My WORD for 2019 is Spaciousness and as is always the case, the opposite of Spaciousness has to happen first because the thing I’m called to break open has to break itself over my head. (this is my working definition of Integrity).
This means more anxiety than ever, more chatter in my head, more tight-minded discontent, more feeling trapped in my nervous system, more tendency towards numbing and distraction.
The best metaphor I have for it is being in the birth canal. I call it the squeeze.
It's 27 minutes of content. Less time than a Netflix episode. Also less characters than a Netflix episode. And maybe less cinematography. But we have tears. And a lot of journals in the background. And this is the best way I know of to reach as many sisters as I can with what we are learning about Arkitekt, and really, we've been around now for 4 years, so 27 minutes to try and describe where we're at seems warranted. Hang with me?
Our hope is to foster a safe and 100% confidential space, but we cannot guarantee this. And that's because one of the foundational aspects of Arkitekt is that we're doing this in the presence of a diverse community.
This means we're engaging a countercultural practice of face to face longevity, consistency, and vulnerability with people you didn't hand select, who do not think or act or look like you do, and that's not something we do that often these days. It's risky. And it asks much. And we recognize there are varying levels of risk represented in every gathering.
Arkitekt is a deepening of where you're at and it becomes a new base line for how you can show up, both for yourself, and for your partner and for your family.
“It seems we run our lives like trains, speeding along track laid down by others, going so fast that what we pass blurs on by. Then we say we’ve been there, done that. Th truth is that blurring by something is not the same as experiencing it.” - Mark Nepo
When things are crazy, how do we practice rest?
from Mark Nepo's The The Book of Awakening:
“Like everyone, I'd rather not experience the undercurrents of life, but the challenge is not to shun them, but to accept that over a lifetime we will have our share of them.
Avoiding the difficult aspects of living only stunts our fullness.
When we do this, we are like a tree that never fully opens to the sky. And dwelling on our difficulties only prevents them from going on their way. When we do this, we are like a great tree that nets the storm in its leaves.”
On Mother's Day four years ago, I had the honor of getting up in front of my church and sharing this story about a husband and wife who fell in love with a child and changed their whole lives so they could bring him home.
This Mother's Day, I find myself again in a church, singing worship songs with a band and my eight year old daughter. Growing up, my Dad and I sang together all the time, with my mom in the front row cheering us on and taking pictures. Now I'm the grown up, singing with my daughter in public for the first time while my husband takes pictures from the front row. It feels like some kind of full circle coming home of my child self, my grown up self, my daughter, and her future self.
Why this leg of the spiritual journey feels so difficult, and why this is totally normal.
from Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson:
"Fundamental change is not a casual occurrence. We cannot casually commit to the process of spiritual transformation...
Our entire being is called to the task, for the journey from density to light involves every aspect of who we are.
Whether we are angry at the dry cleaners because they've ruined our favorite sweater, upset with a friend who has broken a promise, or frightened at the diagnosis of cancer in the breast of a best friend; whether we're worried about the state of our marriage, looking for a new job, or anxious about nuclear bombs and terrorists in our midst, we see that everything we go through is a step along the path. We are taking the mystical journey as a way of transforming the world by transforming ourselves.
But I fear I am beginning to enjoy the unraveling too much. Like one of those wayfarers who hop trains and always with the dog and the dreadlocks, the one who decides to leave before knowing there was an alternative option to stay, the realization hitting them like the train in which they are barreling west through the Bonneville Salt Flats and at this point why not just aim for the Pacific?
There is a river that runs, that carries the overflow from the water table, the excess from wells; the same water that runs through our bodies. There is a community and belonging that lies in the water: in our bodies, in our wells, and the river.
The river, this flow of life and grace and disruption.
The river is another metaphor for the Divine and our communion with it as we come to discover our True Selves. It is the journey of Arkitekt.
It's in my seven year old coming into my room early on a Sunday morning to tell me she does not feel good and she may not be able to go to school tomorrow, she's pretty sure.
It's in her spit-filled speech and how proud I am that she kept her new blue sparkly retainer in her mouth all night long.
It's in the weight of my dog on my chest as I lay under my down comforter. “Weight” might not be the exact right word for her seven pound terrier body, but the warm rise and fall of her breath and the way she nestles in around herself is everything that makes a morning peaceful.
It's in the sound of my six-year-old pulling open the pantry, grabbing the Honey Nut Cheerios box, opening the drawer with the bowls, pouring the milk. It's when I get out of bed and find him sitting in his Very Hungry Caterpillar pajamas at the dining table reading the cereal box like I used to do when I was little and still ate cereal for breakfast.
It's in my older two sons spending the night at a friend's house and my husband heading to the mountains at 5 am to snowboard which leaves me time and space in vast uncommon dimensions.
I light a candle. I sit cross-legged in my chair by the fire and read two paragraphs of Pema Chodron. I watch the light from the window go from cold blue to sunrise warm...
You will probably not believe this right now (and that's okay), but you are going to love yourself. Like, actually LOVE yourself. Not just SAY that you love yourself. One day, you will start hovering beside yourself and watching with awe, saying, "Wow, this girl! Look at her! She is so interesting and strong and brave."
There have been so many, strangers even, who have entered into the blackness with a meal, with a check, with a coffee, with a knitted blanket, with an offer to babysit, with a "show up on your doorstep unannounced" kind of care...