You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
~ Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
I had an unexpected conversation this week with someone more than half my age. Her quiet, steady voice held me kindly, gently in a vulnerable place, a place that I don’t like to be.
I was caught by surprise. I’m usually the one holding that space for others. I know what it’s like to be the holder. I’d forgotten what it was like to be held the way I hold others.
I admit to wanting to escape the discomfort but the invitation to open up to the discomfort, to finally release the tension was overwhelming.
I felt like she could hold that container without being hurt herself and without being a threat to the soft, vulnerable underside of my heart.
The feelings I had ignored rose up powerfully, not to be denied the space for their existence. The resistance I have tried to plow through softened allowing a breath of fresh air, in, out, to enter and exit, filling the space with lightness and mercy.
I spent the day allowing mini releases to occur. Finn and I went for a long walk and I realized how tied up I have been on technology trying to make it all work. I’d forgotten the long walks I was used to taking. I want those back.
I made myself a light dinner and sat quietly on the patio listening to the birds and watching as the sun surrendered to the night giving the stars permission to play.
There have been moments where the ground has fallen away, a complete disorientation where the ground that previously held me becomes fertile for fear to grow.
Everything I thought I knew, all the battles I have fought, are blown away with the wind; memories as if they never happened. And so I begin again, from this ground zero, wondering where I’m to go next, praying for a bolt of enlightenment to strike and reveal the path now hazy and shrouded.
Once in the aftermath of a hurricane I went to the water, closed my eyes and simply felt into the earth and air and water. There was an eerie stillness even as the waves danced against the shore. Death was in the air. Destruction was the epilogue to a long night of fierce winds and torrential rain.
I did not waver. I did not step away. I stayed in that moment, present to that deathly stillness breathing myself in and out of death and into birth. The portal to infinity opened and I stepped through. The spiral of the nautilus claimed the path, winding back and forth, in and out but always forward.
It’s like that now. There it is again, the blurry line between confusion and clarity, between death and life, between the past and future. The portal calls again.
This is the way to soften around resistance. Step through the portal and listen deeply to your truth. Let the rest fall away. Honor the losses and even the destruction knowing that the breath brings with it new inspiration and insight from a place far away and yet so very close. In this sacred space there are no words, only a deepening compassion for all the battles fought and to be fought, for the losses and tears that become the price for redemption.
I have no answers; still I will remain present to the experience of being here, with joy or discomfort, claiming my place in the world knowing that my existence matters.