#3 Wander in the darkness for a while
On my mind
This week I've been reminded that change is a journey, not a point in time. Birth/rebirth is a process with many steps: "preparation, purification, initiation, integration, and actualization," in the words of my teacher and friend Staci. I am in a rebirth process on many fronts right now (as are many of you, I imagine). I'm stepping into a new career as a coach, our family is moving across the country, and our human community is reckoning with institutional racism.
I often sense fear in myself and others in these moments. We are letting go of the old form but we do not know what the new one looks like yet. To help move through the fear, I remember another rebirth process: egg, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar does not merely grow wings—it returns to a kind of primordial goo, out of which the butterfly is created. To get from the old to the new, we have to go through the goo. We cannot skip this step, for this is the mystery from which the new reality emerges.
Over the years I've learned to appreciate this in-between stage. It is a powerful time to imagine the new world we want to create. It invites us to go inward, to connect with our intuition and vision, and to rest and reset so our wings are strong when we emerge into the light of a new day.
On my e-reader
I am so grateful that my friend Carlee introduced me to the book My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem. I'm just a few chapters in, but what I've read so far has prompted a sigh of recognition. Menakem approaches racism through the lens of trauma (historical, inter-generational, individual), which is carried in our bodies and impacts the way our limbic systems respond to different situations (the fight, flight, freeze reaction). This feels like a missing piece in the racism conversation, at least the sliver of it I've observed. Our limbic system causes us to react to situations before our rational brain even has a chance to have a thought about it. This is how people can 100% genuinely not "think" in a biased way but still react from bias. To compound matters, we are often unconscious of our fight, flight, freeze responses, let alone where they come from. The book provides numerous mindfulness practices to help the reader explore their own sub-cognitive responses and start to shift them.
A Tarot card
Just as the moon pushes and pulls the tides, the Moon card reminds us of the ebbs and flows that are natural in life. It urges us to ride the waves to avoid being pummeled beneath them. It asks us to look inside and examine our deepest fears, but it also warns us not to get lost in the dark, where reality can become distorted. In the Thoth deck (pictured here), it also suggests karma or "work that needs to be done" and a choice between authenticity what others say we "should" do.
What would it mean to focus more on how you're being than what you're doing right now?
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