Happy Halloween, marking summer’s end. In Gaelic, Samhain marked the Celtic New Year, beginning November 1, when the veil between the worlds was thinnest, as nature turned from the full expression of yang inward to yin, where the born returns to the unborn.
I like to think of this time as coming home. Not necessarily returning to the sentimentality of the secular “home”, but of plowing back under that which is no longer needed in order to compost that which can be. As the sap returns from nourishing the summer leaves into the core, let us return to our own inner essence as we evaluate where our energy has been expended. As we begin this return to the depths, may we each have the courage to let go of that which is no longer serving us. Returning to the depths, to our own zhi, or the very reason for our being, is not usually a time where things fit nicely together. It is often a time where things fall apart, and tumble to ruins so we can experience the utter chaos of new potential.
Let go of the structures that no longer work. Dare to go into the abyss of the unknown. Dare to go into the desolate loneliness and let the structures be torn apart. Dare to go where the longing of your heart has been urging you to go.
I love the strength of this poem by Hafiz, The Quintessence of Loneliness:
I am like a heroin addict?
In my longing for a sublime state,?
For that ground of Conscious Nothing
Where the Rose ever?blooms.?
O, the Friend?has done me a great favor
?And has so thoroughly ruined my life,
?What else would you expect?
Seeing God would do!
Out of the ashes of this broken frame?
There is a noble rising son pining for death,?
Because,?Since we first met,?Beloved,
I have become a foreigner
?To every world?
Except that one ?
In which there is only
Now that the heart has held
?That which can never be touched?
My subsistence is a blessed?Desolation?
And from that I cry for more Loneliness.
I am so lonely, dear Beloved,?
For the quintessence of ?Loneliness,?
For what is more alone than God??
Hafiz,?What is more pure and alone,?
I have found when I can embrace the processes of nature and live in accordance with the Tao, it sparks this same ability in those who come to me for help. I can only offer that which I have been through and that which I am; not merely the impotency of that which I have learned. Time is too precious to try to fix things from the outside in. My greatest gift in healing has never been in the form of “Let me do this for you,” but rather, “May I stand with you as the things in your world which aren’t working are allowed to fall apart?” The potency in healing is like shaking the tree, letting the leaves fall so what is revealed is bare openness, allowing life to emerge freshly once again.
I recently heard from a woman who came to a series of Fertile Soul retreats quite a few years ago. She had been desperately trying to force a child into existence in a marriage that wasn’t working, and a profession that was sucking the life out of her. Obviously it wasn’t bearing fruit. I told her I wouldn’t help her try to force what life was so vehemently resisting.
In the ensuing years, she left her job, left her marriage, and thought she left her ability to have a family. She went into the desolate land of no hope, where it seemed the soil of her life needed to lay fallow for a while. She had to give up the dream of fixing what couldn’t be fixed. She shook the tree bare, and let something new emerge. She is now freelancing from home, with her new partner. She is even older than when she was diagnosed as “infertile due to advanced maternal age.” She let her old life and old diagnosis die. From the ashes a new life emerged. She is now pregnant. She is living life for real.
May you find a friend who is willing to shake the frame of your life apart so that Life, as it wishes to be lived through you, is allowed to spring forth.