Motherhood is a riot. I am constantly meeting myself again and again through the relationship with my children. Some days they are mirrors and when their sweet little eyes look at me, I am staring into the heart of the worst of myself. Some days they are little beacons, just nudging me toward a gentler way or asking me to look left instead of right. Some days they are the very scissors with which I am able to cut away everything that does not matter.
The ghosts of our past never leave us of course, and sometimes that ambitious childless city mouse gets sick of the whole experience and throws me off track. I long for a simpler life where I have more freedom to be and do whatever I want whenever I want. (Ha!)
Nature tells me that time is fleeting and every living thing is in a constant state toward growth and change. And I do lay myself down on the sturdy earth and let her hold me up when motherhood flattens me. But some days, mamas, it seems impossible to rise again.
The right set of words are like a li'l rope ladder I use to pull myself up again. I collect a few of my favorites and fashion them into a string of light. It's really a living recalibration that changes with my own seasons. Said while turning beads in my hand, it is a call to presence. I learned from my friend Joanna to make rosaries with nine beads for the Goddess. So my prayers have nine stanzas too. The one I'm repeating these days is a perfect companion to my white corn rosary with a lil turtle at the end.
Slow paseo, mama.
Allow yourself to be exactly where you are.
You are exactly where you are meant to be.
Trust the timing of your life.
Trust the evolution of your soul.
Everything happens for you.
Your job is to notice, then invite.
The work is the path.
Awareness is the goal.
There was nothing and then life came into existence. Stephen Hawking says, "It was possible for the entire universe to appear out of nothing." There is a place from which all things grew into a miraculous emergence.
Without deep reflection, we have taken on the story of endings, assumed the story of extinction, and have believed that it is the certain outcome of our presence here. From this position, fear, bereavement, and denial keep us in the state of estrangement from our natural connection with land.
We need new stories, new terms and conditions that are relevant to the love of land, a new narrative that would imagine another way, to learn the infinite mystery and movement at work in the world. It would mean we, like the corn people of the Maya, give praise and nurture creation.
“Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”~Vaclav Havel
Yet we stand at the bottom of the stairs as long as we must. This spring as I get swept up in the emergence of life, I am reminded about sacred timing. The morning skies are a highway of birds and the gardens are flooded with small green weeds. Yet, not even a week ago, there wasn't so much as a hint of life. Presence was a silent dawn and hard sleepy mounds of earth.
This long winter of my life I have played Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes version of Sleeping Beauty over and over. Examining the story through the eyes of addiction, shadow and light. Like the many knights that failed to penetrate the wall of bramble, I threw the book at my own sorrow diving into every kind of light-seeking wisdom I could find. In the end, the light I found was not in any of those. In her version of the story, there is no true-love's kiss, no gallant prince to wake her. The 100-year curse simply expired. The sun shone, the brambles peeled easily back, she rose from her long sleep.
It was just time.
I once again have faith in emergence. Nature tells us it is a universal truth. I hope the next time I am standing at the bottom of a set of cold mossy stairs I will remember one thing.
The magic is in the waiting, hidden in the gift of dreaming.
"We try to hold onto the experience by capturing it. If we regard something as valuable and extraordinary then it becomes quite separate from us. The evaluation comes from the fear of being separated which is just what keeps us separated."
~Chogyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Spring finally arrived this year. At least it feels that way to me, finally. Enough of the foreboding darkness and the impenetrable snow. While winter felt long and heavy, I do know that actually spring came precisely when she meant to. As reliable as ever, the robins now gather hunting worms in the early morning and rosettes of soft dandelion leaves carpet the meadow.
Perhaps it's that liminal space between seasons that is so uncomfortable. When we are neither here nor there. A pause at the crossroads can last a lifetime. The potential for something always feels more frightening than the outcome, so we linger. But always, actually, just as long as we are meant to.
I met a large toad on retreat near a wild creek this past weekend. I might have stepped on it, but for the gift of attention the water required of me. My mind immediately remembered the story of Frog and Toad waiting for spring by Arnold Lobel.
"I went back home. When I got there," said Frog, "I found another corner.
It was the corner of my house."
"Did you go around it?" asked Toad.
"I went around that corner, too," said Frog.
"What did you see?" asked Toad.
"I saw the sun coming out," said Frog. "I saw birds sitting and singing in a tree. I saw my mother and father working in their garden. I saw flowers in the garden."
"You found it!" cried Toad.
"Yes," said Frog. "I was very happy. I had found the corner that Spring was just around."
Three years ago, I went to the water in search of something that always felt just around the corner. I too, found it at home.