This is a poem written by J. R. R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings. It speaks to me, it brings to words so many things I am feeling and witnessing in life… “
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
As I sit in my hotel room in New Orleans Louisiana, a day before Halloween, I am full and inspired. Walking around today I heard bustling and jazz in the streets and in my mind was cycling this mantra: “I am open to spirit”. People dressed in costumes day and night already here, music and art bursting out the city seams, New Orleans is a sound and vibrancy that I am quickly attuning to. It reminds me of the importance of darkness and the light and most importantly of celebrating shadow.
I realize that I have been wandering for a while, not lost, but attuning to the vibrancy of each place I visit or come to. Like a chameleon, I begin to take the shape and the colour of these places I am spending time in to embody change and to experience a radical transformation that has been a long time coming.
So here is an ode to the fall, to darkness, messiness and change. The conditioned rhythm everyone inevitably settles into is one that entrenches us in a pattern & that over time gets us lost and confused in the music. Thankfully darkness, pauses, change of season, shadow… certain things come in to challenge this complacency or confusion for the chaos of change and transformation is the very one that can also usher us toward clarity of the heart and dare I say, rebirth.
A year ago, a journal that said “Not all those who wander are lost” on the cover was given to me by a friend. I loved it and long waited to write in it. I never actually did use it myself and realized that the journal wasn’t to be mine. I gifted it to a dear friend who was literally wandering and needed it more than I did at the time. She was most certainly NOT lost but needed a reminder, We all do. I’ve needed this reminder daily. As I am the one who has been wandering ever since.
The Sanskrit scriptures call this age we live in is the Kali Yuga or the “age of vice”. It is the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas. This is not the goddess Kali but the word kali that means “strife”, “discord” or “quarrel”. The goddess Kali is considered the dark mother, the fierce one, the goddess of radical transformation and of the release of stuckness. Chandika; Goddess Kali as the fierce one to help with transformative strength, burning limitations and discovering the truth and clarity of one’s own heart in any confusing situation.
About 8 or 9 months ago, amidst the Kali Yuga, Goddess Kali came to me and I have continued to invoke the fierce goddess since. She came to me very vividly in a reiki session and since then she has been manifesting all around, inside and in so many ways for me. I am witnessing her as I am breaking out of my cocoon and patterns, trying new things and transforming myself and my life, one breath, day, step and choice at a time.
She is in my mood, my vibe, the pace of things and her presence and qualities come with so much feeling and emotion. I find Kali coming through in my interactions, relationships and in my frustration with myself or with others. She is in my floods of anger for things of the past and in the fear and fury I sometimes experience about the future. But this is the storm you see. This is the Kali Yuga and the dark mother at play. This is the circus and best get comfortable under the tent cause this is it. The place where we get to work, play, err, fall, get up and try again. The place where the sandstorm makes everything so unclear that all we can do is continue to stoke the flame and sometimes allow for the blaze to burn all the old structures down and experience ultimate surrender and renewal.
Life needs consistency and discipline in balance with change and play. Orit Sen Gupta warns of practice being a bit of a riddle. Life is a bit of a riddle too and practice can be metaphor for life really. This can be deeply frustrating, but never bad. She advises that only when we begin to understand that we don’t really understand and to search for ways and solutions from this reality, that is where we begin to deepen practice. That is where we begin to deepen our life experience. We begin to appreciate the mysteries and the realities of our own lives or our own bodies and then to take the time and the lessons and use all of them to go beyond. Shedding one skin after the other, one form after the next with all their trials and tribulations. Life.
Patiently, flowing without pushing and uncovering the secret of getting unstuck I continue the conscious making of the next best choice and my efforts to develop patience, strength and the will to create and to transform. A will that is wild, endurant and fierce and that allows me to be fierce and also to surrender so purely that once I come out the other side, the old structures have been dissolved and I am radically reborn.
Its a process. I am present. I am ready. I am here. I am enough.