It’s been awhile since I sent out a blog. It’s been awhile for a lot of things, actually—some that matter, some that don’t. Big changes in my life over the past several years along with the tragic narrative of our nation right now made me stop putting myself out there in ways I was accustomed to.
But that’s okay.
Because here I am—I’m back.
I took an accidental sabbatical from this blog, from offering my monthly transformational circles, and from working on my Red Thread book. (I had finished it about three years ago.) Pivotal shifts in our lives are good times to reflect, take a break from our routines, and assess what no longer serves us or fits . . . to explore and try new things. Transformational times can be good for detours and what might feel or appear to others as the wrong way to go.
In this interval I wrote less. I walked a lot and found yoga again. I took on a teaching job through the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I became a proud member of Al-Anon. I moved to Mount Horeb from our forty acres outside Spring Green. None of these are better or problematic, right or wrong, just paths taken.
Along with our sabbaticals and breaks in routine, I find that we may make choices that look wrong and are certainly a detour from our usual path. For example, I realize that sometimes compassion has a fist. Sometimes we need to risk being in the wrong company so we can sit at their table and remind ourselves that we have nothing to prove but everything to share and learn. We don’t need to be with people (for very long) whom we don’t like. (And it’s okay not to like someone!) Be yourself even when it makes others uncomfortable. We don’t owe anyone anything (and vice-versa). We can allow people to come and go as they choose. It’s also okay to try something out only to reject it; to start something up and decide to not finish it.
We can break promises and move on.
A few months ago, I decided to reclaim my place in the bigger story. And no matter how discouraged or tired I was, to bring something to the communal table. I also needed to let myself do things the wrong way. (What others might consider the wrong way.)
On my walk through Stewart Park the other morning we (my dogs and I) were detoured to a path that had signs that read “WRONG WAY.” We went on this detour because the path through the marsh was being reseeded.
So, in order to do the right thing, to protect the regeneration of the marsh, we had to go the wrong way.
This got me thinking (and writing this blog once again), on just how important it can be to take a detour from our typical way(s) of doing things. Even if a path has been made for us, we can give it time to reseed before we walk it.
I believe it’s important for each of us to stay active in our own personal narrative as well as the national narrative and not to become numbed or silenced because the negative overwhelms or discourages us. Or, we feel that we have to become like the monsters that we fight. And there are monsters. Over the course of my life I’ve learned how to confront and challenge my internal monsters, however, the outer ones at this time appear undeterred and relentless.
Our republic and our democracy is at a very real risk of failing. Violence is on the rise and racism and hate have larger platforms than ever before. In the past I’ve found ways to navigate relationships with those who are narcissistic and vengeful. Now we have a sitting president whose ugliness brings out the ugliness in us and around us. He also mirrors our internalized racism, which no one in America has escaped.
What do I, what do we, do with that? What can we do?
To deal with the bullies in our lives, to let the good get reseeded, and to remain in the conversation we may sometimes have to take a detour and go the wrong way for the right reasons.
To get a seat at the table (or to keep one), to be a voice in the room, to make a difference (or at least try)—these are my reasons for writing you, for sending this blog. This is one small way I reach out and make contact.
This is part of my process of reseeding my path so that I may walk forward on it.
After some time spent in detour mode, I finally did get a publisher for my Red Thread book, which will be released in April of 2020. I am starting up my monthly transformational circle based on that book this September (see below), and I am finding ways to be part of the needed reseeding that our communities and country need. We can't; I can't keep taking the worn path.
In all of this, I’m keeping my seat at the table and finding new paths to take, both on my own and together with others.
Monthly Transformative Circle: The Red Thread: Touching Reality (and being Heroic) in our Everyday Lives at Healing Services on the River in Prairie Du Sac. Learn more and sign up. Starts this September 12th.
TO BREAK A PROMISE
Make a place of prayer, no fuss,
just lean into the white brilliance
and say what you needed to say
all along, nothing too much, words
as simple and as yours and as heard
as the bird song above your head
or the river running gently beside you.
Let your words join
one to another
the way stone nestles on stone,
the way water just leaves
and goes to the sea,
the way your promise
breathes and belongs
with every other promise
the world has ever made.
Now, leave them to go on,
let your words
carry their own life
without you, let the promise
go with the river.
Have faith. Walk away. TO BREAK A PROMISE from
THE SEA IN YOU:Twenty Poems of Requited and Unrequited Love’ © David Whyte and Many Rivers Press
Now Available at davidwhyte.com
The Long Night Moon
I cast my spell
on this eve of the Long Night Moon
To be graced
of you of us
as we truly are
This moon knows me well.
How I have prayed to Her
to end my stretch of sorrow.
A spell this time to be known
My feeder with chickadee
And Her song
To be graced and lit
to be met
in darkness and in light
with stranger and friend.
to know you
and be known
The spell is cast
the door opened
I prepare my life for your arrival.
A meal for two or more
An empty coat hook
A pair of house shoes, your size
And my heart
set next to the built-in writing desk
A place for you
and for The Other too
when you arrive.
“Long Night Moon Ritual” by Julie Tallard Johnson