A recent horoscope I read (Rob Brezsny is amazing, look him up!) advised me to use caution as “you gear up for your rite of passage or metaphorical border crossing.” I usually love Brezsny’s horoscopes but this one really caught my attention because of the sheer number of role changes, rites of passage, and crossings of borders I’ve been undergoing in the last few months.
In May, of course, I crossed the border between daughter and orphan, as well as caregiver and non-caregiver, and I watched my father make his own border crossing into the next world. In August, I crossed the marriage border from wife to single-once-more. And in September, I’ll be crossing another fairly major border. I’ll be starting my training in SPRe, the somatic cognitive therapy I’ve been involved with for the last twenty years.
It will be a two-year training, during which I will study anatomy/kinesiology (much of which I remember from my days as an LMP), psychology, developmental trauma, therapeutic counseling techniques, and a little neurobiology. What is even more important, however, is that I will be on a voyage of self-discovery and transformation the likes of which I’ve not experienced in such a compressed amount of time.
Although it may seem like a logical progression after all of these years, I still can’t believe I’m doing it – making this journey from receiver to practitioner. I’ve been on the receiving end of this innovative body-mind intervention for all of that time. You could say it’s embedded in my body, my psyche and my cells. I’ve also been helping my mentor, Jill, write a book about the process for the last year so I feel like I know almost everything about it. But as much as I know about it, it never really occurred to me to want to do it until this last spring just before Dad died.
Some passages are just involuntary; not done by choice at all. Many of us have weathered a death, or the end of a relationship, an illness or a natural disaster, or some other major event and been knocked back on our heels. Sometimes, you’re shot across that line so quickly, violently, or unexpectedly, that it takes a while to recover and reconnoiter the new state you are in; a new role, a new place, a new body.
I crossed the border between the kingdom of the sick and the kingdom of the well twenty-six years ago and it completely changed the course of my existence. There are times I’ve looked back across that border, angry that I can’t make my way back. It’s a reality that there are some crossings that you never quite recover from; yet there are also those you choose willingly.
Sometimes border crossings occur out of choice, not because of an event. When that happens, you can often sneak across; putting your toe into the water to test the temperature and current before wading across. Maybe you’re about to move from being partnered to being single, or vice versa. Perhaps your role has changed from major caregiving to only looking after yourself. It’s possible you’re going from being just yourself, to being a parent for life, or, like me, deciding about a major career change.
I’ve made many major passages in my life, some voluntary, and some not – most of us have. Maybe you’ve decided to change your life and job and everything else and go out to do something totally different – maybe what you’ve always wanted to do – somewhere totally different! Or, maybe you are going through a major illness, having to make difficult choices about your future. However they come, these crossings bring change, which can be both difficult and painful for everyone involved, and/or transformative and rewarding.
Brezsny’s horoscopes usually give you something to think about or take away with you at the very end, and this one didn’t disappoint. It advised me to arm myself during this time of transition with the highest version of brave love I could imagine, which instantly made me think of my caring community, my wise counselors, and my own inner strength – everything I’ve armed myself with to do what I do and what I’ve done.
Whether I’ve crossed on my own, or been forced to cross, I’ve come up with a few ways to survive and/or thrive. I’ve learned that there are some things you can control, and some things you just can’t, so it helps to move on to finding something that you can affect or change. I’ve learned that while it can help to eventually move past putting a value judgment on what is happening, feel all the anger, sadness, and confusion you might be feeling. Be willing to be open to the possibilities, once you’re past the shock and the feelings.
After much thought, consideration, discussion, help, and – I’m not ashamed to say – fear, I decided to go for it and enter the training. My role with Dad was ending, and it just seemed like the right time for something new; to move from one state to another and set up house. I don’t know how it will turn out, or whether I’ll succeed or fail, but at least I’m giving it a shot. I’m going to try to cross the border – from practiced-on to practitioner! (I’ll be writing about the process as I go.)
To me, brave love represents what good there is in life – what makes us strong, caring, adventurous, able to change, and enduring. It can almost always be found somewhere, even in the hardest of times – in a person, a place, a passion, or prayer. If you’re still not sure whether to cross over look for that brave love, however you can, and it won’t lead you wrong. Do your research, search your heart, ask for help, feel your feelings, be brave, close your eyes and go – you never know, there might be lots more love on the other side.