NOTE: Once again, due to still being ill and in pain with shingles, I am re-posting one of my favorite posts from the past. I hope you enjoy it and I hope to be back to regular creating soon.
Puzzling Myself Back Together Again
In her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes recalls hearing stories from the old Spanish land grant farmers and Pueblo people of the southwest that speak of “…the bone people, the old ones who bring the dead back to life.” She tells of one who is called La Loba or Wolf Woman. The work of La Loba is to comb the desert collecting bones, especially those of the wolf. When she has gathered every single bone, she pieces them together, a rib here, a toe bone there, until the creature is complete. Once whole, she sings over it, singing over the bones until the skeleton takes on sinew and fur, until she sings the creature back to life and it leaps from the floor running back to the land. This is the kind of mystery that infuses life here in New Mexico.
I wrote earlier in the blog about experiencing a sort of shattering when I first arrived in Truchas—a total breaking down of everything I had come to know as me. I feel that, like La Loba, I’ve been picking through the land, gathering up the pieces of me, and I’ve been assembling them into a new structure—a new pronouncement of me: A finger bone here, a toe bone there, perhaps joined by a raven’s wing for wisdom or a bit of coyote’s tail bone for mischief and a bear’s claw for bravery. Unlike La Loba, who put an original creature back together, I am puzzling out a new being altogether. Let’s see, I might say, I’ll keep that knee bone that went before but look over there—it’s a bit of red tailed hawk I think I might use to help give me perspective and that piece of jack rabbit’s paw so I’ll face my fear and, maybe, that still beating hummingbird’s heart to bring me joy; the magpie’s beak to give me words…
As I believe some of you know, it is a slow and laborious process, looking over each piece and deciding which to keep and which to let go. And if we do decide to use something, in what form might it work this time? There are no rules and there is no rush. All of us have been given a lifetime to recreate ourselves, bone by bone, piece by piece. I think many of you who have been reading the blog know exactly what I’m talking about. I suspect you are on similar paths.
The issue of joy looms large for me. I am a deep and introspective person, a serious person, so joy has not always been a given. I would love to hear how you seek and find happiness in your lives. I’ve come to believe that, just as I am piecing myself back into being, I can string joy together from all the bits and pieces of pleasure I’ve experienced. If we take it where we find it, experience it and tuck it into memory, if we tie the various parts of delight together, like pearls on a string, we can create a kind of lasting joy, I think.
Estes says that when La Loba sings over the bones she is pouring soul over them to reclaim the deep knowing held there, the deep instinctual knowledge we must release in order to come alive. And I think it can be that way with joy. We must sing over the bones of happiness, re-gathered together at an instinctual level, to bring that aspect to the foreground. So much of my instinct for bliss has been cut off, but I am here in this land of mystery and magic to redefine and remake me. I will consciously choose and assemble the bright pieces that bring joy and I will sing and sing soul into them until they come alive and the mountain will dance with the music of my laughter.
Love to you all,