In your place of happiness, power, and prayer…you are standing on the yellow line, leaning towards her. You embody threshold…beauty and Grace, ever poised in the swirling snow. You are in liminal space right now, and she is strong and ready to receive you….the best version of you yet. When you are scared of what’s to come, all you have to do is feel her arms around you, and look into her eyes. She’s there.
Beth put her there for you… in the middle of your Yellow Brick Road.
Yellowknife. She is of a place that many never get to, because it’s conditions are difficult and location remote…perseverance and perspective are sacred. You traveled there, and were never the same. You took it all in, took her in, and found home. This is what I see when I look at you.
2020 was a doozy, to say the least. The last year has left me feeling unsettled… it’s effects still lingering like plowed piles of snow in the grass green corners of our lives. Ready and waiting for Spring, but living with the evidence that it is indeed still Winter- the true thaw months away.
I’ve been sitting with this polarity since the new year…rolling it around in my head and on my tongue. I didn’t set any new intentions for 2021 like I normally would. I wanted to, but couldn’t…and so I didn’t. I didn’t push myself to abandon the energy of the past year, because it is still working within me, and that feels important, albeit uncomfortable.
Many of my clients have expressed a similar thread within them, whether knowing it or not. When we hold onto the “past”, we generally feel stuck, and our survival instincts kick into high gear to propel us OUT of that stagnant place. If we can’t move forward, panic starts to creep in. Enter anxiety and stress downstage center!
So what can we do with this? How do we move forward, when it feels impossible to do so?
We hold out both of our hands, palms up. Palms up and open to hold space for what we still carry, AND to receive the new energy that is so vital to the cyclic nature of life. I have lost count of how many times I have turned my palms up in surrender and supplication in the last month.
It can be both. It has to be. For me, I have to believe in change and transformation… I need to feel the evolution of life and the turning of the wheel. And yet, this last year has taught me that I also can’t abandon the grief, and healing work that doesn’t magically end just because we’ve turned the page on our calendars. I have no doubt that I’ve tried to do exactly that in years past… wistfully and blindly pushing forward, only to be slammed in the face with what I ran from.
This year though…this year I felt the need to keep tending to the grief in my very core. It is still there, and I would not and will not ignore it.
In a conversation about their garden, someone very dear to me recently said, “The trees are dormant, but there is still Spring in their branches”.
We are the same. There are times in life where we feel fallow and listless because of what we are carrying, but there is still sentience and vitality in our mind, body, and soul.
When you feel stuck, discouraged, or bogged down by the last year, hold out your hands- palms up, and know that it can and is ALWAYS BOTH. There is still spring in our branches, even when covered in snow.
The little white line between these two pictures holds 10 years worth of life and death. I remember taking this first picture, and who I took it for. I can see the (hope) fear in my eyes, frozen, like a deer caught in headlights, waiting for a response to tell me who I am, to validate my existence…to allow me to breathe again. My lungs pulled in air once I received the approval and justification I desperately craved.
It is so clear to me now… looking into that girl’s eyes, just how utterly lost and stuck I was. I didn’t know that at the time. No, I thought I had all the answers, and held all the cards…laying them out like so many little white lines.
There are pages upon pages that (could) will be filled with the stories of how I broke, and bled, and learned and remembered, and healed who I am- from the inside out, NOT the outside in.
But I can’t help but marvel at the physical proof of just how thoroughly we can metamorphose if we surrender, and do not turn away from the dark things… from death, from anger and fear, and from the truth that resentments exist- those we hold, and those that are held against us. We accept the shadow, and with it comes the understanding that it is possible to evolve, and grow and create. And to love.
I remember who I took the picture on the right for. I took it for me. I took it as a reminder that to be healed is to continue to heal. And practice. Every single day.
My eyes are not seeking. They are challenging, inviting, and accepting all in.
Scent is memory. Scent is thousands of tiny snapshots that make up our lives, whether we are aware of it at the time or not.
I have been stealing myself to be brave enough to press “checkout” on a bottle of your perfume for days now.
It’s been months since you flew away, and it still doesn’t seem real to me.
Not in the sense of agonizing disbelief, or inconceivable pain…
Not like that.
Not like them.
You lived a gorgeous, lush life unto the very end. You taught me (without being aware of it, I’d wager) that a woman can walk through life with graceful strength, and an elegant mettle that would catch even the most philistine of busy bodies unawares.
You had an ethereal air about you…like gossamer woven through with pure adamant….one that I’ve been to terrified to claim.
Scent, holds memory…sometimes it is powerful enough that it can seem to contain an entire essence of a person.
And there it is.
Several days after finally clicking checkout, I stopped at the mailbox.
And there it was.
“Eternity” for me, was and is- you.
I held the small bottle in my hands, KNOWING that once opened, you would come flooding back to me.
