Who am I?
This practice of asking that question during meditation was introduced to me recently by dear soul sister and teacher, Usha. And, as it happens, it’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot of the time this last year.
One year ago today was my last day on staff at my old job. Not a millisecond has passed that I have looked back. Not even in the darkest of the dark days have I questioned that choice. And it has been a very interesting year full of very light and very dark days. It has been a RIDE.
Today is a full moon. In Aries and opposite Libra. My natal chart shows my south node in Aries and my north node in Libra...I’m feeling particularly aware of this. Another dear sister Allison notes about this beautiful autumn moon, “Aries is a fire sign that represents individuality, the ego, the persona, independence, freedom and blazing one's own trail. Its opposite is Libra (the current position of the Sun) which rules balance, cooperation, partnership, relationship, interdependence, peace and harmony.” Moving away from one and toward One.
There is a distinct change in the weather where I am. I’m about to bleed. So many circles are full just now.
It’s no wonder I hardly slept last night.
I’d like to share this story.
A few months ago I entered (careened?) into a really dark period. If you speak Tarot, in March I had my cards read for the first time. The reading involved about half of the major arcana, including the Tower in my rather immediate future. A couple of months later I finally understood what that all meant. If you speak Astrology, I learned later this summer that in the late spring Jupiter joined Saturn in my first house and they have rocked my foundation in their transformative ways happily together since.
If you don’t speak those languages and I haven’t lost you yet, let me tell more more. After a lifetime of coping and surviving and tools that included digging really deep holes to bury trauma and it’s associated anger, shame, blame, guilt, etc, and then building really amazing strong, tall, thick walls to enclose those burial sites and “protect” my heart and spirit, there was an earthquake that crumbled the walls and opened up the holes.
The first tremor of the earthquake came in March as I spent two weeks in an intensive time of reconnecting with myself, learning about my body, healing, growing, and loving, in ceremony with 25 of the most remarkable women I’ll ever have the privilege of knowing. One simple moment in particular...really a moment that on the outside was probably not noticed by anyone else...everything changed. At the time, all I thought was “Oh, fuck.” I couldn’t yet articulate what I felt or saw, but I know now exactly what it was. It was the spark that ignited the earthquake.
I can also put it this way. In that moment, I knew the Divine. Or Spirit. Or universal energy. Or God. (My relationship with this word/idea used to be complicated, but I’ll save that story for another blog post :-)) Call it what you will. In other words, I have never felt so understood, seen, loved, connected, or held in my lifetime. I understood the capacity of my heart to allow, heal, forgive, and love. In the slightest touch of another’s hand for the briefest moment. It took me months to articulate this, and it was only as the darkness set it that I began to understand it.
What had I buried so well? The first happened in the summer after my high school graduation, twenty three years ago. I was a really naive kid and had no real experience exploring my sensuality or sexuality. I didn’t have a relationship with my own body, let alone anyone else’s. That summer I had begun to be curious about it all. I had started to feel like the boundaries/boxes/labels of sexualtiy might not suit me. One night, as we sat on the beach, I mentioned my curiosity to some girlfriends I thought would understand. I was laughed at. I was mocked. I immediately contracted. Of course that was silly. How could I know who I might feel attracted too? How could little, innocent me have any sense of such things or want to explore?
I started digging. In went curiosity. In went shame. In went blame. In went anger. In went openness. In went self-love. In went enoughness. In went self-compassion. In went worthiness of love.
A few months later I was in my first semester of college. I was desperate to feel belonging. To feel accepted. One night I was at a party. I was drinking. A senior was paying attention to me. Sometime in the early hours of the morning, I woke up, naked, in his bed. He was naked next to me, his roommate in bed across the room. I still don’t have all of the memories of that night. I know I was assaulted. I know I was black out drunk. I know I was not capable of consent. I know that I felt that I knew better. That I felt I shouldn’t have been some dumb, to have drunk so much, to have allowed that to happen to me. I knew that I still craved belonging and acceptance and I wanted it from the circle of people he was in.
I dug deeper. In went guilt. In went shame. In went blame. In went anger. In went self-love. In went enoughness. In went self-compassion. In went worthiness of love.
And after I dug the holes and buried the memories, the experiences, the feelings, I started building. I built strong, sturdy, stone walls. Thick, tall walls that surrounded the burial ground of my heart. I capped them in armor for good measure. I was tough. I could pull myself up by my bootstraps and carry on. I was strong. And so were my walls. Nothing got out and very little got truly in.
Until recently. For a few years now I’ve been learning new tools. Opening up to opening up. I’ve started with some shallower holes and less fortified walls. Childhood patterns and experiences that felt safer to explore and experiment with. I started to recognize old ways that really didn’t serve me any more and try out new ones. I started seeking out more ways to learn, allowing more vulnerability in my life. I felt myself start to soften. I found strength in that softness. I began to return to song and sharing and I started finding my people. I found sisters from around the world and in my backyard who felt safe.
And then, my heart and my spirit seemed to say, we are ready. We have the tools. We have the support. We are blowing it up and we are going to be IN it. We are going to feel it ALL. And that will begin to heal it.
I have never felt so little tension in my chest. More often than not, now, my heart, when I bring awareness to it now in meditation it feels open and soft. More often than not, now, I can feel my womb and it feels grounded and light and expansive. I can feel the energy flow between the two. I am learning that to forgive is to love. That, for me, they are not separate. They are states of being and they start with myself. I still have work to do. This healing journey, after all, is a spiral.
And through all of the darkness, through all of the days of crying more than not, you know the one feeling that I have felt most of all? Gratitude. I have felt anger, grief, sadness, blame, shame, hatred, solitude, and always, no matter what else, gratitude. Because I was feeling. And eventually, the tools and the support and the work started to work. And the light started to return. And I am so in love with being alive. To play in this life, on this earth. To hold and be held. To cry and laugh and sing and dance and hide under the covers and cry some more and wonder what is possible.
I continue to ask myself, who am I? And as each layer is peeled away and I see deeper and more of myself, I continue to be curious. And I choose to remember.
I love you.