Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Women Who Run with the Wolves -- Part II

In today's reading of Women Who Run with the Wolves, Estes talked about the importance of examining the deaths--both big and small--of our lives.

She writes:

"To make descansos means taking a look at your life and marking where the small deaths, las muertes chiquitas, and the big deaths, las muertes grandotas, have taken place. I like to make a time-line of a woman's life on a big long sheet of white butcher paper, and to mark with a cross the places along the graph, starting with her infancy all the way to the present where roads not taken, paths that were cut off, ambushes, betrayals and death. I put a little cross along the time-line at the places that should have been mourned, or still need to be mourned. And then I write in the background "forgotten" for those things that the woman senses but which have not yet surfaced. I also write "forgiven" over those things the woman has for the most part released" (pp. 365-66).

And this has struck me as a beautiful exercise and one I will undertake soon on retreat. I think part of living life with the force of a goddess is to name the wounds of the past and suture them. This has been much on my mind recently because the past few days (and days to come) mark an anniversary of sorts...of a powerful lesson I learned last year. It broke me apart but I built myself anew and am grateful for the tearing and shaking that now resides in memory only. It's important, methinks, to honor anniversaries of large soul moments like these because they're akin to pomegranates -- you're broken open to discover seeds which give flesh to your new life.

And, I've gone on to have a new life, one full of much joy and happiness; still it's important to acknowledge the work of the past...and there, in my walk towards forgiveness and compassion, I burned great fires of anger and rage over what had occurred. Rage can be a great teacher so long as you don't stay there for very long, which I didn't. As Estes writes, "Even raw and messy emotions can be understood as a form of light, crackling and bursting with energy. We can use the light of rage in a positive way, in order to see into places we cannot usually see" (p. 352).

Anger gave way to confusion and sadness, as I fought to understand what I was feeling and to give it all a voice. I never really got to speak my piece but perhaps I'll be granted an opportunity now that my fires have burned and I am calm. My dreams have been working it out for me over the past year, and I'm grateful for the subconscious of other parties who also show to do this work.

Last, it is my heart's desire that closure of this event and its teaching relationship will become possible -- to meet the Other, to acknowledge the gift that was exchanged, to give thanks for its transfer and to release the Other back into the world with gratitude--I know that it's possible and that it's working its way towards me.

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