I think it’s time to forgive all the Sarahs. Heck, not just forgive them — thank them!
They were doing the best they could. They had lessons to learn! I couldn’t be who I am today without them. Wait, this is sounding like an acceptance speech . . .
“I’d like to thank the academy, my husband, my agent, and I’d especially like to thank all the Sarahs who helped me get to where I am today:
“Law-school-Sarah, thank you for showing me what is possible when all my focus is channeled to one task. You showed me that if I stand squarely in my masculine I can achieve pretty much anything I set my mind to. (Never mind if most of it is a pointless exercise in competition, winner-take-all gamesmanship, and distorted-masculinity. But I digress.) You also showed me that there is a cost to be paid when it means shutting down my feminine energy that is the source of vitality, joy and creativity. Law school Sarah, I look at photos of you and I think, damn, that girl just needs a break. Your hair is dry, your face is puffy and you don’t really exude happiness do you? You showed me the costs of polarity within myself. Thanks for that very big lesson, girl. Now go get a facial!
“I’d also like to thank grieving, collapsed on the sofa new-mom-Sarah for showing me the gifts of surrender. Girl, you had a tough time of it too. Your mom died, your cat died, and you could have probably used a facial as well. But wow you learned that there are times to surrender and throw your arms up. To proclaim to the universe, I don’t have any answers so some help here would be appreciated. You learned to be still and receive. You gave so much of yourself that you were due for a long period of rest and renewal. You found your way back to your heart and lit the spark of the divine feminine within. You transmuted pain with your writing and art. That is kind of a big deal! I’m so thankful for you for showing the way back to the things that make my heart sing. What a gift!
“And lastly–this is the hardest one because it is so raw–I’d like to thank infertility Sarah. I didn’t want to see your gifts because not fair! But alas, you had them too. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have demanded my own vitality. Imagine that. It took a representative of the patriarchy–a male in a white lab coat, discussing my body like it was a machine to be fixed and tweaked–for me to realize that this was not okay. It was not okay that my body was dried up, spent, and lacking in feminine life force itself! It was a confirmation of something I knew and had ignored: that I had given too much and my cup was empty, that there had to be a better way of living than depending on another cup of coffee. You showed me, dear heartbroken Sarah, that you matter. You matter beyond comprehension. You matter more than your ability to create new life. Imagine if you had waited to learn this lesson from staring at a different clinical diagnosis? What a gift that you were shaken awake.
“What’s that? You cut to commercial five minutes ago? But there are so many other Sarahs to thank! Fine, but I won’t leave this stage without a fight. Oprah for president! Impeach Trump! You will not silence me!!” [Mic cut.]
For real though, there are other Sarahs to thank. But for today this will do.
What past selves do you think you might be able to forgive? It’s okay if it doesn’t come easily or quickly. This post is the end product of more sad, self-indulgent journal entries than I care to admit!
Before there were synced calendars and day planners and even before there were trapper keepers, there was a little girl who sat in trees. She sat in the trees for what felt like hours, though it might have been mere minutes. She dreamed, journal-ed and sketched. She transported to a place of joy and bliss, cradled in the crooks of maples and oaks, conversing with imaginary beings.
Eventually the little girl grew up and as happens, she stopped sitting in trees. She loved her art and writing and singing, but she was so very good at accomplishing what was asked of her –grades, scores certificates and awards–that little by little the doing and achieving overtook the being and dreaming. Sure, there were times she held on tightly; she traded calculus for art class, she filled nearly three dozen personal journals, and she took an art class here or there even as an adult. But no doubt, over time she shifted. She was a girl with goals and one day even the art was remembered as the silly musings of a child; the dreaming became purely the intellectual kind.
Nobody told her to put down the paint brush. They didn’t need to. She was a good rule-follower and she understood the unspoken rules of a world that stood in direct opposition to the place in the trees.
And so it was that decades later she found herself at the finish line all burned out and dried up. Even then she didn’t understand why. She was doing her very best to practice self-care and find balance within the system. She followed her heart within this system. She defied norms within this very system! So why wasn’t it working? What she didn’t know then is that no system–even this artificial world dominated by deadlines, goals and outputs, where rest was seen as a means to at some point get more done–did not exist outside the laws of nature. As far removed as she was from those trees of her childhood, the moon still waxed and waned above her. The seasons turned. The oak rested in winter and sprouted leaves in spring. Try as she might to will herself to make it work–to power through as she had always done–simply no longer worked because the answers would never be found in the wasteland.
