it’s been a while…that’s not from lack of love. In fact, every week, I put my weekly love letter to you on my To-Do list. When I write to you, my heart takes over, and even when I’m promising myself I’m not going to go deep, suddenly, there I am talking about that thing that I didn’t want to talk about.
It’s that way with this work I am called to do too. We want to stay light and shallow, but Spirit has a way of asking more of us, demanding we get honest and authentic right now. Presence, in fact, is just being where we are and honoring that walk.
I revisit grief this month, as my close friend lost her battle with cancer at age 45. Grief is this deep global, ancestral and cultural experience too right now, as we move through October—the month of collective honoring of the dead, and then on the heels of the hurricanes, earthquakes, fires still raging in the West…with all the natural disasters, racial violence, the shooting in Las Vegas (hell, the shootings every day in the US), with our own private and personal tragedies, we must sit with this extreme discomfort. I have no special magic trick for doing this work, except to just do it. Just sit and weep. Talk about how uncomfortable you are. Write long poems about injustice if you must.
I did this in August when I traveled to Niagara Falls, NY, to spend the day with Marybeth Bonfiglio at a writing workshop called Of Blood + Belonging. It was so good. I mean, so good. We explored the ancestors and this deep cultural grieving we are all going through. We cannot shift, raise our consciousness, ascend without pain. It is painful to let go of unhealthy ways of being—when we quit coffee, we get a headache; when we quit racism, misogyny, anger, violence, we get protest and violence and discomfort. When we hurt our environment for centuries, we get an Earth in revolt.
Marybeth asked us to ask how we belong, and how we be-long. And I thought about this so much since then, as what I see in the news and in the media sometimes makes me feel very Other. But that is not what I do anymore. I reject Other. I want to be Of. I want to be in your tribe, and in the tribe of all, even the ones who hate me. And so I wrote this:
I belong to the Earth. I belong to the morning. I belong to the Moon and her mysteries. I belong to the group of misfits and outcasts that belong nowhere with nothing, moving towards the abyss in the sacred dance of the wounded. I belong to Shadow and Light and Shadow again. I belong to the darkness that mines my suffering, my sins, my losses to bring light to another in the depths of the valley of hurt and grief.
I belong to all people, to all the people who don’t belong anywhere. I belong to the tribe of the untribed, to the citizens of the liminal spaces, that walk between life and death, between whiteness and brownness, between hetero and homo, between sober and drunk, between American and Immigrant, between the worker and the master, between the singletons and the twins. I belong to the exiled. To the runaways. To the orphans. To the unmothered and untethered. To the betrayed and the betrayers. To the spies and the sell-outs and the druggies. I belong to the Vultures who circle overhead, transmuting the rot, eating away the parts of us that no longer work.
I belong to the ones who are afraid of death and afraid of life, and manage to make that sacred. And I be-long, I mean, I long to be of the fearless, those that fear nothing and no one, who fear the boundaries which keep us from recognizing we are one. But I belong to the afraid who do it anyway.
Sometimes anger and bewilderment is our starting place.
This is what my work is about—creating a circle of seekers and misfits. I have some amazing classes coming up. I want to share them with you. In my circles, my center is about helping you process all this, and belong somewhere, even if it is among those that belong nowhere. There is space for doubt and for discomfort. Join me.