It is the end of my first weekend apprenticing with the Four Seasons Journey, and when a dragonfly touches me three times, I am paying attention. Chest, belly, womb, the lightest of contact.
Opening Gathering is dynamic and nourishing, but in the lead-up to it, and in the return home, I feel stirred and triggered. Almost like my soul understands the deep safety of this circle and decides, without consultation with my rational self, to peel off the next layer of my Sacred Wound!
We pray Sagittarian Dark and New Moon prayers together, powerful releasing and calling in. I feel our collective energy as waves within my body: the magic is tangible, the words of my sisters mirroring my truth.
I let go of that which no longer serves. I let go of my ashamed silence. I give great thanks for being able to speak my truth, even when I feel very vulnerable. I give great thanks for my witness-self helping me to see my patterns and habits at play, and having the strength and courage and will to act according to my best, loving self.
I realise, this gathering, that part of my birth imprint is of shifting from energetic connection with my mama to sudden, stark disconnection after she had an epidural, and it’s at this subtle level that the pattern of my Sacred Wound plays out these days. Still needing to learn, at multiple levels of my being, that’s it’s safe to be in relationship, even when this disconnected, “you’re on your own” feeling arises.
I have travelled this ground so many times, ye olde Sacred Wound, and there’s been so much healing already but here it is arising once again, in the potency of this apprenticeship, and with it, a parallel condition of wanting my man to help me hold my pain.
Surely that’s the point of being together, being husband and wife? Surely I can expect a level of security and support?! And my wounded Hera adds, isn’t it my goddamn right as a wife? Aren’t I meeting your sexual needs?? Can’t you meet my emotional needs?? Isn’t this a transaction?? Pay up!!
I’m not talking here about physical security in the external world. I believe boundaries and practical security are vital. I don’t live with the fear that my man might walk out at any moment (well, he could, he’s a free man, but I trust we’d communicate deeply first!). Partaking of an unwell-held tantra experience years ago was a crash-course in the need for boundaries, highlighting my utter ignorance that I could create my own, both in myself and with my man, regardless of what others are or are not choosing. It’s the solidity of these physical-world agreements with Gord, like our agreements in circle, which create this safe container of relationship where I can explore myself more deeply, and unwittingly peel back more layers!
So I feel solid in the practical world, but in the energetic realm I have a survival instinct trip-wire coming out of my birth story: a hypersensitivity to any form of absence and disconnection, an awareness that sometimes triggers my infant panic. My response, usually, is to slam my own energetic doors shut with vehemence!
Interacting from this place, shut out from grace, love and flow, consistently yields bitter fruit. Invariably I feel pushed away by my man, and I’m inflamed! At least you could apologise for activating my stuff! It’s at least half your fault, surely, I find myself raging! And didn’t I just shag you this morning?? I’m getting the effing raw end of the stick!
A wise friend calls this our perpetual dilemma: that deeply uncomfortable dynamic we continue to create until the lessons resonate throughout our being and we begin to live out its gifts instead. The call – demand, really! – of our perpetual dilemma is to act differently, cos it’s not going to change unless we do!
This oh-so-familiar SOS, aka Same Ole Stuff! Certainly feels like an existential emergency, cos I’m crying my guts out, but I’ve journeyed this painful lesson before. Yep, I get it, there are no guarantees, I cannot grab relational connection and lock it down, the only path forward is to open my heart up anyway and live with vulnerability and trust, the ultimate free-fall.
At times, this just feels too effing hard.
I find it a devastating irony: that when I’m feeling overwhelmed and low-capacity, saddened by my smallness, I – and only I – must take full responsibility for the weakest, most shameful aspects of myself, and soften – the hardest action of all! Because until I do, I can rarely hope to call forth empathy from another, the connection I so desire. How exactly do I welcome my wounded baby self home, yet not let her pain run the show when it inadvertently galvanises these deep survival instincts that no longer serve?
