Dear ones, I have been away for so long! I have been writing elsewhere, and thought my old-fashioned methods of letting you know about that would suffice. Clearly, I didn’t consult with the technology fairies, or they would have advised that I post about it here. Finally, thanks to some of you reaching out and letting me know you were wondering, I am here, with this link to where I am writing now. I look forward to meeting you there! And wish you peace, and joy, and a life you thrive in.
This is what I do when the saboteur grabs hold of me and I lose myself in self-doubt: I wrap myself in a thick quilt of silence and walk backward as far as I can until I find a big, dark shadow to stand in, a large, tall tree to hide behind, and I sit there, far from anyone, and listen to the volume rising on the voice within me telling me I am not enough.
It would take so little to keep me from going there, so little to mute the voice of my saboteur. All I need is the proof that I have done something meaningful, or have someone look me in the eye and tell me, with clear conviction, that there is no means to measure the enormity of my worth.
But by the time I need it, I don’t allow myself to seek this proof, I am too far gone to look anyone in the eye. Shame keeps my sight locked on the ground.
And then I inhabit the shadow, and waste away my gifts, until a miracle, a sliver of sunlight, hits me and gives me just enough strength to remember I have a tool box. And I reach in with my last ounce of strength and have to pull myself along, out of the darkness, inch by inch, using every last resource, every last tool to save myself from my own self-doubts.
And I know this is exactly what happens for my clients, although they may visualize the process differently: they retreat into themselves, where the voice of self-judgment is loudest, and spiral into depression and paralysis.
But we don’t have to do that! And, just because I have the tools doesn’t mean I should create the conditions in which I need them. I can choose another way. I can recognize the voice of my saboteur, and lower the volume on it immediately! I can take the wisdom from its message, without having to accept the self-hatred and vitriol as well. And I also teach my clients how to do that, because none of us has to live in the shadow.
It is early in the day and I am returning from dropping off my children at their before-school activities. So early, I am already carrying a lead weight of anxiety in the bowl of my belly, my mind racing between “shoulds” and my heart hardening with each breath. It is a grey morning, after a rain, with small puddles still gathered in pockets of asphalt. But I am moving too fast to notice.
And that would be my state on this day —this mindless, slightly panicked energy— but for an unexpected interruption. A robin’s chortle breaks into my self-absorption. Suddenly, I am aware of the veil curtain of mist, hanging close to the ground, and the cool scent of soil rising through it. New bird song rings, further away, then closer. I can feel the contours of my body, trace my breath through my lungs.
I am alive! I am here.
And I can see! I see the crabapple tree next to me, in the fog’s embrace. I see a tiny nuthatch hopping up its trunk. And I see the nubs of leaves, waiting to unfold, gathered on spindly branches.
I am here, in the damp mist and the echoes of bird chatter, and I am also home, hurtled by my senses through time and space to the landscape my Soul loves best: the contours of the mountainside on La Finca. And the awareness awakens this knowing in me, again: here, too, I am home.
When I stop to see, when I feel with my senses that I am alive, then, wherever I am, I am home.
I sit before Helene, observing, as she moves her familiar, old fear out of her body. Softly, my voice guides her. She pours the energy out with ease. Then she speaks of a new experience of inner spaciousness.
I feel a thrill, hearing a change in her voice, a new lightness. I ask if there is a word she will be able to return to later, that will remind her of this process, bring her back to this moment of creating new space within her.
She closes her eyes, quiet, attentive to what arises.
And when she nods, I request that she spell it out loud. Her voice is lilting in its response: U.R.N. I think, “Urn.”
But her sudden laughter startles me, and she chortles, “Make it a long u, like saying: you.” Then, laughing, Helene says the word. And, hearing it, I laugh, too!
Her Self extends, as a reminder of spaciousness, the spelling of this word that sounds exactly like “yearn.
Together, we laugh gratitude and joy, for the Wisdom that offers this gift!
I visit the dunes and the lake again. Now the snow is gone, the mountains disappeared and the landscape is barren, cleared. In spite of the warmer temperatures and stiller winds, it appears colder than when the snow heaped into canyons and the ice extended out, far over the water.
The lake, my old friend, is unrecognizable, a different lake. Instead of that being of slate gray, of frozen convulsion, it lies placid, almost still. What was hard and dark is teal and aquamarine, and if I didn’t know better, if the cold of the winter were not still nipping at the back of my neck, it could convince me that it is as warm as the Caribbean of my childhood.
I gaze at it in wonder, recognizing that this one, and the lake of my memory are the same, even as they seem so different.
And I am reminded again, as I have been so often before, that this is a reflection of my Self. Or is it I who reflect it?
Either way, I too am unrecognizable, my cold, grey edges have softened into lapping waves.
All around me are bare trees and, as far as I can see, blue ice and snow sparkling.
