my own self, my life, my mission and the sense of worth. I stopped seeing my worth in terms of accomplishments but rather how I felt inside.

That’s when I tried to look around and see how other women felt about themselves and where they drew their confidence from. I was stunned to see that majority of American women had it, it seemed they were born with it. This innate gift was something fascinating to me, a person who clearly was somehow deprived of it. Upon closer examination I realized not only they were born with it, American women were encouraged to cherish it, to build their self-confidence and be proud of who they are. Although, later, I noticed with dismay, that sometimes it really had to do with their financial status, profession and their wardrobe. That left me puzzled, how confident would they be if all of that was lost? I was wondering to what extent their self worth depended on money brought in by their significant other?

I was starting my new life from scratch. I had been a stay at home mom for over 10 years with not up to date job market skills. I was driving a 15-year-old car and hoped it would not break down because I would have no money to fix it. My daughters and I hardly went to eat out. We were grateful for the food stamps. I shopped goodwill. We had no extra money in my bank account. I felt sometimes uneasy having to explain to my daughters we were already lucky and rich to have each other, safe and warm place and good food. But a bug of envy could occasionally hit even me when I would see other people enjoying their summer vacation and we had to stay put.

However, amazingly, I started noticing that it wasn’t the money anymore that had an influence on how I felt about myself. It wasn’t my ambitions and plans for the future either, although I developed some amazing business ideas and was pursuing them. It was finally the feeling of self worth that came from the inside, from knowing that I was important no matter what. It was so liberating and intoxicating that I started to perceive myself in a whole different way. This internal change soon brought on the external one. I started holding my head high and I walked confidently with a smile. I was now enjoying talking to random people I would meet around the town. I also rediscovered I was an attractive woman with a newly found feminine allure. This in itself was an eye opening experience. The more I enjoyed the woman inside me the more I was able to open to receive love and loving care, something I hadn’t imagined possible.

This transformation was making me realize I was stronger than I thought. I was more resilient, powerful and creative than I had ever imagined. Just looking back at where I had been and where I was now was intoxicating and mind blowing. As I looked at it I could clearly see that I was the force behind all the changes, I was the one who initiated them. This simple realization was paramount.

To conclude, I believe the feeling of self-worth needs to be internal and should not depend on prestige, professional or marital status, money or any external factors. True self-worth comes from knowing inside your heart that we are worthy and created to be loved and respected. If we base our self-worth on anything else we might be for a rude awakening as the universe likes sometimes to try our sense of worth by removing all the things that mean so much to us!

Embracing One’s Darkness

There has been a lot of talk lately about embracing one’s own darkness and in all honesty, I have found this concept too vague to comprehend. What is that darkness the gurus are talking about? And how do I embrace it?

As always my mind was quick to come up with variety of answers to prove I am truly an enlightened and well versed in new age lingo person.


© Monika Mraovic 2014

We humans are divine beings created to experience our sacredness through different aspects of physical life. As we descend into material plane we arrive in our new bodies pure and innocent. Yet, throughout life, our light becomes mudded by earthly conditioning and layers of pain and misunderstanding. Especially when we are very young we aren’t always able to understand the root of our pain. It can be because we don’t know the motives behind the grown ups decisions and perhaps we can’t really comprehend what exactly and why is happening to us as children. Often the physical or emotional pain is so intense the only way for a child to cope with it is to use a defense mechanism known as denial. This allows child to move on with life without a need to deal with it, however, a painful experience is often buried deep inside and never looked at until it possibly resurfaces later in life.

These dark and painful memories become our shadow that we don’t want to confront. We are beings of light and shadow, a classic yin and yang dichotomy.

This was something I could understand and agree with. I could see the idea of darkness taking a solid shape in my mind. Now I had to dig to find out what MY darkness was. And here I encountered a problem, in fact, lots of problems. Because to touch a deeply buried memory and bring it out of the shadows is an extraordinary task. It takes courage to admit that I am not perfect, that there are flaws in my nature and that I am ready to accept my own self the way I am. Hard, really hard.

I looked back at my past, my childhood and tried to remember. I sifted through my memories and didn’t dare to go deeper out of fear that I would come across something so disgusting that I wouldn’t be able to face it. Slowly, ever so slowly, memories started flowing. I was flooded with feelings of guilt and disapproval. I remembered the times I was told to be always polite, to move out of the way, to please others, to give in. Not to be angry, loud and bossy. My real feelings were repressed and hidden inside. My real me wasn’t accepted by my parents so I learned to be who they wanted me to be to deserve their love. All this at the expense of losing my own identity. Somewhere in meantime I became a little lost child. A girl who often feels unloved and insecure. She needs a lot of encouragement to come out of her shell and craves positive attention. She still lives inside me. She comes through in my dreams or in moments of rage when I suddenly remember her and let her speak through me.

