Hello Old Friends!
I have missed writing to you here. Welcome to a new year, and what a threshold it is! Good morning to you from the baby-bluest, mistiest, chilliest, coziest dawn I’ve experienced this side of the Cascades. It reminds me of the early mornings by the sea, except it is not sand at my feet today but rather crunchy, frozen-twice-over, snow. I do not love the cold, but it is delightful the astonishing beauty and stillness of it all. It is time for the sun to rise but it seems the sky itself does not know it. These are the days of instructing my soul to remember the sun firmly and faithfully resides above what seems an iron dome. These are not days most of us would normally call radiant, but I must know they are— breathe it — nonetheless!
Perhaps as a way of stoking my own home fires, I have a letter to you in my mind and heart today. It is a letter that at once isn’t exactly to you at all and that I feel I must write here anyways. It is an open letter to a young woman in my life that I care for very much, who is having a terrible time of things. I have been composing this letter to her for days—strings and lines of it making sense only fully just this morning and that is when I realized how completely it is to my young friend but it is also to me and to you…because of that old truth rising in my soul again: none of us are alone.
These words mean so many things. Yes, a holy Presence but first something that we can only know that holy Presence through — one another. We are not alone in our experiences, in our days, our knowings or unknowings, learning and relearning. There is no uncommon.
We’re all longing for some kind of transformation, we’re all in some phase or another of finding that transformation in our breaking and of knowing that or not, welcoming it, or not.
Today I wish to hold so many of your broken hearts close to my own. I wish to lay my hand there on your chest and let you lay yours on mine if for nothing else than to remember our aliveness together, give thanks together, know we are holy (and whole) together.
This rush of desire is enough to send me back to bed some days in the waking reality of the sense of its unreachable-ness, until that seemingly iron dome begins to ring like the gong it is as the westward and southern winds clash and it’s not the sky that breaks open but our own hearts and our own eyes shedding the tears of the wonder of it all. It is a wonder that tells us there is nothing to reach for but rather to simply let all that joy overflow from our bosoms like the river swells this time of year too, to be vulnerable, over and abundant and crashing through all the old landscapes we knew, making all things new, again.
So. I welcome you to my joy today my friends, to an open letter…
To my young friend~
Our paths have walked such similar lines so far apart from one another. I know your mom has told you that but today I want to share some of my story with you too. Today in the dark forest you are traversing in your own body having to decide by the minute if its seasoned trees and flora are friend or foe I am recalling my own ramblings in my own woods. When I was your age it was my lungs I did not understand, the way it seemed I would nearly drown in my own body on a tired cycle of any exposure to any germ.
I was able to avoid noticing the pattern long enough, until I couldn’t. It seemed the opportunity to grasp it passed me by at that point though. It was when it became an inescapable suffering every weekend that something occurred to me as wrong, that maybe this wasn’t supposed to be my normal, but by the time of that reckoning it quickly collapsed into a daily routine. I was stuck.
I didn’t know then about how our lungs speak to us about the grief we carry or release, I wouldn’t learn that for years. I did learn about the way dairy didn’t help me get unstuck. I learned how sugar was deceptively friendly, making me think it came to cheer when in reality it was leaving me unprotected, unsafe from what grieved me then.
It helped me to learn those things. It gave me a reprieve to begin to learn more. Then it seemed the core of my being rebelled against me or of wanting any such knowings. I didn’t apprehend then the way our guts speak to us either. How they tell us the way our worries and anxieties are felt and known and matter. They matter. I bled my tears from the inside of my guts because I still hadn’t learned it was safe to let them out any other way.
Still years would pass before Biblical (Jewish), Chinese, or Ayurvedic medicine would give me any language or understanding of this in my mind and I didn’t want to trust my body—it did not seem to me a friend, rather I felt betrayed.
This cycle went on, long. I found ways to get unstuck like the large boulders get carried by the river in the winter beastly floods. It was glorious to get free, until I came crashing again. The good news of Spring would bring a receding of the overwhelming waters. Thank Heaven for seasons! Moments of relief, but also of decision, a clearing in the wilds meant for our rest.
Some seasons I made better use of than others, that will always remain true. While I’m on that note, I want to tell you now that this letter doesn’t get wrapped up later with a pretty bow of, “Now I know everything and you can too!” Far from it, but travel on with me a bit further?
I want to tell you about an eventual place in my own wilderness roaming that I was always destined to stumble upon, and that changed every trail thereafter; namely the making of friends with my own wilds, my own body.
This came by the way of long, dark, and lonely nights teaching me by way of desperation how the resources I found there were meant for my shelter, even my comfort. I want you to know these same resources exist for you, within you.
“Poetry is the art of overhearing ourselves say things from which it is impossible to retreat.”
– David Whyte
There are many ways for this to come about for each of us—I have had and will have my paths and you will have yours, but our knowing of the kindness that carries us, the beauty that calls to us, and the radiant home that is us—these are the things I pray will be our common knowing. I pray for a knowing that transcends our minds and that we learn how to embody through gentle water ways we find willing to bear us there—even if that is our own tears.
How did the rose
dare open her heart
and give to the world
all her beauty?
She felt the encouragement of light
against her being.
we all remain
Blessings of warm sunlight upon your wilderness crossings. May the gift of friendship, there with yourself, meet you at each new threshold and carry you on. You are not alone.
Oh, hello! I’m Raynna, a writing, photograph-taking, qigong-practicing, homeschooling-mama-of-six exploring the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and me. I write because I know I’m not the only one and because I know we need each other. Subscribe to receive updates directly in your inbox. Stay as long as you’d like, feel welcome to move on when you need. I’m glad you are here, today.