With each step, I sink halfway to my knees. The wind from the lake bites my earlobes and makes my nose run.
But, beneath my feet and that thick layer of white, beyond what I could see, are the bulbs of bluebells and crocuses, already growing.
I am gifted with a dream of the one place where my Self is fully at home, on the Finca, the farm of my childhood in Colombia. I find myself walking in a verdant field on the mountainside, surrounded by lush forest, reveling in its vibrant energy, when I see a flash of movement among the trees. I don’t have time to think before I see a small, but magnificent horse in the shaggiest burnt-orange coat racing across the field in my direction.
I don’t recognize this creature that makes me think of prehistoric horses, or the ones from the Tibetan mountains, because of its thick, long coat that waves in the wind like a flame streaking towards me. I am thrilled by the sight of it, and tremulous.
I know horses. They are like people. Some of them are gentle and kind, warmhearted. And some are ornery, and mean. And I don’t know which of them this one is, I only know it is wild, of a wild species that has never been domesticated. Perhaps I should take cover.
But the flame gallops past me without even acknowledging my presence, and, before my unbelieving eyes, races to the other edge of the field and right up the trunk of a tree, onto a thick, sturdy branch, standing in brilliant splendor among the leaves. My mind struggles to accommodate what it knows is impossible, but cannot deny is occurring.
When I awake enough to remember that I was dreaming, to feel the joy of having traveled to the place I always miss when I am away, I feel a new thrill. I have written before that horses in my dreams are portentous. When I dream of them, I am left with a solemn sense of awe and bottomless gratitude, a feeling of having been somehow bestowed.
Horses often symbolize my True Self in my dreams, my untamed nature. Only in this dream, that symbol is, in fact, wild and untamed, and doing the impossible!
I welcome this energy into my waking life, keeping my senses alert for signs of it, opportunities to experience it, as I move through my day.
There is a pain wedged beneath my ribs, radiating like heat into the rest of my body. My heart rests on it. Together, they make a formidable weight.
I want to banish the pain. Obliterate it. Erase it.
All of my energy turns towards it, intense and focused. The rest of me is left feeling tired, weak, drained.
I drag myself around. Then I remember this is also a gateway, this pain. It is a gateway into discovering, as I have so many times before, only to promptly forget anew, that there is no separation between that pain and me. There is no me versus it.
I pass through the gateway, armed with all of my “going on an adventure” gear, including my curiosity. And the pain begins softening, dissolving into my tissue.
And my heart, it is floating free.
That calling, that pulling, forceful energy that awakens a yearning inside me, I feel it again. I recognize it. I know that I am meant to move towards it, as it moves towards me.
But when I think I can almost define it, almost close my fingers over it or pull it to me in an embrace, I lose it, the way a soap bubble pops and leaves only moisture behind. And then it’s gone, and even that moisture is insufficient proof that it ever existed.
I remember those stories of olden days that I read as a child, of two young people who recognized something in one another when they met and were then separated by life circumstances. They parted, then, with a soft promise, followed by a long separation, perhaps of many years, without any more connection between them than the fading memory of their encounter and their promise. In those stories, they held faith across vast expanses of time until they were finally joined by life once again.
My first thought is that those stories do not describe me. I know how fickle I can be! I need reminders, reconnections, a gentle wind over red embers. I need that calling held before me continuously, palpably, in order not to fall back again into oblivion.
Or, maybe not?
Is it possible that the fading memory of my encounter with that energy, of the promises I fervently made in its presence are powerful enough to hold me up until life joins us once again?
Even though today is supposed to be my day to blog, to take myself out of the daily busyness and be still, hear what my True Self has to say, I did not.
Today, thanks to the Polar Vortex, my children are home from school. It feels hard to pull myself away from them, I want to take advantage of this gift of time together.
So, instead of gazing at the white sky and the branches of the tree outside my window, or visiting those caves in the waters of my imagination, where I feel a Wise Crone lives inside of me, I do this with my daughter:
It is a jungle, with a river of water running through it. Chiqui teaches me how to make pompom trees with the glue gun and a pipe cleaner. I make a berry bush of tissue paper and Golondrino contributes a tinfoil canoe. We scrounge up some plastic animals that survived numerous toy purges, and fashion a pipe cleaner snake. We string a vine across it, and hang a monkey from it.
There are a few squabbles as we work: should there or should there not be signs of humans, who tend to destroy nature. Tempers flare, my son stomps off at my daughters’ intransigence. We come back together again, everyone’s heart softens slightly, we all give in a little.
When we are through, we put the box in the sunlight and gaze at our work with pride. We’ve used up a few hours of this long day where outdoor play is not possible.
And I am surprised that I am feeling nourished, my heart is full, running over with love and gratitude, my energy light, warm, joyful.
This? This is better than blogging!