Some people wait until spring to do a clean sweep of the house. Getting into every corner, sweeping the dust, clearing the cobwebs. Turning the rugs and finally letting go of all of those useless nick knacks. I find myself doing this once a season. A fresh start is never fresh while carrying a load of extraneous baggage. Literally, and metaphorically, one must clear the clutter to create sacred space. In heart, mind, spirit, and hearth. Lately, it has been the closets, the attics and those dark reaches where memories and stale places of the heart hide out, spinning webs ready to catch our now and pull it back to thens we sometimes wish we never had lived in the first place.
For the last three years, I have been working in the garden beautifying the surroundings, nurturing blossoms, and laying sturdy stone paths from which to view my work… pathways to the outside, and pathways in. I have pulled up the rocks of my insecurities and peeked underneath, at times to find myself as a woman devoid of the strengths I had convinced myself I held. Once below, I found myself honoring parts of me where my vulnerability was never allowed to see the light of day. Embracing the softness of my being, allowing it to shine through the control I’d always felt I needed to hold onto for strength. Tending the garden is about letting go. Plant the seed and watch it grow. You cannot sit by the sprout and tell it to hurry. Well, you can… but the sprout won’t listen, in it’s own time, it will grow to bear fruit. You can stand and shout at it to bear fruit, but fruit falls from the tree when it is ripe, not just because you want to eat it.
I dismantled walls, stone by stone, that I had been building around my heart, and with heaving force, scattered them in enough directions to make rebuilding those walls tremendous work, if not impossible. The fences around my garden lay behind the wall and those had to come down too. We build these walls around the beauty of our gardens in hopes that no one will come partake of our harvest, and yet the harvest is to be shared with neighbors and friends… lovers and family~ strangers even. Fences are counterintuitive to the true nature of our knowing, counterproductive to our spiritual generosity.
To reap the benefits of the season’s work, roots are pulled. The most potent medicine tends to be held within the root. As the roots of my own harvest are pulled, my potency strengthens, and walls seem completely unnecessary. Naked in my garden, at the center of the path, no walls, no fences, I stood, this autumn, and breathed easy on my way inside to enjoy the feast.
When I got inside, I saw how many corners I had neglected while beautifying the outside.
There were stacks and stacks of old patterns and the memories that drove them in the closet. You know when you open the closet in the hallways of pristine houses to find yourself buried in the hidden disgraces that the householder didn’t want you to see? This is what I found when I went inside.
I had dredged through my insecurities, be felled the walls, and torn down the fences, but still, behind the closet door were a few humdingers waiting to jump off the shelf. For me, the biggest ones were related to past relationships.
I found the “love of my life,” behind one door, and he had a baseball bat in his hand. Everything I had ever thought he was came crashing down with one blow. As his pain crashed in on me, I found people from all walks of his life saying, “But, wasn’t he always a little crazy?”
Suddenly, after attributing much of the inner work I have done in my life to what he taught me way back when, after holding him so high in my heart for so long, I began to question my ability to discern a good man from an unhealthy one. I doubted myself. Self doubt; something I have never wanted to admit to.
With that instigator, I went back… I went to the proverbial doorstep of every man I ever loved and I knocked. They all let me in when I did. I honored them, and myself for loving them. I saw what I had done to grow, and I saw what they had done to grow me. I felt me in their arms, and I walked away knowing, that not only had I not been wrong, but every one of the men I have loved gave me gifts and the ability to know myself more than I had prior to knowing them.
Every person I have ever loved or feared has given me the gift of mirror-like wisdom.
I can see me more clearly now with the help of those springboards, and I give thanks, but it was painful and cathartic.
After that tour I felt like I had been washed up on the shore gasping for air.
The recesses of my closets have been pouring into my now with such a force, that there is no choice but to look at it all, and send the refuse out with the trash. And there is more trash than I care to admit, to myself or anyone else. By the time I got through it all, the whole house went with it. Not just the closets, and the attic, but the whole house foundation and all.
