Teaching My Soul to Sing

Last August, in Georgia, I sat under the bright full moon and surrendered my heart to never lightknowing the answers to questions I never asked.  Under the watch of towering pines, I gazed through a fire into the eyes of the person I loved beyond all reason and let go.  I wrote a little about that experience here.  What I remember from it now, this full moon, is how much ease I felt when forgiveness finally rooted in my heart, for myself and everyone else involved in the breaking that led to my becoming.

Occasionally I get caught up in wondering about the becoming of my Self.  What started it?  Was it the breaking of my heart?  I feel, at times, it was most certainly that moment when my becoming started.  But no, by then I had already become a person who could lean in, love beyond reason, forgive, and let my heart break open again and again while love transformed me.  Maybe the unfolding started when I felt loved for the first time, really feeling it root in my bones and become something I was sure of the way I am sure my lungs are working – I don’t have to worry about them, or force them, I just relax and breathe and they work.  I could keep going back in time trying to find the moment of my becoming but the truth is there are a thousand moments that shape who we are, who we will be.

What I do know is somewhere along the way I became someone who loved fiercely and fully.  I became the sappy romantic I used to secretly roll my eyes at.  I realized love is a synonym for God.

I never thought I would become someone who held love as their highest priority.  Much of my life, love was just a word. I had made it to my Saturn return without a lot of fanfare for it.  Then I unraveled and in doing so took down the walls around my heart, destroyed the stories about how love was for suckers, and just let myself be crazy in love.  When it all fell apart, I just kept unraveling.  I found love was something deeper than a relationship.  Love was bigger than a particular set of expressions.  Love could take something away from you and break your heart while, at the same time, giving you something precious and break you open.  I wrote about this for just over a year so I will save you from rehashing the details.

Then I fell in love again – with someone who wasn’t in love with me.  More heartbreak.  This time the unraveling really did feel like I was being undone.  I’ve spent the last few months questioning everything I had come to know about love, myself, my worth, and the goodness of life.

A boy undid me?  Pathetic.  This was ringing in my head for months.  How could a whirlwind romance with a man who was upfront about his lack of emotional availability or interest be strong enough to undo all those powerful lessons from before?  I will tell you how, childhood trauma.  All the old stories of not being good enough, not being worthy, not being lovable came back full force. So I came apart for the past few months.

Sifting through the pieces of this most recent heart break and the spiritual crisis that seemed to accompany it, I saw all the shinning edges again.  I saw another sign post on the journey of becoming.  This beautiful man made my soul sing.  There is no other way to put it.  His voice, his words, his writing, his music, the thought of him, his lips, everything… my soul would just sing.  It was like the song of the Universe lighting me up inside.  A musician, a poet, a preacher, a friend, a lover, a spiritual being – yes, my soul was SINGING.  Sometimes when I think of him, it still does.

Being undone completely, feeling 8 years of personal work slipping away, watching my spiritual practice just stop, watching my depression take over, realizing old patterns of escape were whispering to me all the time was all very terrifying.  All I could see was how far away I am from realizing some other important goals.

Then there was Nahko & Medicine for the People and the medicine of this song.

Suddenly I remembered the power I felt in leaving Arkansas last year, in visualizing a new life for myself by loading everything up and just going.  If I can change huge parts of my life by visualizing, and manifesting, leaving… surely I can visualize and manifest healing.

It’s beginning now… the healing.  I listen to Medicine for the People and sing and dance in my car. I’m finding new ways to set my soul to singing.  I’m still struggling with some darkness but mostly the light is breaking through those jagged edges again.

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Desire

“You placed your hand on my smoldering ruins like some relic, a holy man or poet,   Wholly sure: either you would not be burned, or it would be worth it.”  -Joy Berry

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I’ve spent a lot of time lately in a state of desire.  This isn’t something I’m wholly comfortable with, particularly around desiring a partner.  It feels weak to me to want to share my life with someone else.  This is a weird internalization of messages around what it means to be a strong woman.  Of course, I don’t need a partner.

Every time I try to talk about this desire I feel like I have to say “I don’t need a partner” as if to clarify and keep my feminist credibility. We’re supposed to be okay with being alone.  We’re supposed to be self-sufficient and never lonely.  We’re supposed to “work on ourselves.”  Any talk of desiring a partner can be read as weakness, seen as codependent, viewed as falling victim to the patriarchy.  At least this is the way I’ve internalized the messages.  I confess, I used to get really tired of seeing women pining for a partner, all caught up in attracting a mate, rattling on about how to get the right one.  Now I seem to understand.

I feel strong as ever.  I am creating a beautiful life in Florida.  I am working in a career I love.  My daughter and I are closer than ever. Heck, even the dog is happier here. Things are good…but I can’t shake the feeling that something is missing.  Part of that feeling comes from actively realizing what I desire in a partner.  The more I actualize this in my mind the more I miss it in my day-to-day.  I think this is a natural result of manifestation magick.  Just as when one begins crafting a spell to attract the right kind of job; you imagine the type of work you want to do, flexible hours, character traits of your supervisor and coworkers.  Through this work you create space in your life for this new job and part of you is always focused on longing for it, attracting it, and missing what you believe it would bring into your life.

So yeah, there are some empty spaces in my life and it can feel lonely.  I’m making room for someone and I have no idea when they’re going to arrive.  It’s like knowing you are love is the desire of every human soulgoing to have a house guest so you get the guest room ready, try to figure out their favorite flower for the bedside table, keep the house “company clean,” and wait.  Only I’m not having a house guest. I’m attracting a life partner, a lover, someone who wants to travel this world and this life with me.  Keeping my house “company clean” while I wait means continuing to work on my life, keep improving myself –for myself, and…wait.  The thing is the more I work on me, the more clarity I get about my desire and the more I notice the space I’ve been making.

In that space, I’ve been daydreaming a bit about what life would look like if that emptiness was filled with a lover, a partner.  These visualizations sometimes lead to realizations about qualities I want to attract to my life.  The realization that having a partner who plays guitar, likes to sing, and wants to cook with me would be a good fit in my life leaves me feeling just a bit silly for being so specific.  I know though that manifestation is one part clarity and one part flexibility so the Universe can bring you what you need.  So yes, a partner who plays guitar, sings, and loves to cook with me would be a good fit, just not the only fit.

I struggle with all of this.  The emptiness, the desiring, the discomfort around desiring, the disbelief that there is anyone out there for me… and my work continues.  I do my practice.  I go to work.  I hang out with my daughter. I go to AA meetings.  I sing.  I pretend I am eventually going to get around to learning the old guitar by the bookshelf.  I try to have fun cooking with me.  I am working on cultivating the Beloved within.  A friend tells me this is the work of attracting a partner, becoming my own Beloved so I shine out like a lighthouse calling the right person to me.  I know she’s right.

From my heart this shining blue – desire me, as I desire you

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“I once had a thousand desires. But in my one desire to know you all else melted away.” – Rumi

Love Moved Me

I was raised to be afraid of leaving. Only one family member, an aunt, ever left this place. She had a terrible time, following a husband who schemed and dreamed but never provided. She and her son were often homeless and living on peanut butter waiting to be brought home by my grandparents. When she left that marriage, she returned here and never left again. No, we are not people who leave. I was taught leaving here, being away from the support of my family, meant resigning myself to heartache, disappointment, homelessness, hunger, and possible abuse. My family has chained itself to this place like the people in the Devil card.  They could take the chains off at any time, if only they realized it. Their fear keeps them from seeing clearly.

Leaving, in my family, is also a betrayal. It means you think you’re better than, more important than, or someone who doesn’t think they need family. I can’t recall anyone ever speaking about my Aunt’s time away as something powerful for her, something positive, it was delivered to me as a warning.

It wasn’t until I found myself head over heels for someone living 700 miles from me that I ever seriously entertained the idea of moving. It was planted by my desire to be closer to her. I thought about what would be necessary for my daughter and me to have a good life, a safe place to live, and a community in a place where we really didn’t know anyone. I contemplated, dreamed, researched, and waited thinking I was waiting for the time to be just right. The relationship ended, but my desire to move didn’t fade.

I no longer wanted to be in Atlanta. There was no real pull for me there without this relationship but I knew I wanted to move. My lover had given me the space to put aside the handed down fear and sink into the idea of creating a whole new life for myself and my daughter. I kept thinking about where I might want to live. I travel a lot for spiritual retreats and writing conferences. I began to see each place as a possible new home. I was sometimes surprised at what I discovered.

I had expected to leave the South, having shunned much of my Southern roots to this point, but when I found myself in Savannah, Georgia I felt like I had come home. The slow pace of life, the thick accent people spoke with, the energy of the land and the hanging moss throughout the town pulled me in and I wanted to stay forever. This feeling was reinforced by the closeness of the ocean and the waves washing over my body as I cooled down on a hot June afternoon. I fell in love.

I had not expected this. I figured being queer, kinky, sometimes poly, and a witch that I was bound for San Francisco. When I visited there this February I was stunned to feel no call to the land whatsoever. I enjoyed visiting and would like to again, but I didn’t have any connection at a soul level and I couldn’t imagine myself moving there. I wanted to be on the east coast, preferably in the South. There are some roots worth keeping even while breaking away from others.

I kept collecting information and dreaming. I thought at one point I wouldn’t leave here. I fell in love with this land in a way I had not before. I wrote about it, dreamed about it, and felt the energy of the Ozarks pulsing in my veins. Home. Then love moved me a second time.

My best friend got a job 1300 miles away. I knew immediately I would go with her if I could. I would pack up what few things I really needed, my child and my dog and I would set off with her and her family anywhere she was going. Love moved me to this decision. Quickly we both realized it just wasn’t going to work. The logistics wouldn’t pan out. After getting over my sadness in realizing I couldn’t move with my friend I realized it was time to leave. Her moving away was the sign I had been waiting for. I applied for jobs across the country in a new career entirely, one I had dipped my toe in a few years ago and the same career path my friend is on. Now I am waiting to see where the Universe will carry me. I’ve done my footwork, acted with all my courage and left the outcome to the Gods, now I am ready to listen and move.

All my work right now has been on breaking through the passed down fears so I can show up and do the work needed to till this dry land and prepare for planting.  Soon a job offer will come and I will be faced with telling my family and truly beginning the process of breaking away.

Breaking away is going to be hard. I feel in every action I’ve taken to try and manifest a new life, like I have been tilling hard ground that has never been broken open. At times I don’t even have the right tools; I dig in the hard, dry earth with my hands. I am determined to plant these seeds and grow a new life.