I used to walk on the edges of stairs, until I fell enough times to learn to walk differently. The last time I walked that way I lost a baby in my womb. There are things that happen that make a soul remember.
This is a letter to those of you who recognize that there are some things that also need to be forgotten, unlearned, rewired, transformed—it will look and sound different for each of us.
Will I ever forget a baby of my womb? Never. But my body also needs to be able to approach a staircase in peace. This took me a minute. There were parts of this story I had to learn how to release to still be able to receive, even from it.
No matter the circumstances that have written indelible stories in our bodies, through certain suffering, how human it is to wonder and seek in the midst of life if there are better ways to learn. Must we meet tragedy or crisis to choose transformation? Or might we even be in a pattern, a habit, of loss before making choices available to us, even here and even now? … before even more loss is created…
I recently learned how the word psyche, from its Greek lineage, correlates not only to the word soul but also to the word butterfly. It feels like a scent of truth wafting in the aura of the word. Our souls were designed to chrysalis and to butterfly. This could sound trite unless you know how rigorous of a work this is, how sound and how strong butterflies actually are, the tenacity they embody to die to an entirely different way of moving in the world and the way they tear their way out of being essentially entombed.
I used to have a much more sterile perspective of the work of a butterfly, now I just have mad respect.
It is a good day when we reckon with these kinds of severities. Not to be negative, but rather to turn towards a more life-giving way. Of course I will never forget a life that once inhabited my body, sometimes I dream of her, but I also hold tight to a deeper truth than even her loss; I remember she was alive. Life beckons our remembering everyday but how often we are stuck in loss. Stuck in shame. Stuck in pain, even after it has passed—as though we could change something that way?
We humans often think after we’ve put so much into something that maybe if we just put a little bit more, a little bit more, a little… becomes so so so much. At times I’ve gotten confused about whether this “failure” (by all outward signs) relates to my worth. And, a downward cycle ensues. In such a cycle, love and life, the very things we mourn the loss of, have been stolen, thieved, and we have no idea the autonomy, the authority, we have in one choice, one decision, to take it all back, to be life-givers.
We often have no idea our scope of ability to adore and be thankful, even in the worst of times. Too often we throw love and life away so quickly, thinking we’re right or worse: responsible for doing so. Oh to have the strength of a butterfly, the wisdom of a crucible, the humility of dust brought to life for a brief moment.
As so many of us have often been awakened by these words, they bear much worth in the repeating often:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver, (poem 133)
If your heart feels aflame today, may I invite you to not ignore it? Don’t let shame or dead old ugly blame or even simple complacency of believing this is just the way things are steal your wonder, your life, your thankfulness.
I’ve had to learn two things (among many) over the last several years of loss and destruction in my family’s life: 1) to feel my feelings and 2) to make a decision, a choice, to release them as well. I’m still learning, but…
“Once the soul awakens, the search begins, and you can never go back.
From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment…”
Not long ago I heard a tree fall in the woods and it was as though it signaled an ending and a beginning. In one moment both those feelings filled my chest. Then a rumbling of thunder and maybe a voice from heaven (don’t discount them!) brought me into a knowing of the way no one gives permission to tragedy in nature, it is part of the cycle of life, and simultaneously no one need give permission to the resurrection and life that springs up all around from it. This too is our birthright, the amazing miracle that we simply live within every. single. day.
Hello there, hello here, beautiful souls. I’m alive with you today, with choice. I’m grateful to get to “forget”— to have the ability to release what needs releasing—not love, don’t ever forget life, no matter how long it is (or isn’t) within us or our grasp. Cherish it always, honor it always. Hold tight to the lessons they brought, let it inform you of your inner tenacity and strength. You are butterflies—designed for transformation in your deepest essence.
“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” —John O’Donohue
It’s Thanksgiving week here in America, I’m definitely thankful for you, traveling companions! I’m also very eager to announce the book I’ve spent the last several years on, The Love Writings, will be ready for release December 9th, 2023. More on that coming soon. For now, wherever this letter finds you, I pray for your peace. I take a deep breath and release with you today all that needs the letting go and I trust how life will keep flowing and unfolding, just like the river. What a gift.