I have called my spirit back to me. Many times. Sometimes during prayer or meditation. Other times, I've called it when I'm desperate, silently screaming into the wind.
Today, I did it again, and instead of my soul, I found answers and grief. Maybe it’s the same thing.
I was reading a book about a group of women meditating together in a dark cave, remembering that they come from the earth. Remembering the womb they come from, remembering their own need to feel connected to their femininity. I pictured myself vicariously in that cave with that group of women. It’s a very specific need; one felt by a woman who is mother to two boys, running her own business, in a city and climate she didn’t originate from. I felt separate from everything that is close to me, and a yearning to be part of a deeply connected community. The tears came then. I felt alone. I remembered my home in upstate NY, during a time when I was much more connected to people like me, and to the magic of my feminine power.
I was profoundly reminded of how lonely it can be, when you don’t feel held by those whom you share a kindred spark.
While searching for my soul on this night, I found only ghosts of my self. In the last 14 years, I’ve grown, birthed and raised two boys. I’ve had a husband, and then male lovers, and boyfriends. I’ve learned how to adult, which often means leaving connection and community as an after-thought. It means leaving your relationship with your self until the five free minutes you have before bedtime. In my imagination, I saw the women in this cave and every cell of my being craved being next to them. It hit me, just how starved I’ve been.
I hadn’t noticed, but over the years, I’ve splintered away from myself. I’ve been asked to be different than I am. I’ve been blamed for problems that took two people to create. I’ve been laughed at, lied to, used. I’ve felt guilty for being myself and for having needs and opinions. The world I’ve surrounded myself with has pushed my power to the back burner. And, reflected by the surroundings I have plunked myself down in, I have also forgotten the importance of my emotions, of birthing, of knowing, of darkness, of blood. I have forgotten to honor these things because I’ve been busy honoring my kids, my income, my house, my role in society. For so many years, I’ve forgotten to honor the things femininity symbolizes. So now I crave gentle voices singing. The sound of the ocean. Caves in the darkness. We have been told not to go into such places. But, what if we need to?
I am not the only one. As I lay on my couch, crying and craving connection, I realize that we all feel this, for different reasons. Tonight I crave a connection that honors my feminine spirit, but there are others across the world, craving connection for a thousand different reasons. And in this moment, we are all the same.
Today what woke in me is a pain I normally take no time to notice. It’s an emptiness that has lost its voice. Life has become too busy, too overrun by technology and schedules. It’s been overlaid with social media, makeup, expectations, appearances.
Who has the time, or can find a listening ear, to cry for the loss of true reflection? For the loss of being held for exactly what you are? We spend a lot of time not paying attention to it, but the grief is there. Behind the sexism and the racism, the hunger for power, the desire to be right, there is a slow mourning call. It is so soft that it can be mistaken for the breeze caressing empty trees on a dark night. It is the voices of our collective need. How women want to be heard for being women. How men want to be heard for being men. How children just want to be children. How white people, and black people, and yellow people, and red people, purple, brown, blue…just want to be respected, and celebrated for being their beautiful selves. We are crying in the darkness just outside the bubble of our cell phone glow. We are lowing in the calm between dreams. It is a quiet sound so full of pain that we keep turning up our television sets because we would rather hear fake pain than our own. It’s just too much. Too much has been done. Too many torments. Too much trauma, shame, guilt, too much confusion about what to do next. How to fix this mess.
Tonight I called my spirit back, one more time. What I received was tears. Hot, truthful tears, about loss. About the walls we all build to keep ourselves away from the things we need most. About the ways we are all left or mistaken by someone, or by many someones, over time. About the profound need we all have to connect, be loved, feel accepted. Perhaps we think that if we all enter the grieving process we truly need, we will crumble into ash. Is that the fear? That if we turn our back on our anger, persecutions and punishments, to face our grief, we will fade away?
I think the grief that is suppressed and shamed in our men, in our people of color, and in our women is the scariest thing we face. We have been avoiding it at all costs. Yet here it is still, a pool of water collecting in the shadows. And in the moments when some pin of inspiration pricks our underbelly and lets a few drops out, we feel relief. We feel self-connection, as terrifying or relieving as it can be. And the rest, our collective history of pain and loneliness, will remain under the surface, lying and waiting for a day when it can fall like monsoon rain, tears to cleanse this fractured world we call home. I pray for that day to come.