"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." - Maya Angelou
Last night I was on the phone with my cousin Bryon. Our family is in the season of grief; first my brother David and then Bryon's wife Cindy. Many, many stories have surfaced, other stories have resurfaced as grief works its necessary remedies on our bodies, minds and souls. Pete, my husband observed with sweet acuity that my cousins are like my brothers and sisters. Yes, in all the meanings of the word, my cousins have been the brothers and sisters to me all my life. We were together as children when my parents were still alive offering Bryon and his siblings a complementary view of family. Ours was a different way. There are many boys and girls in my cousin's family, many variations on the theme of being human and in spirit.
With the passing of his wife, and my brother, the season of grief is working on us in different and complementary ways. My giant of a cousin threshing with the loss, normal could easily be abnormalized ... named irrational, and dangerous. Seen from a tight box, it would seem accurate. But, seen from the view of a larger view of legacy, the threshing work is the required flailing against the limits to find the essence, the meaning of losses. It is messy work, and all hands and feet are necessary. In our hour-long conversation my cousin and I went to the limits of normal and crossed the borderland. We are blood, we share legacy, and we also have room for transformation. I called him to grieve together, it was his wife's last request of me. "Maybe you and Bryon can grieve together," she said when last I spoke with her. I am big on keeping promises whenever I can. Through my personal work of recovery and soul retrieval, I have also learned when I cannot make promises. Sometimes, it is not just my personal promise that is being kept. Often it is the promise that souls know must be kept. In the promise-keeping the soul's demands heal across time.
Earlier this month I promised to commit myself to the study and practice of The Second-Half of Life. That is just where I need to be. I'm being initiated to the gates and rituals and clues to become more fully alive at sixty-six. One of the major challenges with this elderwork study is to recognize and relinquish the Face of Ego. Oh boy, how the attachments to that face, those masks do cause a girl to cling. Being a Storyteller, I have a promise to use the crucible of story to transform. I am doing that here, and as I continue to write the medicine story and the installment "I'm the one." The job of the storyteller is to weave common everyday practices with knowledge of the elemental forces of Nature. Woven together with deft and meaningful metaphor the passing of wisdom becomes timeless salve. The seasons of birth, life, and death take on meaning. A Border Witch discovers the limit of her magic, and joins forces with something more. It's a story worth knowing.