The new year is upon us, and as I look back at last year, I can see the work I’ve done, the culmination of a lifetime in such a short time. Pretty impressive.
Standing in the center of the hole I just dug, the hole where my “house” once stood, the piles of dirt and fill that I removed gave the illusion that the hole was deeper than it really is. Suddenly I felt vulnerable and alone with not much of a view out. Getting to now, was a long journey, it takes a lot of work to build fences and walls, and fill the rooms with useless “emotional” nick knacks, and then dismantle it all. Will it be just as long a journey to build anew and fill my proverbial home with the good stuff? As beautiful and free and blessed as I feel to have cleared so much, I feel naked and raw, and hate again to admit it, but I feel a little frightened by what stands before me.
The me that I know well, does things differently than the me I be now. Separate from all that I pulled in to define myself, it feels pretty naked just to be me; vulnerable, tender, curious and free. Those are all beautiful traits, I just had them hidden beneath too many walls.
All of the clearing that has been done has made room to build the foundation for a whole new me. It scares the shit out of me one moment and exhilarates me the next.
“Hello.” Calling from within the hole, the echo shouts my tenderness.
I was recently sitting with a woman I love and trust, and I let on that I am fully aware of my inner beauty, yet I am still doubtful of my outer beauty. The look in her eyes when she turned to me was one of wonderment, appreciation and question accompanied by a mischievous grin.
“You are so beautiful, like a rare exotic jungle flower,” she said, “you are exquisite.”
Beautiful. Do I allow myself to feel beautiful without the adornments? Can I believe it is there? I know the inner beauty quite well. Can I believe in the outer?
The masks we wear rarely protect us~ something I learned in the hole.
The fortresses that we build around ourselves rarely protect us from what we fear. More often than not, they lock us there.
In my moments of real purging I have come to see that when I was most vulnerable, I became unapproachable. When I needed it the most, the drawbridge went up. It is never easy to tear down the walls and storm our own troops, and certainly not with a battering ram, but with courage comes the grace.
Finding the ability to be tender and beautiful rather than “strong” and “independent” has been quite a journey. Now I feel stronger in vulnerability than I do behind the walls.
Those who see me tender love me. Those who are with me now, are more beautiful friends than I could ever have imagined, asked for or ever knew them to be. Those who still see the me behind the walls have some catching up to do.
To embrace me is my grace…. to allow me to flourish in the nakedness of my being~ trust and continue trusting in my abilities.. that is my grace. To be me on the other side of all that I know to be familiar… Is my courage.
I can put all of the eggs of my being into my own basket, and if I drop them…
I know now that I have the hen. There is always more to hatch, and the work is never done. But for now, my closets feel clean, the attic is bare, and I feel refreshed and ready for the new year. With it comes more of the juice. Harvests to be reaped and I feel love.
As I was doing my work these last years, it appears as though the whole planet was doing much of the same. We have come out the other side of the Bush closet fairly unscathed, and just in time. I watched our collective focus of fear and “fed up”, shoe in two “elections” leaving many of the conscious few dejected and hopeless. Our collective force is great, and we get what we focus on. With the focus less on fed up and fearful, vision took over. Led by one man and his determination, we shifted from NO to YES, and got what we asked for. Personally, while clearing the closet, I was elated to find that, we were all coming to that place in time and spirit. That resounding collective sigh of relief was just the catalyst we needed to recognize just how much power we actually have as a collective as well as individually.
Now, moving swiftly toward 2012, a clearer picture presents itself. I can feel the shift already; it is going to be good. I trust that feeling on the way.
As more and more hearts and minds come to clarity, the more beauty there is to grasp. In my own experience, the gifts I asked for long ago and just yesterday are coming to me… for you the same is available. Collectively, as we clear the path, there is light. Not just at the end of the tunnel, but here… now…