Then I confronted the image of myself with who I really am.

I was stunned to see how angry I could get with my daughter who was challenging me as a parent. I was replaying the same scenario my parents used years ago. I was trying to silence her, shush her down because of the words that still echoed in my mind “Be quiet, my child.”


I was trying to be perfect and felt horrible for falling short of it without realizing no one is perfect. Perfect mother who homeschooled and was looking for exciting opportunities for her children to impress their minds. Perfect housekeeper and perfect cook (not so perfect wife perhaps but one who kept quiet and didn’t like confrontation.) So perfect – that again, I lost who I really was and became what others expected me to be. In my mind I had to be perfect to be loved. So I worked hard to deserve love without realizing that love cannot be bought, purchased and deserved. It should be freely given and received. I became aware it was OK to show my true colors and be still accepted by those who love me.

I was trained to be nice and saying NO was never an option. I feared speaking my mind because it often led me into trouble. I preferred to give up what I wanted rather than to risk disapproval. I had had sex because I didn’t know how to say NO to men. And I did some other things I rather wouldn’t had I been more confident. I did all these things because I feared rejection and loss of love. This deep conditioning still rattles loud in my head from time to time causing me to have another sleepless night…

Now on to the next part that is acceptance of my dark side.

I had to admit to myself that I needed to work on myself, my fears and my demons. At forty I was a grown up woman and I knew exactly who I wanted to be. I rewired my ways of thinking and perceiving the world, people and their actions. I made a commitment to be a woman who follows her dream, is bold, speaks her mind and yet is compassionate and loving. Woman who doesn’t care to please others unless she wants to, one who is passionate about people and things she loves and fierce and protective about them as well. Free woman not bound by fears and misconceptions and societal norms.

As I am writing this I am having a profound realization that I have achieved quite a lot in the past two years since I had made up my mind to follow my path. I dared to do and say things I wouldn’t before and changed fundamentally on so many levels. But the downside is that I am still having moments of self-doubt. I am questioning myself often because becoming who I truly am is a learning process for me and takes courage as I meet my own needs and desires and go up against the societal programming I had received earlier in my life.

I find that even choosing my own wardrobe is an act of courage because I used to wear plain and non-fitting clothes to suppress my feminine side. Oh, now I even remember why. My parents told me that it didn’t matter if I were pretty or not, they valued only how well my mind was cultivated. So to please them I had my hair very short, too. Only recently I found out that I enjoyed being flirty, sexy, attractive and there was no reason to conceal my beauty. I realized I had a beautiful body and that celebrating my physical valors was rather therapeutical to me. I needed to rediscover that side of me, sensual, physical and sexual after years and years of denial.

 I guess, life is never ending process of finding our true identity. It never stops and that’s probably the essence of life.


I often write about living from the place of trust as opposed to living from fear. This is perhaps the hardest concept to embrace as most of us live in the fear paradigm our entire life.

"Scream" by Munch

“Scream” by Munch

It starts as early as we enter this physical realm. “Don’t climb that tree or you will hurt yourself”, “Don’t touch it, it is dirty and you may get sick” we hear. Our whole upbringing is a conditioning in fear of failure, fear of death, fear of rejection. Most of our thoughts, emotions and actions are deeply steeped in fear. We learn quickly that being too bold, too smart and too creative may put us at risk of not fitting in. The society wants us docile, uniform and not too adventurous so that we conform to the norms and don’t stir up a trouble. We are also told that aging and death are scary and just thinking about our mortality is uncomfortable. As spiritual beings we each are born with unique gifts and qualities that shouldn’t be compromised and yet, we often choose to forgo them out of fear. We believe we might fail pursuing our dreams and so we choose not even to try. It seems almost as if being in the physical body here on Earth is such a hard place to remember who we truly are. The physicality of the Earth experience often muds our sense of true identity. Why?

We are trained to be rational and practical when it comes to matters of money, job, relationships and everything under the sun. We are told that we need to tend to our matters using our logic and not base our decisions on flimsy feelings. That life is about winning and making a solid income. Our parents often convey to us that following a dream is a utopia. We choose to satisfy their vision of ourselves and we conform. We live our lives on autopilot often, fearing to deviate from our path as this could bring a change upon us. We fear a loss of a job, a disapproving look on our boss face, standing out because we might be wrong, being the last. In fact, most of our actions and thoughts stem from the fear of change. The worst part is that we are trained to believe that status quo is a desired state of being and the change is scary and painful.