The Wasteland burns us up and burns us out. Instead of following your own instincts, instead of discovering what it is that gives us joy, what makes our heart sing, we spend most of our lives trying to make other people happy…living from our head rather than our instinct for what is good and healthy.
The Heroine’s Journey for these times is a journey out of the Wasteland. Each of us has our own unique set of stories to tell: the story of the years we spent in the Wasteland, the story of our awakening, and the story of the path we took out of it.
Those were the words I heard last year, over and over. Follow the joy. It was that simple, so simple that it boggled my mind at times. Really, that’s it? Follow the joy? But where is it leading me and then what and what about after that? Listen, I’m an INFJ and if you know about myers-briggs you know that the J stands for judgment. It might as well stand for “Just watch me control and plan and assess and judge and achieve goals.” Follow the joy is so . . .fluid. Where is the road map?! Oh right there isn’t one. Because it unfolds every moment of every day.
As I enter 2018 I’m not making goals or resolutions, other than to continue to follow the joy. To suspend judgement. To sit in the mystery. To drop ideas and attachments. I’ve reached the place where I know that I don’t know much at all. Or at least, what I knew is no longer relevant to where I am now. I’m not going to throw out the yang with the yin, not at all. But I’m going to find a balance of being that honors the mystery, the dreaming, the intuiting as much as the assessing, the planning and the creating.
Where it takes me is likely beyond what my small mind could ever have dreamed. When I look back at 2016 to 2017 that is most certainly true. The ego had plans and the universe laughed. Thank goodness because the universe brought so much joy and beauty with its plans–I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How is everyone? Are you surviving #alternativefactland? Or are you starting to lose your ish? I will confess: I read one too many think pieces yesterday and felt ACTUAL PANIC. Creeping authoritarianism FTW. But, I am getting through with tweets from Alt-POTUS 45. You know, the twitter feed from an alt-reality where Hillary is president:
DAY 14: Destroyed the last Horcrux (Trump’s spray tan bottle). Subscribed Ryan to @TeenVogue. Sent Bill to CVS for Lindt truffle chocolates.
I’m pretty sure I need to stop reading Twitter though. As one person joked, there is now enough news to actually fill the 24-7 news cycle. You could literally stare at the stream of horror all. day. long.
But, no more. I have decided I need a news fast. For self-care. For sanity!
Nobody wants to think they are burrowing and hiding from reality. . .but I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy for me to be feeling PANIC, either. My new strategy (it’s only been two weeks and I’ve tried a couple already, sigh) will be to watch the news ONCE A DAY. Just once. Maybe PBS news after dinner. Not right before bed, not the first thing I hear in the morning. I dunno.
Because it is a bit addictive isn’t it, seeing the stream of horrors? Nobody wants to admit they are the type of person to peak at car accidents, but we all do it. You know, just to see if everyone is ok even though we know OF COURSE THEY ARE NOT OKAY THEY JUST CALLED JAWS OF LIFE. WHO ARE YOU FOOLING?!
Panic. I need to not feed into it. What are you feeding?
I have been thinking a lot about how it feels like I am straddling two realities. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may believe that this is the case. Some of us have woken up and others have not but boy they are being jolted awake now, aren’t they?
I keep reminding myself that as old ways are being dismantled, I don’t need to watch every brick fall in horror. I don’t need to gawk in horror at every 3 a.m. POTUS tweet. (There will be many.)
Instead, I can stay present, stay focused, and I can help dream a new world into being.
The shadow side of our culture is now exposed on many levels – and this is being shown in all countries around the world. The shadow had to come up to be acknowledged and healed. We all know how dysfunctional family systems get when there are secrets that are hidden. The shadow is now showing itself in such a profound way that it cannot be ignored or buried.
Part of the shadow is how money is seen as more important than honoring life, all living beings, and the Earth.
When we focus on the work we ride a different wave then the dense collective. It does not mean that we do not grieve what we see going on in how life is being dishonored. But if we express and work through our emotions and focus our energies on working in the invisible realms to spin a new tapestry that will one day replace the tapestry that is being dismembered we do make a huge difference. As I repeat again and again we were born to dream a new dream into being.
But the new dream manifests when the dismemberment is complete. And none of us are privy to the knowledge on the timing.