I am the one who is preparing for battle.
I am the one who learns from the children.
I am the one who is balancing strength and joy.
I am the one who is learning to receive.
I am the one flying in the dark, guided by higher wisdom.
I am the one praying in the trees.
I am the one who has something to fight for.
What am I fighting for, anyway?
On the first New Moon of the new year, I sat in a circle of women, steeped in feminine creative energy, all of us working in silence to allow a vision for our future to unfold through images on a piece of cardboard. Intentionally allowing images to speak to us, choosing and creating from a more intuitive place, and releasing mental ideas of "what I want" and "what it means." The vision board I created makes me tremble with a numinous recognition when I behold it. It is full of mysterious truth to me.
The sentences above come from a process of reflection that invites you to gaze at your own collage or creation, and speak to what you see, beginning each sentence with "I am the one who..." These sentences have lived with me since, reminding me, guiding me, perhaps.
As I was bidding this circle of women farewell, we were talking about choices and actions and integrity as our days might unfold over the year, and one of the elder women in the circle said this:
"A good question to start with is, 'Am I being kind to myself?'"
"Sometimes it's hard to know," I said. "Sometimes my mind has competing ideas." Her response: "In your heart, you will always know if you are being kind to yourself." Spoken like a true elder. Today, I am unbelievably grateful to this woman for her words.
I am in Riga, Latvia; the place of my maternal ancestry. I have been here for two days, and upon arriving I immediately launched into the process of applying for my citizenship. I have only a month left before my allotted time in the EU expires, and at that point I must legally leave if my citizenship hasn't come through yet, so I have been feeling pressure and fear to get it accomplished. Of course this comes with lots of bureaucratic process, visits to offices, misleading information, turn-around time, miles of walking, not to mention navigating all of this in a foreign language that I do not yet speak.
I have two days left in the capital city (before I head to the countryside) to get all this accomplished, or so my rational mind says. Today I "need" to go to yet a different office to request a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate. That's my plan, and if I don't do it today then I might not be able to get to the immigration office tomorrow. It all feels hard and scary today. There's a fearful urgency in my body and mind.
But I can't seem to get moving. I keep yearning for my journal, for quiet stillness. For peace of mind. Another cup of tea. Closing my eyes. It's also way below freezing and snowing outside. I tell myself, "Maybe I'll write for a little while first, and then get moving."
The words on my vision board keep coming to mind; they feel relevant, albeit mysterious:
Courage in the Line of Fire
The Art of Sacrifice
And so I start writing, free associating:
Courage in the line of fire
Arriving at home in a foreign land
the courage of the ancestors
the bravery of immigrants
Why can't I drop in
And yet I can't get moving
Is it fear? Is it wanting to be cozy?
I don't really want to go outside, get all wrapped up.
My feet hurt.
I want to stay put
I feel like writing but I don't know what to write about.
I have something to fight for.
Journaling helped me touch the difference between struggle and fight
But today I don't know if I have the strength to fight.
I feel scared and tired.
And then the question came: Am I being kind to myself?
If I was being kind to myself, I would allow myself to rest.
I would forgive myself for not getting everything accomplished today. I would find a cozy place to cuddle up, read, write....and trust that everything is unfolding in right timing. My mental self wants to make sure I remember that "tomorrow is my last day in Riga" and I need to get things delivered to the immigration office by end of day tomorrow. But if I am being kind to myself, I tell myself that I am doing okay. That there will be time for everything. To rest your tired feet.
The Art of Sacrifice.
The art of sacrifice
What does this mean?
to sacrifice, to make sacred
Can I sacrifice my ideas of what is right and good, that "Doing" equals growth and progress and merit and rightness? Can I sit in the snowy park and bathe in the wisdom of winter? I am the one who prays in the trees.
It is profound how the Fear of the Unknown drives the need to DO, to figure it out. Because I am scared that if I don't get to the records office today, and the immigration office tomorrow, that I won't get things put in motion in time, that I will have to leave before I am ready and it will be MY FAULT and I will blame myself for not doing things right, for planning badly, for being lazy and ill-prepared.
But the truth is that I have no idea how long it will all take, and what will happen in the meantime. Likely, it will take at least a week to get the birth certificate. Likely it will all take longer than a month anyway. But that's besides the point. The point is that DOING is not always the answer to facing the unknown. Sure, sometimes it is useful to take action. But what is Right Action?
The reason I am here in Latvia is much deeper than obtaining my citizenship and EU passport. I am here to come home. I am here to deepen into my roots. I am here to walk my path with a deeper connection to who I am and where I come from. I am here to learn from the land, to learn from the past, to be fortified and inspired by my heritage, to be opened, to open my heart, to lay myself at the feet of the mystery that is my life.
I am here because I believe in the power and importance of ancestral healing and lineage. This is not a journey that can be accomplished in a month. It's a lifetime.
The fact is that I want to stay. I want to stay longer than a month. I want to BE here. I want to dig my roots down. I don't want to keep moving. I have arrived.
And so I will not rush today. Because there is a bigger story unfolding than my fear of being exiled. In fact, the reason I am able to obtain my citizenship is because I am the descendant of exiles. So I would imagine that the fear of being exiled from this land is not only mine. Maybe this is what I am meant to touch today. Maybe the antidote to this fear is something different than rushing to appease the powers-that-be. Maybe it lies in a different kind of sacrifice than the sacrifice of my well-being.
The more grounded, present, and open I can be every day, the more I will feel at home, regardless of timeframe and documents.
I choose to sacrifice my ego-driven plans. I choose to sacrifice my fears of "fucking up." I choose to go where I am called, to walk slowly on the Earth, to open my face to the snowy sky, and to pray to my ancestors for guidance.
I choose to have Courage in the Line of Fire; to dig my roots down deep when the demons of fear try to rush me towards some arbitrary, false, societally-imposed idea of security. I choose a different kind of belonging. I choose a different kind of fight.
Now I am both being kind to myself, AND fighting for something I believe in.
Maybe the citizenship will come through in a month. Maybe I will leave in a month, and return when I am able. Either way, I am here NOW. I am here to touch something deep, to heal across lineages, to open the doors and windows of love in my heart. Not to run. Not to live in fear.
Yes. I choose this.