Excavation of the Heart
The difficult work of walking back to my authentic self has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Much of my life up until now has been focused on building, while trying to find my place in this world. During my morning walk, it occurred to me that life is not really a building process but rather, an excavation. We spend so much of our time living a lie, hiding who we are and afraid to show all of our presumed flaws. At some point, this deception reaches a boiling point and the truth begins to bubble up to the surface. I suspect this often happens midlife when the flames of disappointment increase our internal emotional temperature.
It is only at this point, when a pot is ready to boil over after suffering through the heated elements of one’s life, when the work begins. Excavation of the heart is a tumultuous process filled with copious amounts of reflection and examination. This excavation reminds of a large construction vehicle that swoops in and scoops out all of the festering emotional baggage from decades of repression, thereby setting it free. Once the log jam has been cleared, this energetic conduit is now open, and the flow of energy cannot be stopped.
This is where I found myself this morning. My excavation of the heart has been in progress for some time and emotions secured in the depths of my psyche are no longer tethered. They tumble out of me like a river with no way to stop the flow. All evidenced by a tearful moment at the dentist earlier this week. I could not stop the tears from flowing due to bleeding gums from an autoimmune flare. I apologized profusely to my dentist who has walked with me through the landmine of illness. Thankfully she was gentle and gave me a hug, just what I needed.
Now, up the hillside across from our campsite, I felt a rising from within. I prayed out to my guardians, specifically my grandmothers for support, guidance and love. The tears poured out, not like a river but an ocean as loud and powerful as the shores below the hillside. Standing on the overlook it surprised me how much I still have to excavate and what no longer needs to be hiding beneath layers of shame
At the forefront of this feeling came the realization of just how liberating writing words and setting them free can be. Not only free from self-imposed tethers, but free from the judgment of others who will read these words and cast blame and display profound disappointment.
Many know my story by reading this blog and seeing through the veiled metaphors chosen to describe painful life experiences. There is no metaphor for what I share today. Preyed upon by a predator who had a long history of relationships with very young women/teens, my marriage was filled with little love and copious amounts of criticism, blame, manipulation and sexual abuse. My two beautiful children were my reason to get up in the morning and looking back, it is heartening how we all survived such a traumatic experience
What has rested heavily on my shoulders, contrary to what the politics of the day sells in the media, is an experience from over 15 years ago that I share with you now. Trying desperately to hold on to a broken and unhealthy relationship while looking for a way out, I found myself pregnant once again. My love of children is so deeply felt, this information felt very emotionally precarious. Excavating further, my health was delicate during this time. My ex-husband had been unfaithful for almost a decade and this, along with his constant manipulation, had me tied up in knots. The one thing I knew to be true was an indisputable fact, I could not bring another child into this unhealthy situation.
So, I walked past the picket lines and found myself in the doctor’s office waiting for the termination of my pregnancy. My ex-husband drove me there, but did not come in. I still remember the sights, smells and sounds of that day. It is a PTSD of the worst sort. During the procedure, I cried and felt as if my insides were being scraped raw. The wound was felt so deeply and my heart was broken into pieces, shattered just like my hopes for something better. The worst of this was returning to work feeling completely undone and not able to share with anyone what I had been through. The isolation turned my world gray for so many years. Each year I counted back to figure out how old the child would have been and silently sent a prayer to the heavens, thankful they were spared my misery on Earth.
In my heart, I was at peace with my decision. Certain I would not have been capable of parenting a new child in such a dysfunctional family unit, my gratitude for the option of this procedure was heartfelt. Unfortunately, this secret has weighed heavily on me for far too long. Knowing the abuse I was subject to in my marriage, it is truly a miracle to find myself loved, safe and relatively unscathed.
Many of you will move to the space of judgement in reading this and it is up to me to free myself from your unsolicited opinions. My excavation has unearthed a strength unknown to me in the past. Being sensitive and an empath, I walk this world feeling all the pain around me and am no longer willing to apologize for my own emotions. We each have our own work to do and it is not my responsibility to walk others to the river of acceptance and love. They must take their own journey and excavate their own dirt of denial and falsehoods.
After having prayed to my guardians this morning, they did not disappoint. At the end of the path, I looked up and saw a large seagull hanging on the air just above my head. In the sky next to this beautiful creature was the morning moon slipping toward the west as the sunlight streamed over the hillside from the east. In a gesture of togetherness, the bird seemingly floated in the air right above, holding my gaze. Then in one graceful and powerful movement, the bird flew in a large circle around me. At this moment, I knew grandma was with me. She had embraced me in a circle of love, acceptance and grace. Taking in a deep breath, my soul absorbed this private display of unconditional love.
I leave you with this. If you have been holding on to something for the better part of your life and believe those around you are better off not knowing at the expense of your spiritual, physical and mental health, set if free. It will make some very uncomfortable, but this is not for you to worry about. Excavation is a one-person job and no one else can do the work for you or them. Untethering myself from these remaining bits of emotional turmoil allows me to be a better mother, daughter, sister and partner. To this end, finding another soul who has also done much personal excavation work is a wonder. My loving finance tends to me with patience and a full acceptance of all I am and all I hope to be. We have collided in the eye of our emotional hurricanes and have chosen to cling to one another in the tranquility of this center while the storm rages on.
We are survivors and I am so very proud of the world we are co-creating. During this season of renewal with the winter solstice upon us, set free all that tethers you to a version of yourself you no longer recognize. Set free and walk unencumbered into your authentic self, embracing the entire journey from beginning to end. Sending you all my love and light.