This Christmas I received many gifts. None came wrapped in pretty paper with large bows. I actually thought Christmas was passing me by to begin with. Whilst everyone round me experienced the joys of family and free time I journeyed to the underworld and like Persephone I resisted frantically. It took a couple of weeks to uncurl from my foetal ball and realise that the end of the world hadn’t come. Finally as my nervous system relaxed and my perspective shifted I no longer regretted eating those three pomegranate seeds. Pluto’s underworld is, of course, full of riches. If only we can sit with our terror long enough to calm we will receive them. And that is what I did. So many silver linings to this cloud. A doctor who was locuming at my local practise who had a strong Integral faith attended to the healing of body and soul. My beloved husband who took care of me and all the challenges of home and visitors. My friends who gave up time with their families and their own time off to sit with me. My surgeon and my support team who accompanied me. My mum who put aside her own fear of rejection to bring me close when things were darkest. The calming peace of my garden where I grounded my inner disturbance. All these gifts have led to a further opening of my heart as i allowed myself to receive and receive. Never have three pomegranate seeds been such a rich harvest. My lesson? Well, that the very thing I think will destroy me makes me anew. I was as equally grateful for the gifts as I am for the suffering. In the garden of my soul many weeds have been pulled and flowers are flourishing, especially the pomegranate.
Balanced on the cliff edge, my acorn shell cracked wide open I look out into the void. My old brain screams in terror, seeing only my annihilation. There is a whispering, the gentle susurration of oak leaves shimmying, calling me forward. I am exhausted by the terror and so I drop into the velvety darkness. The banshee wail fades behind me and I am gently caught in the loving embrace of a compassionate God, manifested through the actions of my beloved husband, caring family, friends and my garden. A tiny shoot has sprouted in my soul garden. Each time I drop I am buoyed up, carried on swells of constancy, love and acceptance. Ebbing and flowing, my emotions toss the boat of my soul. Little by little I learn to find my balance, my sea-legs, more quickly. In this moment I am not that abandoned child sucked down into a whirlpool of despair, drowning in her own shame. A new land is in sight and the waves push me ever closer. It is the unknown; I am a way off yet. I feel its pull, it is the moon, I am the water. Like the new growth sprouting skyward in my soul garden my roots are seeking their home. I am still vulnerable; though pulsing within me is all the potential of a mighty oak and all around me the compassionate manifestation of the Beloved.