“Within us are the bones to change ourselves and our world. Within us is the breath and our truths and our longings – together they are the song, the creation hymn we have been yearning to sing.” The felt sense of these powerful words from Clarissa Pinkola Estes book Women Who Run with the Wolves has been percolating through me, and I have been listening.
This last year has been bookended by my participation in Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit’s extraordinary teleclass Calling in “The One” (CITO.) Last January I participated in, and in December I was coaching and supporting others as they experienced the teleclass (more about this at www.callingintheone.com.) Throughout this time, the primary “One” I have been becoming more deeply related to is me; breathing in the truths and longings for change in myself, and in the world, that have been yearning to be birthed through my life.
Returning to Clarissa’s words, “the great work before us is to learn to understand what around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live. It is a deep teacher if we can only learn its tempo.” She continues “We have been taught that death is always followed by more death. It is simply not so, death is always in the process of incubating new life, even when one’s existence has been cut down to the bones.”
It has been this sense of being cut down to the bones that I have been living – a letting go of almost everything that had been part of my identity through 35 years of marriage, knowing deep within as surely as I trust my breath to come in and out of me, that embedded in all this were the seeds of new life. Even 5 years ago, I could never have imagined that my life would look the way it does today.
In this time of my work with Katherine and Claire, I have been enacting my commitment to become more visible – to see and hear myself. I have been nurturing the habit of putting my first attention on me, and accessing more of what I’m feeling, what I need, what I want to express, experience, co-create and contribute in my life, in my relationships, and in the world. As I’ve practiced expanding my capacity to do this, I am taking my place in the world, becoming a powerful, visible presence, and inviting others to do the same.
In transcending my old way of being (now practicing taking up space, being visible, being seen) I’m beginning to get more clearly in my body that as co-creator with life, all of life is supporting me. I am learning to relax into a deeper truth – that I am, and there is, enough of me (time and energy) and enough of everything I need (love, support, money.) I am learning to live deeply centered in my body, and through my loving presence, words and actions invite all whose lives I touch into even more deeply authentic and respectful ways of being.
Throughout this time, I have been profoundly supported and called into my power by my beloved partner, Bruce. We have held our partnership as a container within which we support and encourage each other, from which we move freely out into the world sharing the unique gifts we bring to life, and to which we return for celebration and nurture.
Yet, as I discovered as I attended my dear friend Birgit’s wedding to her beloved Gerry last October, there was still a part of me that felt contracted when I considered the possibility of marriage for us. In putting my first attention on me, I listened to my body, acknowledged the contraction, and in keeping with our commitment to intimacy, rather than conceal this uncomfortable realization, I shared it with Bruce. The perfect resource to support me in my intention to clear whatever remained in the way of my being fully open to giving and receiving love came the next month with the opportunity to volunteer as a Certified Calling in “The One” (CITO) Coach for the CITO teleclass. As I supported others, I deepened my own experience and practice of those powerful principles!
Again, Clarissa’s words came into play over the next months, as Bruce and I dropped further into our shared deep knowing that “For love to thrive, the (lover) must trust that whatever will be, will be transformative.” “(Their) trust is not dependent on (their) lover not to hurt (them). (It) is a trust that any wound that comes can be healed, a trust that new life follows old.”
So we listened deeply to what was surfacing; embracing everything, turning away from nothing. Creating powerful containers within which to compassionately witness the old pain and fears of the younger selves in our bodies; acknowledging and honouring the younger selves in our bodies for their attempts to make meaning of experiences they couldn’t really understand, and beginning to mentor them into the deeper, more nuanced truth that we as grounded adults can now see. As our relationships with ourselves deepened, so did our relationship with each other.
Last Monday, after the final CITO teleclass, Bruce and I sat together and I shared with him the realization that when I now checked in with my body and considered the idea of being married to him, what I felt was a deep spacious openness of possibility, and I wondered where he was at? In his typical way, he closed his eyes and ‘went inside’, and when he opened his eyes, his response was “I would love to be married to you!”
And so (with many logistical questions to which we have no idea the answers!) we begin this next chapter of our lives. A chapter which along with the joy and deep wondering about what is possible, has also already brought yet another layer of appreciation of what was wonderfully created and experienced in my last marriage, and a letting of what no longer exists there. Joy and sorrow, in breath and out breath – that life/death/life cycle continues “held together as the left and right side of a single thought.” Again, I’m with Clarissa both in holding that image, and in my intention to engage fully with whatever life brings, “to recognize treasure as treasure no matter how unusual its form, and to consider carefully what to do next.”