As we go about our daily lives, we inevitably lose parts of ourselves as well as pick up debris along the way. With a huge change such as becoming a mother, it can seem like large parts of our identity are lost and a lot of unwanted baggage can weigh us down, keeping us from being as present, patient, joyful and creative as we'd like to be in our parenting.
This simple meditation will support you in regaining the parts of yourself lost along the way and letting go of accumulated debris. I learned it from Lynn Andrews.
As you breathe in, call back to yourself all the pieces of yourself that have been left behind as you moved through your day. As you breathe out, release all of the things that are not you that have stuck to you throughout the day. Continue breathing in the lost parts of yourself and breathing out the accumulated debris. The Universe absorbs the debris and has the ability to transform it. Let it float away. Let the breathing in and breathing out be a breathing back-and-forth between you and the Universe. Breathing and being breathed. Welcome... Release. Embrace... Offer.
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Go ahead, try it now.
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How do you feel?
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Here is a story about reclaiming the lost pieces of yourself. I first read this story in Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and then the story was brought to life when I heard it told in person by Virginia Bobro.
La Loba is an ancient woman, a woman without age, who lives in the lonely desert hills. She makes her solitary home deep in one of these hills and spends her days, spends her nights, walking the desert, looking for bones. She gathers all kinds of bones: jack rabbit, snake, hawk, mouse... All bones are precious to her, but the bones closest to her heart, the ones she loves best, are wolf bones. When she uncovers a bone, when she chisels a bone from the dried mud of an arroyo, when she uncovers a bone from beneath a rock, when she carefully extracts a tiny bone from a pellet... she brings it back to her hollow hill home and places it on a table where piece-by-piece she reconstructs each skeleton. When at long last she places the final bone of a skeleton... she waits. She turns to her cooking pot, gives it a stir... turns to observe the skeleton a while... sweeps her floor... regards the bones... chops some wood... waits... waits... and when finally she knows the song, fully knows the song she will sing over the bones, she sings it. And as she sings, flesh begins to cover bones, blood courses through veins, fur grows thick. The wolf opens her eyes, springs to her feet, and runs. And if you happened to be in that lonely part of the desert on that particular day, you would have sworn you saw, laughing and howling with the wind, a wild and vibrant woman, running naked toward the woods.
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Here is something I wrote one afternoon in Mexico, watching the vultures wheel over the desert. I think it is a message to help us let go of what is no longer needed and to trust that it's just the beginning of a process that benefits all beings and becomes a gift to ourselves in surprising ways. When we talk about Birth as a Hero's Journey --Inanna's Journey-- this is a big part of it.
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The vultures follow the currents looking for the dead things and consuming them, leaving behind the bones to be gathered. One by one. La Loba does not gather the freshly dead carcasses... The animals- the vultures and buzzards, the insects, worms and bacteria, the Earth and the plants, all are nourished by the discarded flesh, while in turn cleaning the planet and nourishing others.
Once all of these have benefitted from what has been left behind, only then, only when the time is right, only then does la Loba seek them and do they reveal themselves to her. It is a slow, slow process... but a disciplined one, discipline without attachment to outcome. It is a lonely process, but for the presence of that which lives in the desert, which are many and silent and powerful and ancient. And tricky.
Always remember that your death will be thus. What you leave behind will be eaten, purified, will nourish the planet in untold ways and, in time, will be gathered, fragment by fragment, by She Who Knows and when the essence, the core, the structure, the bareness of what you let go of is once again connected, it will reveal its song to She Who Knows and, in singing that song, she will breathe a wild life into those bones and so it continues.
Christy is a doula and Birthing From Within childbirth mentor committed to strengthening families and communities through storytelling/storylistening, meaningful celebration, mindfulness, and reflective work.