My partner has been going through a very hard time recently. I call it the “Deconstruction phase” that tends to show up in a person’s life when we’re least prepared for it. This is a time when all of the familiar structures you’ve hung your hat on, the old friendships, jobs, habits, family dynamics, disintegrate like sand right before your very eyes. You’re left standing in the middle of a pile of ashes that was once your life, looking dumbfounded and feeling crushed and disoriented as your habit-loving mind grapples with the whys and wherefores of things that cannot be explained. Deconstruction leaves you feeling groundless, terrified and like you’re bleeding from the very heart that gives you life.
Deconstruction of a life. Not a big fan of it myself whenever it’s my turn to head up to bat but, having been through it a number of times, I have begun to see its usefulness. We humans cling like little monkeys cling to their mother’s breast. We hang on to about everything we can get our grubby little hands on, and much of what we hang on to has lost its usefulness long ago–the pair of acid-washed jeans that haven’t fit since we were 12, the key to……something…..something we might just find at some point, magazines with just the right article we might need eventually, if only we could remember what page it was on, and relationships that have become as constraining as those jeans. We just….hang….on….as if our lives depend upon it. We’re afraid to let go, afraid to feel the ground fall out from under us. We’re afraid to grow. So, like a blessed team of “fixer uppers”, Life shows up on our doorstep with a mop, a broom, a bulldozer and a dumpster and, in the blink of an eye, mysteriously whisks away all the things that no longer serve us, that are holding us back, so that finally we can grow into the next fresh phase of our being.
Thing is, this clean up usually feels like hell, and we really never see it coming.
My partner never saw it coming either and, having never lived through such a thing before, she’s unsure of the usefulness of such a phase and whether she’ll even emotionally survive. The other night as I listened to her heart breaking and saw the tears in her eyes I had an image and it’s one that has come to me before. In this particular vision I see women rounding the sides of the house, arms full of food, fold-out chairs, knitting, sewing, wood and, in silence, they encircle us and the wee fire pit we have set up out back. Woman after woman would puff down into her chair, skirts hiked up over the knees, shoes slipped off, the click-clicking of the knitting needles heard over the din of the fire being built, the fire that would not go out until all was said and done. The call had gone out that one of theirs was unsure and was hurting , and they were here for however long it took to comfort a sister and to mend a broken heart. Some of the women would sit in silence, simply yet powerfully holding space. Others would flit back and forth preparing food and libations. Most would take a turn telling the story of their own Deconstruction, of the pain and confusion they had to endure, and how, evenutally, they came through it and thrived because of it. The women would hold vigil until the time was right to leave. Then, just as mysteriously as they had come, knitting would be packed away, folding chairs closed and tucked up under arms, and the women would disappear into their own lives, one by one, knowing their sister would be alright.
This is what I wish for my partner. This is what I wish for every single one of us who is going through a time that is ripping her up. I wish for a sense of love and safety within a community, even a community of strangers because, in the land of the heart we are all familiar.
My longing for the ancient ways may seem foolish to you. Perhaps it’s my own version of “clinging” that I’m still working through. Nevertheless, if one of yours is hurting, tap the line, let me know. I’ll let my own people know. And maybe one day we’ll all round the corner of a house, chairs and food in hand. Maybe we’ll meet to sit vigil, creating a sacred circle around yet another heart that bleeds. Maybe that day we’ll be in the centre of the circle. Maybe in this way, one day, no woman will ever feel that she has to suffer alone. And that, my friends, will be a good day!
May you be happy. May you not suffer. May you know peace.
All my love,