While I was away on vacation, others back home were moving through their own changes and transitions ...
Only one week had passed, but I left my baby-girl and came home to this young colt of a girl child
Such wonderful support and words for my last post ... truly, it helps to be witnessed and to have one's experience affirmed and supported. To know that many of you understand the discomfort of transitions and the confusion of re-entry is healing balm to my soul.
I've often joked after any retreat "re-entry will be hard." It isn't a joke, although it helps me to stay light about my experience or rather be light and gentle with myself.
The oracle card I drew upon return speaks about tender buds, new growth and the importance of gentle but persistent care and attention to the needs of new life. (And now I laugh realizing moving statues and outside signs of support and encouragement are always around me - it is just remembering to expand my understanding of the ways the Universe chooses to communicate with me.)
I remembered a story I once heard told by Marisa Haedike's husband Sean Hogan, an alumni of The Groundlings Improv School which really captures the truth of what I am experiencing right now. Unfortunately, the link for the podcast is gone, so my attempt to convey the story will be somewhat diluted.
The story was about the experience of hanging out in that space of not-knowing which Sean referred to (or as I remember it) "the gray space." It is that threshold space of leaving something behind but awaiting insight to know what the next move should be. It is about surrendering the need for total control and understanding and opening oneself up to instinct or intuition. The example Sean uses is an exercise from improv class where the group stands in a circle and one person is handed an imaginary ball of clay. They are to mold and play with this lump of clay until a form presents itself to them. In other words, they are not to impose their idea upon the clay, but are to engage with the material and the act of molding until inspiration or insight presents them with a form.
Sean talked about how it is obvious when a person is engaged in the process, and it is obvious when another person begins to worry that they are taking too long with the exercise and rush themselves rather than allowing the "solution" to organically present itself. The lesson is an awareness of our ability to stay in that awkward and often uncomfortable space of not-knowing, of waiting, the gray space where things are indeterminate and unclear.
What is the solution here? For me, it is to lean into that gray space staying present for what comes up and just noticing my desire to rush ahead and what that means for me. Ultimately, rushing or forcing things before the time is ripe speaks to me of lack of trust; not trusting myself and not trusting the Universe.
I am grateful to Cat for sharing with me in the comments section wise words that articulate the deeper meaning and importance behind my recent vacation/life transition and struggle in re-entry and integration. The story of the Seal Wife recounted by Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Sealskin/Soulskin has always been a powerful and personal story for me. I've identified with the feeling of being divided between two worlds; now I am re-reading the story for an understanding of the lesson of how I can return home to my Self.
As in the tale, if we establish a regular practice of intentional solitude, we invite a conversation between ourselves and the wild soul that comes near our shore. We do this not only just to "be near" the wild and soulful nature, but as in the mystical tradition since time out of mind, the purpose of this union is for us to ask questions, and for the soul to advise. (Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves)
Abiding with myself, resting in that gray space of not-knowing (yet), trusting that my aloneness at this phase of my journey is precisely what Estés explains as the goal of solitude:
To be all one. It is the cure for the frazzled state so common to modern women .... It [is] also used as as an oracle, as a way of listening to the inner self to solicit advice and guidance otherwise impossible to hear in the din of daily life.
I am gathering all the seeds I've collected ... gathering reminders of my travels and discoveries ... sifting and sorting and planting and playing. Awaiting with curiosity and an open mind what will take root and grow. Trusting this little guide who presented himself to me while In New Zealand
Kingfisher indicates a period of increased mental and spiritual
activity. He will show how to manifest your destiny by listening to your
intuition. Since psychic perceptions are increasing, he will instruct
how to remain grounded in the earth and be comfortable in doing so. Take
time for yourself in quite solitude connecting to Mother Earth.
Grounding and centering is needed. Although he may be shy, he knows how
to strike with determination. How are you using your "dagger-like bill"?
He will teach the art of timing and when to act. Kingfisher
demonstrates excellent visionary skills and will teach how track your
"prey". He directs attention to feelings and what is unseen. Watch
carefully what is going around you. Listen to your dreams and visions. (from Animal Totem Dictionary)
Another reminder that support and guidance is all around me, I just need to fine tune my eyes and ears to better perceive the messages.