What to keep and what to shed from our growing up years and the people that love us… It's a big topic worthy of a lot more than a single blog post so I won't attempt to cover every facet and nuance here. But I will say that I'm trying to shed my -isms (dualism, racism, classism) and hot topics (sexuality, religion, money) that keep me separate from other people and from myself. There's a great quote from Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior that goes something like, "I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes." I first read this book about 20 years ago and this quote stood out to me back then. Today, it continues to inspire and challenge me, especially as I work with the Beloved Therapist to shed some of my limiting beliefs that hold me back from making changes in my life, connecting with other people, and experiencing more joy in living.
I am also reminded of the Death card in the Motherpeace Tarot. It refers to transformation and change in our lives, not so much chosen but thrust upon us. The symbols of the skeleton in fetal position, the fallen leaves, and the snake all point to rebirth, new seasons of living, new forms of being. This image resonates deeply for me at this phase of my life. While I chose the divorce, I didn't choose the circumstances that led to it and I'm still making my way through the changes its initiated. But it's kind of exciting. A new life rolls out in front of me as I navigate single motherhood and co-parenting as well as broader ideas like my health, how I do relationships, where I find my worth, and what my good work in the world can be.
Shedding the forms that built our identities and drafted our mental maps of the world is a big job. Sometimes painful. Sometimes exhilarating. I guess we start this work in adolescence as we pull away from our parents and maybe revisit it as we enter new phases of change in our lives. I'm still in the throes of transition, itchy, wiggling, pulling free of old skin that gets stuck in places. I can't thoroughly perceive the new me that I will be. And while many emotions accompany this work (delight, anxiety, grief…) I am in awe of the process and of the human ability to be transformed.