My tarot card for the month of July (as pulled during my January Tarot Pilgrimage for the year) is Death. As scary as it first seems, the Death card is actually perfect for me right now. It is about endings; things that need to be completed and left behind. Regarding this card, Pamela Eakins, PhD writes in Tarot of the Spirit, “…something in your life is dying. Some structure, pattern or form that you created, or with which you have been involved, is disintegrating or dissolving. This is necessary, of course, in order for new birth or transformation to occur.”
I’m paying attention to what’s dying and what is being born. What wants to leave me, even if I try to hold on? What’s coming to me? Pay attention and intention. Vision quest it.
I’m aware that the structures and routines I built that helped me survive these last few years are ready to be revisited and dismantled. The time of licking wounds and healing is ending and I am reorganizing my life to accommodate the work I want to do in this world. I’m visioning my next creative contribution.
This is a good time for purging my environment of items I no longer need. I have a relatively travel-free month, the days are long and I have a deep desire to regain some floorspace from the many boxes I’ve never unpacked.
(Card from Tarot of the Spirit Deck by Pamela and Joyce Eakins. Copyright (c) 1992 U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Used with permission.)
Yesterday, I dipped a toe into my past and waded through two boxes; boxes that have housed “file later” papers neatly organized into hastily labeled grocery bags, for about four years now. When I was in the process of divorce and I moved into two rooms in a friend’s house, I had little desire, not to mention space, to attend to filing. Yet, it seems, I had plenty of interest harvesting and preserving anything that might inspire, inform or come in handy in a future I could not forsee. It was precisely because I could not predict it and because I am a creative thinker that everything seemed somehow useful. Everything held potential.
Add to that, the things with which I could not yet part; letters, notes, items from my cat, Stella, that I had to leave behind (long story) and documents that one keeps that prove the mortgage was paid off and various financial obligations have been met. I kept these because I was the silently designated keeper of these things in my marriage. I also resisted filing because I was the administrative assistant designee as well and it all left a bad taste in my mouth. I rebelled and thus, created for myself one heck of a clean- up job.
Opening each box is like opening a carton from the back of the frig. I am not sure what might be in there or what I will experience when I open it. Some of it hit me hard. Stella’s collar, for instance and realizing she is 18 years old now, if she’s even still alive. I don’t know, because I’ve been purposefully deprived of any information about her. I sat there holding that collar close to my heart, as if holding her, and I had a good cry.
No wonder I’ve avoided these boxes. They are full of good-byes; good-byes to people, pets, homes, loves and most poignantly, good-byes to various iterations of me. Carrying out this task to completion means sending papers to the recycle bin and the shredder; a final good-bye. Only the choice bits will actually find a home in the filing cabinet. I have a little more clarity than I once did around what I need for this next leg of the journey.
Yes, there are some hello’s as well, some amazing finds that I will write about another day. Today it’s about good-bye and honoring the courage that transformation requires.
I’ve been on a heroine’s journey ever since I decided to get divorced. I packed all my things (well, 50% of them by California law) and set sail in uncharted waters armed with a vision, faith, determination and no small number of allies. I got really, really lost along the way. I wandered all over. I visited many interesting islands; Lucid Living, Leadership, Shamanism, Soul Retrieval, Reiki, Sound Healing, Yoga of the Voice, Medicine Wheel Ceremonies, you name it. I was gone as much as I was home and when I was home, it felt temporary. I traveled in my VW Camper and lived in and out of boxes.
I got braces and I grew my hair out from 1 inch to 15 inches. I was experiencing a second adolescence, but it wasn’t about the fun stuff, it was all awkwardness. I was grieving, crying nearly every night and I had the dark circles under my eyes to prove it. Just as things got better, my father died.
It all really hit home yesterday as I went through the boxes. I found an 8×10 photograph of my Reiki group in Bend OR with William Lee Rand. I looked and looked at the picture, but I could not find me. I wondered if I took the photo and didn’t get in it myself. Then, I saw her…the she that is and used to be me; front and center. I did not recognize myself with chin-length hair, bangs, sallow complexion and very crooked teeth. I still have a hard time believing it was me.
I recognize myself in pictures prior to those years and I recognize myself in pictures from the last two years..but in pictures from that time in between, no. Who is she? My heart is filled with such compassion for her. Those lost years, the un-recognizable years, are the goo stage of metamorphosis. I recognize the caterpillar and I recognize the butterfly (even that took some time), but the chrysalis years are a mystery to me.
Who are we when we don’t know who we are? In the chrysalis stage we are re-cognizing ourselves while being unrecognizable. We have to become unknown to ourselves so that we can create ourselves anew.
So, I wasn’t lost, I was hibernating, disintegrating to reintegrate, transforming. All the ingredients that went into that re-integration give me the heart-vision of compassion with which to see my journey, every step of the way in every direction I look.
The me I could not recognize in the picture is probably the closest to my heart. She is the one who had the courage to continue onward. She is the one who held steadfast in faith and reached out to her friends for help. She is the one who doggedly and creatively grew her business on her own in the face of potential poverty. She is the one who developed a deep and abiding relationship with Nature and Source. I could give a rat’s behind what she looked like. Her heart is pure gold and she taught me surrender and self-acceptance.
She brought me to the shores of Grace and that’s something worth “dying” for.
Copyright(c) July 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved