In this year of the snake there is a lot I am shedding. Much of the transformation this year will be physical and obvious to anyone who has seen me. Some of the change has been happening internally for some time. When I moved to Florida 7 months ago I set out to CREATE myself. I wanted a fresh start. I needed a blank canvass. Living in the same place my entire life had its advantages. It also had its disadvantages.
It is HARD to shed old ways of being and grow into a new self when you live in the same place your entire life. As you wiggle loose from patterns and habits you no longer wish to hold, friends and family are nearby to define you in the same old ways they always have. The canvass is never blank. It hasn’t been blank since you were born. It is cluttered with bits of your old life, childhood, adolescence, once held theologies and practices, and of course – other people’s wishes for you.
Coming to Florida was rich with promise and it continues to be. I know you can’t leave your problems behind and held no illusions that I would be “getting away” from anything. Yet, I found myself distressed back in November when the new me had not yet emerged. I forgot how long it can take to create something, to give birth.
As part of that continued process, I am observing Lent this year. I have never observed Lent before. While I love Easter and consider it one of my Holy Days, I’ve never given much thought to Lent. I always saw it simply as giving something up, denial of pleasure – the exact opposite of my spiritual beliefs. This year I was drawn to do more reading about Lent and found some phrasing I could work with, “becoming spiritually prepared.” I can work with this. The United Methodist put out this handy guide to encourage deeper reflection during Lent and utilize the popularity of social media. So today I am considering the question “who am I” as I begin my observance of Lent.
Who am I?
The temptation right away is to list the labels. I am a mother, friend, chosen Sister, Pagan, UU, Witch, lover, geek… but labels aren’t what this is about. Who am I really, deep down in my core?
During Lent we will move from Pisces into Aires; moving from the dissolution of identity and self into the very sign of self, the sign of “I AM.” An astrologer and community leader I hold much esteem for says this, “Who am I is an impossible question for the seeker to answer. I am not my name or y title. I am not my education or the things that I love or hate. Who am I really leads me to ask what am I really?” Last year as part of a deep study of leadership, identity, and astrology I worked in a group as we cycled through the zodiacs via reflection, writing, discussion, and ritual. In the section for Aries we listed our essentials for each of the 12 houses of the Zodiac. What is so essentially “me” that without it I would not be “me” anymore?
Who am I? Essentially…
I am a seeker. I am a lover. I am an edgewalker. I am a bridge builder. I am a leader. I am love. These are essential to who I am.
I am constantly seeking in my spiritual development. I look within through sitting practice, writing, and ritual. I look without through lessons being given to me by my teachers, my peers, the words of prophets, poets, and other seekers.
I am a lover. As Rumi says “wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.” I am lover to Spirit and on occasion to Spirit as manifested in physical form. I am a lover of poetry, of spirituality, of music, of dancing in rain and waterfalls. I am a lover of ritual, or art, of liberty.
I am an edgewalker. I walk along those outside places – outside of social norms, outside of acceptable conversation, outside of complacency. I walk in shadow and kiss darkness.
I am a bridge builder. I connect people, places, worlds. I carry messages, merge realities, blend stories. I help heal what is broken, mediate, reflect, model. I reach across the divide in an effort to unite with what is Holy and True and invite others to join me.
I am a leader. If this one thing, of all of these, was taken away – I am not sure I would exist. I do not know how to NOT be a leader. It is wired into my being as sure as there is blood in my veins. I lead in every area of my life. I also follow.
I am love. I learned this beautiful lesson in the autumn when everything was falling from the sky, when everything seemed brown and dead, when my heart wanted to fall from my chest like an old crunchy leaf at the base of an Oak. I leaned in. I realized love is a noun. I am love. When I am aligned and Spirit is flowing through me, I am love.
My picture to observe today’s prompt, who am I?
Pictured here is a black heart, representing my aligned Self; liberated and free and within it the 7 pointed star, symbolizing my connection to the Guardians. This piece was made for me by a friend and purchased at my first witchcamp. Because of its origins it ties together 3 important traditions which I hold dear: Feri, Reclaiming, and the teachings of Diana’s Grove.
This heart is resting on top of my recovery journal. The journal is covered in my art. This collage was one of the first which opened my eyes to view my collage work as art. This represents a significant break through in emotional blocks I have had around art for years. The journal itself is dedicated to my recovery work, specifically 12 step work. This is important because it symbolizes my healing as well as my commitment to writing.