What breaks you makes you. Vulnerable, you become stronger. You tend to your wounds, and you don’t let them define you. Except they do define you. And you must assimilate the shedding blood of your broken heart, and the poison too. Your wounds are part of the story of who you are, the continuum of your becoming, the tapestry of your existence. More of you is accessible to you not by assuming a sense of wholeness, but by recognizing that wholeness unfolds by pieces breaking open.
Tree trunks split by winds, or fire, or the heaviness of snow can become two trees unfurling out of one.
What you thought would crumble you, make you crippled, could be the very thing that reformulates who you are, and creates the necessary unfolding of more versions of you – ones that offer new possibilities for more than you. The story of your personal transformation is not meant to live in isolation.
An old, broken Redwood tree trunk, will give life to a circle of new Redwoods that sprout from the broken, fallen off parent tree. The dead one will continue to nourish the soil, supporting the young trees through its composting process.
What was going to harden you, close you off, armor you to the point where connection was barely a possibility, has made you strong, resilient, and more tender too. In the gentle sigh of tending to your tenderness, tendrils reach from your core, from the molten, creative, burning intensity of the earth’s belly, and your own, and reach to spiral and twine around a sense of substantial support.
We all need support.
When you hear “All the answers are within you,” it sounds lovely, doesn’t it? And there’s truth to it. It affirms the importance of your existence, reminds you to return to your wisdom, and wraps you in a cozy blanket of being someone you can trust. It’s just not the whole truth, because while it is essential that we learn to listen to ourselves, it is also not the only voice we need to listen to. It also leads to the spiritual narcissism that is so prevalent in the world today. The more voices we can make room for, the richer the ground of our growth becomes. Our wisdom is never just our own. And our growth does not mean much in separation.
Biodiversity is necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
These are the last few days in the Jewish year. And the scent of Fall is alive. Rosh Hashanah, which translates as The Head Of The Year, is this weekend. This is a doorway not only into the new, but through a process of reflection on the old. Moving forward includes weaving what came before into the creation of the future through the complexity of the present.
One of the things I find deeply inspiring is that so many of the stories that come from Judaism were actually told by other tribes and more ancient civilizations before and during the time when the Israelites showed up on the map. Myths of goddesses become stories of empowered women living under patriarchal rule. Love poems changing language and authors. Characters transmute, shapeshift, and repurposed.
We are all commingled creatures, co-participants in the making and breaking of cultures, collaborators in the problematics of appropriation, and connectors of worlds. We are made of what has come before us, what has come from the land, what has come from other places, what is coming through us. It’s not simple. We are not just our own voice. We are not just one thing. We are “a both and,” an ambiguity embodied.
As Summer offers its last few hot breaths, and softens its efforts so that it can become Autumn, we see the journey down into the underworld begin. A dance of dissolution swirls through the landscape. We learn from nature’s cycles that we must break down in order to regenerate, that we must fall off in order to rise anew, that there is no birth without decay, that shattering completes the cycle that must fracture itself in order to continue.
We can celebrate decay. We can grieve loss. We can hold the complexity of dissolving and becoming in a cosmic, earthy, personal, communal, collective cycle of simultaneous compost and renewal.
If you feel like this kind of a dance is your gem, check out the details for the Fall Equinox Somatic Ceremony. It’s an intricate journey into the new season, that includes a deep dive into mythopoetic exploration, a meditation/pranayama session, journal prompts to take you into profound reflection and conversation, and five embodied ritual sessions that put together, draw a circle around you and within you, so that you can breathe with the falling leaves, and allow your body, mind, heart, and creative energy to collaborate with the rhythm of the earth.
I would LOVE to have you be part of this magical, sacred, secular container that will support your transition from Summer to Fall. You can take this voyage through mythology, ceremony, and practice at your own pace. We start with the Equinox, but it’s yours to keep cooking with for as long as you’d like.
And if you want a quick practice that explores practice as ritual, check out this FREE video.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m here. I’d love to hear from you.
If you have some interesting thoughts about some of the concepts explored in this piece, write a comment below. Let’s keep this conversation alive.
And if this is moving you in any way, please do share this essay with your people, will you? Thanks so much!