I just returned from the Fill It Up Buttercup retreat where I enjoyed the sweet company of creative women in that magically slowed down space. As we gathered to close our time together, an urge rose up through my body to get home and strip everything off the walls, off the table and counter tops, and off the shelves – to make space. It didn’t come from a need to sweep away clutter, we live simply (and I don’t like dusting much!).
Nothing felt clear except for the need to make space, but just beneath the surface I felt an energy moving up my spine and spreading out in branches though my body. Once at home, restless and buzzing with energy, I began the process of creating space. My internal thoughts weren’t fear-filled, just questioning what was happening. I kept telling myself that I’ve come a long way – I work with my coach, submit my writing, I’m writing a book and am on the verge of completing the preparation to unveil something I’ve worked on most of the past year, I lose myself in art. What was I making space for?
To get out of my head and into my body, I sunk into Yoga and swimming with intervals of silence and stillness in between. Outer stillness, that is. The energy still rippled through me looking for a way out, a place to go. I paced too, going from one room to another and back again as if I were searching for something that kept shifting just out of my reach.
And then everything changed and stayed the same too. It was a Monday, just after my afternoon meditation, when I walked through my studio and the pent-up energy burst through. It felt sudden, bewildering, exhilarating. A proclamation from my wildest, feral self - freedom, the word I claimed for this year. It wasn’t that I’d been living smaller than I’d like to, I’ve lived smaller than I am. I’ve been living truer than I ever have, but there’s all those bits I’ve held back, so careful because I worried about what might happen or who might not like what I do and who I am.
“I want to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding” – John O’Donahue
Or like a tree grows without questioning its longing for the sun.
I’m not stewing in regret or giving myself angst filled lectures titled “Why didn’t you get this sooner?” As sudden as this breakthrough felt, it’s evidence of all I’ve done to dismantle the dam that held the river back. I put the cracks in the foundation and the force of the river did the rest. The force of my truest self that found her way through the fissures and leaks until the need for protection crumbled away.
Freedom to live fully into my feral nature. No need to hide parts of myself, for apology or excuses, and no need to muster up my courage by saying to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it – I don’t need to pit myself against anyone or anything to live whole.
My body feels sensual and alive. I’m fierce, ready, and active as well as soft, reverent and still. I stand up for myself and others, sometimes with fire, but ground myself in compassion. I create with passionate dedication. I come undone, I come together. I weep, sing, sigh, whisper, laugh out loud. I dance, wander, wrap myself up in comfort, push against my edges. I make mistakes, I make amends. I go ahead and try again. I’m embracing all the facets, some full of contradiction, that make up who I am.
Working on this post, I remembered something else from the retreat – we got a prompt to fill an art journal page with the words that would complete this sentence: The job of my heart is . . . I wrote the first thing that popped into my mind: The job of my heart is to open to it all. Part of me wanted to yell out, “Oh, but hell no!” But I trusted and wrote it in bold script down the length of the page. Yes. Trust.
I don’t know what will happen, what will change, what will stay the same. Here’s what I do know – I’m excited and curious to see what happens!
Listen to the rumble and whispers just beneath the surface of each heart-beat. Just beneath the surface of your discontent, unexplained urges, your bewilderment. It’s your wisest, feral self finding her way out into this world. Trust. We need you. We need all of us.