"There is an unnameable yearning that originates in the womb of her purpose. She follows this yearning to find her boldness and erase her fear. Her yearning is never quenched. Her boldness blossoms." (from the illustration, "She follows a deep yearning" - in the series A Fearless Woman... this illustration is not yet published)
In my last post I shared a few highlights from a story/essay (still a draft) I've been writing... about a turning point in my life - after treatment for breast cancer. The story begins when I'm waking in the recovery room after surgery. The memory of that first conscious breath being coaxed out of me by a gentle nurse is still powerfully strong; I remember her eyes, her voice, the sweetness of her presence. Next is the image of my mom and sister waiting for me in my room - an unforgettable impression of love, kinship, safety, comfort.
The metaphor I use - 'taking my first breath for the second time' - couldn't be more accurate. It was a true rebirth in every sense of the word. In that moment I restarted my clock: I was innocent and emotionally naked; startled and fascinated with the new world I was waking up in. Now, every time I stop in the middle of busyness, or pause to witness beauty, or find time for solitude, I become aware of my breathing, and whether by habit or conscious focus, I remember the recovery room and I'm prompted to take a deep, expansive breath. I'm alive... still. I can't get over it.
It's so easy to fall into shallow breathing in our accelerated lives; we tend to forget to breath deeply -sometimes hardly breathing... body tense, mind distracted. We forget to bring our awareness back to the present; forget to relocate back into our bodies to feel what we feel - whatever it is.
So, what exactly inspired me to share my recovery-room breathing memory at this moment in time?
A few posts back I described a vase of beautiful orchids brought by a friend and how the colors were those of the fiery fall leaves and hillsides. Then I made the association of the reds, oranges, and yellows of fall with the colors of the lower 3 chakras. Recently, I called my orchid friend, who is an especially gifted intuitive, for some chakra talk. Here's a little synopsis (my paraphrasing):
Chakra # 1 groin area (red) - safety: survival, thriving in the matrix of the tribe. (family)
Chakra # 2 gut area (orange) - personal power: confidence, money, creativity, sexuality. (expression)
Chakra #3 solar plexus area (yellow) - self-care: self-esteem, trust, boundaries. (self-worth)
All these issues were up for me when I was in a stunned state of change after cancer treatment: my mortality, my history, my (untapped) creative potential, my sense of self. Many of our fears and blocks lie in these lower reaches. I had my share of shadow and darkness to confront, but like Persephone (I said I'd tie all the symbols together!) I was able to rise from the underground to dance across spring meadows again. As a result of taking this one breath, I experienced an unnameable yearning rise up that was like nothing I'd ever known.
I'll pick this up again in the next post and bring it all back to the transformational symbolism of Autumn. Please, forgive my extensive processing and long way back to the beginning.
"For years I've endeavored to calm an impetuous tide, laboring to make my feelings take an orderly course. I was striving against the stream." Mary Wollstonecraft