Don't worry that is just a fancy word for the fact that being a human sucks sometimes, especially when we realize that being a human sucks sometimes. I have to say that I am so much better at processing difficulties in my life. And sometimes I just need to stop speaking and go underground to really work through some issues and pains that are surfacing - and I will be coming back to this point again later when I start my response to bell hook's interview with my friend Nathalie. bell spoke about how she wanted to be silent six days ago when her mother died. And people were pissed off about that. People didn't like the fact that they did not have immediate access to her. And then she said: I am sure people don't expect to get in touch with Cornell West immediately. Amen, bell. I bet they don't.
March is a difficult month for me. It always has been. And sometimes I can catch myself ahead of time and get prepared for it and this year I tried to do that but it didn't work completely. I was unkind and abrupt with those in my cipher and with established relationships you can do that occasionally, but with seedling relationships, you may have to deal with the fall-out of not being trusted again. Or having to earn back your trust. Okay. I take that.
The beginning of March is all about death and loss for me. My father died 19 years ago, March 3rd. My friend Leah's birthday, who died from leukemia, is March 15th and the anniversary of the death of a dear friend is also March 15th (yea, I know - The Ides of March. F-ing Romans!). And also at the beginning of March I received news that my Hierophant was ending treatment for his pancreatic cancer. All around me was loss - of people, of relationships, of intimacy, of feeling loved in the world. And I am one of those people who values her virtual tribe but really needs live people close to her. And I was missing my far-flung friends and the intimacy you can only get from actually seeing someone's eyes when you speak to them. Life sucked last week. And the thought of it now still makes me cry.
And my spirit needed to make it's annual trek to the underworld to excavate those feelings and to harrow my personal hell. I find it highly un-coincidental that I go through this purging during Lent - right before Passover and Easter. My own personal desert (Merriam's secondary and tertiary definitions of desert: 2 archaic : a wild uninhabited and uncultivated tract 3 : a desolate or forbidding area
And I am considering putting this time on my calender, not so it can be avoided but so I can better prepare for it next year. I think I need this time to renew myself and get ready for Spring.
What was the hardest part of this time was when I looked at myself and actually felt guilty for being alive. I felt guilty for surviving cancer. I wasn't supposed to survive. I had lost so much to cancer and I didn't understand why me? Because I have 3 children? Because I am young? Because there are still things I haven't done with my life? All of these things are true of those I've lost and so many more. It doesn't make sense. And it's not supposed to. These are the moments when I long for and desire to cling to a religious ideology because then I don't have to figure this out for myself - it is prescribed for me. But luckily this time is short-lived. Usually a week or so. And then I come out on the other side with relationship tending to do. Lesson learned. Next year the first two weeks of March will be spirit-tending time. And time to be more gentle with myself and those around me. I don't think, however, that I want to give up this time. I don't want to avoid experiencing this pain. It makes me more alive on the other side of it. It also feels like what butterflies do before they emerge from their cocoon. They slough off the old and emerge beautiful and ready to take flight. And over time the pain will erode until there is just me.
I accept my existential crisis and am grateful to have figured out that it is real. Grateful to be here to feel the pain.
in peace and past the sky
photo: MG Bolts