For over 2 years now, I walk every morning at the park in my town. I have the privilege and pleasure of witnessing it not only as a whole as I get to see it in all it’s seasons, but also up close and intimate with what changes each and everyday.
This last “winter” ( I use air quotes because winter was more like a cold spring), I found this broken branch barely hanging on to the tree in which it was being separated from. It showed up after a fairly good wind storm. I remember feeling it before seeing it. I could smell the energy of grief. And, when I got to this tree and broken branch, I was both fascinated...AND...feeling the feels.
Poor tree...lost a part of itself...unable to stay whole through the storm. Poor branch...just dangling there...refusing to let go of the life it had. I don’t know about you...but I can fucking relate!
As the “winter” continued, I kept an eye on this guy. I was surprised that even with some tugging and swinging, it stayed hanging on. I was so curious about when it would finally let go. And, me being me...I talked to it whenever I walked by. Checking in...asking questions...listening for its wisdom. What started out as feeling some pity for this tree and branch ended up being a rich oracling of the beauty of barely hanging on.
Some of the medicine I learned from this tree and branch are:
It takes a lot of effort to barely hang on...all the grip and strength being used in one tiny area.
It takes a lot of strength to barely hang on...it’s fucking painful to be broken and exposed like that.
“I know I will eventually let go and move on...but I’m not done learning from my core yet”.
You can’t control nature.
You don’t need to fix every broken thing. But you CAN be with it...learn from it...oracle that shit.
It is not only the broken part that hangs on. The heart of thing hangs on too sometimes.
It will happen when it happens…”helping it along” is another way of forcing your will on a natural process.
Surprisingly and magically, that broken limb remained attached the whole “winter” season. It finally let go not long after Imbolc. Once it fell, I reflected. I listened for all the feels and visions that this experience brought up. (This is one way to “Oracle that Shit”, as I say)
I have heard my whole life from childhood church to shamanic circles to magic makers say “you can’t give from an empty well”. These words aren’t wrong. AND...they are not empirical. I believe when loved ones or mentors said it to me, they meant it as a wake up call and their hearts were in the right place. All it did though was reinforce that I was alone, and I couldn’t trust anyone to hear me or help me. (an agreement I am currently rewilding)
Sometimes all one has is an empty well or that broken branch...barely hanging on. And what if that is just part of a natural process...and it has to be what it is until it isn’t anymore? It takes strength to barely hang on...AND...it take courage to enjoy a new way and live a different after it’s all over with. I have shown up to lead circles broken, brain fucked, and completely depleted. And I gave a lot by showing up that way. Those moments were some of the most painfully vulnerable in my life. The feedback I got from those days was how me showing up...giving from my empty well...and being me about it...gave many the permission, living example, courage, etc...to heal something deep in them.
From my experience of life not that long ago...I can tell you it is absolutely possible to give from an empty well. I did it for roughly 3 years. And if I’m honest...I have only evolved this to about a half empty well. AND...to me...that improvement is like gold dipped chocolate dipped in gold. Half empty after many years of empty feels like victory. And in a war of many battles...I’ll take my wins. This last year of creating, facilitating, and participating in my ReWilding Wholeness circle I have been able to pull myself out of the empty into the half full. I’ve been able to move my agreement of “my needs don’t matter” into behaviors, actions, and choices that create my life with an agreement that “my needs matter”. This is what has pulled me out of empty. And I’m still evolving many parts of me so this well can be full. Spoiler alert: it doesn't happen overnight nor is it like turning on a light. It takes time...a life time if necessary...so I’m frequently reminding myself to keep turning my gaze towards myself and see of my what I need to see...feel what I is being felt...tend to the healthy patterns and agreements by doing things differently in the triggered moments.
You may be wondering how I gave from an empty well. I just did. I had people and commitments and shit to get done with no one to help me. I dug into my SELF...called on my spirit, and just got it done. #themedicineofstubborn #honoringcommitments
NOW...here is a super important part. I DO NOT advocate for anyone living like this. It is suffering. It is also NOT SUSTAINABLE. I think I lasted so long because I’m a badass stubborn beeatch whose was infected with the poison of pride and until I owned my shit...took responsibility for my actions...and took ownership for the shine that is possible...nothing changed. What I DO advocate for though is having this conversation, in case others have had to suffer through giving from an empty well and have felt the same shame and judgement I have. And, maybe…just maybe…if I can fight through it to healthier agreements…others can too.
Yesterday I cried in and out all day. Nothing debilitating...just greif rolling down my face. Grieving the loss of that old way of giving from an empty well. Funny, huh? Grieving something that was harmful to me. Thing is...it was just the broken branch of my life...barely hanging on. A part of me that was “bad” or suffering is still a part of me and is worthy of grieving. As a half-full-well gal these days, I see things differently from when I was an empty-well gal. I see how hard those years were and are on me. I see that when one lives in constant pain and physical dysfunction...your well gets empty...therefore, if you can still fight through all that and the best you can be is barely hanging on...you deserve a fucking parade of witness and love.
Dare I say...if all you have is barely hanging on, can’t that be enough? Armed with the knowing that at some point, the broken part will fall off and a new normal can begin. Making space for rewilding how we view our time-lines and “shoulds”. Dare I say...this is also not whole without the willingness to change with the change once that broken part has fallen off...that both accepting the barley hanging on AND the willingness to become something else are essential to making this story a medicine story. Dare I say...at some point, living/giving from an empty well HAS to change because at some point the medicine of it will become a poison.
Can you see how this broken branch pulled out all this awareness? Can you see how the stories, messages, and observations of this broken branch brought me nourishment and acceptance in my awareness and ownership of my self-evolution?
It’s okay if you can’t. I do communicate a little off-road. I think it’s part of my magic. I also know I’m okay with me not making perfect “sense” because I am here to awaken mystery and your own inner knowing. I desire to share in a way that allows you to gather a medicine from within you. So...yeah...I know in my bones there are some holes to this post. AND...I feel like following the wisdom of that broken branch...to not “fix” this post, and just be put it out to you as is. It’s even okay if you completely disagree with me! I love diverse perspectives. #wildernesswisdom
There is beauty in barely hanging on. It’s possible you have felt it in your life. It’s possible that there are many people around you feeling it. There is beauty in changing the behaviors of an empty well into behaviors of a very full and vibrant well. We exist in a natural world of cycles and opposites...the only constant is change...so, don’t worry, wherever you are at will change...and change again...and change some more. May we all teach and train ourselves to change WITH the natural changes as they change before they make us change in dramatic or traumatic ways.
There's a message aching to be voiced from my wise, wild, and witchy Self. "You..yes you. If empty is all you have to give from, that is enough because whether you know it or not, you are a creature of great mystery and therefore NEVER empty. You...yes you. If empty is how you feel and that sucks for you, do something about it. Get busy taking care of yourself (I have to credit Gregnar for that one). Say no. Finish your commitments and plan for nothing right after. You...yes you. Don't let others tell you what you need. Don't get sucked into thinking about them...think about YOU. You are what you need. You are the only one that can change your behaviors to become the woman whose well is over-fucking-flowing."