Shalom, friends. I’ve been out of the #wholemama loop for a month, but I’m back and I’m excited to jump in on this week’s theme of #birth! These are my thoughts. Please share and join in if you feel like it.
It’s May 2008, Memorial Day weekend. Our friend Brian is visiting Adam and me from Georgia. It’s our first spring in Pennsylvania and I’m still homesick. I’m so homesick that my mind is still living in Georgia in our sweet little farm house surrounded by pecan trees and grape vines. The visit with Brian is a comfort and helps me feel like I’m home again. We’ve been here almost a year, but our purpose here isn’t yet clear.
Adam designs this tattoo, a spiral cross, and the three of us venture out to a tattoo parlor we choose from a google search and get some fresh ink. It’s hot for this time of year and my feet hurt in the brown pumps I decide to wear. The artist takes us in because of the uniqueness of our story, three friends wanting the same tattoo in the same place on our bodies. The tattoos are the exact same on the inside of our left forearms. The artist talks about going camping with friends for the holiday weekend and politely rushes us out the door when he’s finished. Our arms are swollen and feverish.
The spiral symbolizes the path leading from our outer consciousness to our inner souls. The outer consciousness is marked by our unfreedoms, materialism, external awareness, and the ego (our basic day to day – the things we’re easily aware of); while our inner souls are marked by enlightenment, nirvana, and cosmic awareness (that place where we find ourselves hanging out with and changed by the Other Devine, God, or our Higher Power).
This is central to my purpose, I realize. Recognizing and breaking away from those unfreedoms is becoming my specialty. It’s my favorite. Even more than laughing. Before we can be enlightened or transformed, we have to surrender our selfishness and realize that we are one part of the whole interconnected universe, that all of creation is interdependent. We’re all connected. We’re all in community. We’re all in relationship. Just like John Donne’s poem says, “No man is an island.” I prefer the exploration of the “No Man is an Island” theme in About a Boy with Hugh Grant and Toni Collette. Put it on your To Watch list if you haven’t seen it, or just go ahead and watch it again because it’s a great film. I am digressing.
Back on point.
This symbol is close to my heart for another reason. The spiral can also represent birth, creation, or growth when we understand that our purpose begins in our core and expands outward. Just as my children grew in my womb and were born into the outer world, my ideas and dreams come from inside of me and are expressed to the world around me. I believe my soul receives info from the cosmos and sends little nudges to my outer self, and when that self receives the message and acts upon it growth and transformation and evolution happen.
Transformation starts in the center and works its way out.
Are you still with me, friends?
We see spirals in nature and in the stars. In Astrology, the spiral is a symbol of a universe in constant motion. I like to go ahead and put all of this together when I look at the spiral on my arm.
I Surrender → I am one with Creation → I realize a Purpose → Transformation → Universe in constant motion → I am always growing and creating and breathing new life. I am constantly transformed.
And that’s not something I’m observing or learning about myself as an afterthought. My transformation is in real time. It’s intentional. I wrote a short report recently about the image of God as a woman in labor. The image comes from the biblical text in Isaiah 42.14. I found an essay from Leslie Wood titled “Maternal Images of God in Second and Third Isaiah” in which Wood says, “This image of God as a mother expresses the pain that She is willing to suffer in order to bear creation.”
The pain she is willing to suffer in order to bear creation. Transformation, rebirth, is painful and dirty and raw and I feel vulnerable and ugly in this process. But on the other side, I will bear beautiful creation.
Agere Contra, friends