Rooting Through Transition: A kind of love story

Jul 18, 2017

 

My new ring reflects the light and I catch a glimpse of it as I go to turn the page in my book

every time I look at it a rush of familiarity and rootedness 

warms my feet, planted on the ground, and my heart, both.

My first ring was beautiful too.  It was nearly ten years ago now that my fingers fished into a bag of Scrabble letters and pulled it out, looked at you and didn’t say yes so much as

“Of course.”

It was, somehow, identical to a ring I had picked out for myself one day in a fit of restless anticipation – even though I had never told you about that ring or how much I daydreamed about the moment you’d finally ask.

It was, within the standards of what engagement rings typically look like, so me.  A simple, single diamond, strongly held in a sleekly designed setting.  Nothing that would catch on a scuba tank or a backpack strap and break.

Fast forward seven years. 

My fingers had swollen twice with pregnancy, and although I still loved my ring, I rarely wore it anymore.  It felt confining, and I would be overcome with a sense of claustrophobia when I put it on.  I would quickly pull it off again and put it back in the drawer with my other jewellery.

 

I worried that this was a bad omen for our married life.

 

In truth, being parents was stifling at times, for me and for us as a married couple.  We had stopped playing Scrabble and scuba diving, and were subsisting on air, strong coffee, and the laughs of the two little beings we had created.

It was not enough, sometimes, if I’m honest.  Becoming a mother had rocked my world.  My transition into Mother had shone a laser beam of truth at some of the choices I, and we, had made:  my boring, unfulfilling job, the house in the suburbs, the women we paid to look after our kids so that I could go to that boring, unfulfilling job.

I’m not sure if you felt the misalignment of this as viscerally as I did, but you held fast in solidarity and support while I questioned everything.

 

The roots to my tree.  Grounded and running deep and strong while I reached and reached.

 

***

We both hovered over the koa wood rings, slipping them on and off our hands to test for size.  

Normally, I would have ventured alone into a boutique like this, full of sacred and delicate Hawaiian handicrafts, while you got the kids a shave ice or played with them outside.  But somehow all four of us wandered through:  I’m not sure what made us so brave as to bring our three-year-old and five month old into a place with such precariously balanced breakables.

Normally, I might have quietly tried on a ring or two, remembered our budget, and herded the family out the door.

Normally, you probably would have rolled your eyes a little at me, ogling over yet another piece of jewellery to add to my enormous collection.  But here you were, trying on rings, right next to me.

 

“Hawaiian Koa is a sacred wood used for centuries to build canoes, ceremonial bowls, musical instruments, tools and utensils. It has come to represent integrity and strength, sensitivity and protection. The energy associated with the masculine aspects of this wood are duality and balance. Koa in its feminine aspect brings a fiery energy with creativity, beauty, and wisdom and strength.”

 

I think something shifted between us that day.

 

Or rather, something had been shifting between us for quite some time, and that day, we decided to honour it.

We now knew what our marriage was made of:  not just the fluttering hope and excitement we felt on our wedding day, but a solidness that had seen us through two births, a six month deployment, career changes, the sleeplessness and vulnerability of new parenthood, and now…

We were traveling again, after the long hiatus demanded by work and finances and childbearing.  I was growing a business, with the dream of one day being able to leave my cubicle behind forever.  We were talking about downsizing, and what it would be like to live near the ocean.

It was as though we both knew that we had crossed a threshold of some significance, and that what we had was rooted.  Rooted in what it takes to hold a person as they bring new life into the world, in what it takes to support another’s dreams, in what it is to ride out the hard times with steadfastness and good faith.

And so now, when I see that little piece of sacred tree on my finger as I turn the pages of my book

I feel you

 

wearing the very same ring, the one I catch a glimpse of as you parallel park the minivan or hold our son close after he’s bumped his head.

And know that there is something deeper to what we have than sparkle and hope.  We have seen through the first of what may be many more life transformations together, and we’ve become stronger for it.

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes

 

Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging

 

Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!