If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that 2018 was a very difficult year for me. My marriage of 20 years ended at the beginning of that year, and I sold my beloved island home at the end of it. 2019 began with pneumonia and moving to town. After I settled into a small condo, I spent most of the winter and spring ill with a number of ailments. Now that I have mostly recovered from them, it seems to be that the enforced “slow time” of illness was a process of physical, emotional, and spiritual detoxification.
As I look back at the mythic arc of the last 20 months or so, I see that 2018 was a personal Tower-like year of trauma, followed by the healing grace of the Star in 2019. When I taught the Sacred Wheel course last fall, many of you heard me express my utter and complete faith that the Wheel will always turn again, will always move from despair to hope. And so it did for me.
My circle soul-sisters and my therapist were there every step of the way. The land and the sea, always, were there for me. Learning to find nature in an urban setting continues to be a delight, as does the sociability of village living. The positive response to the publication of the Herbcrafter’s Tarot has given me deep soul-shaking joy. My “Foundations of the Gaian Soul Wheel” retreat a couple of weeks ago at Aldermarsh rooted and grounded me once again in the work I’m meant to do in the world, that gives me so much pleasure and satisfaction. There are some lovely things unfolding in my personal life too, that I’m not quite ready to share.
So the tide has turned for me, the Wheel has turned once more. I am no longer taking it on faith, I’m experiencing it in my life and in my body.
And then there is the state of the world, which can take us right down into utter despair.
So today I want to share something with you that I shared first in May of last year. I need to be reminded of it right now, so it may be helpful to you as well. It’s the idea of resourcing yourself, which I first learned from Anne Hayden and Sheila Belanger of NW SoulQuest in their “Tending the Knowing Field” group facilitation course.
I saw a graphic on social media yesterday that said something like “Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and chocolate cake. It’s about creating a life you don’t have to run away from.” Self-care, to me, is about what you do to replenish yourself after you’ve been depleted. Resourcing yourself is deeper and is more pro-active — it’s about creating that authentic life. It’s about doing the spiritual practices that center and ground you so that you can handle whatever comes your way with equanimity, whether it’s in your personal life or how you respond to the tragedies in the world around us.
The simple act of wrapping yourself in a shawl and bundling yourself is one way to resource yourself. Engaging with the natural world is another. Singing and dancing — those too. Hugs and heartfelt conversations. Writing in your journal. Tossing the cards. There are many practices that will help you resource yourself. One that always works for me is to step outside and simply turn to each of the four directions, plus above, below, and center. I greet each direction in turn by speaking or singing from the heart, by making a gesture, and/or by making an offering.
It’s these practices, done on a regular and routine basis, that help us build the strength and resilience we need to meet difficult times with courage and calm.
I wrote this in May 2018:
Resource yourself. Greet the four directions, wrap yourself in a shawl, lean into feeling how Cedar has your back. Hold hands with a sword fern. Drink sparkling dew from a cup of lady’s mantle. Move to the sound of frog song. Walk through that gate. You’ve got this.
When I wrote that, I was thinking of the end of my marriage and the new life that awaited me, and how scared and sad I was at times. But I was also thinking of transitions of all kinds … all kinds of thresholds and gateways that we each have to walk through. We’re often frightened when we need to make changes, to answer the call of Soul … and yet, it is our destiny, is it not?
Resource yourself in whatever way works best for you — then cross the threshold before you.
And so I ask you to consider:
What are the sacred soulful practices that resource you the most?
Make a list. Pick one or two or three, and do them as often as you can. ?