golden scissors

Yesterday, I felt it. How quickly a tug upon my heart can tip my sense of equilibrium until I spill into a pool of overwhelm. A part of me wonders, am I that full that it takes so few drops to make me overflow? Or is it that I’m just that empty?

It is true that I have fallen lax on the practices that fill me. Though I guess I’d hoped the draining wouldn’t occur quite so rapidly as this. It seems that in my daily life I am more a kitchen sink in that regard than I am an ocean, and I really do need to spend some daily time diving into that ocean in order to refresh the well from which I draw. I need to dive deep and make contact with who I am beneath the surface turbulence. So that all of these drops of salt water might not make such a dent in my sense of self, in my sense of peace.

Today this quote was brought to my attention.

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will spend all of your days on the end of strings that someone else pulls” – Howard Thurman

When I was on that retreat a month ago, during that same guided meditation that I wrote about yesterday, there was one more piece of the story that I haven’t quite wanted to own. After She entered into that painful situation for me, after She had felt enough, She rose and I followed Her out the door into the garden. There She reached into her robes and pulled forth a gift for me. To my surprise, it was a pair of golden scissors.

If I am honest, I recoiled a bit at that, for the only acts I could imagine performing with a pair of scissors felt painful, as if something would bleed. As if nurture would be cut off. As if the net would come unraveled. As if roots would be severed. As if loss would be certain.

I pictured roots entangled and interdependent within the soil, a Mother Root with her many offshoots. I imagined digging into the soil and cutting them apart, praying that the cuttings had enough rootstock from which to draw in order to support new growth. Oh, my head understood that dependency keeps things stunted and bound (blessed be the ties that bind?). Intellectually I understood that new ways of relating are possible only when old cords are cut. An infant becomes a separate being with whom one can relate outside of the womb only when the umbilical cord is cut, for instance.

So, I took the golden scissors and tucked them into my purse. While there was a glimmer of hope for my sense of self-integrity and freedom, another part of me didn’t REALLY want to have to use them. Perhaps my individuation might happen on its own?

What I denied in this vision for myself was this. The very presence of the scissors is reliant upon my taking them into my own hands. Magical golden scissors that will do the work for me these are not. Paradoxically, it is only by picking up these scissors that I can remain whole, not pulled to shreds by that which competes for my attention.** I must return again and again to that place from which they materialized, that place of deep listening, of remembering what is Good and True, what is Love, what is Sacred, what is Genuine. I must return again and again to that ocean of Being within, which holds and beholds me and the whole of life through a wider lens of Wisdom, a perspective that does not get swept into the waves of chaos that fear wants me to believe are truth.

Unexpectedly, I see that it is me, who upon cutting those strings, must find a way to nurture myself, must grow roots deep enough to sustain my growth. I need not cut the others’ reliance upon my nurture so much as I need cut mine upon them..their approval or love… a reliance I have before this moment wanted to deny.

“Did I not see you in the garden with Her?”


**“With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married woman. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions; human relationships with their myriad pulls–woman’s normal occupations in general run counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Relationship, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel.”

“Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves” ―Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea


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