There is this magical path that runs alongside the Presidio golf course in San Francisco. I live nearby and walk this path when I need something I cannot name. To me, magic is a kind of wonder that sits just out of reach of the rational, beckoning and inviting. Probably much like you, I don’t often accept this invitation because I’ve too much to do and it can feel like I have no time to enter this place.
But, yesterday I did. I arrived and slowly started along the path. As my pace slowed and took in the beauty, my breath deepened, my body softened, and my thoughts slowed, and in no time I was no longer entranced by my thinking. Instead, the world as it is, always inviting, always beckoning, became my focus.
I left the maze of thought and dropped back into reality, something that happens often during our days, even if just for short moments.
Looking west, the bright green of the golf course peeking through.
I walked the path’s length and then began the return trip back.
At this point, the golf course was to my right. Here, the light poured across the path making the green of the woods and grass shine.
It was here that I answered what beckoned. A fullness of energy rose up from deep inside me. My heart seemed to try to blossom open, but something stopped it. Tears began to well up and I felt a corresponding very old and familiar feeling of grief, a well worn pattern that activates in me when I see and experience beauty and ephemerality. This fullness of energy seemed to be stuck in my heart and throat. I almost went to my typical experience and expression of grief.
But I didn’t. Something different happened here. I could feel and sense a kernel of brightness at the center of this fullness of energy. Just a kernel, like a compressed seed pod ready to pop and release its vitality. It was joy, a big, bright ball of joy waiting, waiting, waiting to be set free. Really, for who knows how long. So much joy, like the intense pellet of yellow described by Audre Lorde:
“During World War II, we bought sealed plastic packets of white, uncolored margarine, with a tiny, intense pellet of yellow coloring perched like a topaz just inside the clear skin of the bag. We would leave the margarine out for a while to soften, and then we would pinch the little pellet to break it inside the bag, releasing the rich yellowness into the soft pale mass of margarine. Then taking it carefully between our fingers, we would knead it gently back and forth, over and over, until the color had spread throughout the whole pound bag of margarine, thoroughly coloring it.
I find the erotic such a kernel within myself. When released from its intense and constrained pellet, it flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience.” Audre Lorde
This joy was, and is, the vitality that is eros, love, and in this moment I felt a love for all of existence that was so great. I felt the grief I’ve felt since I was a young girl and this yellow pellet was subsumed because it was ‘too much’ for this world of human beings who’ve learned so well to contain their own yellow pellet, and specifically ‘my’ nuclear family that I loved so much and needed to stay connected to. When you sense your child ways, and even little girl ways, are too much, of course you do this. You contain. You subsume. You suppress. And in doing so, a grief sets in for denying the vitality of life and love that longs to pour forth into this world. This denial can only have one response in a human being who is always created to be a vessel of exactly this, a vessel that is meant to be known and seen as one truly is.
Grief. Deep grief.
But here the light, the green, the whispers of the trees, the wind across my face (something I’ve always loved), was telling me of joy and grief, was inviting the yellow pellet to break free. I began to feel the old way of grief and the grief was real, but I also realized that it was the joy that wanted to come, the eros that wanted to be set free. I felt grief for having denied it. I felt the grief, but I didn’t linger there. I opened to the joy, and in this one clear moment, the weight of a lifetime, born of generations past, generations of ancestors that, too, had subsumed their joy, dropped away. The weight of ancestral grief and trauma let go. The weight of carrying a sense of self that just isn’t true dropped to the ground.
And in this one clear moment, the weight of a lifetime, born of generations past, generations of ancestors that, too, had subsumed their joy, dropped away. The weight of ancestral grief and trauma let go. The weight of carrying a sense of self that just isn’t true dropped to the ground.
The yellow pellet broke open and as I walked I could feel it make it’s way throughout my body. And for one clear moment, I could feel with complete clarity the essence of my own nature. Revelation. I am joy. Nothing else but this yellow spreading out all directions, infinitely.
The breeze rushed through the trees, caressed my face, as if to say, ‘Yes, child, yes, you are this.”
What for so long I’ve known as grief has been an indication that what I’ve just experienced — here, the light and green and beauty — was my body and soul beckoning back to myself, back to my essential nature alive and vital as an erotic human being. This is what we are. When life force flows through a human body, consciousness wants to ENJOY the experience.
The Great Denial
Denying the vitality of our lives as human beings has been going on for many generations — who knows how long, really, passed down, generation to generation.
We fear life. We fear our humanity. We fear each other. We fear ourselves.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Carl Jung
We fear what we are deep inside. We fear the bright yellow of our naturally joyous nature, this yellow pellet just waiting to be released into the whole of who we are, brightening our lives, brightening the world.
We fear the wildish expression of life. We don’t want to let go of control, but oh how much energy it takes to try to contain it all.
Grief can be many things. On this magical path, I learned it can be a sign of a fork in the road, a moment to choose to feel what is wanting to flow from within us, like a river of life that runs from some Great Source within out into the vast expanse of life that lies all around us.
Do we deny ourselves once again, or do we instead trust that fullness of energy that simply wants to be free through us, as us, as life?
Can we trust this Great Source to be the love we so long to know inside our own cells? Can we trust this Great Source to be the love we long to offer to this world?
To be in flow is to be flow.