Letting go of control and being present in my physical body does not come easily to me. So it was a surprise when I got completely, totally addicted to salsa dancing during law school. A dozen years ago, I was with friends at a restaurant in Iowa City on a Saturday night. The small dance floor at the opposite end of the room started to fill up with people as the Latin music cast a spell.
One morning Grandmother Eagle woke Young Eagle and bade him follow her to the mountain. It was early. Sun was just beginning to envelop all the world in his warm embrace.
Young Eagle loved his Grandmother very much. Of course he would go wherever she asked.
I’ve been thinking about the intersection of responsibility and following your heart—trusting yourself and the Universe. During the last while, I’ve been finding myself in situations that feel nearly impossible. Not only work projects and stress, but also adulting and parenting generally.
A few days ago, I was feeling frustrated with my husband—angry, too.
(Don’t worry, I cleared this disclosure with him. Also? The challenging nature of romantic relationships is hardly a secret.)
Last week it struck me that a mid-metamorphosis caterpillar would not recognize itself in the mirror. More likely, its reflection would produce confusion, maybe even horror!
(I know I’m anthropomorphizing to your detriment, Caterpillar, and I truly mean no offense. In actuality, I doubt you have have our human hang-ups about allowing change gracefully. Thank you for serving as the object lesson anyway.)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in serious transition now for years, and it’s not always pretty.
Despite everything I’m about to say, I had to override my inner critic to write the title. Ridiculous, right? I hope saying it and sharing it will deepen the imprint. Maybe it will help you find your groove, too.
Growing up, I internalized a warped idea that self-esteem is crap because of course we all love ourselves and that actually we need to focus on loving other people. I can see now a tug-of-war spanning my lifetime: my deep yearning for praise and external validation battling with the guilt—embarrassment, even—for wanting it in the first place. Why? Because on some deep level, I equated unconditional self-love with narcissism.
Last night at the Full Moon Tea Party, we each told what we wanted to give up to the Moon. My answer? Heaviness. Yes, the extra weight I carry from having my babies, but even more the unresolved emotional baggage I lug around, like we all do.
I’ve been thinking a lot this month about the energetic healing I experienced before my final pregnancy. I felt my baby’s spirit waiting for me, patiently, for years before she arrived Earth-side. After my second pregnancy, I was terrified to do it again because of how sick I get. But I knew it would be the biggest regret of my life if I didn’t. The theme of my journey to meet her became joy over fear.
The ability to give and receive forgiveness is a superpower we all have. I haven’t always appreciated this. For most of my life, I believed in repentance and atonement as essential for salvation. Of course, this isn't mutually exclusive with individual power to forgive, but abandoning these and certain other religious beliefs in 2012 made me take more accountability for myself. It also fleshed out my understanding of forgiveness.
(In sharing, I have no desire to offend, alienate or judge anyone who feels differently. Each of us has the privilege and responsibility of discerning what resonates. This is just part of my personal evolution, and I want to be honest with you.)