Hello friends. Over the past month, I feel like I’ve been slowly waking up from a prolonged nightmare. After many days and weeks of feeling like I was walking in quicksand with a very heavy weight on my shoulders, I reached out for help and sought counseling ( I heart counseling and highly recommend it!). Songs have been written about every day being a winding road and life being a spiral staircase but this time of year paired with the effects of the past two years exacted its toll in upending all of my tools. Despite every retreat, counseling session from the past, or heart to heart, the stickiness that has been hanging around for a very long time became oppressive. I found myself spinning in a path of tools where my head was obstructing the path to my heart. I felt like a robot.
For the past 42 years I have had the same nightmare occurring around this time where I am in a completely bare room with the exception of a beautiful sleigh filled with presents. As I walk closer to the shiny and inviting sleigh, a harried elf and evil Santa jump out and proceed to chase me around said sled until I am weary and weeping (psychoanalysts- your welcome for this fodder…dear friend, this story does have a happy ending). I wake up with my heart pounding and teeth clenched in a darkened bedroom thinking back to the Christmas’ from my childhood that conjured this annual specter- a room quiet with the exception of muffled sobs after the chaotic crashing of an evergreen tree with broken ornaments on the ground. This wake of destruction exacted by a man tormented by both spirit and the spirits whose frustration of being a stranger in a strange land and worry for providing and surviving morphed into fury. While years passed and his rage subsided, the residue left was one that not even climbing a mountain in Peru with a shaman reading coco leaves could erase.
And then, he was gone.
There were a couple of years following his passing where the dream hit pause, but just like a cd on repeat, it paused and then began again, -paused during the height of the pandemic and then played again.
As we’ve all been climbing out of our bunkers from the pandemic, there has been a global feeling of taking back what was taken away- dreams pursued, war paths for justice forged, Facebook posts….posted, things getting back to ‘normal’, but, we are forever changed. I’ve changed. In a very odd way, this rift in life shook me like a snow globe but then the flakes settled to let another very strong memory from my past, emerge. In it, my mother is sitting alone in her black winter house dress with yellow flowers at the formica table with her weary head dipped over a steaming cup of coffee. She is cupping her hands around the warmth of the cup inhaling deeply. She is embracing the quiet moment before her seven children descend upon the kitchen like a flock of hungry pigeons. She is living in that present moment as if it is the greatest gift. It is a new/old dream that has surfaced into my thoughts and dreams and it makes my heart feel warm and my conviction to thrive rather than simply survive, surface. In my personal work of late, I have been focusing on how my history has informedly path and choices. Rather than focusing on scary Santas, overturned trees, and how many days I have to get the lists of things done to right an external picture, I am reframing my efforts towards bowing to the moments taken to embrace a cup of coffee in the predawn light, sewing a rip in a well-loved torn stuffy, picking up a pencil to write in a journal and reconnecting with friends that I have held at a distance for fear of seeing the nightmare in me. I share this with the understanding that while these are not your experiences, we are all woven together with the human thread that provides understanding through experience. While our practices offer us a vehicle for introspection, more so it offers the constant reminder to be open to change and practice flexibility as there is no one ‘right’ way. The way is in and of each individual warrior.
As we walk together through the remaining days of this year, I urge you to bow.
Bow to let your heart be higher than your head.
Bow to acknowledge that there will be days that blow you off course.
Bow to your inner knowing that will steer you on course again.
Bow to helping and to the helpers, for there is always a hand when we reach out.
Bow to the light within yourself and others.
Bow to the messy because there is beauty and learning to behold in both the light and the dark.
With love and respect- Sharon