As I finished a long year-end/year-beginning review of my entire life (Yes, a mammoth and overly mental task, but maybe it was necessary!), I felt understandably overwhelmed about what to do next. Where does the complex, beautiful and problematic journey leave me standing now? Alas, no more sighted than I was before I began, although perhaps more aware of the strengths and jewels I can harvest...
Just as my overly strict mind began to lecture me about doing a new business plan, I had a delicious conversation with a dear friend who had just returned from a women's retreat. I was interested, since I am planning my own retreat, and wanted to know what had left her so inspired. She sent me the following poem:
We Stand at the Edge of a True Wilderness
We stand at the edge of a true wilderness. No one has entered it, nor worn a path for us. There are no maps.
We look toward that great openness in awe of the freedom and possibility before us. Yet there is also something in us that causes us to face the unknown territory cautiously and anxiously.
Now, in this place, we take time out of time to look back, to see where we have been and what we have been, to reflect on what we have learned thus far on our journey.
We gather together to remind each other to see our True North, and to encourage—to place our courage in—one another.
When we leave this place, we must each find our true path. We must walk alone.
But now and then we may meet.
When we meet, may we offer each other the bread of our being.
And oh, my sisters, if you hear me plunging wildly, despairingly, through the thicket, call out to me, calm me.
And if you find me sleeping in the snow, awaken me, lest my heart turn to ice.
And if you hear my music, praising the mornings of the world, then in that other time, in the blackness of my night, sing it back to me.
- Barbara Rohde, In the Simple Morning Light (1994)
Ahhh, this leaves me breathing again. Sisters, I remember. Just the act of our gathering, either physically or electronically...has power in it. For when we form sisterhoods of any kind, we have people who can "remind each other to see our True North," and "offer each other the bread of our being." When we do that, our connection empowers us to call to each other, sometimes to calm, other times to awaken, and other times, just to sing.
Now I still am blind to what I will be in a year, or to how my business plan should evolve. But I can see this: I will refuse to be bullied by an overstrict mind that would make me too small. I will learn to embrace the place I know, where all is one, and where my heart fills with light. I will continue to find and treasure sisters who see that place too, and who encourage me over and over to return to it and never, never let it go.