On Letting it All Crumble Down…

by Jennifer on May 10, 2017

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

When I was twenty-two, I lived just a few miles from this beautiful archway, a gem in the middle of the deep blue Mediterranean.  It was like a dream rising out of the sea…a gateway to another world.  It was enormous, defied description, and was one of the most majestic things I have ever seen…

I spent a season on that little island, surrounded by ocean in every direction as far as the eye could see.  I felt marooned in the most wonderful way.  I was tucked into the sea.  I woke up every day whenever I wanted to, made the strongest coffee my french press could hold, and ate fruit and bread for breakfast.  I lost track of time.  I had nowhere to go, except to this archway to sit and stare at it, and reflect on my life and how it was changing.

Once, when I was sitting near the arch with the salty wind in my hair, I remember hearing for the first time that it was known that the arch was unstable, and that it was only a matter of years before it would, eventually fall into the sea.  My heart strained toward the arch, my grief immediate.  My eyes watered just a bit, as I knew at the same time that when the arch fell it would be a reckoning…a sign.  “And a great sign it will be,” I thought to myself, as Oracles do.

I knew when it came, like a blood red eclipsing moon, it would foretell another time of great transformation, like the one I was having when I was there then.  I felt the wave of all the feelings I would have when that day came…the day it crumbled.

And then one day I felt that wave return, just a couple of months ago.  Just as I had felt it in premonition back then.  I would find myself standing in front of my computer one evening, finishing up for the day.  I would see an email from my mother, and open it to find just a single line, a solitary link…no message.  As I read the link, which contained the title words from an article, my hand would fly to my mouth and my eyes would fill instantly with tears.  I had only seen the words “arch” and “fallen”, and it would be enough to let me know.  I didn’t even open the link.

The time had come.  I felt, as I had so many times before in other lives when the sign came and my life was about to change.  No matter how much I had known these signs and changes would come, they always seemed sudden…their portent like an ocean of its own growing in my heart and consuming what I had known, to make room for what was new.

When I finally was able to look at the link, and the photos, I saw that the arch hadn’t just fallen…even its support pillar had been washed into the sea.  It was like it had never even existed.  When the ocean was ready she had just taken it in…she did her job so well.  All the elements knew, even the tired stone, that it was time to let go.

When I felt that this was my destiny, yet again too, I didn’t ask how to avoid crumbling.  I asked for the strength to crumble with grace.  Not the grace that looks polished and perfect.  The grace that looks both perfect and messy…both flawless and wild.

Because we are never done, so long as we are here and living the cycles…we are always bursting forth, blooming, and letting blossoms fall to make room for new ones.  And the better we get at crumbling, the more it is one flow like the ocean’s waves.  Sometimes it hurts, but even then we begin to realize this is only yet another liberation that awaits us.  We are going to be more free when it is done.

We realize that if something crumbles, there is no mistake.  If it falls, it was not strong enough to build on, and needed to go down.  We begin to trust that.  Even if it feels as though we have lost the very bones we needed with which to stand, or walk.  Even if it still aches beyond all comprehension as we watch it all fall down.

And then, one day, when we can manage to look at what remains, as I finally did the day I saw the photo of the worn low nub of stone left behind where my arch once stood, we see something different.  We see the place left behind that is strong…that withstands the passionate new sea that has been growing inside of you.  You see the foundation for something new…smooth and shining under a new sun.  You go there and feel that warm, new smooth stone beneath your bare feet.  You feel that whatever comes from this new place will be yours.  It won’t have been built by others before you, or what you have been told about who you are and what you can be.

There, in the fresh crash of a wave and the new whip of bright wind, life will shine again.  Life will shine again because you let go.  You let go when everyone told you to hold on for dear life.  You let go when your heart told you it was the only thing left to do.  You let go even though there were no promises of bright new beginnings.  You stared into the well of endings and said, “let it be so”.

In that dark night, I commend you, fellow surrendering soul.  I see a bright new time coming.  I know you don’t think you are brave.  The bravest often don’t.  But you are brave beyond starshine and moonglow, and the darkness will show you the way through.  Through even the archways that in this world have fallen, and to new worlds that we have yet to even know in our dreams.

Here is to those new worlds, and here…with all my heart…is to crumbling.




