Friday, January 30, 2015

Reflections on Healing: year of the mountain

I have been thinking lately that the challenge for me this year is to fundamentally change everything about how I celebrate each day of the year.  In the past (B.E. - before estrangement) my day, my life revolved around my family and my work.

Nevada - Red Rock Canyon
Photographer - Renate Dundys Marrello 
Those two essential to my life elements no longer really exist.  I was forced into early retirement (a whole other story) and even the relationships that I still do have, well, they are not the “centre” of my life (like when I was a mother of young children) rather they are a much smaller part of my life, as everyone is busy doing their “own thing”.  As such some of these relationships are on the very periphery of my life. 

So this year my theme is “climbing the mountain”, finding not only healing but also the meaning.  In the past year, I wandered lost, searching for the path.  I feel that I now have found the path, through my reading and research.  I worked very hard at learning what it looks like to be on a healing path.  And I did learn so much! 

One of the things I learnt was that without meaning we just survive another day.  So the goal of healing is to get from survival mode to living mode.  And living requires meaning.

Our ancestors I believe had knowledge that we have forgotten.  They had the right idea!  They surrounded their lives with rituals that connected them with the earth and the universe.  They celebrated the seasons, the planting and the harvest.  Their celebrations revolved around the need to survive the hardships of rural / agricultural life.   Their rituals connected them with meaning outside the events of their individual lives.

I feel that it is by getting back to that cycle of traditions that I can find a way to become reconnected with the meaning of life.  We are born, we have our own living cycle, and then when life’s journey is done we pass into the next stage, the unknowns of death and the “afterlife”.   In the process we have jobs and families, but they are not really the meaning of life, they are ultimately only a part of the life we lead.  They are what we do with the life we have been given.   The meaning of life comes back directly to the process of being connected to the universe and playing our role in that greater sphere.

My “year of the mountain” is the search for those elements that bring meaning into my life. I hope to discover in this uphill struggle, a way to reconnect with an essential something within me.  This year is my pilgrimage up that mountain, to my own personal “medicine wheel”.  This year is one of focusing on learning and growing, of examining and questioning.  It is a year of challenging my beliefs and changing my goals or directions as required, not because it is what I want to do, but because it is what I need to do to move forward.  It is a year of creating connections, defining values and establishing rituals that enrich each day with meaning.

What I find interesting heading up the mountain is that I feel more focused.  I know where I am headed.  Not that the path is always clear before my feet, for I still suffer from doubts and confusion.  But there is this comfort of knowing the direction that I am headed, “UP”.

Renate Dundys Marrello

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