Today I write to honor the season’s changes. The changes in our lives. The death in preparation of rebirth that is the “fall”. This is a moment to celebrate, a new beginning.
I have been a traveler for many years. I have traveled far and wide, and it was in my travels that I met Grandma Kaarina, on Christmas day a few years back, we were both there soaking up the Mexican sunshine. I had run away from the Canadian winter that year and many before. In fact, it has been 6 years since I’ve done a full winter. 10 since I did it on a regular basis. When I was 21, I did my first full year of summer, traveling to Australia, and when I returned I knew that I would not return to that cold, I had no desire to return to winter.
Yet this year I am choosing to stay. To embrace winter. Why?
The death, that is at at the heart of winter, is something that is a source of renewal, a source of connection, a source of life. This is a necessary part of life. A part of the natural cycles of life. Each plant dies and is reborn, each generation has its time. Yet in my life I have denied this seasonal cycle for many years. I feared the darkness, the cold, the isolation in a basement suite that the winter threatened. I feared seasonal depression, suicidal thoughts unchecked, and the pain of being alone.
It’s not surprising, having been raised in a culture that embraces the youthful face, and rejects the elder. In a culture that isolates in little box houses, and keeps us churning in consumerism. It is not surprising when the media tells me that the new is to be cherished, and the old discarded. If I was not productive in those winter months, I was without value. To be discarded. Of course, I would run away. Of course I would avoid that death. What value would death have to a culture that praises baby faces and the newest fad week after week, after week, after week.
But I have not denied the symbolism of death totally, for I have had some wise teachers, and I have learned to create my own deaths and rebirths, separate from my journey with the seasons. Seeing each country, each city, each moon time as a moment of death and rebirth. A ceremony to celebrate becoming reborn.
So when I returned to Canada in the spring, I knew that I would die. Not physically die, but to metaphorically die. To die as an ego. To die to the part of myself that need to do it ALL ON MY OWN ALL THE TIME. To die as an individual, and be reborn as a collective. The energy these past few weeks has been so strong there were moments when I wondered how would I even know what to do, without the kind voices and faces of those who live and love around me. How I would have survived without a friendly face who I knew was on my side. The collective is strong.
Yet I have spent the better part of the last few years being the embodiment of aloneness. Loneliness. Alone. Not peaceful and alone like the monk on the mount, but fearful. Fearful and alone. Not fun. Isolated. Socially rejected, but by my own choice and habit. Always the outsider. Always the minority. Traveling, with me, myself, and my son.
He and I have known change more than stability in our lives, and in this time of massive change, maybe we are more poised than others to deal with the instability of these times.
Now having returned to Calgary, now it is time to anchor into a community and become WE.
Not me. We. We can save the me. Me is lost now without the We. We are a collective soul, a collective evolution, a collective tribe. Spanning far further and wider than most could imagine. Every country I touched, I found people, young and old, seeking the knowledge that they were not alone in having woken up. Seeking community, a return to the land, and a hope that there is a better way to live. This is not only my journey, or your journey, but the larger journey of the soul of our time.
“The next Buddha will be a Sangha,” said Thich Nhat Hanh. It is time to learn to open up to the tribe. To share the pain, the burdens, as well as the joys and the celebrations, and to rekindle the village. To relearn what the village is and can be for me. Who I can be in it, how I can be of service in it, and how we can share the bounty and the challenges of life together.
The challenge for me now is to love myself so much that I can finally accept into my life, heart, and soul, the friendship which was torn from me at 10 years old when I moved and created the TRAUMA of relocation. To honor the intergenerational nature of this trauma, as see also that I am the one that passed on deeply to my son by bringing him to 11 countries in 5 years. To forgive me in that, and to find peace within. To allow the winter to bring its death, and to let it wash over me, to rest deeply in the darkness. To huddle closer to those around me, also in search of the light. And when the time comes, in its own time, to find ourselves, the tribe, the village, the community, peacefully budding into blossom in the spring.