My big sister Becky…
I debated about making this post two or three parts.
It is long, and sumptuous, with many stanzas.
Instead, I share it with you full, and as it happened.
May it bring you grace, love, and whatever you need today.
Yesterday was one of Those Days.
Even Goddesses have Those Days.
There’s something about Those Days though…
if I listen, and wait, and watch, and tend to them like a tree whose favourite branch has been lost, and the sap is dripping…
Those Days can become a gift, a lesson, a blessing and a healing.
It’s just hard when you’re in them.
What was it one of Those Days for?
It was one of those days when I didn’t believe anymore. I didn’t believe in myself and what I was here to do. I didn’t believe that things were good, or easy, or right. I was shaking my fists at the sky saying: If this is what I was meant to do, WHY ISN’T IT EASY???? I compared myself to other souls, and my score card was blank. I was tired of pushing, of trying, of wanting… of trying to make my big dream a success, and pissed off that it wasn’t already one TODAY.
I think every soul who has ever had a dream must feel like this sometimes.
That as much as our big dream is a luscious garden, filled with the pinkest of frangipanis and soul blazingness – there can be a hard, scratchy forest to get from here to there. Finding and claiming and making our dream come true isn’t all ease and grace and joy. It can be the hardest of the hard.
Some days, I feel like I’m staring up at a cliff, wondering just how much further I have to climb. Some days, it feels insurmountable. Some days, it doesn’t feel like I’ve got the right equipment to do it. Some days, I wonder if I even have the right sparkle and shine and flavour of likable personality that makes me good enough to be a climber.
Maybe I should just leave it to someone else.
And that thought makes me more scared than the cliff does. If I wasn’t climbing for my Big Dream because it was Too Hard, what else would I be doing? Every part of my soul and spirit tells me that my Big Dream was what I was born to do. When I see another woman light up – really light up – and be changed – from this Goddess work, and the stuff that pours from me – there is no doubt in my mind that this is my Life’s Work and Joy. And when I think about neglecting my big dream and soul’s work because it got too hard?
That pains me.
I’m afraid that if I give up this climb, I will turn into one of those jaded women – the type that tried something, and it didn’t work out, so they spend the rest of their lives feeling like everything is without hope.
I’m afraid that if I give up my climb, I will be wonder around in the flatlands, trying to keep my back turned to the cliff, just so I didn’t remember how much I wanted to be there.
I’m afraid that if I give up my climb, that I’ll lose that part of my spirit that believes in a big crazy dream of every woman knowing she is a Goddess.
I’m afraid that if I give up my climb, I will do it out of fear, and not out of love.
These were all the heavy, heavy things that weighed on me yesterday. As the sun rose into the sky, warming our wet, lush, spring jungle of a lawn, my mood worsened.
I’ll just give it up now.
Nothing is easy.
I’m not ever going to be a success.
If I hear about one other person being successful, I will self-combust.
If I hear about another overnight success, and how easy it is, I will go live in a cave for the rest of my life.
This climb has taken too long already.
The Mood was in fine form.
And then, I watched some birthing videos. About how, when you’re pregnant, every thought you think is felt by the baby… and how women need to be happy, and not stressed out when pregnant, otherwise their child will be damaged for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.
And then I felt even worse.
That’s just friggin great. I’m DOING THE BEST I CAN. Do you think I’d really feel this way if I had a choice? How on earth can I have happy feelings every moment for the next six months? This just feels AWFUL!
And on it went.
Finally, the wise, soft mother in me said:
Come on my darling. I know you’re feeling down. It must be here for a reason. Let’s stop work. Let’s go for a walk. Not because you want to, but because you need it. I’ll come with you.
And so I did. Even though it felt like the hardest thing in the world to wrench myself out of that hole. Even though I’m a notorious avoider of “walks.” Even though I felt the way I did.
There’s a mountain to the west of here. It’s a hard climb up, but up the top are two stone circles, and my medicine spot. I looked up at it.
A weary voice inside me said:
Enough. I am tired of climbing. I don’t care what’s up the top. Please, no more climbing today.
So instead, we walked down the street, out onto the open green oval. There were hundreds of kids there at a sport’s day, and loudspeakers, and cheering.
Please make them stop. I just want to be alone on the earth.
I walk to the end of the field, and begin to keep walking back into the suburbs on the other side. Something there stops me though, and sends me back into the field, by the trees. It’s a moment of being Led By Grace.
The crowd disperses, packs up, and leaves. In the space of five minutes, the oval goes from crowded to utterly empty.
I say softly.
As I walk on, I nearly stand on something. I walk on, only to turn around to inspect.
There in the grass, under the trees, is a caterpillar. He is brown and red and black, with spillings of yellow.
Oh, it is a medicine animal! A caterpillar!
I sit down beside it.
A caterpillar! It’s teaching me that it’s okay to be a caterpillar. It’s okay to want to be something more. That maybe, Great Spirit willing, I too will turn into a butterfly.
I feel a soft sense of relief.
I sit longer, and then realise something.
The caterpillar isn’t moving.
Oh NO! The caterpillar is dead! It will never be a butterfly! Maybe that’s what it is teaching me… that some dreams don’t get to become butterflies? Maybe this is a sign that I just need to let it go… let all of this go.
