Om Klim Kalika yei Namaha… I chanted it again and again over an impromptu fire lit in a tin in the back yard. Fueled by the first coffee I’d consumed in years and all the anger it took to break the floodgate of feelings I hadn’t known were in me, the mantra rumbled through like a gathering storm. The fire leapt and stretched and grew, consuming the paper pieces of my vision board. Carefully thought out, lovingly constructed, and eagerly looked upon for a time, on that summer day I tore it all down and fed it piece by piece to the flame, calling the Dark Mother of destruction to come take it. Obliterate it. Images of glistening crystals and gleaming blue eyes, dollar bills and meditating minds, words like “focus” and “sparkly” became floating black ash to which I felt much more aligned. Cozy nests and glowing hearts, power animals and tarot cards, notes of gratitude and glistening stars, healing symbols, medicinal leaves, flower petals, and paper body parts all drifted away in thick grey smoke as the prayer thundered through me. Om Klim Kalika yei Namaha… The sky cracked open and she came with the deluge.

Take it, Kali. Destroy it. I don’t care anymore. I don’t need it anymore. I can’t want it anymore, this picture-perfect collage of what it might mean to be healed or free. This movement towards a light that negates my life, neglects and rejects the tall shadow. The onward and upward gaze that seeks to escape, or to fix what I can’t seem to embrace. I can’t take the weight of wanting anymore, of striving beyond the million emotions long held but never fully felt. It does not feel aligned to try and try to manifest myself away from pain, and to work in spite of myself to be better or fixed, healed or perfect. To want to fix is to say something is wrong. What if nothing is wrong? What if I am already whole the second I decide it all belongs? Can I embrace this pain as part of a whole, expand my heart wide enough to hold it all instead of sending it into exile? No more chasing images of light that let me belie myself into denial.

Take it, Kali. Burn it. Let its smoke cover the sun and let me step into its angry flame, becoming as charred as my darkest corners. Let it illuminate the heartache and pain, casting their shadows longer and sharper, and let them cut deeper then, all the way through this numbness. Let me meet the fullness of their despair, then leave me alone with them in the dark. I’m ready to feel it all now, Kali. I’m ready to let it all in. I’m done being a numb thing holding darkness at bay while chasing an ephemeral light.

Lungs and cheeks burning with near-hellish heat of smoke and flame and midday sun and visceral anger raging up from my volcanic belly, I surrendered to the flame that had always chased me. Allowing its bluish light to consume me, I fueled it as I fell through, into the charcoal darkness I thought once that I’d never get out of, and after, that I’d never go back to. 

I called out to the shadow shapes that live there, figures I’d forsaken and feared to touch and name. Worthlessness. Fear. Isolation and Pain. Sickness. Hopelessness. Judgement and Blame. Restraint. Disempowerment. Failure. Shame. I met each one where it was banished, and cradled them in the compassionate darkness of my heart.

This was magic, a transformative action, a lesson traversed in the Mesa’s left field of power. Go into the dark. Do not resist it. Speak the names of the shadows cast away there. Look them in their faces and thank them. Not because you mean to thank them away, but because, finally, you mean it. Because, finally, you are ready to let them be part of your experience. This is wholeness. This is healing. Not to fix it all, but to know it all belongs. And this is freedom, no longer feeling compelled by a need to move towards something to get away from something else.

This has been a long year of intimate sitting with old familiar shadows, gazing into their stygian faces and learning to gracefully allow them their space. In time, they have set me free and gifted me with choice and the knowing that the mystic’s light in the right field of power cannot be chased down. It must be chosen in each moment, by blessing whatever that moment holds, future and fortune accessed in embracing – not negating – the dark and days past, and resting into the present with heart open to all that entails.

So as this year winds down, I emerge from the darkness, having made peace with what lives there. I’ve returned through the portal of flame I’d leapt through, back from timeless spiral into present space. A space like an angel-shaped clearing in a deep drift of snow where I lie to integrate this longest night, honoring the returning sun under the darkest star-scattered sky. Snowflakes spin out of infinity to touch my face, and I free-fall through them as much as they fall to me. As I rest in this angel-shaped space and the body that made it, I experience drift and space, sky and flakes, stars and body and face all as one and the same. In a silence so clean and so free I can hear the snow piling up near my ears with a sound as soft as folding feathers, I am no longer a numb thing holding darkness at bay while I strive for an ephemeral light.

I hold space for both as I sit in stillness and feel my heart beat. I AM… I AM… I AM… I AM… 

It all flows in and out on my breath as my visions return to me, purified, shining, and crystallized like drifts of glistening snowfall that waited only for my surrender to the dark to float in like gifts of light from the stars.

About the Author

Carolyn Chlebowski

Carolyn Chlebowski

Featured Contributor

Carolyn is an artist, soul alchemist, dream walker, Earth lover, seer, shapeshifter, space holder, teacher and healer. She works creatively and eclectically to reveal wholeness through exemplifying beauty and connection in all things.

You can find her artwork and jewelry for honoring your animal totems and spirit guides at and Witness her journey at