It’s been a whirlwind since I returned home.
In the last week I co-hosted a most wonderful women’s retreat (“As good as Hollyhock, if not better,” remarked one), escorted “BellaThea” through our mountains (after two days of rain and grey cloud, the sun finally shone to reveal the splendor and majesty of those snow-capped peaks), and continue to navigate the uncertain terrain of returning to work.
I’ve caught up on most of our “home care,” though still need to get the bedding plants from the greenhouse. (Again I’ve learned that mid June in these climes is time enough, as I awoke to snow in the country a week ago.) I made appointments for my “car care.” I just mounted the spectacular Murano glass mosaic I bought in Venice. Given its colour, vibrancy, lines and flow, it looks as if I bought it especially to go beside my first “official” investment in fine art. Serendipity at its best.
It’s a homecoming that’s been fast and full and I’m cranky and tired. And bewildered. And sad. And angry. And scared. I’m not doing too well right now with sitting in the void of uncertainty. Maybe this how being “broken open” feels. Maybe I’m in the bottom of the “U.”
Last weekend, borrowing from ALIA’s 2010 welcoming ritual, my co-host and I invited the women to reflect and then write their intention for the retreat, and what grounded them. I boldly wrote, “Enjoy the Unknown,” a big stretch from simply feeling comfortable in it. My grounding roots were “trust, practice, prayer, love, marriage, nature.” Surely those would provide the support and nurturance to realize my intention. I’m thinking I should have added patience. And another dollop of trust with a hearty dose of faith.
As I walked our Peggy dog yesterday, I was touched to see the announcement board by the neighborhood church that read “God is at work as you wait for an answer.” Together with several “found” pennies, and the Google horoscope mantra that’s been appearing for the last several days – “I will not be afraid to go where the universe leads me” – I draw solace remembering I’m in the right place at the right time… even if I am feeling bewildered…and sad…and angry…and scared…and broken open.
And then I opened an envelope addressed to me, written in my own writing, sent from Germany. I was surprised and delighted to see inside the card I’d written to myself on March 27, 2011 at the conclusion of the process painting workshop with Kathrin in Cologne:
“Everything is possible – even beyond my wildest dreams!
Pausing supports my trust in Self.
Painting ‘small’ after I think or feel I am almost finished helps me ‘grock’ the painting and move to the next.
I bring courage, and honesty to the circle.
It’s dawned on me too, that I’m experiencing the aftermath of having realized a long held and deeply cherished big dream. And am now struggling with “Now what?” and “Do I have what I need and what it takes, both inside and outside, to do this again?”
Another curious manifestation, three shattered hand mirrors in the past year. The first one, a year ago as I settled into my room at ALIA, where and when I sensed my being there was the hard-won threshold for this time away. The second, as I prepared for my last trip to Italy. The third, when I arrived at my parents’ home and found the mirror I’d bought to replace that one broken in Halifax, and that had accompanied me throughout all my journeying this past year, had shattered. Funny that I never felt disturbed like in an omen of bad luck. Instead, more a quiet knowing that this is a metaphor for the shattering of illusion, including my own self image.
I recall the words of a most wise teacher, “To be dis-illusioned is cause for celebration.” I first encountered Fred Kofman at the then Shambhala Institute, in June 2002. That evening, hour long introduction ignited such a deep desire to work with him, that the following year I pulled out all the stops and financed my way back to Halifax to share a week in his presence. Thank God, because it was was to be his last visit. Nine years later, his words continue to resonate. I once wrote to him that I had not yet sufficient practice and skill in moving quickly into celebration after being dis-illusioned, that it usually took me some time, after some grieving.
I sense that these are all “slender threads” from a wise, compassionate, and listening Universe.
That since my return home I’ve experienced both personal and professional dis-illusionment.
That my thoughts, and interpretations, and expectations, and plans, and strivings – to know, to do, to be – are filling the needed and necessary emptiness with a self-made craziness.
That this, too, is the stuff of illusion.
That it’s OK to feel cranky, and tired, and bewildered, and sad, and angry, and scared. It’s called fatigue, culture shock, and grief.
That right now, I don’t know, and that’s part of being broken open.
And that this, too, will pass with time, in its time. And so, too, will come time for celebration.
There, there. I feel better now for having paused, and written.