The Thing About Reverence

Reverence. This word has been haunting me as of late, persistently present in my meditations, my tarot spreads, and practically jumping off the pages and screens of everything I seem to read. Insistent in its message to cease my thrashing, to no longer betray, but to be true to myself. 

I mean, I get it. This human condition is about cycles and seasons, shifting and lifting, life and death. The challenge is in maintaining reverence for all that needs to die in order to make way for what wants to be born; to respect an ending that will welcome a new beginning. 

The thing about reverence, though, is that it takes trust, love and surrendering to embrace it. Therein lies the segue into my thrashing. 

When you have been repeatedly wounded, instead of becoming like the snake who sheds its old skin in powerful regeneration, you become the snake eating its own tail, trapped in a cycle that oppresses the renewal of life. This then translates to either constantly running from endings, or forever chasing consolation for all that has been lost. We project the wound outward rather than tending to it within, forever breaking down instead of breaking open, or breaking through. 

I had become resentful towards the persistence of this word. How dare my reverence for life be questioned? Am I not still standing after being born into an environment of hate, having the ability to trust, love and surrender get pummeled and berated right out of me? After a lifetime of being manipulated and conditioned into believing I am unworthy, inhibiting the gifts of nature and nurture, do I not still fight for every breath that I take? How many times have I wanted to just quit… and yet, I still exist. Do I not have the scars to prove it? Is this not reverence? Why must this word insist on confronting me? 

After much resistance and a whole lot of thrashing, I reluctantly went deeply inward to seek the answers to my own confrontation. We do, after all, possess the answers to all we uniquely seek, to fuck what you hear from external influences and to be still long enough to hear our own truths.

For much of my life, I’ve been on the run from one beginning to the next, in fear of seeing anything or anyone through to the end... and I’ve hurt many people along the way. And when I trusted long enough to see things through, I often let those things live beyond the time they needed to end. Over the course of recent years, I’ve let much of what needed to die, finally die. However, instead of regenerating through new life coming in, I’ve been stuck in a place of limbo, the place in between, becoming the walking dead.

My conditioning from childhood, and my adult commitment to my melancholy, convinced me that I was the cause of my own unhappiness, and that I could not trust myself to recognize love in all its forms, including self love. After many endings, it was just easier to be alone, to isolate myself from the participation in life, because I couldn’t seem to shake my addiction to dark and complicated people and circumstances, finding sick comfort and validation in knowing that these experiences would guarantee my unhappiness. 

All the while in my isolation, I continued to feed the torment and suffering from all that I had lost, all that I had never received, and became complacent with just existing. I was insistent that my loneliness was some bullshit karmic price to pay to keep from being hurt again, and from preventing myself from hurting others with my dysfunction. I wasn’t realizing that the very things that I resisted and feared were the very things that could help me heal. 

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That’s when I began to understand… that simply existing wasn’t having reverence for my life, what gifts I might have to offer, or what gifts I could receive from not resisting the natural ebb and flow of beginnings and endings. Life becomes stagnant when you are fearful of going through the cycles of endings. And, when existence is too controlled by the fear of living, there becomes less life. 

While I was running from one beginning to the next, I was building walls around any vulnerability. And when I resolved to much needed endings, those walls became my fortress of isolation, which in turn, suppressed new beginnings, the snake eating its own tail. 

Through my inward journey of seeking understanding and meaning, I realize now that in spite of my irreverence and thrashing, life and new beginnings still seek my attention and participation. It is the nature of our hearts to cycle between the painful process of dying and the rehabilitating undertaking of rebirth.

Reverence. When the student is ready, the teacher shows up, and that is why the word has been haunting me, beckoning me to have the patience and the determination to ride out the endings with grace, all the while having reverence for the incubation and birthing process of new beginnings.

This year has been full of painful lessons in the form of endings, so I am trying to surrender to trusting that beautiful lessons await in the form of new beginnings.

Keep bleeding.