It crept up to the surface when I was broken open.
But abated by light,
which had been taking refuge deep in my bones.
And a soul is no black hole
So the light lived on.
It shone brighter in the aftermath
of the quake that shook me.
Shake these sacred bones from their living grave.
It crept up when I sat in silence,
begging for the scattered pieces to come back
Before I knew
There is room for more.
It crept up to the surface when again I was held,
Again was adored,
And again the love ran out.
Again, those most comforting receptions,
It crept up to the surface on foreign streets,
And in the back seats of speeding cars,
Never moving fast enough to be without what is within.
Mountain peaks, river beds,
Monsoon rains, fresh snow blankets,
Couldn’t wash me clean.
It lives inside of me.
It crept up to the surface in deep woods,
In days spent in solitude, on new and full moon nights.
It creeps up now too, on home ground.
In all the familiar places,
Reflected off all the familiar faces.
Can words be my medicine?
Will I ever be enough?
And now, amidst the creeping, my mending will be
the most substantial alms.
I'll offer my breath.
And maybe it’s just the waning sun, this time of year,
That makes it feel
Feel the ground between your toes.
As below you are held, above you are expanded.
No matter your stumble, your bumble, play to find balance,
And flex with that breeze which finds its way to you.
For as sure as the moon waxes and wanes,
The tides within you will turn.
Release your pain, your sorrow.
Send out your joy. Arrive at Now.
Let all you feel be part of the greatest collective.
Consciousness declares: You are not alone!
You are one among many.
We are many, equalling One.
Sun on your skin, let the rays heal you and stoke an abyssal flame.
Fire and water existing alongside each other,
There is a perpetual fountain within each of us,
Quell fear and doubt to crack open, to let it flow.
Each posture, each breath, just as each moment,
Is an opportunity to die, an opportunity to be born.
Sunrise on a new day
Last year I went through a breakup.
Last year I was broken-up-with.
Last year I got dumped.
As a result the last year has been full of new opportunities, adventures, deeper self-love practices, lots of tears, lots of joy, new lovers, new friends, and of course re-building a self identity that felt shattered at the loss of a deep love and, what I thought to be, a deeply meaningful partnership. Which it was! But not how I originally thought it would be. The end of that relationship was painful. I mean, horrible. I was full of self-doubt and a lack of worthiness, and questioned my intuition, and felt lost. I woke up feeling sick to my stomach and with tears already in my eyes. I couldn't eat. I could't sleep. I had to practice the basics, like breathing. It was raw, and hard, and also one of the most precious times in my life, when life felt so very real and I felt so in it.
In the midst of my pain, I dragged myself out to lots of events: distractions. One such outing was to Red Clay for the White Rabbit Arts Festival. One of the performance pieces was a choreographed dance, on a platform, in a tree (I know, awesome, right?!), and part of this moving piece was a handout asking, "when things fall apart how do you/we cope?".
And lately, for whatever reason, I find myself longing for that rawness in life. I find myself longing for that time when I felt so cracked open, so willing to take care of myself, so close to the reality of my life, and so in any given moment. And while digging through stored-stuff post summer travels, I found this piece of paper where I had written a commitment to myself, a reminder to myself of how to cope with my life that felt 'fallen apart'.
But life doesn't have to be fallen apart or falling apart in order to remember a self-love manifesto.
So, here it is, that list which I wrote for myself, to myself, out of pain and loss, but really, for any day and every day.
So there's this awesome thing that I started. I mean, I didn't start this whole thing, but I went full-tilt with it here in Halifax. It became a passion of mine, and I started to become a bit of a local expert in this field, and I felt confident and inspired and I felt like I was making a statement for change. This project got lots of attention, and folks got excited, and we got hands-on help from friends and acquaintances who also felt inspired, and we got news coverage, and keeners started emailing to ask "how can I?" and "how did you?" and "thank you" and "build one for me!", and at first I responded whole-heartedly to these emails with in-depth responses and excitement for the prospect of future collaborations, and mostly, excitement for this quiet revolution of healthier living for our planet and our families and our communities. And it felt so good.
And then it just all stopped.
I mean, the project continued. But I was no longer a part of it. And I still got (and still get) enthusiastic inquiries and friends on the street still sometimes asked about this project, or future projects, and I just deflected all these questions and ignored all these emails, and dissociated myself from this passion because I was no longer a part of the original project that got the ball rolling. And it was a sore spot.
You see, I started said project with my [now, ex] partner, and in the turmoil of our separation the lines of unity and division, and the desperate attempts to salvage a partnership became the priority - not the giant passion project in the backyard. And as emotional pain and difficult conversations gave way to arguments and irreparable damage there was less space available to even discuss the project as ours. It became a matter of ownership and property-rights, and it became his.
And that's OK. Now. I guess. You know...
But that blog post is still on this website, and I don't want to take it down, because it was a really meaningful thing to work on and be a part of, and I fucking loved that project! So, now, a little over a year later, I'm addressing the elephant on my blog, AND want to thank everyone who was interested and supportive. And I guess I want to give it a resting place in my life: consider this its living-funeral - I hope it's well. I don't know what the hempcrete house looks like now or how the finishing went, but I did learn a lot while I was a part of the designing and building. I learned a lot from the process of finding materials and getting permits to build with a "new" material. I learned a lot from working with my partner every day, and having to just keep at it every single day, and having tiny, awkward angles to tamp hempcrete into, and having a sore body, and having a giant, often stressful project in my life that was too cool to complain about. Thank you, hempcrete house for being the platform for those lessons, and for (hopefully) continuing to be a living, breathing structure where someone gets to live in a little more harmony with the Earth.
And if you're interested, you can read / watch about this project here and here.
Rest in Peace, Halifax Hemp-house. May your life be long and full of living, without me.
Open, sweet child, let yourself be whole.
As you came into this world, again come home, into your Self.
Without your weights.
Within your divine being.
Whole and constant. Of essence.
Deep as an ocean. Steady as the drum.
Fill your lungs with clarity and abundance.
Accept the warmest embrace.
See the loves that are meant to last,
And know the truths, those parts of you which can never be broken, stripped, or lost.
Momentarily forgotten, never gone.
Now and forever within.
Teach and be taught.
Crack open the fear of not knowing.
For none of us knows.
And it can’t be known.
And we all are seeking.
And we all are found.
And remember, your feet are on the ground.
This poem was written in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India, in the foothills of the Himalaya, on the banks of Ma Ganga.
Kate Varsava is a Halifax, NS based lover of wit, whimsy, and word-play. Late-nights, mid-morning coffee, quiet meditations, and the elements of nature inspire her sentiments and observations.