The Work of 33

33. In a remarkable way, I stumbled through the year in a way that felt like that of an excavator. With awkward and unwieldy equipment, huffing and clenching through the dark, struggling to find footing on the rough and slippery terrain, I worked. I poured myself into reading and writing, into mining tiny jewels, eyes of wisdom. I chiseled my inner landscape as I chopped and hewed the bricks between me and my outer world. Tunneling and grinding, I returned to the bottom of this five-foot house I had built for myself. What happens when a structure is hollowed and hashed, inside and out? The rot, the rust, and the faulty wiring fall away, revealing only the strongest bones and framework that have held strong. This skeleton of the structure, with its integrity beaming bright, is ready for a second skin. How to build up bigger and better? Grabbing hold of the power of womanhood, of resilience, and of the people I love, I began again.

Last weekend, I taught a chakra workshop – the third in its series, the third chakra. If you are unfamiliar with chakras, know simply that the third chakra, the manipura, embodies power, light, constructive and intelligent doing. I centered this class on fire, core strength (both literal and non), focus, and the transformation of energy that occurs within us. Our inner blaze of physiological, emotional, mental, and anatomical energy burns hot, but not out of control. Into it we feed everything, and at this center is where we transform to create nourishment – the sun’s light, the food we eat, the support of those around us, our own willpower and thought – all broken down and radiating back out with purpose.

As I dive more into folklore and archetypal narratives of womanhood and the feminine energy, this theme of fire continues to…well…burn.  Fodder for this fire is piling up, rich and seasoned kindling ready to be tossed in, awaiting its fate of transformation then to be set out into the world again, fresh and shining with newness and burned down purpose.

All that we live is kindling, and it can be far too much at times. Take it in, burn it up, let it warm you, turn it around behind closed eyes, then look again. That rough, splintered, heavy load now bears a sheen of simplicity. Excess having been cleared away, the remainder is a sleek, stark flint, able to ignite for whom you give it to.

These processes – chopping, digging, and burning – have all brought me to this simple autumn. As the year comes to a close, it does so with little effort. Like sliding into bed after a long day of work and a hot shower, it’s time to rest. Beneath the surfaces of this five-foot house, the embers cool and smoke wafts into the distance. I feel sturdy, fortified, and just slightly unfamiliar, the only signs of this on the outside being the silver strands on the roof and the splits around the windows.