Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Backstory, Bounty, and Blessings from the Universe (sometimes painful, always good)

A great big "Thank You!" to whoever slipped fifty dollars into my coat pocket at some point between Georgia and Mississippi. Seriously? Seriously. I'm tickled and humbled and totally grateful.

Everyone keeps saying these adventures of mine will make a great book, but I'm pretty sure the above example and the following Cliff's Notes version sum it all up:

I travel. I give away herbs. I open my heart, strangers open their homes, and miracles occur. Together, we turn Enough into Plenty.

How far-out awesome is that?


Of course, that's not the full story.

A year ago I told my students I was leaving.

I didn't tell them how sick I'd gotten; how my adrenals were shot and my heart was heavy and I could barely make it to 2:15 before collapsing at my desk. I didn't tell them what I couldn't yet tell myself; that my six-year relationship was also reaching its desperate, terrifying, life-altering end, and with it, all the dreams and stability my partner and I had worked so hard to craft. I didn't tell them how hard I was trying to hold things together, or how scared I was of not knowing what would come next, or how I was so busy vacillating between euphoric and desolate, I couldn't tell if my inner self was singing, screaming, or just plain numb.

Instead, I told them how much I loved them, that I was looking forward to traveling and cooking and learning about plants, and I hoped someday they'd do the same.

I had no idea that three months later, I'd find myself on the other side of the world, prostrate and sobbing before the Goddess of Compassion. Or that three months after that, I'd move to a tiny, one-room cabin at the edge of the woods, throw myself into a new job, and leave three months after that, so I could spend the next three working my way from Pennsylvania to Mississippi, cooking breakfasts for strangers out of my car and dispensing tinctures and chocolates, bath salts and teas, from the depths of an ever-rotating reserve.

A season of death. A season of germination. A season of growth. A season of change.

Once again, we've come full circle, and I find myself marveling at the painful, wounded, necessary place I was in back then, and how little it resembles the (sometimes) painful, (mostly) healthy, and completely necessary place I've arrived at now.

Then again, a year ago, I still thought the right combination of willpower, stick-to-itivness, and emotional duct tape could keep the swiftly severing threads of my chosen life-rope from snapping apart. A year ago, I had no idea that in the end I'd find the strength to saw through them myself, choosing to lay the clean-cut ends down with love and reverence, rather than tear myself ragged in a futile tug-of-war against the inevitable.

I remember driving through the frozen streets of Burlington, singing and re-singing the same two lines of a song I've yet to complete:

I had nothing left to cling to
once my bridges were all burned
I felt ashes slip through my fingers
each a lesson that I'd learned.


Change can be a scary thing. Sometimes it manifests as a choice, and other times, it leaves us gasping and flailing, scrambling to stay upright in a newly-overturned world. Whether we're responding or reacting, anticipating or recovering, it's all part of the Journey. No one's immune. No one's exempt.

And no one's alone.


Blackbird's Daughter

PS- Funny how the other definition of change - the leftover bits of riches that most of us have scattered through our pockets and cars, the dull and shiny pieces we pool together when we're desperate and worried that we don't have enough - means pretty much the exact same thing.

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