How wrong we are. Change is the only constant in our life. Each cell of your body is dying as you read these words and new ones are created. You are not the same being you were a year ago. How could you be? New thoughts, new ideas and experiences shape us. And yet we resist a change and hold on to old patterns for dear life. Change brings unknown to our life and we fear that because we cannot wrap our mind around it and predict the course we should take. Our ego doesn’t like change and it wants to be in charge. It fears anything that is out of ordinary and creates mental unrest and pushes us to resist and avoid it. The more we fight it, the more difficult it becomes for the new experience to enter our life and we are in a self-induced drama full on.

However, once we accept that change is inevitable and a blessing in disguise we are able to let go of our fears and be free. God had never had in mind to create humans to be fear driven. Our divine nature is to be bold, brilliant and loving and trust the universe. The challenge is to trust and allow the life to unfold itself in front of our eyes even when things don’t go as planned. We fear to let go of predictability and immerse in the divine current of life that may challenge our deeply rooted convictions, habits, beliefs and open completely new horizons we were not even aware existed.

Once we embrace the concept of divinity in each of us we will be able to accept that there are no mistakes. We will honor all forms of life and have compassion for all including ourselves. Once we realize we are a part of divine we will release fear and start loving the life the way it is.

Quite honestly, I do experience moments of fear in my life, too. These are situations that make me realize I must face some deep-rooted fears as any other person on this earth. For most people it is the lack of money – which in its core is basically the fear of death, because if we don’t have money we won’t be able to pay our bills, buy food and we will die, right? We are born into a society that propagates that exact fear – the fear of poverty which turns us into fear-driven individuals seeking monetary gain at any cost. We are a society of competitive winners who play against one another. We believe that we must struggle and push to achieve our goals, seldom realizing that everything we need to do is to accept that all is as it should be. As soon as we are able to come to a place of trust, our fears are dissolved.

I struggled long time to let go of my conviction that I must perform to a certain level of excellence in order to deserve good things, I feared that I wasn’t good enough, doing enough, pushing enough. My fears were making me anxious, I couldn’t breathe and focus, my sleep suffered, too. I feared failure and possible success. Then I realized that the only thing to keep me sane was meditation, yoga and a healthy diet. Meditation is the tool that alleviates the stress and makes me relax, no matter how difficult my day may be. It is the way to let go of the mind’s constant chatter and anxiety driven thoughts. When I meditate, I still observe my thoughts but I focus on letting them come and go and then eventually I find a place of silence. With meditation, my vision becomes clear and I am open to my divine channel. That’s when I know I am on the right path and the stress goes away. Yoga, tree hugging and staring into the ocean are my ways of coping with my fears, stress and daily problems. I am sure each person has her own solutions to finding that inner peace and maintaining it throughout the day.


Who is a visionary and what defines one? Is that a person with a vision that goes way beyond the average man’s level of awareness in that time? Is it a drive to improve the world, make it a better place coupled with an acute gift of intelligence, intuition and a willpower to push through the obstacles?

Often visionaries are defined as people who are dreamers and not grounded in reality and yet some of them happen to achieve the highest attainable goals. Steve Jobs, the legendary co-founder of Apple Inc. was acclaimed a visionary, a charismatic leader and a pioneer of personal computer revolution. Maya Angelou, another visionary, a poet, a filmmaker, a writer and women’s right activist had a vision and she influenced millions. Leonardo daVinci was certainly a man with a great vision and his contemporaries often weren’t quite able to embrace his genius. He was perhaps the most perfect example of Renaissance Man with millions of revolutionary ideas and yet often misunderstood.

Maya Angelou

My question, then, is whether a visionary is a person merely with a vision, an idealist and a dreamer or is there something more to it?

So many artists are visionaries, it almost seems it is easier for people with artistic abilities to get in touch with the divine and draw their inspiration from it. Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent vanGogh (although he is known for being rather out of touch with reality due to his mental illness), Mozart, Picasso and so many more are just examples of people who propelled the humankind in a completely new direction.

They held a vision and had enough trust, willpower and confidence in what they were doing to push against the mainstream culture. Often they had to defy the rules and lived solitary lives because what they stood for wasn’t popular in their time. Not only they were crushing the societal norms through their extravagant pose, art, behavior, they had to pay the consequences for being pioneers of new ideas and trends. Vincent van Gogh has never sold a single painting of his own, a steep price for an artist who revolutionized the art. Michelangelo was leading a lonely life as his passion for sculpture has left him no time or desire to have a family. In fact, his zeal to create perfect art drove him isolated from interactions with other people. Nicola Tesla, another visionary not appreciated during his time, had had no family either and due to his lack of financial prudence hasn’t been able to impact the world the way he could have.

