Year in Review
This time last year I told myself 2018 would be a year to confront what has held me back. I promised myself a year of transformation. I knew this would be difficult — transformation is a high expectation — but I did not know in what ways. I had little go with with, but I started. I set out, thinking that the mountain peaks held an access point to an infinite sky.
Personal exploration within a culture that is currently in its own process of self-examination is disorienting. Civilization provides us with very few constants, if any, and the noticing of this, I think, was my first step towards growth. Up held no more answers than any other orientation.
I turned to the Earth to hold me and embraced suspension in the unknown. My constants became my feet on the earth, my head in the air, and the fire and water which move between, within me. I walked the edges of my knowing, starting simply with finding the boundary of my skin, and then, in ever widening circles. On this indefinable line, I began to accept when I lost my balance. Balance, I realized, was not a goal to gain, not a place to get to or a box to check. So, I walked wildly, but not without harmony, moving inward and outward. I learned how to breathe into resistance, bringing light to dark and dark to light, and unlearning the difference.
I opened myself, made myself a container without a lid, so when my conscious mind became too tired, my dream self took over. Though my journey was a tumultuous one, I found anchors in stories — the stories of others and the stories I told myself along the way. My teachers took many forms. I found wisdom in humans, both living and dead, real and fictional, as well as in animals, plants, stones, water, soil, fire, and the weather, but they did not guide me. Through their tellings, they shaped keys for me, which I chose to use or not to use, as I continued on.
I am describing this journey using the past tense, but all of this is what I carry into the new year. If there is one thing I have left behind, it is being guided by time. Before, now, later — these words still apply to my civilized endeavors. I notice my lengthening hair, my aching joints, and the crows have started leaving tracks on my face. I know in some sense time is passing, but my being moves in a continued dance that has no beginning and no end.
And, so, a constructed calendar year has passed since I made this promise to myself. I am, of course, still the person I was — I bought a 2019 planner and I have an alarm on my phone to remind me to drink water four times a day. This civilized part of myself looks down at the skins I have shed, and pats my shoulder saying, “wow, good job! I really figured some stuff out. Happy New Year!” While my wild twin is still at work tearing my knowing apart, riding the alchemical pendulum from black to white to red to black again. This process of continued naming and unnaming is painful, but, in a way, it is effortless. And, truly, there is nothing more beautiful than a glimpse of the stars shining through the cracks.
Wyrd School (Paul Kingsnorth and Caroline Ross): https://wyrdschool.ie
Beautiful Little Dancing Crow: https://drdeborahfrances.wordpress.com
Cunning Crow Apothecary (Ylva Mara Radziszewski): https://cunningcrowapothecary.com
Mosaic Voices (Michael Meade): https://www.mosaicvoices.org
Peter Brown: http://www.peterbrownhealing.com
Shakti Vinyasa Yoga: http://shaktivinyasa.com