Exploring New Paths
Last night my daughter and I were fortunate enough to share an evening with four incredible women we had just recently met at a new moon lodge hosted by my neighbor. Snow had fallen all day, leaving the night draped in a blanket of pure white silence.
Together we shared a meal of hearty soup and bread before pouring hot tea and gathering in the living room. We opened the circle with introductions that shared our connections to the women who came before us, those surrounding and supporting us now, and those coming up the path after us. Then we each grabbed a pile of magazines, scissors, glue, and poster board, and got to work creating our roadmap for 2017.
I had no particular vision in mind when I began flipping through the pages. My hands seemed to do the work without my rational mind connecting to the task. I didn’t overthink it. I simply chose what spoke to me in the moment in that cozy living room on a cold winter night surrounded by the love and light that was present.
After we had each completed our boards, we took time to share them with the group. Each woman in the room had created wishes for her own life in 2017—for once stepping away from our day-to-day responsibilities and roles that involve caring for others to take a moment to focus on ourselves. As we moved around the circle, I felt my heart split open and fill with overwhelming tenderness for each woman in the room, and for myself—a feeling so foreign I didn’t know quite what to do with it, so I concentrated on staying with it, holding it close instead of pushing self-tenderness away as I have done my entire life.
My wish for 2017 seems convoluted at best. On one hand I hope to put down roots, create a space and place of my own filled only with what has meaning to me, discover community with other women, and find a romantic relationship unlike any I have ever experienced up to this point in my life—one that will knock my socks off. On the other hand, I seem to be fearful of such commitments; staying also involves a tremendous amount of work and caretaking for me, which could lead me straight back down the path I have always followed—one of work and caring for others while ignoring my own needs.
The other side of my board is messy and filled with uncertainty, challenging me to get out of my comfort zone, step away from my checklist, widen my world, explore, savor, choose my adventure, travel and move freely. What in the world would that even look like?
When describing my board, I mentioned to the group that I wondered which path I would choose, and that my biggest fear is that I would do nothing. One of the wise women didn’t hesitate before responding, “Well of course you can do it all.”