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Broken Hearts and Burning Stars

by Jennifer on April 3, 2017

Friday, March 31st, 2017

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe

I’ve been out picking nettles in the cold spring woods.

I don’t wear any gloves because they are my friends…if I am careful with them, they are careful with me…because I respect their fire, and they love mine.  I have heard that there is a way to fold them into themselves and eat them right then without getting burned.  Someday I will learn it.  For now the fact that sometimes the tips of my fingers become flame is part of their nourishment.  It’s the heart of their medicine.  I have been tried by fire so many times, and healed by it just as many…

Sounds kind of pretty, right?  Burning and healing and bright flame fingertips…fearless forests and brave nights?  If you pull away a little bit, it does actually look beautiful.  If you pull away a little bit, it does actually sparkle.  But close up it may be the ugliest thing you have ever seen.  Close up it is terrifying, as you watch what you thought you could never look at in yourself rise up like a phantom on the smoke and engulf you.  As it fills your lungs, you are sure it is the end of you…that you will become the dust lining some forgotten edge of the universe.  It is mud in your face and mud in your mouth and the taste of secret shame.  That is how the fire burns.  And it is never done until you are more free than you have ever been…

I can hear the first frog of the evening outside, mixed in with the bird songs of early twilight.  That bright frog felt the right moment come before all the others did.  That brave frog is leading the way into night…into the ecstatic union they will all share in the darkness, filling my human heart with reckless hope.  I am a fool like the frogs.  Like the first frog that sings at night, before everyone else has noticed the elegant beginnings of the fall…(of sweet night).

I have spent a life taking leaps.  I am the one who lives the inspirational quotes as a matter of course.  It’s not at all a brag, more of a reveal of just how pretty-much crazy I am.  Crazy alive.  Crazy in love with life.  It’s a love that hasn’t lost its glow for me, and a bloom that hasn’t fallen off the rose.  Even though I have torn my heart on the thorns more times than I thought I could bear.  I know you have too.  I know you may have wondered sometimes, perhaps lately especially with the Venus retrograde journey we are going through, if the days of petals and blossoms are behind you.  I am here to tell you that you are dissolving for a reason right now.  Your kingdoms are falling so that you can live in the dream castles you more deeply desire, and that you more truly designed.  The old has to fall away again, even if you thought you were halfway into the new.  Even if what crumbled recently appeared to be your heart’s dearest wish…

Let it fall into the ocean.  Let the waves drink up your tears.  Be glad it fell because somehow you already know you can breathe better on the other side.  After you stop crying, that is.  But no rush, my love.  Cry as long and as deeply as you want to.  Cry as much as your schedule and your weary lungs and your dry eyes allow.  Cry out the water for your new garden.  All the seeds will grow because you cried.  Even the tears you cry inside will add to the wild rain for your new life.  The quiet ones that hurt the most…that no one knows you cry…that no one can even see.

Now more frogs are singing…

The twinkle lights in my window are pretending to be stars on grey-blue skies.

I mentioned taking leaps.  Here’s the thing about it.  Everyone hails the leap of faith, but some leaps lead to a life-shattering crash below…and those moments require even more faith than the first step off the edge.  Those aren’t failures, even though you may feel like a fool and all the people who hailed the leap of faith somehow want to shame you when you fall.  Crash landings are part of flying.  Falling is part of falling in love.  The real faith is about whether you can imagine that the falls will help you eventually fly even more freely, once you heal.  And every time you fall, you are one leap closer to the more whole experience of flying.

Those are my notes from the edge.  I hang out there because I study there, I live there and I love there.  I seek out safety in places that it seems impossible to find it, at great personal expense and even greater personal and larger-than-personal reward.

I am learning to fold the nettles in on themselves, so I can be fed by what burns me…right then as I am stung.  Even if at first I am immobile…it’s okay to freeze before you burn…it’s okay to freeze before you fly.  It’s okay to be lost before you are found.  It’s okay to get rubbed out from your own familiar land, and come back as new grass.  It’s okay to be tender, and wild.  It’s okay not to know what you want next, or how to be any of these things at all…

One breath will follow another.  Just do that.  Just let that happen.  Wait.  You will know what to do when you need to know.  Your body will show you.  You will hear the frogs sing, and hope will return and make twinkle lights in your heart again.  And then you will be shown…




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