though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness…”
Witnessing my own unfolding
That is no small thing considering it’s been almost twenty years since I set out to find home. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt at home in this world, but I managed to avoid feeling the deeper feelings of not belonging and not being safe while married to my late-husband – until the early-morning hour when he died, suddenly. That’s when the journey began in earnest.
It was then, almost twenty years ago, that however my psyche had organized itself to help navigate the feeling of being unsafe here on earth, could no longer find a footing. In a matter of minutes after he died, I felt completely unmoored. He had been my love, my protector, my partner of 21 years.
It’s been a long journey to follow longing. A journey to find safety, not through another human being, but within myself. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Ultimately, it was really the journey to find love, the love that can only be found deep within oneself.
The push to get somewhere or something has been relentless. I could never settle. I could never feel like what was in my life was ‘enough’. All the while, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate to you these things. I know them now, in hindsight.
There is something new here.
A kind of softness, a trust, a faith in life.
A taste of earth, here, in my flesh.
A touch of Soul, here, on my breath.
Life guided me.
Life does this if we listen. Books fell unbidden from bookcases, guiding me to dance. People appeared as guides. Flowers called to me with their beauty, reflecting to me the light and beauty that is the soul of everything alive. And, my relationship came to an end when it was clear I had to find out who I am on my own – sovereign and whole.
The land called to me from different parts of our planet. I had to step foot on other parts of this earth to feel something that could only be felt there, in each place, to reawaken elements of earth that I’d tasted long before.
Nature called. Each day, I walk. Almost first thing in the morning, after tea. I hear birdsong. I feel wind. I take in the love of trees, offering it back to them with great appreciation. I have come to feel an unseen, but incredibly vibrant, relationship with life. I’ve come to know I belong.
John O’Donohue‘s words capture this feeling much more eloquently than I can.
“Essentially, we belong beautifully to nature. The body knows this belonging and desires it. It does not exile us either spiritually or emotionally. The human body is at home on the earth. It is probably a splinter in the mind that is the sore root of so much of our exile.”
I feel at home in my body.
Another way to say this, is that my mind now trusts how my body feels at home. My mind trusts my body’s longing to be home. To not be held away, distant from itself, for my body is of the earth’s body. It is of the same clay.
This might surprise some of you who’ve read me for a while. It’s not like I haven’t been in my body. It’s not like I haven’t felt joy in my body. I have – often and much.
But that ‘splinter in the mind’ was always here. The splinter continued to tell me I wasn’t safe. It created a kind of vigilance, a hyper-vigilance. This kind of thinking, the circular questioning and the constant looking for safety, kept at bay what it was I was looking for. Of course it did. I was looking for love, but this small but insistent voice didn’t trust love.
As I read more of John O’Donohue’s words for the second time (I first read Anam Cara about eight years ago), in preparation for my writing course, I came across his description of how the body is in the soul, not the other way around. He writes,
“Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely. Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light.”
And, if the body is in the soul, then my body is held, and loved, and breathed into by Soul. My immediate breath is Soul breath. My senses first encounter the realm of my Soul. It is so close. Always.
This is what I had longed for – to know that love is this close. Complete and unconditional love, which Soul has for self. I had shut myself off to my own Soul, and I had to see that.
Necessary to reteach me of my loveliness.
As most of us do because we are taught to, I journeyed to find what I’d thought I lost out there somewhere. God is supposed to be up there, on high, somewhere. Right? And, I am supposed to find love in someone else to complete me. Right?
No. Soul is closer than my breath. Soul is closer than sound, taste, sight, touch. Soul is wrapping me in love. I turned away from Soul. I had to turn back to self to know Soul.
Splintering happens. For me, the splinter broke free when that portion of the mind could feel that it was held, and that what held it was safe. I watched it circle. I watched it look and question and wonder. I watched as it let go. I felt the softening in myself. I couldn’t make it let go, but I could hold the space for it to do it as it needed to. I could trust that it would set itself free.
And, one last thing…for now. I’ve written in the past of the ‘creative impulse’…of the beautiful desire that moves through us as human beings to express in this world of form. In my next post, I’ll write more about Soul, your body, and creativity.
For now, just know that God(dess) is decidedly sensuous.