remember

The day I remembered was the eve of the solstice, that shortest of days when my ancestors kept watch in the ever darkening season for the return of the light. I was with my sisters for a few nights, and I’d brought with me a few seeds of ideas for our more structured time together . The first was the pulled-off-the-internet invitation to create a seed mandala, the seed at the center, layers of nurture and protection blanketed about it. The second was a journal article, sent to me by a friend, that invited me to look beneath the surface of my seemingly frivolous addictions, longings, and passions for the seed of truth hidden within them.

At the time, I, like the author of the article, had been smitten – she by a character in a silly television series, me by some corny canoe love songs. (believe it or not, there are songs written by men about their canoe paddling women). It didn’t take long in the silence to discover what was scarcely covered over in my foolish fondness for those tunes- the desire to be seen through such tender eyes, the yearning to be celebrated for who i am, the pain of being seen as ridiculous (ridicule is scarcely embedded in that word).

Quite suddenly, though I hadn’t at all known it lay buried within me, it was clear that what i was longing for, and what had been lost, was the sense of my Belovedness. Yet, there was that tender seed, wrinkled and dry but still full of potential, in me and I vowed to nurture and to protect that seed I had uncovered.

I came to a retreat in Massachusetts a few weeks later bearing gently that awaiting seed. My intent, beginning that week of silence, was to tend to it, to build up the soil around and beneath it, a soil that felt both dry and barren. I wondered if the seed had grown a hard covering to survive that harshness. I wondered at the long dark winter she had endured, yet somehow survived.

During my time on that retreat, there was a deep familiarity, a deep remembrance, in the words and the stories that were shared by the teacher, in the practices and prayers that were lovingly offered. I had been drawn to the presenter because, listening to him speak on podcasts at home and reading his words on the page, I noted a familiar tenderness, which I hadn’t experienced in some time. I had joked with persons back home that he was my ‘grownup Mr Rogers’, the way his words and his voice touched me. He re-minded me, I suppose you could say, by speaking the language of value, understanding and Love.

I heard in that familiarly, resounding echoes of an earlier time in my life, when I had been similarly lost. It was then that I understood that the seed inside of me wasn’t some sort of anomaly uncovered, dropped from someplace outside of me. It was lying there in the bed of my being because something in me had bloomed once before. Blossomed and fruited Ripened and died.

Dropped that seed.

In the resonances of the language of that Heart-full retreat I remembered the beauty and the fragrance of that long ago blossom, and I wept. Tears of loss. Tears of tenderness. Tears of reunion. Tears perhaps that might water that seed in me.

There was an exercise we were given one afternoon. We were asked to recall a recent painful experience, to embody it as fully as possible, with all of our senses. Once we held the fully felt awareness of that experience, we were invited to imagine a knock upon the door, a luminous being of some sort come to help. When I opened the door, there She stood, radiant and full of tenderness. The suggestion given was to allow Her to switch places with me, let Her enter my body and walk into the painful place in my place while I observed. As I watched that scene unfold in my mind’s eye, She was disregarded and diminished when she sat down at that table, same as I, as if those in her midst also could not see her love-liness. There was something so profoundly painful in that for me, in seeing this Beloved One being dishonored in such fashion, that I wept once again. The tears were much harder this time, filled with the hardness of the pain I’d been holding inside my body. It was as if only through Her eyes could I acknowledge that pain, extend to it the compassion, tenderness and even fierce protection I have been unable to give to myself. So thoroughly defended have I been that even Love has not been granted entrance.

And the hardened soil around that seed began to thaw as the warming light of the Sun slowly returned on that horizon.

Now, I realize that the Love that I seek cannot be found outside of me. In lover, or beloved teacher. In the positive regard of others. Not even the Earth Herself. I realize that the luminous Being of my imagination lies within me. She embodies my own Wisdom and Love. It is me who must give to myself the regard that I seek, believe in my value and worth, behold my lovability. Sometimes that task feels too large. There is deeper despair within that, which I haven’t completely named, for the thing that has been lost to me that I cannot seem to re-member is the presence of a Beloved Other, who can hold that for me when I can’t. I wish that Member might return to reconnect with me, that Blessed One who made that blossom to flourish those long years ago, but somehow I doubt I can let that One in. I can’t seem to find the place where She fits.

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