hands regrown, wrapped in green, backlit by fire

I was talking with my coach the other day about where I am now that both of my children are grown and my parents are gone. And I’ve been feeling both deeply reflective and quiet and itching to get up and get out there and make things happen.

Liberated and also, waiting. I feel as if I’m in a holding pattern, the bardo between one thing and another.

My coach began talking about how often we use caretaking as a substitute for deep wisdom and creativity (power). And how, in a patriarchal society, women flow their power into taking care of others (and taking care of houses) because these are the few places we are allowed to really show mastery.

She said that, in another time and place, I would be known as a wisdom keeper. She said that it breaks her heart to think of women like me, who feel limited by a lack of institutional approval symbols – licenses, advanced degrees, and so forth.

I do feel limited by that but here in this waiting room between one thing and another, I feel also, called by it.

If we cannot envision ourselves as masterful creators in a world where the womanly arts of circling and holding, containing and crafting, making and creativity are valued, we cannot make that happen.

We are the pioneers of this story.

My coach told me the story of the Handless Maiden, who gave so much of herself to others, so selflessly, that she wound up with nothing – she even lost her hands.

And I feel that way, sometimes. Handless – legless – in a world full of doorknobs and staircases. I suspect you do, too.

We have no societal structure for the nested circles inside of which we live and work and breathe. No system for integrating the everything-all-at-onceness of life into our actual lives.

And so, when my coach asked: Now that the children are grown and the parents have finally died; and, now that you’ve quit the job and whittled your practice down to a handful of clients, what can you NOW do? I didn’t know.

My first response was, “Well now I can take care of the whole world!”

and that was true
but that
was not
the true

So I waited.

And another response rose from deep inside. “Now I can rest. I can stay home and care for me.”

and that was true
but that
was not
the true

So I waited and,
in order to really see, I closed my eyes.

I found myself in the deep cave of my own weary heart
where I saw myself waiting
– one foot in grief and the other in hunger.

I saw myself waiting,
eye on the door,
waiting for life to walk in and hit me with its magic wand
– so I could show up at the dance, all pretty and powdered up where the prince would finally ask me to dance.

I felt a tingling in the palms of my hands. I felt the vine of sacred authority winding up from the soil around my ankles.

Last week, had this dream that I was searching for my daughter – calling her name all night long. Finally, I gave up and sat down outside a beautiful castle – and that is where (and when) she found me.

Out of the darkness, dressed in a green sari, my daughter approached, her head backlit by the bonfire that was burning behind her.

I’m here, she said.
And I understood.

I’m here.
The daughter
emerging from the darkness, hands regrown.

I’m here,
The prince (life itself), wrapped in green.

I’m here,
backlit by fire,
asking myself to dance.

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