Tender to the Touch
Weekly Reading Topic for August 15, 2020:
Well, good morning, love! I just opened a Reading for you, my newsletter subscribers and here’s what I heard in answer to the following:
What do my readers most need to hear this weekend? What is the most important message to send to my beloved readers?
The answer was: “Tender to the Touch.”
What follows is your weekly reading, dearest one.
Weekly Reading │ Tender to the Touch
Q: What do we need to know about “tender to the touch?”
A: When we are hurt emotionally, we can develop bruises just like the ones we get when we are hurt physically.
Right now, we are hurting as a species, all over the planet. We are physically hurt, mentally hurt, emotionally hurt, and spiritually BEAT UP.
We want this to END. But it won’t. It will continue for long enough that we better go ahead and mourn the way things used to be, and tend to our wounds because we have already past the point of return to the Way Things Were.
That world is gone. It’s time for this new world that is coming. But that world hasn’t arrived, and in the meantime, we are In Between.
Think about the process of birth, just for a moment. Ask a mother — ask YOUR mother — and she’ll tell you that it’s a brutal, raging, intense experience that ranks right up there with battle as life-changing.
You start out hopeful, with a plan, having painted the nursery and picked up the car seat. You have your ice chips and your care team.
And then the baby takes charge, and shows you in no uncertain terms, that this is HIS birth. He crawls, and squirms, and fights his way out of you. If he gets stuck he strikes out with every ounce of strength (and babies are surprisingly strong). His hard head, so tender in your hands later on, feels like a battering ram against your pubis.
You are at his mercy, and the mercy of your own muscles, those powerful surging muscles sweeping him along, both of you struggling to make your brand new world, together.
And later, when he is out, your world has shifted totally. You understand: whatever illusion of control you imagined you had is gone. These ten pounds of tender flesh is in charge now, and he demands Everything.
You are not yourself, now. You are not solitary and singular. You are Mother, and you are willing and submissive about that. You are joyful and fearful and triumphant and ecstatic and totally exhausted.
And both of you are bruised. Your wounds may not heal for weeks. His bruises take days to fade.
He is bathed and wrapped and tapped and swaddled and still, he looks like what he is: irritated, outraged even, at this new world he finds himself in. His face is puffy and red and purple and contorted with pain, hunger, and anger.
You were woman choosing for yourself alone, even when in relationships, even in friendships, even with your family —even if you thought you were enmeshed or dependent before, now you know: you were totally alone. You were independent.
And now you have a new world and it’s called Mother, and you are no longer alone, ever. You no longer choose for yourself, you choose for Both/And, and you will never, ever fall asleep without thinking about this human. Even if you outlive this infant, you will still obsess every minute of every day. Even if you hate this child at times, and abandon this child, he will live in your mind, bruising your thoughts.
You are now Tender to the Touch.
And this is true for the baby, too. He was a fetus, floating in a warm and sloshy soup of good food and sweet sounds, rocking himself to sleep listening to the timpani of your heart beating against your breastbone. But his world got smaller, and tighter, and less fun and less comfortable, until finally, he decided to Get Out. Gravity pulled at him, and it felt right, so he dove, head first into the darkness, and the earthquake came, and his entire world changed, became a squeezing, writhing, terrible place, a place that extorted the liquid from his lungs and pressed his head into a new shape, that felt like it would kill him, and then suddenly he was COLD and BLINDED.
And now he is beaten about the face, exhausted and hungry and cold and nothing is restful, and everything is muffled by air, everything sounds bad, and even when he hears your voice he can barely respond, he is so tired, all he can manage is a little flutter of eyelids and a fist bump.
He is now Tender to the Touch.
This pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, the craziness of the last five years, the upended norms and the divisive rhetoric, the isolation and the uncertainty, all of it has been our own long Birth Process. It didn’t feel like it, but we were in a womb, waiting to ripen, feeling the walls closing in but not sure we were ready to leave.
And now, we are — we are entering the canal, dear ones, diving down into darkness. This is the hardest part, and this is the part where Everyone Starts to Worry.
Can she do it? Can she let her body open sufficiently to let this child out?
Can he do it? Does he have the will and the strength to move out and live?
And the answer is usually: yes. Yes, you both can do it.
And yes, we can do this, too. But it takes work, and there are only two of us in this work, no one else can do it but us.
But we have to remember that this is a Process. It’s a long tunnel, and we haven’t even started, really. The earthquake of contractions are not yet here. We’re getting little pre-contractions — but the Real Thing hasn’t started quite yet.
And we are going to get bruised.
So expect it. Right now. ASSUME YOU WILL BE HURT. Get used to the shock of that now. It will help you to deal later when you are tender and battered.
I once read about a yoga instructor who had taken a vow of chastity which was decidedly challenged when a stranger woke her up at knifepoint intent on raping her.
As he attacked, he held the knife to her to make her submit, and she realized that her chastity was at risk. And she realized that was unacceptable to her. She had taken a vow and she was going to fight to keep it. She put her palm across the blade of the knife to push it away from her, deeply cutting herself in the process, but willing to lose her hand in order to defend her vow. He dropped the knife, astonished at her courage, and fearful of her determination.
He dove out the window he had used to enter.
Sometimes life scars us. This happens to us whether we have taken vows or not.
But here’s the thing: when you have taken a vow, it is easier to sustain the pain, and the scar can heal faster.
When you are in trouble, and Bad Things Could Happen, having a vow to focus the mind helps.
So I recommend taking a vow, now, of some sort, for yourself.
What are you willing to fight for? What is the thing that you will work toward, for the next year? What is worth this struggle, this birth? If you have that in mind, you will find this year not easier, but perhaps more meaningful. And when your will flags, and you get tired, and tender to the touch, you will be able to, and willing to, put your own hand to the blade and keep on keeping on.
My friend-who-is-a-sister gave this advice to someone who was waiting for their Covid19 test: “It will test your will to live, so find that why before you are asked.”
It’s time to find our why, dear ones. We will need to know WHY we are alive in these strange times in order to thrive in the new world that we are heading for. Better to find your why now, before life comes along and demands it of you.
Here’s to resting a deep rest this weekend, and to sweet insights about what we are being called to.
May you know your why, and may you only be bruised, not broken, by this year.
And may the tears of grief for the Way Things Were turn into those laughing, almost disbelieving joyful tears at How Wondrous New Life Really Is.
Because I say to you, truly: I see a brilliant new world that is shining out to us on the other side of this journey. The tunnel is dark and torturous, but it opens onto a very warm, loving new place.
And we can get there if we sustain ourselves, keep struggling and doing what must be done, and turn away the blade of trouble with an open palm.
Make your vow, rest, and soak up all the nutrition and strength you can!
I appreciate you, and your attention, and your love.
I am always here to serve in any way I can.
Much Love to You,
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