Tearing off scabs

Photo of a large fluorite crystal and an avocado plant

I grit my teeth. Especially when I think of terrible things I’ve done in my life. Abortion. Euthanasia. Killing an unborn baby and puppies. It was rational to do so in each case, but I hated it. I just couldn’t afford to allow myself to think about it. I had to keep moving forward, for my daughter and for myself. Life was hard back then. I was a single mom with a five year old, taking on a double music major graduate degree and working a full time job.

I’ve always had music in my life. Music is my heartbeat, religion, my soul. I am most alive doing music. I’m good at it. Which makes it that much more satisfying to do. I am certainly not perfect. I agonize over how inadequate I am to render the world’s most gorgeous music. I am a human striving to communicate with Spirit. It’s the hardest thing that I most love to do.

All the more imperative to investigate these unmusical, Kali-like events I’ve buried for so long.

Overwhelmed with fear, shame, rejection…struggling to pay rent on a shack, put food on the table, deal with student insurance, alcoholic ex, insane in-laws, and deep East Texas scary, mean people. I was in survival mode. I truly felt I had no other choices. Still, it was so staggeringly antithetical to my character and psyche.

At the time, I was a wild, wounded animal. And I inadvertently drove myself deeper into the tiger’s lair. I went to ground in deadly soil.

I remember my father knocking bats down from the eaves and beating them to death when I was a child. That was the way of the hardscrabble Texas farmer in the 40’s and 50’s–killing for food, or protection from physical harm. My father put a shotgun in my hands when I was just six years old. He meant well—he believed I needed skills that would help put food on the table. I fired the gun once and ran crying back to the house.

He continued to take me hunting after that, but just as a helper–I never shot any living thing. As I field-dressed the quail, dove, rabbit, or fish, whatever was in season, I imagined I was doing penance for taking that creature’s life. I strongly connected with Earth and Spirit–my Cherokee blood bade me honor the sacrifice.

True to his roots, my father took his own life with a gun.

I have not paid my respects to those whose lives I took. I have not properly grieved. Perhaps that is why those events remain so painful. Concoct a remedy. Dr. Kloss’ Back to Nature is great for physical illnesses–formulate a compound to heal the soul.

Write about it. Explore the nooks and crannies of the scenario, not just the tired, old story that’s been a band-aid stopgap to gain resolution/absolution.

That would mean talking about the rape. The showing up at midnight, insinuating himself into my bed, insistent, overpowering me, prying my legs apart; me not wanting to physically fight him with our young daughter in the next room.

My uterus was scarred from prior pregnancies. There was no place to take root. Mild but disturbing cramping, spotting, pricks. I envisioned months of mounting pain, drugs, enforced bed rest, missed work, no income, being further bound to an abusive man…

And so I rationalize. The baby would not have survived, and I would be in physical and financial ruin. My existing child would be dangerously deprived, and possibly taken away from me if I couldn’t support her. I could not let that happen. I believe the unborn being was aware of everything and simply enfolded back into spirit. The actual medical procedure served merely as ablation and prophylaxis. I didn’t really, truly kill that being—its soul had already vacated the womb.

That would also mean talking about assisting five other beings into this physical plane over the years since then. Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to that work. I would call it atonement, but the joyous flow of labor and delivery doesn’t fit my old perception of what atonement means. Balance? Karma? Then why do I still grit my teeth?

That would further mean forgiving myself. No cover story, no rationalization, just convince myself that I’m not a monster. Tough situations sometimes force tough choices. Breathe. Relax. As a mother comforts her child, gather that gentleness for myself. Resolve. Detach with love.



The Winter Solstice and Healing

Sunrise at Stonehedge on the Winter Solstice

Today, December 22, is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the longest–some say darkest–night of the year. Celebrated throughout the world over the ages under different names, it is most associated with death–the loss of light in the world, bespeaking a cold, stony, dark place in the soul. This time of year has additional meaning for me as a Capricorn, ruled by iron-hearted Saturn, with the image of a fish-tailed goat, struggling up from the rocky depths, step by step, eyes focused on the lofty peak.

Equally important, the winter solstice marks the return of the sun, a rebirth, a time for great celebration. One of my favorite solstice traditions takes place at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. A spectacular event, it features the Paul Winter Consort, dancers, as well as other special guest musicians. This solstice experience is an ever-renewing thrill––hearing the great, magnificent organ rumbling into the lower registers, depicting the journey underground in bone-shaking waves of sound; watching the massive, brilliant sun gong slowly ascend twelve heart-stopping stories with its player to the vault of the cathedral; joining in the cathartic “Howl-eluia Chorus,” wrenched from thousands of throats echoing throughout the massive stone structure, with its seven-second long reverberation. More than a date on the calendar, more than an astounding concert, this event embodies the deeper meaning of winter solstice: death and rebirth.

This year’s winter solstice marks the 25th anniversary of my father’s death. He took his own life on December 22, and we buried him on Christmas Eve. I was overwhelmed with guilt and pain for letting it happen on my watch. In truth, I had no power over his actions, and it has taken many years of intensive work to finally accept that truth and heal. I have journeyed from dis-ease to feeling a seed crack open in my heart, sending out a tendril of hope that will not be denied. I’ve put one foot in front of the other on the long road from darkness to light, and am stronger for it.

I believe that to a great extent, we humans can heal from the pain of loss, guilt, anger, and abuse, especially with the help of others who have also experienced and healed from these feelings. It is my passionate desire to create staggeringly beautiful signposts for you that point the way to hope, light, joy, peace, and love.

Every journey begins with a single step. This is the first step in sharing my story of returning to a full life from the pain of abuse and loss. For me, the key is tapping into the power of creativity, in all its myriad forms. Bringing color and music back into your life. Honoring the seasons of your soul. Cultivating love and joy. Healing. Rebirth. It can happen, one step at a time.

It will be OK.