Last Friday, I began leading a small group of women on a journey of authentic soulfulness. And as the song goes, we are starting at the very beginning, because it’s the very best place to start. This beginning is delight of the purest and simplest kind. When you were a baby, you cooed and gurgled at the sight of your own fingers and toes. You laughed at the faces whose eyes expressed love. You delighted in the creatures of the world that became your first words: dog, cat, bird. The wisest among us have lived long enough to know that those first loves carry us back home to ourselves. They bird watch and touch the moss to be sure that it feels as spongy and soft as it looks. They grow things and read the kinds of stories that make their souls whisper “yes”. This new world of polarization and artificial intelligence demands hearts that reject the lies of fear and lack. We are being invited into radical softness and self-awareness, the kind that comes from storytelling and curiosity. It is not too late to fall back in love with the world, and to wed your heart to wonder. But to do that requires a practice of seeking delight and a rediscovery of the things that used to bring you joy.
I love words. Adore them. I make sense of the world by writing and speaking them, using as many as possible, never concise enough for a tweet. And yet words completely fail to describe the deep well of knowing that I have uncovered within myself. It is there through any anxiety, the understanding that if I get quiet enough, the answer will be there. It is there when the voices around me are as loud and opinionated as ever, rippling like water around a pebble dropped on its surface. It has always been there, both me and companion. I’ve heard her voice- my voice- for as long as I can remember. I allowed a lot of other things get in the way while I found my place in the world. But no more. I am the keeper of this well, and she knows who I am. 20-year old me could have never fathomed such self-possession. Time, take my boundless energy and flawless skin. Take my seeking and searching, and thank you for what it taught me. I will take this woman in her quiet fire forever. She is mine.
I tell you what, this getting older business is making me so sappy. Every day is an emotional workout of allowing myself to sink into my feels, but I secretly love it. My sisters and I quite literally cried our way through Disneyland. Every memory was a glimpse into the hearts of the women who came before me: Our grandma, who grew up with nothing and in fear all the time. Who wasn’t an emotionally available mother for my mom, but who took the do-over that life handed her with four grandkids. I thought of the woman who chose to get pregnant with my mom because she knew she would get kicked out of her own house, because life her own would be safer than locked in a house with her father’s drunk friends. A woman whose mother never chose her, and yet she chose my mom. Chose us. Disneyland was one of the ways she loved my mom, when the words weren’t accessible. And it was a big way that she loved us and brought us all together. I grew up knowing her story- none of it withheld- but until recently it was all cerebral. Now, I feel it. Feel her, and the desperation with which she sought repair in the second half of her life. I love and have always loved broken people. We all have. And I am loved back by those same people, in the only way they have to show me. That knowledge, that we seek connection despite our wounds, and seek to give love out of our lack…it breaks me wide open.