Embracing the exiled

Recently I have been unexpectedly tumbled into a process around my willingness to be with and reclaim those parts of myself I have exiled for some reason or another. In this case, it has been around belonging and my heartbreak, grief and despair at the fractured state of humanity in these times.

I am also digging deep and reclaiming some of resources that help me to be with these big feelings: the simple things I can put in place that orient me to health and wellness amidst these big feelings.

I am noticing a deep sensitivity to polarising language, how it lands in my body and how it can cast into exile some of the marginalised parts of myself and how that can be reflective of marginalisation in culture. I am engaging in an enquiry around how I can more clearly communicate an intention towards something that is more inclusive and welcoming of all that we bring in our wholeness.

I am unpacking my desire to belong alongside a need to move slowly in relationships to develop trust over time and tune in to heart felt resonance. I am asking questions about what community really means, about how we create spaces where we hold each other through the expression of our joy and playfulness as well as through our grief, anger and longing. Spaces where we can come as we are and we are held through the healthy, mature expression of the wild array of experience that is available to us as humans.

More and more, I am turning towards parts of myself for wisdom and guidance that over time I have been developing relationship with; my own anger; my own fear; my own grief; my own longing. Time and time again I find a resistance in myself to turn to face these feelings, a desire to bypass them into something idealistic and inauthentic. Yet, each time I do – and I do so in a healthy and resourced way, say through movement, voice and breath – they have so much wisdom buried at their core. So much so that they have become inextricably connected to my capacity to experience joy and playfulness. The seemingly vast crevice between these polarities (say, joy & fear) narrows to be connected through a breath.

Connecting with my anger gives me a sense of healthy boundary and its expression along with a clarity about my edges. Connecting with my fear offers me vision of the kind of world I would like to live in. Connecting with my grief allows energy to move through me and creates space for what is new to arrive in my body. Connecting with longing connects me with beauty and art and poetry that deeply settles my nervous system. Connecting with joy allows me to feel part of something larger than myself and brings me hope. Connecting with playfulness brings me a sense of belonging in community. I am speaking into a healthy and mature embodiment of these emotions. There are times I am lost in these experiences too and it is in these times that I need to pause, take a breath and resource myself so I can find the gold at their core.

I wrote this poem in response to a process I have recently been going through around my questions about community and how we are there with and for each other. It’s a big question for me as I feel so comfortable to bring these feelings into my own personal realm or explore them within a therapeutic relationship or a group container I have built safety with over time.

My question and my longing here are around how we create a culture of safety that these processes are welcomed in our communities and are seen as part of normal life and deeply interwoven with our relationship with the sacred. The deeper my well, the more energy I can hold as well as move through me; the more the presence I offer is dynamic, responsive, living and inclusive. I include nature and the other-than-human as part of our community web.

Who will catch me when I fall?
Who will hold me in the warmth
Of their embrace as
I let go,
As I strip myself down
To the bare bones of
Who I think I am and
Birth again anew?

Who will catch me and
Simply hold me?
Who will let me know they are there
By the depths of their presence and
Willingness to be with me as I am?

Who will hold me and
Not try to save me?
While I sob and writhe and
Scratch at soil,
Messy with snot and salt and

Who will walk beside me, silently,
To the underworld?
That I may retrieve something of
My exiled self.
That I may reclaim it 
As part of who I am in my wholeness.

And who will sit with me
While I dance, sing and write poetry as
I try to make sense of
What I have found,
Even if it doesn’t make sense to them?

I have accompanied myself upon
This journey many a time.
I feel the support of unseen forces 
Guiding me through the terrain.
And, to those, I bow in gratitude.

And still, I long to
Lean in to the warm human bodies
Of those who know the territory.

What will it take for
Communities to come together
And hold each other in this way?
Hearts pulsing in resonance,
Bodies connecting through
Shared tears and laughter,
Voices echoing a shared longing,
Recognising beauty in all life.

Here I am.
And I will hold my intention,
Though there are times I will fail,
To see the gold at your core
With all that you bring.
In all that you are.

Come as you are to me.
And let us give each other
The gift of seeing and 
Of being seen.
As animal and angel,
As earth and sky
As human and divine.