In my opinion, a visionary is a person who is strongly connected to the divine, an intuitive with a powerful drive to make a breakthrough. A person whose idea is to make the world a better place for others, no matter his or her personal circumstances. A visionary is a trailblazer like Amelia Earhart. She certainly paved a path for many women to be courageous and authentic and reach for the stars. Elizabeth the I and Catherine the Great both had a strong vision how to make their countries powerful and were able to execute their plan perfectly.

From my point of view visionaries are connected to the divine and live from their heart. They are intuitive and sensitive individuals who listen to their inner voice and honor it. It can only come from one’s HEART, that knowing that what you are doing is RIGHT.

I wonder if they live their lives knowing they are different? Do they ever doubt themselves? How do they find strength to go on when nobody believes in them? Do they get overwhelmed, depressed? Apparently, often they do. There are numerous accounts of famous people who had their breakdowns before they achieved their goal and yet they persevered.

“I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

To sum it up, they often are people who held on to their inner calling no matter what. Vincent vanGogh was told he had no artistic talent at all, Martin Luther King upheld his vision against a wall of racial prejudice. They are the people who not only tried but also kept going on and on.

Hell – how I got out of it.

Interestingly, I used to dwell in Hell, here on Earth. One that I had created with my own hands, in my mind and solely for myself. It was years ago, when I was stuck in a rather unhappy, abusive marriage. I was a stay at home mom to two daughters and my husband worked to provide for us. The usual story with an exception that as a financially dependent person I truly didn’t have courage to speak up or ask for anything. My husband had displayed a range of bipolar disorder symptoms over the years but I didn’t put two and two together and took all the blame, rage, shit he would throw at me at face value. For years I struggled emotionally trying to reconcile his violent outbursts of anger and depression with his love for me and I would always find myself guilty. Up until a moment when too much was too much. Too much screaming, finger pointing, calling me dumb in front of my daughters and promising we would die as beggars on the street because of me. My love to him had trickled down over the years and what was left was a state of confusion, fear and lack of hope. Honestly, as a stay at home mom with young daughters and no family in United States I felt I had very limited choices. In fact, in my mind I could not see any exit.

Rodin's Gates of Hell

Rodin’s Gates of Hell

I consciously desired a change of fate but I believed nothing could ever have been done about it. I detested my reality, yet I never dared to shape it in a way that would reflect my needs and wants. I was in a limited mind set where all I could perceive and understand was my misery, pain and darkness. I felt immobilized, stuck and without options. From my today’s perspective I can see clearly that I had created Hell for myself and wasn’t capable at that time to liberate myself from it. I kept perpetuating my status quo oblivious to the fact that the only person who could remove me from hell was myself. I lived through fear, darkness and self-doubt. Somewhere deep inside I knew though, there had to be way to free myself from my suffering but I was under impression that perhaps I just needed to wait for the miracle to happen…

Little did I know that miracles only happen when we decide to help them along… and act. Over the time, I shifted my attitude from that of a victim to a conscious seeker of change. I came across people with words of wisdom who awoke something in me. I searched my soul and finally found strength to fight, to change, to move forward. I was not a coward anymore paralyzed by fear. Step by step I reprogrammed my mind, my beliefs and my attitude. Miraculously, I was being helped along my journey by various persons who came consciously to give me more love, comfort and encouragement. Once I was walking on the beach with my eyes low in the sand, my shoulders stooped and my soul dark as a rain cloud. Then, I suddenly felt I had to raise my head only to meet an unknown old woman coming my way. I have never seen her before and yet she was looking directly at me and smiling. Her smile was warm and had some unexplainable ethereal quality that just warmed my soul. She gazed in my eyes and handed me a tiny fragrant flower. She said it was the sweetest smelling thing she knew of and added that “I was going to be fine.” Then she walked away and I was left with a overwhelming sense of being supported on my path. I knew universe wanted me to succeed and approved of my efforts to extricate myself from my misery. I was given similar love and hope gifts a few more times and each of them I carry deep inside my heart as a reminder of people’s kindness and universal love.

Eventually, I found a job, had found tons of support from my friends as I finally dared to open up and talk about my problems. As I was able to share my worries with my friends I felt as if some of my burden was gone, it was so therapeutic.

Months later I was ready to make the final shift. One day, in the morning, I found a place that seemed safe and right for me and my girls. I was hours away from filing all necessary paperwork to lease it. I was standing outside my door gazing at the luminous body of the goddess moon in her full glory contemplating my decision to move out with my children and leave my husband. As I was silently watching the moon I felt this calm yet powerful voice “Do it NOW or never.” The next day I got that apartment and announced my decision to my husband. The move went smoothly as my friends pitched in to help me and I suddenly found myself at the threshold of a brand new life. Life that I imagined and prayed for. Finally, on my own, just with my girls. The hell was over.