As I approach the publication date of my new book You Make Your Path by Walking on June 13th, there is a lot of momentum and activity to prepare for the various celebration events. In the midst of the excitement, I’ve been surprised to feel a part of me that doesn’t want to cross this threshold. But I also know that change can be scary, and it’s understandable to feel some hesitation before taking a big step. Fortunately, I know how to make my path by walking and after 2 hours of mindful morning practices (writing, exercise, meditation, ritual and a good cup of tea!) I can arrive back on the ground of my being with more equanimity and presence. But something going on down in the depths definitely has gotten my attention. At first, I wanted to just turn away from the uncomfortable feelings and tune into the celebratory energy of my upcoming launch, which represents not just the publication of my book but also a completion of a cycle that was set in motion a decade ago when my husband took his life and with it mine as I knew it.
But something going on down in the depths definitely needed my attention. The deep feelings arising out of the unconscious were asking me to listen to my heart. As I got quiet and took the time to turn toward them I heard the voice of a part of me that is afraid to step out of the more hidden realms of these past years with my vulnerable personal story.
In every heroine/hero’s journey when we go through a difficult life passage there is a moment when the transformative forces have done their work in the deep dark realms and one must return to the upper world with whatever gold has been found in the wound. And that threshold crossing has its own vulnerability that asks us to pay attention.
There is something powerful about letting ourselves feel the shakiness of a new beginning. Not toughing it out with positive affirmations like ‘I will not and cannot fail!” or spiritually bypassing it with, “This is what the universe wants me to do and it will all work perfectly” or shaming ourselves with, “What’s wrong with me – I should be more excited and confident.
What if this trembling is a way that our body signals to us that we are truly at a significant threshold? What if it is a somatic invitation to presence this important moment in our lives and not skip over it because it is so uncomfortable? What if we were to slow down as we approach the threshold and bow down to the Great Mystery before we stand tall and step through the portal into what is next?
Art by Jerel Rowan Baker
To be alive in these times is to know something about loss and the important thresholds in our lives. In a well-lived life, there will be times when you will be required to stand naked on the edge of a new possibility and let go of the path that brought you there. Whether that is publishing a book, losing someone you love, starting a new job, leaving a relationship, facing the reality of our climate crisis, entering into a new relationship, moving, launching a new creative project, following a dream, having a child, saying goodbye to a child, studying something new, or any other catalytic moment of change.
To make your path by walking you must honor what has been, slow yourself down to really feel it all and gather up the offerings from the cycle so that you can then release the past and open your arms wide to the life that is trying to emerge ahead of you. The one next step. The one that you do and, at the same time, do not want to take. I am not leaving behind this part of me that is quaking at the threshold. I am slowing myself down to walk with her and surrounding her shakiness with my all-loving Mother energy.
This is what it means to tremble before the right things. And this is my practice right now.
Mother Blessing for the Quaking One Inside
May you feel the fullness of all that has come before
May you gather up the offerings, honor the path and prepare to release it now
May you awaken to the call of your future self
And feel the gentle winds of possibility that will lift you into what lies ahead
May you rest into the faith that you are enough and that you have within you all that you will need
To meet the opportunities and challenges ahead
May you feel all the love that surrounds you
As you make your path by walking
Over this threshold of your becoming