We have all seen the doorway that has served as a place to record the growth of a child though out the years. There is something poignant and universal when we view the ledger of a person thriving. Some years the gaps between marks is very small and then… The spurts are times when the child changes height, configuration and more subtle are the rapid changes in abilities and skills.
The vision I have held in my mind for these last 28 months since my old life fell away, or exploded, or imploded or was surgically removed is a vision of a caterpillar being encapsulated. Within the shell, a dissolving was going on.
The person who was became a formless mush. The sense of purpose was gone, the passion for life, the focus on the future fell away. The form of formlessness was where I floated. One day I had a vision of a self with no centre.
The centre I had held for the last 16 years was held by my concern and love for my husband, my job, and then my art. All of these fell away. So I sat meditation each day holding my grief like my baby and had the vision of a big mush of an entity with no centre.
At times I was almost werewolf frustrated and just needed the bright moon to call out to. At others I was in deep acceptance that what was happening was a process and that one day I would reform, I would feel a calling. What I didn’t know was what I would be after I passed through the process.
In April, it began. I volunteered to care for babies and toddlers at the Women’s Place. Sitting with a warm baby on my lap, having two three year old girls climbing me and touching my bracelets, earrings, necklace and saying , “pretty,” was healing. These open, vibrant souls are so present that each time I finished the session of day care I felt like I had left an acupuncture treatment… for the heart. They offer love like there is no tomorrow.
I joined choir because the director Barbara Samuels said to me, “Lean into it baby. Lean into it.” When I walked into the room I saw radiant, amazing women wearing (hold on to your door handle Kelowna residents) color. Real for sure color. Not urban camoflage that is meant to blend everyone into the same beige-gray. Purples and Golds and Coral and Greens were pure and bold. I was delighted. And each choir practice I was puzzled, challenged, stretched and could feel myself grow.
The writing in the dark experience of forcing myself to spend hours every day working on my voice became a doorway. Accepted into the Naropa Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetry Summer School program spurred me on to go the full out choice. I had given up my M.F.A. in Bellingham in order to protect my then husband from the draft. The dream of completing it had stayed with me. So now I am in the process of winding my way through the labyrinth of entry into Naropa’s M.F.A. program in Boulder.
I have never been to Boulder. I know nothing about the program but it feels right.
The shamanic practices that I have undertaken have helped to heal much of the anxiety and fear based reactions I have carried in my life. Tomorrow I will visit with two African Shamans to deepen my practice.
So as I stand assessing my life, looking at the doorway at the markers I see that April was a growth spurt. All of the work, the intention to live consciously and authentically is starting to manifest a new life for me. I feel taller, stronger, more substantial.
And what I now understand is that the “hole” in the centre of my being is a blessing. It is where all of my strength comes from. It is the garden at the centre of my physical being. It is quiet, empty and filled with silence. I do not need to try to jam another man into that empty place. I do not need to try to move emotional furniture in and make it a crowded room. It is where the divine lives.
The relationship with my body is more loving. I have worked out most days and built muscle, strength and substance. My heart is what I call “more fluffy” because of the children, the choir, the singing, the shamanic practices.
There are nights when I am deeply sad.
However, I have friends around me who are on a spiritual path and they whisper sweet everythings in my ear. Their presence helps me to walk to the doorway and look at how I have grown. I am about to take what feel like big risks in the world. But I see myself as a fully formed butterfly and I trust my wings and the wind.
I am about to fly.