I have a confession to make: I still have a paper calendar. I’m not a luddite per se, I just like the physicality of it, and being able to see the whole month at once, and the pretty, orange inkblot design on the cover.
I have a ritual that I perform every January. I go through my calendar and map out what’s important to me. I put in my vacations, my yoga classes, my self-care time, the days I’ll be working on my dissertation, the hours I’ll be with clients, and the weekends I run my trainings. Of course I leave room for spontaneity and the element of surprise as well (who knows when I might be whisked off to Brazil by a new lover :)). But there’s something about attending to the structure of what’s important that relaxes me and creates space for the magic to unfold.
This past January, as I mapped out my calendar, I found myself writing something surprising on Wednesdays, my “stay-at-home, work-on-my-business, and get-shit-done-days”—the word “Foundation.” I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant at the time, but it felt good, so I went with it. I’ve learned by now to trust my intuition.
Last Wednesday, as the excavators jackhammered through my bamboo floor and ripped up the foundation of my house to get to the broken pipe underneath, I began to understand.
2016 is my year for rebuilding the foundation of my life.
This is the year that I am finally attending to the rotted pipe that goes from my kitchen sink into the sewer line. This has needed to happen for a very long time. (I’m over sticking my hand down my kitchen drain and pulling out bits of decaying food because the pipe is too backed up to work properly.)
This is the year I am replacing my floors, replacing my old, semi-broken windows, and hiring someone to weed my wildly overgrown yard.
This is also the year (God willing) that I am finishing my dissertation. It’s been a looong time coming, and I’m finally leaning in instead of avoiding the pain of academic writing and bureaucratic rigmarole.
This is the year I am refinancing my home, and shifting my financial structures to see if I can save on taxes. I’ve also hired a Program Coordinator to take the mechanics of marketing my trainings off my plate.
And, this is the year that, apparently, I am writing a book—on the spirituality, neurobiology, and psychology of being an Empath. (It is what has begun to emerge from my 90-day writing vow). And although it started, as most beautiful creations do, in a burst of sex hormones and a flurry of inspiration, I’m now in the slogging-through stage—the organizing, the research, and the listening for what wants to be told. (Writing a book is not exactly like writing a blog post I’m learning!)
In my women’s council the other day I reported on what I am up to:
Excavating, replacing the floor, refinancing, finishing my dissertation, and honoring my 90-day vow.
And what I’m not up to:
Most notably, I am not teaching my favorite thing in the world, the program that uses all of my High Priestess capacities. The program that helps healers find, embody, and trust their gifts. The program that every time I complete I find myself saying, “I can’t believe we get to do this”—Courting Your Medicine.
Pushing the pause button on Courting this year felt like extracting a tooth. My co-facilitator and shaman sister, Katie, and I spent a week journeying, dreaming, pulling tarot cards, and praying on this decision. In the end, there were too many signs pointing to “slow down” for us not to listen (including our assistant quitting, a mild car crash I got into, and the fate of the temple where we hold the program being up in the air).
Letting go of Courting was an identity loss. I feel the closest to the Divine when I’m holding space for healers to discover who they are. All of me—my facilitation skills, my ability as a therapist, my ceremonial training, my tracking capacities, my love, my intuition—gets used.
But now, as I look at the hole in my floor, and the aspects of my life that are wanting my attention, and what’s emerging in the space that Courting held, I’m glad I let it go.
I am also not participating in a powerful women’s temple on sacred sexuality that I joined last year, even though it feeds my soul and leaves me feeling juicy, lit up, and alive. And I’m not running a new online program that I’ve been dreaming up, Healing for Healers, or my 30-day meditation program, Opening to the Divine.
If I get really honest with myself, I have to admit, I’m addicted to the process of creation. I love the play, the newness, the inspiration. Creating is hot. It lights me up and has me feeling turned on. While slowing down, signing a gazillion papers to refinance my home, hammering out footnotes for my dissertation, writing and re-writing transitional paragraphs for my book, does not.
In my women’s council, after I recounted what I was and wasn’t doing, I paused, and said, “Well, I guess it’s not very sexy but it needs to be done.”
One of my sisters, a strong, powerful wild-mare of a woman piped up: “I beg to differ, Love, I think it’s damn sexy.”
And in a way, she’s right.
The path to wholeness is about balance and attending to all of who we are. My High Priestess capacities are developed. I’ve been investing there. I’ve spent most of my resources on trainings, spiritual retreats, personal healing, and leading transformational workshops.
But my home, my car, my dissertation, my finances, and aspects of my body—these things have often gone neglected. My foundation needs to be attended to. Without a strong container, the High Priestess of me would have no temple. Without a strong foundation, there’s nothing to hold what I birth.
In the masculine/feminine map, I guess you could say that I’m in my masculine these days: creating a structure and getting shit done.
In the chakra map, I’m now in my first chakra, the root. In the past, I’ve gravitated upward, towards the spiritual pursuits and my physical life suffered for it. Even though I’m a somatic psychotherapist and teach embodiment, occupying my root hasn’t always felt natural for me. And although I’m skilled at holding space for others, when it comes to holding that same container for myself, I’ve been leaky.
In the past/present/future map I’m finally living in the now. This is a vast improvement, as I’ve spent most of my life in the future, while, like most of us, being unduly influenced by the past. The future is hot, creative, full of ripe possibilities, while the present, as magical as it is, requires a steady presence that hasn’t always been easy.
It’s my birthday this weekend; I will be 44. Last year at this time I held a miracle party. I invited all my friends to come to my house and tell stories of the miracles they’ve experienced in their lives so that we could all bask in the ripe field of possibility. I did this because I was wanting to manifest a miracle in my own—a future dream that I’ve been holding for a very long time, to be a mother. We lay around on my living room floor, like indigenous cave dwellers, hunkered down for the winter with only our stories to keep us warm. We spoke of statues of the Virgin Mary that magically bled wax, of mysterious encounters with wild animals, of necklaces that appeared out of thin air, of meeting lovers in magical ways, and of babies. And as we spoke, the Divine became more and more manifest in the room.
It was wonderful. But this year’s birthday will be different. I’m having a sweet, small gathering at a restaurant with a few friends. It’s not that I don’t want a miracle or am no longer open to them; I am still courting magic. It’s just that “the now,” with her solid ground and earthen ways, is seducing me into attending to the life that I have (my home, my body, my dissertation, my finances) so that I can make space for the miracles to occur. And I’m still very open to becoming a mother. I’m just not exactly “holding” on to the dream. I’ve handed it over to God, where it belongs.
The process of creation, as they say, is one part inspiration and four parts perspiration. I guess I’m in the perspiration right now—the gritty work of it all.
I know I’ll be in my feminine again, in my High Priestess. But if you want to find me over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be picking out bamboo floor samples and talking plumbing. And although I’ve always been partial to the sex magic of conception, I have to admit that leaning into the details of my life instead of turning away from them, feels strong, grounded, trustable, and even, a little bit sexy.
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