I once saw a myofascial release specialist. He came highly recommended, with friends telling me they’d cried on his table from the “inexplicable” sense of emotional release they felt once the source of their pain had been located and rubbed out. At some point around the 30-minute mark, I understood why. With the man’s hand shoved half way between my two left pectoral muscles — which had been previously glued together — creating a tight, burning sensation in my upper left shoulder for several months, I felt the release of pressure from somewhere very deep and very old inside me. I breathed deeply as my breath caught, and my lip trembled.
Before I could cry, he asked, “How does that feel?” I replied, “Like tulips blooming in my chest.” And thankfully, he understood what I meant.
Ask me what a thing feels like, and before any language forms, before thoughts, there is an image. What is dreaming like? Like slipping into the ocean, and entering a world beneath the surface; a living liquid experience that is vivid, and slow, where waves have voices and sea anemones are kings. How do children grow? Like the bright green growth of evergreens, stretching out into the sunlight of experience. What is a kiss? Thunder, a rolling force of colliding energies, shaking the heavens and rumbling in the body of the sky.
I think this is what it’s like conversing with the voice of Spirit. No thing is simply mundane; no shaft of light coming through the kitchen window, no broken handle on the refrigerator is what it appears to be. It’s all sacred. Every bit of it is the shifting light of magic, a portal into something more.
I think we are so hungry for the meaning that this kind of symbology brings to life. To converse with Spirit is to leave oneself open to mystery, to the negative space. It’s entering this waking world, and coming out with treasure. Fistfulls of gems, keys to palace doors, answers to any question. To convene with Spirit is to enter into ourselves in a way that truly grants us permission to be exquisite, miraculous beings. It is to open up the seemingly ordinary as magic. The doors between this world and that swing easily, and we see: the membrane is permeable. We are one thing.
Why is any of this important? Why talk about Spirit? About dreams? About symbols as language? It is this: It used to be that my days were a strange kind of automatic movement through the world. Months would go by, and then suddenly: awakening. A book. A poem. A piece of music, and I’d be undone, crumpled up in a pile on my bedroom floor, suddenly unsure if the life around me was even mine. My body would hurt for months on end, and it would take a stranger to pry me open and get me to look at what I was not giving myself permission to feel.
I used to think this was something I alone experienced. That only I woke up into my life, suddenly sometimes, wondering who I was or why my world felt so foreign. Why were we not all on our knees, kissing the Earth and running naked in the moonlight?
More than ever, I know I’m not alone. That women — and men — are hurting with the loss of this indigenous kind of being in the world. People everywhere are looking at their lives, not without hope, but with hearts full of it: that life might somehow be more like living, and less like autopilot. That we might be touched by Nature, the stars, and feel connected to the Eternal. Hope that we might enter into the temples of our homes, our relationships with lovers and friends and children, and hold them — and ourselves — as sacred.
What I’ve come to see over time is that in these moments when the gap feels wide, the aching chasms inside us teach something that nothing else can: that there is room, always, to become closer to Center.
Knowing this means that I build life slower these days. Sometimes it looks like nothing gets done. And yet, I am kinder, more patient, softer. I’m able to see the stuff of life like great hieroglyphs: sweeping images telling whole stories. And in those moments when the beautiful mundane unveils herself to me, I brush against the Divine.