Those Early Days: a story of my final straw

Oct 16, 2018


Although I don’t remember the year, exactly


(those early days are all a blur)


I remember


that I was driving down North Street.


In my mind’s eye it was late Fall,

because the sky was darkening as I drove home from work

giving me this sense of urgency as I waited in traffic, on my way to pick my daughter up from daycare.

It had been dark when I dropped her off

and now the sun was winking through the ever-baring trees once again.

I was listening to the public radio station I always listen to, and a new song by a local artist

soared across the airwaves

and changed everything.


“You’ve got to hold on

it goes so fast

those early days, well,

they don’t last

Got to enjoy them

they go so fast

those baby days, well,

They don’t last.”


Though I’d heard these words of advice – treacly and sometimes impossible to fathom though they are – from a million well-meaning grandmothers before


This Was It.


My heart shattered and I wailed

sitting there in traffic

my eyes blurred with tears and I gasped with sobs.


It wasn’t so much that my daughter came home each day

smelling of the perfume of the other women who had comforted her and played with her

or my little girl’s particular anxieties about being away from me

as it was that I had to leave her so that I could stare longingly at the grey walls of my cubicle

(as if my escape route was somehow encrypted in the fabric, if only I could decode it)

sitting in one sisyphian meeting after another

and trying to muster enthusiasm for my inbox.

It wasn’t what I thought life would look like.



(I want to say, also, that the flow of my tears came also with the ache of guilt.  I had a great job with benefits and a fair wage, a home that was safe and beautiful, loving care for my daughter, and enough privilege to even consider leaving my career).


But also.

There it was.

The longing and uncertainty had simmered long enough, quelled by my placations:  “be grateful for what you have” and “all in due time.”

A torrent of maternal instinct and desire

a rallying cry for what might be possible

tore forth from me that day as I shifted into first gear

inched down North Street

listened to the sweet plunk of banjo music

and knew that nothing would ever be the same again.


So many of the women I work with have a catalyzing moment or experience that makes them rethink everything they thought they knew about themselves and what mattered to them.


Can you relate?  What moment or moments have changed everything for you?


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!