Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Molten Core

This entry was supposed to be called Shut Up and Jump. Because jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is a metaphor for life. Carpe diem and all that. So let's talk about that part first.

Looking out the open door of a small airplane, seeing three miles of nothingness below you and knowing that you are inexplicably being urged to jump into it: this is what I thought was the most frightening experience in my life. I have done it three times, and each successive time scared me more because I knew what to expect. I jumped, but I was afraid.

I took an even more frightening jump a month or two ago, one that I haven't taken in a long time. Jumping out of a plane is nothing compared to jumping into the very real possibility of love.

A parachute might have helped. Or one of those crazy new wingsuits. Ray Bradbury wrote that you have to  build your wings on the way down. (I'd like to see him try.) Anyway, you get the idea. It didn't happen.

The details aren't the point so much as the leap itself and how it made me reexamine my life.

It's one thing to say and believe that the Divine lives in everyone. It's quite another to feel that you and one special person are king and queen of everything. It doesn't happen instantly but one little grain at a time, until you wake up and see that you're almost done building an entire sand castle.

That day, you find your passion absolutely everywhere. For me, that meant being motivated to learn American Sign Language and really apply myself. I've been trying since high school but hadn't gotten very far. This time, because someone asked me to learn the language for him, I found myself bringing home preschool DVDs; that was all I could find at the library. I learned many useful signs: blocks, potty, and most importantly, imagination. I rehearsed our conversations in my mind while I tried to figure out how to make them happen across the miles.

I'd tell him I was like a turtle for taking so long. I was. Unfortunately, he was like a hare and left me behind. (We're running two separate races now, just to be clear and probably bust the metaphor.)

After that, there was nothing. No words. No contact. He was gone.

I had been scrambling so much to get the technology to make it possible, get the house fixed up for company, figure out how to enjoy cooking, you name it, that I ignored the way my open heart was becoming an open wound.

For years, this has not been the way I have lived my life. I believe in cushions, shields, shelter, protection. That is not a bad thing. I've gotten pretty good at it.

You see, when you live with something long-term like depression and finally crawl out of that pit after years of struggle, you learn to be grateful for stability. You learn to live smoothly and systematically, because that is how you hold down a job. You learn to demand safety, because you used to be in unsafe situations.

You remember what it was like to come very close to homelessness that one winter. You never want to feel like that again. So you live on the surface in order to cope from day to day, from year to year. It works.

Except when the years go by and nothing happens.

This opening of the heart--I don't know what else to call it--penetrated my armor. It easily passed through any ideals, any routines, any medications. It tapped deeply into--


This is the something we are supposed to love when we are witches. This is the bright blazing lava within us all. Call this Pele, if you dare, or call this by your own name. This is dangerous and sublime all at once.

We can love it, hate it, or somewhere in between, but we cannot touch it or get too close to it, for too long, or even look very long at it or it kills.

It is the source of our power.

I catch a glimpse every so often but keep a safe distance. I wonder what it is like to be intensely psychic, to be a full-fledged empath, with nothing standing between you and the molten core that lives and bubbles within us all. A shamanic experience for minutes or hours is one thing, but every day?

How do you live?

I haven't figured it out. As always, I live the best I can. I look for measured ways, vetted ways, to tap into that core without putting myself or others in peril. I may spend the rest of my life solving that mystery.

Until then, like a good Capricorn, I dream big dreams I don't even understand yet and pursue them slowly, as long as it takes. (I'll pursue little dreams too, like learning sign language for its own sake.) This little goat has to be sure of her footing on the way up the mountain. I wait and wait and go slowly, knowing that what is really important in life is attainable if I am patient.

After all, the tortoise won the race.