Seated at her second story bedroom window, on the old bentwood rocker with the sagging seat, the one she dragged home from the neighbor’s yardsale because she was certain it held many stories, she breathes in the twilight.  Gazing westward, she rocks softly backward, as does the earth, until she no longer perceives the ball of fire around which they orbit. From this vantage point she can glimpse the slice of sky between the rooflines of the neighboring houses and the edge of her window frame.

Flock after flock of geese traverse that magenta-painted slice, heading north. She has read that, despite momentary glances of swirling disorganized chaos, which might lend quite an alternate impression, theirs is no meandering, aimless flight, but is quite deliberate and determined.  She imagines there is no turning back.

The sky shifts to the duskier shades of lavender, blue and mauve. Day slides into night…

She has been pondering orbits and dreaming of dances.  Something in her yearns for direction that is determined, yet is something other than rigid linearity, something that has room for swirlings.  Is there really such a thing as freedom of choice, she wonders?  Are not all choices interconnected in some way in this dance of life, in this web where pulling one strand makes it all come unraveled?  She is fairly certain that we have far less control than we’d like to imagine we do.

Some days she suspects it is all an illusion – this idea of self-determination. Perhaps we are doing just fine if we don’t trip on Life’s feet as it takes us for a whirl. Of course, the problem—and the grace—with that metaphor is that she imagines she really could take the lead if she chose to do so.  Yes, she imagines Life is as gracious as that.

The day had come when she had to ‘make good’ on her promises to herself and she was terrified. It’d always been too easy, she supposed, to hide behind everyone else’s need. All at once, she realized that she had no experience at all in trusting her instincts, no previous experience to put on her resume to show that she had the potential to choreograph– to chart and to follow a course. Suddenly, it was blatantly clear that she’d never chosen a thing for herself in her life at all. She’d always allowed Life to choose her.

Perhaps that had been a choice. Consenting to Life taking her for a spin, always following – sometimes gracefully, sometimes trippingly, sometimes staggeringly – she’d remained (mostly) on her feet.  Though she may have been constantly playing catch-up, chasing some Mad-dancer across the floor, she’d learned those steps fairly well.

How might it feel to lead the dance? she wonders. To stand confidently, face Life squarely, extend her hand and invite Life to join her. How might it be to take that first step forward into Life, to feel it’s graceful, though perhaps stunned, backstep in response?  To be in full possession of her own existence.

She plays with the feeling of that in her body. It is a heart-fullness that she notices there. That’s new. Maybe courage! — that strange mix of great love with fear, of joy with trepidation– is in her after all. There is no doubt it feels powerful.

It seems that just yesterday when she’d closed her eyes to ask the same question, she couldn’t feel it at all. Instantly, she’d realized that her power was not centered in her own body.  She’d given it away once again to let someone else lead the dance.

So that explained the feeling of losing herself, she supposed, the feeling of having her dream be usurped by another, carried by a surrogate into life in some other direction. That explained the loss of energy, loss of passion, loss of power.  Rather than running with it to her own heart, her fear had handed it over to another. It’s as if she’d chosen this Life-partner, taken it by the hand, and no sooner begun dancing than she’d been cut in on. Oh,  too easily she’d handed over her Love to another.

The sky has grown darker. Overhead now charcoal blankets, while the horizon clings to a hint of pink, like a child to her lovey. The space in between — a deep shade of periwinkle– is dotted with cumulus shadows.

Power. Something she has never owned in herself. Agentic power is the word brought to her awareness this week. Recent events have made her realize that she has always lived as if at the mercy of another’s choices, another’s ability to be the agent of change, another’s power. Mostly that power had been economic. She believed she’d had little self-agency because she’d had no power—no economic power – to make things happen. But she realizes today that it’s really not possible to separate out one power from another. There is something holistic about power, as with all things.

The fulfillment of her desires had always been dependent upon another’s participation, permission, agreement and action. She may have seduced to plant seeds, then nurtured them, waited for them to grow, for the time to be ripe in the other, but relying on another’s yeses, she’d had no ability to be self-determined, and her power had come out sideways, in passive-aggressive manipulations and co-dependent maneuvers attempting to manage the dance.

No more excuses for remaining a wallflower. No more chasing after Mad-dancers, being led on a ‘wild goose chase’.  No more hoping the exits will be blocked and leave her no easy way out.

The sky is now dark as far as she can see. The lamp on the table behind her the only source of light reflected in the glass. Where does its power come from, after all? From the earth, of course, which creates its power by transforming the energy of the sun in some way or the other. All power connected to another.

She is brought back to those solar system ponderings that have been forming and informing her psyche of late. She has been pondering the sun, the way its power is central as source of the dance, the way all bodies fall into orbit around it in one way or the other in its particular system. She longs for the centeredness of the sun, being what it is, nothing more, nothing less, burning passionately of itself in life-giving ways.

The shift becomes clear. No longer is she to spin relentlessly around some pull of gravity outside of herself. Dancing with purpose and passion from the sun beating in her chest, she moves from the center of herself.  From there she’ll know what belongs in her orbit by what is drawn by the gravity of her own burning desire.

No longer being cut in on just when she is learning the steps, Life dances about her.

She turns off the lamp. The sky is black, no moon to reflect the sun tonight,  the cover of clouds blocking those other faraway suns. Venus is out there in that space in-between the horizon and the blanket of clouds overhead.

Venus is brilliant tonight.

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