"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I'm lying on my stomach, an arcane configuration of needles in my back. The room is just-right warm, soft-music quiet, clean-energy peaceful. Susan has just left, her parting words lingering in the air like the hint of lavender that permeates everything. 

"You need to set your intention to release aggression."

We've been talking about things that keep me from sleeping well. I've shared a bit of my story with her, including the cult experience and my challenges finding my spiritual footing since. She shared last time about how there is a stickiness to spiritual beliefs that can travel through generations. I've talked about my struggles with a path that doesn't seem to fit clearly with any established belief system. I've also talked about how trusting still challenges me, how being vulnerable scares me. One of the reasons I have such a hard time falling asleep is my huge discomfort with that gap of time between awake and asleep. 

From all of that, she has decided to focus on my heart, my lungs (grieving, she tells me) and my liver (which might be anger or irritability) for today. 

When she says grieving, I feel a lump rise in my throat in response - with nothing concrete attached except that earlier in our conversation when she mentioned she wants to work with women with fertility issues I felt a surprising stab of sadness. Which I instantly dismissed.

I'm still not understanding what any of this has to do with aggression, but I do trust Susan and this process, so I do as she asks.

It's also the second time in two days that this topic has come up, so I'm thinking the great Someone is trying to get my attention again. Just yesterday Pat shared with me an excerpt from a book review in the April "O". The book being reviewed is How God Changes Your Brain. The words she read to me are, "Thinking of a loving being causes the compassion centers to light up, whereas belief in an authoritarian spirit stimulates regions that prime the brain for fighting."

Fighting. Aggression. Compassion. Vulnerability.

I focus on releasing aggression. Letting go of the fight. Opening my heart. Allowing the grief to surface.

And it does. And it's not what I expected. All I can receive on Susan's table is how sad I feel knowing she wants to help women get pregnant. Which makes no sense - I'm 57 and have done so much work around my unconventional parenting path that surely there is nothing left to grieve. Except the lump in my throat has other ideas.

It's not until two days later as I sit alone in my  morning quiet that the underlying truth emerges.

I have spent my life fighting my own femininity, and the vulnerability that is central to being a woman. And because I gave up the only daughter I gave birth to, was denied the daughter offered in adoption, and ran out of time (and even more deeply true, lost heart) to try again - because of all of that it was easier to decide I didn't want a child that bad. It was easier to be tough, and strong and to fight for everything and against anything, so I didn't have to feel the pain of that loss.

And here's the core of this latest layer of grief: In three short months I will leave a job that has allowed me to experience and love children in a safe and partially distant way. It's time to let go of that safe place and to move on. But that means finally knowing, without protection, what the loss of the deepest expression of my womanhood feels like.

My heart cannot open completely. I won't be able to breathe deeply. I will always need the false power of the fight. Until I grieve.

image from Flickr


M said...

Your truth is so powerful that there can't be complete healing of the heart until we grieve all that we've lost. I grieve with you...and for you...and trust that you will find the healing that you seek.

I love you.


Kathryn Magendie said...

.... releasing - that's one of the last lines in TG -- "feeling the release, I let go..."

let go...release...I too try to do these things.


Kathryn Magendie said...

I just had to come back - I am reading all the comments, one at a time, the ones since I was in Tx, etc - and when I read your "those were some pissed off kitties" - I just burst out laughing....thank you for that laugh...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry sweetie, sorry it hurts so much. I feel sometimes like I've cried my way through my life but I'm learning to be okay with that. It's okay to grieve, to weep for what you've lost or only think you've lost.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Oh, Deb. I'm sorry I'm so late in finding this post.

Wish we could sit and talk face-to-face, not that I have any wisdom for you, only compassion.

Beautifully written post - that's something, isn't it? : )

kario said...

Wow! You are so amazing! You are just plowing forward, tilling this earth in front of you and pushing up everything that is hidden below without hesitation. I can't imagine how difficult and frightening this must be but please know that I am here in spirit, loving you and filling the spaces that aggression has carved out with peace and acceptance.

Love you.

She said...

I don't know why I'm just catching up with your blog today, but I do know that TODAY is the day I was to read this post!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Jerri said...

I am sorry for your loss, dear friend--sorry for the pain of it and sorry the length of time you have carried that pain.

How wise you are to see the connections here. You are in my prayers as you give up the fight. And always.

Ask Me Anything said...

I would love to share my daughter with you.