Every day this world breaks me open, a sliver of delight pierces through the veil, a chasm of sorrow consumes me, and I fall, down, down, down. The glint of light on the throat of a Hummingbird, part fuchsia part crimson all glorious. A hungry feral cat cowers near the trash compactor at my daughter’s apartment complex, their green eyes haunt me, and I am filled with longing.
I often wonder if my capacity for feeling, so visceral, so rich in texture and form, is the same experience of being in the world that others have. In truth, I wonder if perhaps I hurt more than I should, feel more than I should, yet even as I write those words deep inside there is a knowing, that I am how I am and who I am not by accident, that even if the intensity of life unfolding around me can be hard to bear at times, it is my unfolding, it is my life.
Sometimes I want to hide, to crawl down deep somewhere that I cannot be disturbed, somewhere safe and dark and devoid of feeling. A bottle used to work so well, the safest place I’ve ever been, but also the most lonely. So I don’t pick it up. Today I sit in the grey cave of my heart, under a startling blue sky. Can you feel the contrast? The is and is not of the thing? How can life be simultaneously so beautiful and so heartbreaking?
I come home from work, the frantic pace of the day, the large tears of the old woman in the hallway, they seem to be always running down her face these days, and I never have enough grace to reach her, the hungry eyes of lonely people, the traffic accident I witnessed, all of this living in my body. I kneel down at my altar, light a candle, and beg for strength. I place my forehead on the sharp wooden edge, the pressure digging into my skin feels like relief, and I weep. I weep for all the hurts I cannot heal, the suffering that exists despite all of the love, my own broken family, my own broken heart.
And then I remember what I have known all along. Words spoken to me, words that found a home inside my flesh and now reside there- a human heart, shaped like a seed and meant to break- let it break- break open….recalling this, a poem comes back to me, my own words filling the cracks and broken places inside, my own words a balm, a poultice for this wound of life, this wild sacred dance that is more than I can bear. Perhaps these words will enter you, and ease your pain, or bring to your doorstep an appropriate portion of suffering, whatever it is you need, may you find it. I leave this here, an offering for all those who know the taste of sorrow, and the taste of joy.
I know the bottom well
the dark place where the tendrils grow from
nothing is birthed only from the light after all
I have curled my body in the shape of a seed and been fallow
no movement- no song – no seeing
spent winter there in that formless torpor
waiting for the urge to root down
and to rise up
I am woman, but I have a heart
shaped like I seed and meant to break
I seek refuge in the smell of humus
the leaflitter, the dappled almost day
slowly warming, slowly warming
set the tap root
then the branch roots
wide – wide
The only way to know rising is to wait
hold patience like a wand in your hands- until
called forth by forces beyond words
A shoot emerges from the fertile dark
and you breathe air once again.
When people ask me if I believe in god- I always say yes
god is the power that calls the flowers up to bloom
but maybe I have been wrong
maybe god is the seed or the darkness or the waiting
maybe god is the patience
or maybe the breaking
or maybe, my own seed shaped heart.