Again I am waking up at 3:00 am to the tossing and turning of my chatty mind reflecting on the memories of the past. Something deeper is stirring within me as a constant shaking to pay attention to the night’s secret language. Encouraging me to listen to my heart’s longing to journey into new horizons. Something is changing in my life and its big.
My one and only daughter is turning 18 in a few weeks and graduating from high school. She is going off to college, and her daily life under my roof is quickly shifting to a new frontier. She will be leaving for college in upstate NY, and I am terrified, thrilled, joyous and deeply saddened at the same time.
My heart is shouting,”I am ROOTING for YOU,” while my head is filled with the dread of letting go. I am human and aware of those mixed emotions. So I wake up to give myself permission to feel them all and not worry that my daily life is getting in the way of my desire to just BE with it all.
Why do I have to function when I want to just crawl into the woods and sit by my favorite tree and ask God, “ok, what’s next”? How am I to move forward into this uncertainty of my future without the daily rituals of cooking dinners, watching basketball games, washing vast amounts dirty sports uniforms, and delighting in those small moments when she shares a special laughter on the many drives back and forth to school.
Now, I will be starting medicare as my daughter embarks on. her new journey. I am being asked to surrender parenting her, as she would say, “like a fifth grader!”
The change is everywhere and I am a witness to the many stories everyday that are being presented in everyone’s lives. From the awakening in our country of the hidden shame of racism, to the angst of women’s voices needing to be heard, to the anger of bias opinions that our learned tribe holds rigid over the right to choose birth control or the ending of an unwanted pregnancy, to the constant fight to carry fire arms as a moral need.
Growing up in the 70’s was a time to embrace feminism knowing that the world was always going to make me somehow a second class citizen to the economics of my male colleague. I have always been clear that no one owns my soul, and maybe thats why today I struggle with the confusion of roles.
I am more than my role, my outer identity. Yet as I begin this new path, I feel like the structures are crumbling and the walls are shifting as I fall to the earth and ask, “who am I?”
The yoga center has been my safety. My belongings exist in these rooms and my purpose was to commit to maintaining a home for all souls to grow and be seen beyond the outer identity of a body. Teaching yoga is my gift. Living yoga is my daily effort and practice as I struggle in my need to hold on to what I know is familiar.
Now I am being asked at those early morning wake up calls with the Divine to move into a new phase of sharing my heart and soul. I am being asked to risk and go into the confusion of not knowing anything!
Last week, I went through my own phoenix rising, as I watched the burning of Notre Dame. Like the long-lived bird in Greek mythology who cyclically regenerates and is born again. A phoenix obtains new life out of the ashes of its predecessor. Beginnings arise when the old is burned away and the purification becomes the new life at rebirth.
To witness the immense fire on that April evening was tragic, and I grieved with the world as we saw over 800 years of beauty in structure and form representing the lives of so many worshippers all around the world. I grieved the memory of all those who spent their entire life building the church with care and craftsmanship unlike anything we see today.
In the morning, however, I saw the remains of ash and empty spaces where the wall and roof once held the sacred artifacts of history. The outer beauty might have been destroyed, but the invisible beauty of its pure spirituality was revealed in that early morning light. The cross was left in the ash, and the stain glass window reflected the light of the morning sun.
God had room to breathe into the new expansive awakening of the true heart of Christ’s healing and love. Choir voices rang outside in the city’s streets, and the people cried, hugged, and grieved as if they all experienced the loss of something familiar. The bittersweet of memory opened up to possibility, and the beauty of the human soul breaking open.
Sometimes, the beauty is felt in its most pure essence as the invisible. A collective embrace with the divine. April 15 would have been my parents 69th wedding anniversary. I had spent the day in reflection missing them and yet celebrating their sweet love affair. I remembered all the tragic events six years ago when bombings killed innocent runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon. I also remembered April 15 was the date Abraham Lincoln was shot, the date of the sinking of the Titanic, and our tax day.
On this particular date, we also struggle with the great division in our landscape of moral compass when we either see our leaders as villains or victims, and long for the return of a collective hero. The news stories were full of April 15, as they were on the full moon of April 19 as a completion for Good Friday and Passover into the holy day of the Christian church of Easter as we again witness mass murder in Sri Lanka.
Yes, it has been a ride this month into the depth of humanity as a reminder of endings beget new beginnings.
I am reflecting on what is coming into my life now. My necessary surrendering into a new role while I seek the courage to embrace unknown new adventures. Stepping into new experiences. Fully letting go is the most love we can share, since the concept of "giving love" might imply a deeper need to get something in return.
When I embrace the abundance of life in the fullness of love and light, then the intelligence of spirit flows through me, and I am reminded that love is all there is. The forms will change, the roles will change, my body will age, and yet my soul is more alive in the invisible space of this truth. I can feel the invisible embrace of beauty.
Sometimes life will present our own internal fire of such deep purification that we, too, will rise up as the phoenix and expand our wings. Each new day is our beginning. Each day is a practice with the inner presence of being fully alive to all the creative, brilliant possibilities that await.
Embrace this mystery with curiosity and passion as the secret ingredients for staying in love. The breath is the invocation of life. May we be willing to accept change as a gift and a blessing. I am fully awake now and ready to say, “yes.”
I extend the Celtic blessing for this season of change:
”May the light of your soul guide you.
May you see in what you do, the beauty of your own soul.
May you release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, and excitement.
May you be present with what you do.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.”
I love you Colby—go fly. Together let’s enter into this journey with wings.