Bracing myself, I uncapped the familiar bottle that was a permanent fixture on your dresser, and brought it slowly up to my nose.
I didn’t dare spray it… what if your scent unleashed the blinding pain that I was still waiting to experience? I would be trapped with it.
Scent holds memory.
Memory holds emotion.
Emotion is pain.
Emotion is love.
The moment I inhaled my Grandmother’s scent, I was infused with her essence of strength and love. She was wrapped around me, bolstering me up, and for that brief moment, I knew that she was there with me.
Now, every night, I spray my pillow with her perfume, and am gathered into her graceful strength once more.
I have no doubt that I was divinely guided to do this. I needed SOMETHING to quell the panic and fear that has been rising as the days go by.
If we are willing, still, and quiet enough…spirit will always provide.
I call upon you today to seek solace. To find refuge outside of time. Our day to day world is so laborious…I feel the clock ticking, and grow anxious as images of rusty copper gears, and whirring bearings cloud my view.
My body is sick, and my body is tired. Instead of fully giving over to rest, I stress and worry that the amount of time I have to rest isn’t enough….sabotaging my serenity from the start.
Take me to a place outside of time… where the only constant motion or sound is of a lazy river, gently flowing towards the ocean. Does the water worry when it will make it there? No, because water is simply meant to flow. It will greet the ocean with a soft kiss, perhaps not even noticing right away that the two have merged and become one.
Please help me to embrace and embody FLOW. To allow myself moments of reprieve and solitude, to listen to what my body tells me, and honor what it needs. Help me carve out a river inside myself, and in doing so, help me to know that all I need to do is flow towards your spirit and energy. I know you will always be there waiting for me, like the great oceans…but for now, please help me learn to softly river my way through.
You have been circling my conscious for a while now, like a bird along a lake…widely swooping low, and then banking up towards the sky again… you have not touched down….unsure if you’ll briefly visit, or fly on. The surface of the water frantically dapples and glimmers…seemingly reaching out as if to say, “Wait! I am full of fathoms and hidden treasures, if only you’d come close enough to see ME…instead of how easily seemlessly I mirror your mettle.
The slab of sorrow that is slowly poured over my body, and then cements into place like heavy concrete. Constricting my airway. Weighing on my heart. Holding me heavily in place. Rendering my intellect and imagination grey…there are no specks of sparkling silver in this sidewalk, unlike the ones of my childhood, where fisher price roller skates were strapped onto my shoes…little legs buoyed up by your cheers of encouragement.
I know grief. I know how my brain and my body should react. Hell, I even dramatized it here at the beginning of this page.
I suppose I could call it up, summon it from the depths of 8 years ago…except if I’m honest with myself, I think I’ve already tried that.
And it didn’t work. It didn’t plant.
You are Perennial. Yes. That’s it, that’s the answer.
Your love is, and has always been everlasting.
Unfaltering, in every season and storm of my life. Your love and prayers for me thrived.
So much so, that not even death himself could wither your bloom.
Flynn gently plucked your picture off my altar today, and brought it into his room at nap time… simply saying “Nana”, and setting you beside his bed.
And so here I sit, in the quiet of his nap… thinking “this is the moment!” The tears and anguish will finally come flooding through after witnessing the pureness of my child’s understanding. Death and I are well acquainted, you see, so he would know exactly how to turn the taps on my watery heart so that the ashen dirge begins to flow.
But it doesn’t come. I breathe.
And like Persephone, I feel your love as a soft spring breeze, and am warmed by your eternal light.
On the coldest day, and in the darkest, and longest night…your flower will forever abide in me.
I watched as the dawn softly blew it’s breath on the dark this morning…it was such a subtle, gentle shift…like the ripples that appear when I blow on too hot tea. It has become that way… this grief of missing you… quietly curling around me, but still enveloping wholly.
When did it change? I can’t begin to answer that question, and I smooth down the panic and guilt that swells at the prospect. I will not question it. Not anymore.
Eight years ago, your death irrevocably changed my life. For so long, I was lost in the pain and darkness of it…not able to comprehend even the IDEA of you being gone from this life. And then you appeared again… in little ways at first, and then in utterly magnificent ones.
Ever since, you have walked beside me in spirit, and guided me down a path I could never have imagined for myself, or withstood without your strength. On this day, and every day…. I remember. On this day, and every day…. you are with me. I love you, Beth. THANK YOU.
Light a candle with intention. Let nature’s tendrils and vines brush against your face. Meet with a dear friend, and hold space for one another- exactly where, and as you are. Stand at the edge of the ocean, and allow your tears to mingle with the salty air….Step into a stone chapel, and lift your voice in Divine offering.
Ritual is all around us if we allow ourselves to receive it. This is medicine. This is healing.
This is my voice, these are my words, and my offering to the Mother… to Mary, and to Magdalene. She received it and gave me the gift of the ocean’s waves in return. (Click link below to listen.)