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.

Like just when I get my head out and I can breathe and there’s a view, something SUCKS me up back inside and it’s dark and claustrophobic and I feel like I’m suffocating.

I know it’s making me stronger. I know that, just like for a baby, the movement up and down the canal helps the immune system by seeding the gut with bacteria from the mother. I know the squeeze and release titrates the nervous system, helping it be more resilient. I know all of this is helping me survive and thrive, that I will be more fully me on the other side. I also know I’m ready for this to be over.

It feels like a WHIRLWIND OF GROUNDLESSNESS.  The writer Gloria Anzaldua calls it an “internal whirlwind.”

A classmate of mine named Sarah said it feels like when you are doing pirouettes as a dancer and you have no spot point, nothing to ground you, nothing to come back to. You’re just spinning dizzily in space until you fall over.

It’s a Soul Vertigo.

We don’t know the way forward because we can’t even locate up from down or left from right.

This is happening on every level: national, cultural, systemic, spiritual, personal—we are in Liminal Space.

We are no longer what we were but we are not yet what we are becoming.

The old ways do not serve. We are leveling up, raising consciousness, evolving, birthing a new way of being. But it feels like we’re DYING.

We can’t get our bearings. It’s profound dislocation and disorientation.

And it’s revealing all our discomforts.

Which is just the worst thing ever to be uncomfortable. The worst.

So we try to make it go away through all kinds of strategies, including saying we feel UNSAFE and we need to leave whatever it is making us feel unsafe- but discomfort and unsafe are two different things.  

If it’s liberation you’re after, and you’re not experiencing discomfort, liberation is not where you’re headed.
— Rev. angel Kyodo williams

If we stay with the discomfort, it will unfold in meaning.  The discomfort is the squeeze and release pulling us into a full birthing of ourselves.

I’m so uncomfortable I know I must be on the path of liberation, but where’s the glamour?

Where are the freedom marches and the bold speeches and the epic breakthroughs and the yoga retreats? Why does my liberation look like things getting worse instead of better?

Instead of protests and bold slogan t-shirts, I’m being asked to dig deep into my past, into my family of origin stuff, my mother/daughter dynamics, my parenting, my partnering, my investment in my oldest and longest relationships where people really know the longevity of my shit.

I’m being asked to feel my feelings and stay with the discomfort.

My CSU professor calls it a Process of Apprenticeship by which you clear and clear and clear- you keep becoming a clearer channel so that the Divine might sing through you.  

As long as I’ve so far lived and as much as I’ve experienced, this is what the clearing looks like and feels like- it kinda feels like dying.  

This is why we’re not meant to do it alone. Who can birth themselves by themselves?

And besides, you are the one being birthed. You can’t see what that’s like while you’re in it. It’s being done to you.

Your job is to surrender to the process and stop calling it dying.

If there’s a structural problem, we don’t fix it by changing the wallpaper. We must dig deeply into the foundation, discover the problem, and reconstruct the house. In other words, we must transform the house from the ground up. It is through our roaring and rising that we become architects and builders of a new house, one that holds everybody in mutuality.
— Sue Monk Kidd/ Carter Heyward

We could try calling it Roaring and Rising.

I know, it feels like Regression and Resistance….but what if it really is Roaring and Rising?

This is why we need each other, why we have to show up for each other.  We help each other stay in it. We help each other surrender to the process.  We midwife each other into being. When I call it getting worse, you call it getting better. When I call it dying, you call it birthing.

When I want to call it off, you call it good and necessary and even beautiful.

It’s only on the other side that you can see.

So let us be eyes for each other. When you don’t have your spot point, when nothing comes into focus, when you’re in the midst of the Soul Vertigo and you can’t tell up from down, let alone put one foot in front of the other, let us depend upon another set of eyes besides our own.

It is a dry birth, a breech birth, a screaming birth, one that fights her every inch of the way.  It is only when she is on the other side and the shell cracks open and the lid from her eyes lifts that she sees things in a different perspective.  It is only then that she makes the connections, formulates the insights. It is only then that her consciousness expands a tiny notch, another rattle appears on the rattlesnake tail and the added growth slightly alters the sounds she makes.
— Gloria Anzaldua, The Coatlicue State

It’s true, this isn’t the last time it’s going to happen. You will be birthing yourself your whole damn life. You don’t get a whole rattlesnake tail on the other side of this. You get one new little rattle, one little rattle at a time, until one day, you realize you have Come Into Your Voice.