Being lost as an art form

Happy, healthy, sexy New Year, my love! I am blowing you kisses from the deep, dark mulch.

You know mulch. It’s a heap of decaying leaves or compost. Basically, it’s rotting leaves, rotting garbage. This is why I like it: there is very little responsibility there. You just lie down and let nature take you somewhere you have not been before. You trust the process of decay and death.

You slow down, look around, and…decompose.

At first, I found decomposing to be humiliating and embarrassing.
I was used to creating, producing, putting out.
So much of who I am is tied up in my ability to do that. And I do put out incredibly well – better than anyone – at the particular brand of magic I mix. And I have gotten so much love and appreciation for doing that. I got lots of money, lots of praise, and the best? I got to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women. It is rewarding to be so loved and so needed. So I kept on creating, producing, and putting out. I did it for so long, that it began to feel like who I am.

And this year, I stopped.
To lose myself and become…mulch.

We live in a world that does not compost. Our world loves to generate, and produce more and more stuff, and make tons of garbage. Not only that, we really like other people to handle our garbage for us. We make the mess, and we want others to take it away. This exists on a garbage level (it’s especially true right now, as the streets are littered with old Christmas trees, wrapping paper, unwanted presents), a physical level (we do not want to age so we botox, and face lift, and boob lift – deluding ourselves with eternal youth), and a spiritual level. The spiritual level is harder to discern because we don’t think so much or talk so much about how we grow spiritually as a culture. We often offload our spiritual growth to institutions or practices. Instead of using our spiritual shortcomings as a chance to transform, as a chance to lose ourselves and…mulch.

You have to be very brave, and very committed to compost well.

In New York City, you have to put your garbage in the freezer. And then, on Sundays, you take it to the farmers market, where the compost people cart it out of the city to let it rot in peace. It’s complex, messy, smelly, and requires unwavering commitment. On the surface, it is not at all sexy. But there is a secret joy to composting that can be seriously hot. When I go above and beyond to dispose of things properly, I am standing in such open-hearted, juicy love for the earth, our mother. And I can feel her beaming her love beams right back at me.

Now, I am not saying I actually know how to do this inner spiritual mulch thing. But I am doing it anyway. Because there are parts of my feminine nature that I want to experience that are way less known to me than my ability to create, produce, and put out. And I want to know and experience those parts, too.

We all go through phases of life where aspects of ourselves have to die.

When we choose to marry someone or partner someone, the single part of us has to literally die so the couple part of us can grow to fullness. If that does not happen, we will not partner well. When we have a baby, the non-parent part of us dies, so the parent can be born. If this does not happen, the baby won’t get the care it needs and deserves from us.
And when that baby grows up and moves out and on, the full time parent mulches into a new configuration. We call it empty nest syndrome, but when we truly let that full-time-parent part of us die, all of that creativity and love can take on a new shape. But only if we let the old part go.

What are you mulching now?
What part of you is over, and wants to die and take a new form?
It’s winter, after all.

Mulching and dying happens all around us, needing no help. Our Mother has got this covered. But, as a headstrong and highly-accomplished human, I have a terrible fear of this process within me. I feel lost, and disconnected. In pain as my ego dies. I want to fight it, reverse it, throw myself into some half-baked dream. But then, I stop. Captured by the patience and beauty of the copper beech tree in my front yard, now, not a leaf on it. Stately, bare. Only a few months ago, it was lavish and shimmering with coppers, greens, reds, browns dancing joyously with every passing breeze.

The tree is magnificent still. Bare branches revealed.

Can I find that surrender within me?
To find the beauty, here?
To trust this place? The death part of the life cycle?
Will I let go enough of what was, to truly surrender to what wants to come?
Will you?

With so much love and pleasure,

Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.

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