My Tarot of the Spirit meditation this week is on birthing. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, with the new moon and the Lunar New Year introducing the Year of the Tiger.
As I sat in the quiet of contemplation (well, ok, the quiet with some mind-chatter), I pondered my first birthing; that entry into this physical world from the cosmic void, the cosmic everything, from one-ness into a singular me. I wondered when we start to forget who we really are.
I wondered what it is I am birthing now, for surely I’ve had the pangs. I wondered about my resistance.
I revisited the birthing that took place when I left my family and went out on my own. I considered my birth into the world from the womb of the ivory towers and the brief independence before I birthed myself into marriage.
Each of these later births was a grand adventure full of hope and promise. Each was a full on commitment.
There have been, since then, births that have not felt so good. These hold the key to my reluctance to leave the womb of my half-way home.
“Sometimes a wind comes out of nowhere and knocks you off your feet.” Bruce Cockburn
… a really big wind, a punch to the gut, a canon-ball hole to the heart. I got that about 10 years into my marriage. I can make up that I stood at the threshold of the call to adventure and refused the call, but the truth is I will never know for sure what the greater undertaking was; stay or go.
Finally, 23 years into my marriage, big winds blew relentlessly and it was time to answer another call. I’ve seen the Hero’s Journey diagrammed as a kind of curve; one that leads downward into an abyss and eventually returns upward. I’ve heard Joseph Campbell say that once you cross the threshold, there is no turning back.
I was in a seminar discussing the Hero’s Journey when someone asked the leader how long the abyss part lasts. That caught my interest, because at that point in time, I had been sitting on the bottom for quite awhile, having lost my love, my home, my pet and having waved goodbye to 16 years of teaching piano while my new business seemed to be going nowhere fast.
How long would I remain lost at sea battling demons and looking for my allies?
The seminar leader said it varies; for some it is a matter of months and for others it can be years. When I heard that I made the decision to begin my journey home. I had no interest in remaining lost at sea forever. Whatever it took, I would keep myself navigating toward the return and celebration part of my adventure.
I will not live an interrupted hero’s journey.
My heart, spirit and mind have returned. My body is still wandering; probably because I’m just now learning how to really be in it.
So, I asked myself in my meditation, “Why have I stagnated? What’s the reluctance about?” I did not have to think any thoughts. The pain in my heart set off a minor temblor that culminated in a wave of tears. It’s the fear of more pain.
“All I ever wanted, was just to come in from the cold.” – Joni Mitchell
I’m like Sleeping Beauty. I’ve pricked my finger on a spindle and now I am asleep, awaiting my magical awakening. I await everyone and everything like I wait for good news to arrive in the mailbox. This home that is a bit too cramped, this life that is a bit too safe is, at least, very comfortable. This home, this “me,” this ennui, is familiar and I really am reticent to leave and risk being caught out in another big storm. My heart may not be soaring, but at least it’s warm and dry.
There is this last push I need to complete the birthing of the new beginning to which I committed myself a few years ago. I see the shore, but I let myself drift with the currents of social media networking, errands and menial tasks. It’s a kind of sacrosanct busyness with which many of us are all too familiar.
In the weariest of moments I complain that I didn’t want this birth. It wasn’t supposed to be this way and it’s only because it is this way that I pick myself up and move on.
Still, the promise of a full return and celebration twinkle like the lights on some distant shore. I’ve seen them. My visions and maps fill me with hope. Getting there is going to take some effort. I will keep my eye on my North Star, pick up that oar and paddle. That’s all there is to it really, that and dumping a few items off this skiff to lighten the load.
What I realize is that this broken heart has done all the mending it can with just being. It’s time now for some action. The time of waiting is over. To surrender to the fear being hurt again will, ironically, only leave me broken-hearted.
I wrote about this before in “(Don’t) Rescue me from Creativity.” At that point I was releasing control and surrendering to creative chaos. The hurricane has passed. Seas are calm. It’s time to make some sort of landing.
Someone recently told me I put wings on their feet. That’s wonderful! You can have mine for awhile, because, as soon as I hit shore, I’ve got some earth to feel and some walking to do.Notes: The Bruce Cockburn quote is from his song “The Whole Night Sky” on the CD The Charity of Night The Joni Mitchell lyric quote is from her song “Come in From the Cold” on the CD Night Ride Home
Copyright (c) February 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved