direction · maturity · recovery · relationships · spirituality

The Life of an Asparagus

There is a story I’ve heard about bamboo once, and about
asparagus once, and because they were intended as metaphors, I’ve never
bothered to look up their validity, as that wasn’t the point. It goes something
like this:
Asparagus (and bamboo) germinate under the soil for years, months.
For quite some time, on the surface of the earth, it looks as if nothing at all
is happening. The land looks quiet, unproductive, fallow. Then, as if by
miracle, overnight, the asparagus sprouts up through the ground all at once in
a burst of growth and joy. (“joy” added by literary license) 😉
The metaphor’s intended lesson is that, sometimes, when it
looks on the surface that nothing at all is happening, when you begin to lament
that nothing is growing, will grow, that the land itself is bunk, suddenly,
sometimes overnight, suddenly there is the evidence of new life. The point is
that “nothing” has not been happening; there have been great somethings
happening, we just haven’t been able to see them in the way we’ve been looking.
But in fact, a great amount of life, growth, germination, determination, and
nature have been happening all along.
This story occurred to me this morning, having come home
from my annual New Year’s women’s meditation/spirituality retreat yesterday.
What I felt is that this is going to be the year perhaps
right before the sudden overnight growth, or the year I begin to see progress.
In all likelihood, it’s not going to look like “by the end of this year, my
name will be in a playbill,” but it will look like something. The beginnings.
Forgive me if this sounds vague or oblique, but it’s sort of
hard to concretize what’s beginning to feel like satisfaction. The last several
years, according to the above metaphor, have been a lot of laying of groundwork. There’s been a lot that has
been happening under the surface. And sure, it’s looked like a ton of busy-ness
above ground – moving, jobs, school, relationships – but, in reality, there
hasn’t been as much movement or change above ground as you might think. (Being busy and changing are two different things, I realize.) A lot
of it has been happening internally, subtly, and slowly.
I’m also just coming back from this intense, sort of
un-summarizable weekend, so honestly, I’m still getting my head around what new
knowledge, support, direction, I’ve gotten. And, truly, I imagine that a lot of
what’s happened this weekend will take months to settle. And that’s cool. And
that’s what I like about them.
The retreats become this sort of psychic wisk, stirring up
all kinds of stuff, and it takes some time for the pieces to settle enough to
examine and integrate them.
What I can say for semi-certain is that I am feeling more
confident than ever about who and where I am and am going in my life. I had a
sort of montage-y thing happen in one of my meditations where I was
fast-forwarded through all the work I’d done since I’d sat in that very circle of redwoods around that very fire 4 years ago. It’s a lot. I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve excavated a lot, I’ve healed a lot,
I’ve been presented with some of the most frightening aspects of my past and my
fears and my blocks. And I was brought up present to what I have to do next.
It’s not surprising, and in fact, I’ve been preparing to head here, but it was like pieces falling into place. In order to move forward, in order to begin doing the work I want to do, this is what needs to happen next. It’s a very “If X, Then Y” scenario. I must address a very particular series of old and rather severe
wounds in order to really come out from the
side-lines of my own life — I have to address this long avoided and discounted pain. In order to “own
voice,” have voice, allow my voice to be heard, via song, performance,
presence, I have to unblock this constriction. A constriction which is and has been very
clear on saying, demanding, and indicating that I “shut the fuck up.”
Brightly, what was also indicated to me, and what I felt/feel
very strongly, is that I have allies. That I have the community to draw from
which I will need to get into, through, and out of this painful mutedness. And,
too, that any teacher or mentor I don’t yet have will become available as
I need it – and as I ask for and accept help. That’s been a theme for me lately
– about not being as isolated and fiercely independent as I’ve been. That I
don’t have to do this alone. I’ve begun walking into part of that process, and
it’s a lifetime thing.
So, asparagus. This will be a year of rubbing my hands over
the soil, brushing some of it back, and revealing the incredible tip of the
asparagus bounty that is about to happen.
I am grateful for the women who have helped me to come to
this place – and I’ll be reaching out to you for your wisdom, experience, and support as I move forward from here (if I don’t, text me) 😉

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