I’m gutted and grieved that task feels so huge, the bar of consciousness and right action set so impossibly high and far away. How am I supposed to get there without a Buddha-like level of awareness and strength??
What arises in my mind is that biblical story of manna, where the Israelites, wandering in the desert for forty years, are given a daily allotment of mysterious food by their god, Yahweh. Only enough for each day. If they store it up, it goes bad. But man, I’m that woman trying to store up emotional manna, desperately uncomfortable in the trusting, thinking surely it’s not too much to ask, just a little bit of security… Isn’t it my right not to feel hungry and desperate?
In this latest turbulence, I find myself asking why I stay in this relationship, if the call is to come to hold myself so well that I don’t need my man or anyone else to hold me? If there’s no guarantee of support when I’m at my weakest, why be married?
I ask Gord this question. You know why I stay? he says. Because this is the only context where I live unfiltered, where I get to see myself as I really am. And because this is one of the best, richest places in which I’ll grow to be that man not scared of conflict.
And I know this is true for me also. I could choose to step away from this particular crucible, but I’d only recreate it again with someone else. Because this is what my soul is crying out to learn, to live this alchemical transmutation of my Sacred Wound. I know it’s only in this context of close relationship, where I am periodically deeply pained and hurt, that I will learn (and am learning) how to hold myself well enough to soothe that deep birth imprint, the expectation of disconnection and my corresponding rage, grief and depression.
It’s in this safe space of our relationship that I can road-test the radical concept that I have enough. Enough love. Enough acceptance. Enough support. And to learn that, fundamentally, these are gifts I offer to myself.
Ironically, in accepting this painful alone feeling once again, I find myself with a companion: Gord sitting with me on the couch, listening empathically, sharing his wisdom and offering hugs.
And he speaks of this gift of honing each other, of tillering (in light of our bow-making weekend!), rarely comfortable, but the only way to become a Beau. (Did I mention, while my alchemical process always involves tears, his always involves jokes?!)
In bed, amidst of these emotional waves, we come together, sex as spontaneous healing ritual. I give you all the gifts of the feminine I can give you, I whisper in his ear. I open my womb to you more deeply than ever before. And in calling to him as Lover in those moments of ecstasy, I know I am also calling to myself. To a deeper love and holding of myself.
I talk with a friend the next day, without even saying much about the night before, and she mentions a Rumi poem she just read, titled Sagittarius, no less! She handwrites it out and emails it to me…
(like the moon, then like the sun)
Truly this month, I am living with the gifts of synchronicity, and the medicine of that nymph-kiss:
“Dragonfly urges you to break through self-endorsed limitations that hinder your development and growth. Look at yourself and acknowledge the illusions you may have woven around yourself as a form of protection.”
I wonder if, after wandering around in the emotional wilderness of my perpetual dilemma for forty years, I too might reach a land of milk and honey. Healed of this fear of abandonment and wholly open to relationship.
But the wisdom of the cycles tells me that’s all too linear, this striving for an end point. Seems there’s more truth in the idea that in this life I constantly cycle into wilderness and abundance, wilderness and abundance.
And the call is to know the wilderness as abundance too, somehow. To develop the eyes to see, the heart to trust, this wilderness as a teeming ecosystem rich with gifts. To find a gracious way of expiring in this place. Trusting the unseen. Trusting in enough.
Trusting in the radical gift economy of this present moment.
I remember the vision I received on my Quest:
I have been given so much.
To whom much is given, much is required.
There is nothing holding me back.
This ongoing task: to decondition myself of my fearful responses, and remember the truth of my fullness. The gift is, it’s slowly happening.
And my hope is that I, like Dragonfly, may emerge from a fully aquatic lifestyle, as a creature capable of full aerial flight, no longer restricted to the confines of the pond or river into which it was initially hatched.”
(Divine artwork by Patricia Ariel, Annemieke Mien and unknown)