And that thought is so painful that my eyes well up with tears, and I turn my face to the sun and sky. A wind rushes by me.
There is nothing to be done but be at my base level. Stripped away of any inspiration, kind thoughts or enlightened knowing, I sit. Feeling sooty, dishevelled, lost. What to do now?
And without thinking, my hands begin picking up long, thin sticks from around me, sticking them into the earth around the still caterpillar.
I hear from my base-level, the place I thought bereft of any clarity:
This caterpillar needs love. And support. Each of these sticks is like an angel tending to it.
And so I keep pushing sticks into the earth, the bend of them swaying over the caterpillar. Without knowing it, my sooty, dishevelled, lost self is building a healing tipi for the caterpillar.
Maybe that’s what I need. Someone to push sticks into the earth around me too. I think I need the same as the caterpillar does.
And I lie down in the grass beside my quiet caterpillar, and its little healing tipi.
I let the sun wash over me. I let tears flow. I breathe into the wind.
After some time, I roll to my side.
The caterpillar is moving.
He takes soft, loping movements towards a solid piece of bark.
And a part of me knows:
Everything is going to be okay…
I walk slowly back home, after saying goodbye to my little caterpillar.
The pain which felt like hard, thick mud before had slightly disintegrated. Don’t get me wrong – it was still there. But now there were small holes in it that the wind could pass through.
I get home, and feel terrible again.
Again, the soft mother comes to me:
No more working today, Leonie. You’ve done enough climbing. Go do something fun.
And I wondered what fun would look like. And the little voice says:
I want to play Sims on Wii. I like building cute houses for people.
So we did. Just me, my bad mood, the soft mother, the little voice… all of us.
Chris came home later. I moaned to him:
Things will never be easy. I’m so over this.
And he listened. And in his soft, sage way said:
You can give up whenever you want honey. But you know that people face plenty of things along the way, and what makes all the difference is whether you give up after a hurdle, or keep going anyway.
And I listened. This man gives me sympathy when the time is right, and gentle pushes when he knows I can change.
At night, I listen again to the soft mother inside me:
No more work.
There are so many ways we can take One Of Those Days, and begin tending to it, giving it what it needs, and giving us what we need in the process.
Instead of work, I curl up with Chris, and watch By Any Means. I adore these adventure series (Long Way Round, Long Way Down, Race to Dakar and now this one). I watch as they face setbacks after setback, but plunge ahead anyway. I listen, softly in my spirit.
If we can just give Those Days the space and tending they need, good things can bloom from them.
That night, we go to bed early. I curl up, and begin reading Autobiography of a Yogi. It is a beautiful story of a young man who chooses to become a yogi, and a disciple of God. He is so willing to give himself up to the divine. There is a painting in there, of an Indian Mother Goddess. She holds in her hands all she needs: the lotus of compassion, the scriptures of wisdom and learning and the prayer beads of devotion.
And at this image, I stop. I have made the lotus flower and the scriptures important parts of my life, spending so much time and energy invested in blooming both. But the prayer beads of devotion? As much as I believe in and deeply love Great Spirit, I have not devoted myself to it.
I closed the book, kissed my beloved, and turned off my light.
Turning my face to the window and the night sky outside, I whispered to myself:
I give myself to you Great Spirit. I love you, and I trust in you. I devote myself to you.
I closed my eyes, and felt my body light up with love.
As I fell into sleep, I asked for my angels and guides to be with me, tending over me like they tended to the caterpillar.
That night… the night of One Of Those Days… I had a dream. A beautiful, profound dream.
I was on an adventure in a forest. It felt like Indonesia. There were others with me. We walked around the hills for a while, and our guide told us we were going to meet someone.
And there appeared a small, brown, wizened man. I looked into his eyes, and knew he was a shaman.
Our guide said: He will give healings to each of you.
One of the others stepped forward, and the shaman led him into a healing ritual, dipping their hands into a muddy pool of water between them, raising their hands to their forehead. I watched carefully, trying to memorise this ritual, so I knew what to do when my time came.
I was next, and I started to do the ritual I had seen him do before. He stopped me though, grabbing my hands, and laughing.
No, Leonie. You are different.
And he looked into my eyes, and spoke the words of my soul, telling me who I was and why I was here.
He sat down in the earth, and motioned to me. I sat down on his legs, and he held me like a child, rocking me back and forward.
Oh Leonie, you were born to be joyful. You have done the hard work in past lives already. This life is a resting place for you. Your life will be easy and joyful for you, you must remember this.
And he rocked me back and forwards, laughing, and I was laughing, and crying, feeling washed in the most profound love I have ever felt.
And we stayed like that for a long time.
When it was time to go, I walked back along a mountain path at sunset.
A blonde giant of a man walked beside me (I think it was my Do-er self). He had sad eyes, and he sighed a lot.
Everything’s going to be okay
I told him. He leaned on my shoulder.
We walked back down into the valley, and it was dawn. It was raining softly, and the light caught in prisms of dew in the grass, casting rainbows everywhere.
Look, I said.
It’s a miracle. You will see now. You will see what it all means now, and what a joy it is to be here.
I woke up in the soft dark of this morning, with the crescent moon’s light shining on me, and a smile on my face.
It was the end of One Of Those Days.
And it was the beginning of a new one…