thread of life

The Thread of Life: Remembering my Ancestors’ Ways of Creating the Tapestry

These spring mornings, when I rise and cup my coffee in my barely awake hands, my eyes focus on the sun-lit tree tops outside my window. Small patches of sunlight, filtering in and landing on the highest branches of the trees with such subtlety one can easily miss this.

So much more dominant, and easily spotted, are the darker places in the woods outside my window; the lower branches and the trunks of the trees, rooted into the moist soil of earth, still unaware that the sun is beckoning. Or maybe not as much unaware, as they are not yet ready to receive the sun’s gifts. Not yet ready to be ever so gently bathed in the healing, soothing light.

Right now, I feel more like the lower branches and the trunks of the trees who, without worry or questioning, sit in the darkness. I know clearly that I am not yet ready to receive the gift of re-birthing that is being offered through the sun’s light during these early spring mornings in the Pacific Northwest.

Coming through this last year has left me unsure and afraid of being receptive; of turning toward the light. Why bother when so much continues to feel uncertain, dark, cold, and isolated?

I am learning to embrace and listen to this raw and vulnerable place inside of me. The place that is not yet ready to receive the light and act as if the worst of this last year is over.

I think the events of this last year are still rumbling and rolling around my body, heart and soul. They are still working their own magic of transformation in the way that only troubling, challenging times do.

Some of these events this last year for me:
Of course, like every other human, COVID and all that comes with that.
Transitioning into menopause and becoming “elder, crone, wise woman”.
Chronic pain due to severe hip arthritis, much less freedom and movement due to that pain, then surgery to fix that pain.
Coming to terms with and healing childhood trauma.
Grieving so, so, many things.

Now, I see, everywhere, things “opening up”, social media messages telling me to, “step into my light, heal my brokenness, live my best life, get back to work, produce, accomplish, succeed”.

None of these messages are wrong or bad; of course their intent is one of hopefulness and encouragement.

However, I am conscious now more than ever, that in order to embrace life and light, we must be with the darkness, the shadows, the pain, the times of confusion, the fear and uncertainty.

The full moon this month is all about this; learning how to be with the “death” part of the life/death/re-birth cycle.

Everyone has had their own challenges this year. Mine are mine. Others have had much, much worse. With great and growing awareness, I see how my white privilege automatically protected me from the kind of pain that BIPOC have experienced, not just this year, but for hundreds and hundreds of years.

It is ESSENTIAL that we continue to commit to ongoing acknowledgment, addressing, repairing, healing and transforming the deep systemic racism and social injustices which so rampant in our institutions, our minds, and our ways of moving through this world.

If I let myself be with the shadow and darkness, with the painful realities of this world, then I am led to a new understanding of my life and a new becoming of my authentic soul. I am able to face the challenges, learn from them, make amends where possible, and integrate them into who I am becoming.

One major source teaching me how to sit with and integrate every experience and each cycle of my life, which includes darkness, shadow and death, is my Celtic heritage flowing through my DNA, bones, memories, and blood.

My Celtic ancestors celebrated and honored life as a cyclical, non-dualistic experience. They did not live from a linear epistemology. They lived the rhythm of divine flow, of ceaseless unfolding, evolving, weaving. Their lives reflected the beautiful patterns of infinite spirals, circles, and entwined threads.

I have learned this year that the idea of “non-attachment” simply does not match my Celtic blood and ways. Because for me and my roots, everything is part of everything else. Influencing and being influenced by. Non-dualistic, connected, woven together.

Life cannot be unattached from itself.

What I am learning is this: things do not end, or fall apart, or disappear. COVID and the unrest and violence of this year has forever changed us. And while its intensity may wax and wane like the moon, these things will not completely fade as if they never were.

My Celtic ancestors’ spirits, part of my blood and bones and soul memory, teach me this: Like a single strand of thread that is never ending, life continues to weave us. We are the tapestry, always evolving.

Each experience we have is part of this thread. As we weave the thread of our experiences into our hearts and souls, into the tapestry of our life, we become more and more crystal clear. We become more authentic. We become more wise and resilient; aligned with our higher purpose.

Things don’t end; they become part of who we are. Not in an all-consuming way or as one single identity. My painful experiences are not my identity. But they are part of what has created, inspired, influenced, and guided my becoming. Part of the tapestry of my life.

Everything is connected. Everything is part of everything else. One thread. Weaving its way through and between everything we touch, see, hear, love, embrace, release, and experience.

Everything has a purpose, thrives, then dies, then is re-born. So even death is really not a completeness. It is part of the whole tapestry. Things die only to be re-birthed into a beautiful piece of the whole.

This is why, I am ok, even more than ok, with not yet receiving the light as my beautiful, wise tree-tops do in the early morning sun. I know it is ok to be where the lower branches are; to still feel the darkness, the weariness and the uncertainty. To still find comfort in the rich, dark soil. Because the darkness and shadow and earth’s soil are intricate parts of who I am and who I am becoming.

I am not broken. I do not need “fixing”. I am BEING. Being my life as it weaves its tapestry made up of that single strand of thread, of all things unbroken. Always connected to the Divine Spirit, the source of life.

The light is waiting. The darkness cycles through. Re-birth flows from death. The thread weaves its way into the most exquisite work of art, the unfolding of our Soul.

As always, Peace in the Journey,

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Jane Ryan

Jane Ryan, M.A., LMFT, is a Licensed Couples and Family Therapist with twenty years of clinical experience. She specializes in intimate relationships, sexual challenges, sacred sexuality, and helping clients embrace their true erotic nature. She supports women in discovering their most radiant, vibrant and powerful feminine essence.