Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh My Watery Heart, or Waiting for the Spring

The snow has melted, and the trees are tender bursts of blossoms now.  Spring is here, but for awhile my body and spirit hadn't caught up.  I was stuck in the dead and cold of winter.

I think I was trapped under the ice, drowning in my own waters, my rapid breath fogging the glass.

I couldn't see or swim my way out.

So I did a little experiment.

I just sat in it, in the water, alternately breathing and crying and holding my breath.

This is what I discovered: being depressed is like holding your breath -- nothing gets out or in.  Nothing gets released, everything sinks.

I was sinking for awhile there.  Honey-mud.  In some moments the light would come through, but mostly I kicked my feet around in the reeds and stirred up too much dirt to see anything.  I found out: I am perfectly capable of muddying my own water.  I found out: I am perfectly capable of sitting still.  For a second or two.

In real life I don't like opening my eyes underwater.

It turns out that, metaphorically, the same is true.

I don't want to see the cold and feel how dark it is, but the truth of it is right there, in the water, surrounding me, seeping in through all the holes, prickling my skin and bubbling into my ears.

This time I stayed in the water, in the icy ice.  My eyes filled up with it.  My heart, though submerged, was still thick with ice, making unnerving pop rocks kpow!s and crackles.  My heart, the arctic, threatened to give, to break, under the smallest of steps, the tiniest of touches.

Still I trusted the sun would do its work and that eventually light would coax the ice back into water, each drop bringing me closer to freedom.

Easter arrived and I switched metaphors.  I was cave-living.  Or, dead in a cave, more like it.  Me and Jesus.

I couldn't move, or breathe, or find any sliver of joy.

The moon swole up like it couldn't wait to give birth, and I took those labor pains on as my own.

Rumi says: Listen!  All the awakened ones, like trusted midwives, are saying, welcome this pain.  It opens the dark passage of grace.

I tried to listen.  I was still and heavy and weighted as I waited.

Lately the light has been getting in.

Maybe it's been there all along, like a switch I've been fumbling for, batting at plaster, feeling for it.

At yoga tonight I felt waves of love.  I was undulating.  I pulsed.  I also involuntarily arched my back and belly up towards the sky and opened my mouth for a big cat yowl but only breath and then small small sound came out.  I could feel the black from the depths of me, releasing.  I could feel the dark passage of grace.

I breathed into the grace, I breathed into the dark and deep of me.  My eyes were closed, but I could feel another pair of lids opening to the light, that sweet light that bathed me, that I could feel shining into me, illuminating the darkest of hiding spaces.

It was the sun, shocking the ice back into little drops.

It was me in the water, calm and not fighting, sunken and sitting lotus-flower in the mud.

I knew in my body, from this deep place, that the pulses of light and dark I was feeling could co-exist, co-arise.  It was perfect.  Whatever I was feeling was perfect.  The waters, finally, were moving.

I was alive.

I am alive.

This is what I told Viktor, who asked me how I was feeling after he held me like a baby, his arms cradling me, my head nestled on the thump of his heart.

"I am alive!"

"This is good," Viktor said.

It is.  But it is more than that.  It is everything.  To be alive, to be in the water, is everything.

I breathed and felt his heart, the gentle knock of it, and my heart, warmed from springtime, warmed from the heat of my breath, burst.  In one moment, bud to blossom.

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