when it’s time for independence

graffiti of a pocket watch (the hands read just past 12 o'clock) on a green background with a bird hovering, seated, just to the upper leftWhat a good morning is this morning: lovely cool morning air that promises to heat up as the sun fully takes over the evening damp; a puppy who gets to run in the park grass, gets to leap high in the air for her ball; morning pages and candlelight alongside green-anise-cardamom tea.

What happens when it’s time for something new? When it’s time to claim independence from some part of yourself, to allow another part of yourself to rise?

It would seem I’ve been on a break from the blog for a bit; I just want to acknowledge that. I’m doing a lot of inside writing, words for the notebook, for the workshops and for the book projects, and less so for immediate public consumption. It’s interesting, to be in these stretches where I feel less interested in publicly displaying my wrangling, my struggles, my work. Sometimes we have to go deep inside in order to replenish the well, in order to fill up again when are depleted after a massive effort. It’s been easy for me to dismiss what has just happened in my life, outside of the workshops and the Big May Project: I want to write it as, I started a new life. But that’s not at all true. I opened into the life that I have been living all along; I allowed a relationship that was not working to end, and then almost everything changed. And I wrote my way through it, but differently: not just to record the day-to-day for posterity, for the external memory that is my collection of journals — but also to find language for this self that has been emerging, for the terror of deep self-acceptance, for the violence we can do to ourselves and one another in ostensible service to relationship/allyship/healing.

A year ago, on July 4, I wrote this:

The myth of American Independence, the pulling-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps thing, that’s an entrapment; it’s just a lie. We all have helping hands, whether in the shape of friends, family, community, characters in books, art, tv shows, stories from movies, class or race privilege, trust funds, education — if we find ourselves getting free, it’s because we have had it made known to us that free is a possibility. Who showed us that option? Who were our role models? What characters or foremothers or stories did we tuck under our hearts when we felt the most ensnared that began to chew and gnaw at our bindings, that began to push our face toward the sun of our own power? Those desires and makers-of-possibility, those who held our hands whether they knew it or not: we need to remember and honor them as well.

I’ve spent the last twelve months learning, all new, what it means to need to lean on my communities, to ask for help and to allow myself to receive and show up for that generosity and exchange, to risk being human and in/of need, to risk being seen as exactly who I am. This independencing, interdependencing — it’s process. It’s ongoing. It’s never over, is it? What a tremendous gift.

We have many of us declared our independence over and over in this lifetime — from families or behaviors or patterns or relationships or addictions that harmed us, from work that no longer fed us, from one way of thinking in favor of another. In getting to be human, it would seem, we get to keep bursting forth, explosive with light and color and sound, from the shells we create around ourselves into new ways of thinking, being, doing, wanting, living.

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Yes, of course this explosion is a violence. Why do we expect it not to be? What if violence and kindness were not opposites? What if violence were sometimes of service to us? This is a complicated question.

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My writing practice is shifting in the midst of all this current transformation, is leaning toward more direction, more clarity, more naming of stances and positions and ideas and wonderings. I am excited and nervous about this movement, feel claimed by writing in an entirely new way these days.

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What in/around you is asking to be set free today? Here is a prompt for this July 4 — give yourself ten minutes, or 15, or 20: just notice what arises in you when you read that question, and let that be your starting place. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go.

The all of you is beloved today. You know that, right? Thank you for your good and generous heart, the ferocity of your tender body, your empowered and heart-full words.




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