I'm standing on this edge, a cliff actually, and I've been walking towards it for years. I’m here now only to find this monstrous edge I thought I would have to climb is actually a vista, a jumping off point. Its open space here, desolate, in fact, and there is nowhere to hide. The winding path that brought me here drifted through dark forest, churning ocean, dry sand and the way back is no longer open. And so I sit down, cross-legged, right here on the edge to think.
I see the history that came before, the experiences that shaped me. They well up as images seared in my brain. I have them memorized and sometimes I answer from that place out of habit, and I laugh, because even I don't buy that I fit there anymore. And, yet, it plays out before me, again and again. So, my cross-legged stance of patience holds me. “What is the story showing?” I sit back and watch it like a movie, and I sense this greater context beginning to unfold and budding wings itching just beneath my skin.
The movie shows me countless scenarios, skipping backwards, forwards, sideways, and I see the thread that weaves this particular story together. My leaders, my guides, my family; they were all asleep at the wheel. The abandonment and invalidation I carried like a black sack of bricks was never mine. It was theirs and they didn’t know what to do with it either, so they went to sleep. I sigh with relief as I watch the thread beginning to unravel. I hear a child’s whisper escape from my own lips, “You mean it wasn’t me?”
“What a lack of trust we develop when our elders don’t know they have fallen asleep and don’t even know they don’t know,” I murmur to myself. I look up and notice a scattering of other watchers, seeing their own stories play out, and I relax a bit. My eyebrows go up in surprise, “Maybe its not so remote here,” I think, and I turn back to the show.
On screen, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. A child without the skills to truly navigate the ocean of humanity and society, waiting for direction—asking for it, even—and finding out she’s maybe more than a little lost. “Hmmm, that explains all the fear.” Confidence lacking in those around me, responsibility squarely on my shoulders and a looming sense of blame. Another thread emerges, this one tinged with the color of overwhelm, anger and self-doubt. I reach back and scratch between my shoulder blades.
I watch giant after giant fall leaving gaping canyons of open space. I see myself picking every means of filling them: I stuff them with self-pity, I spakle over them with I-can-do-it-alone, I back fill them with I can’t. “Holy Shit!” I jump up and stare blankly past the screen and into the space of open memory. “I’ve been asleep too!” Refocusing my eyes, I look at the wide canyon floor beneath the cliff, then sit back down. I pick up a white feather sitting next to me and stroke it along my again crossed legs.
Movie’s back on. Color seems different now, as if what I’d been watching before was in black and white. Each giant that fell is still echoing in my mind and in the story the earth is vibrating with it. “Yes,” mother earth says, “Good.” And I see how she had been trying to wake me up all these years. The breeze blows, it lifts me up a bit and I flex my shoulders to sit back down.
The story shows a little baby bird, so exhausted with being invisible. She hid and hid because she did not trust, she did not feel safe, she did not ever learn her own voice. I see her now, cradle her in my hands, stroke her softness. Tears of love and understanding overflow and I pinch my eyes shut. “All she wants is to be seen,” I think, “All she wants is to be true to her own unique and beautiful nature and converse with the world from that place.” I open my eyes, the screen is gone. The soft breeze caresses the last tears from my cheeks. I stand up take two steps and fly.