I am attuned to the phases of the moon, as a female, as a new moon women’s circle facilitator, as a trained ecologist and herbalist – all of these hone my attention to lunar events. January 2019 had several, including the Wolf moon (full moon) which was also a blood moon (from an eclipse) and a super moon. For the astrologically inclined, these phenomena are conducive for big energy. But the full moon came and went without any spectacular astrological detonations on my end and was instead gentle and non-eventful. However, when I shifted my gaze from inward to outward, maybe the moon did magnetize my life through others.
In 2018, I decided to push myself professionally and personally, challenging comfort zones by taking on new professional roles, such as WILD Woman Project circle facilitator, and new personal goals, mostly physical in orientation, such as obstacle races and archery, all interests and goals that were on my radar but pushed back because of the demands of life. Archery was something I took up in the fall and would occasionally work with a coach, a man I met by chance whose schedule would occasionally overlap with mine. He was always encouraging and offered insights that immediately improved my shooting form and accuracy. But I hardly knew him personally and our mentorship was informal.
Then, suddenly, he was absent during his usual weekend hours. I knew he had some health complications, but not much more than that. A few days, maybe another week went by, and I got an email from Coach. He was in the hospital. It was a few days shy of the full moon when I visited him in the hospital. We talked about life, spirituality, his health, archery. I brought magazines, snacks, chocolate, and a milagro I bought on a recent trip to Santa Fe (basically a little metal token that you nail to a sacred place for a blessing). This milagro was of a reclined man, reposing, perhaps ill. I didn’t know why I bought it at the time; maybe it was meant to be his?
After I left, Coach had an emergency blood sugar crash. The staff attempted to stabilize him, when he remembered the chocolate. The nurses told him to eat it – he did, the ENTIRE bag, and his blood sugar stabilized. He now tells me I saved his life. A claim so sweet and burdensome in its weight and likely only half-true, but I will cherish this gift of a compliment nonetheless. Coach later nailed his milagro to his bow, a sacred place for a man that’s been shooting for over 2 decades.
This story might be about full moon drama and synchronicity, if you gravitate toward that type of thinking and meaning-making. But this story is beyond that. It is a story about friendship and kindness and mutuality – gifts of compliments, time, and (supposedly) magical chocolate. It is a story about responsibility we have toward each other – when a fellow human needs you, you show up in some way. That’s compassion (“suffering with”), putting feet on the ground and going where needed. That’s unbuntu, or recognizing shared humanity. That’s inter-being and individuation (development of the Self): “Individuation is only possible with people, through people. You must realize that you are a link in a chain, that you are not an electron suspended somewhere in space or aimlessly drifting through the cosmos” (Carl Jung). Humanity needs each other. You show up where and when you can, starting with those in your proximity. Obligation and responsibility yes, but Work of greater meaning and heart medicine, belonging and reciprocity, all with the intent of tending and moving humanity to wholeness.
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.” (Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, You Were Made for These Times)
Why did I show up, then, for Coach? – All of this. It is why I show up for other friends and acquaintances, checking in often, asking questions, showing interest, validating and affirming them. Reciprocity, heart medicine, whole (wild) ways of being – this is how I show love and kindness, and this is how I would like to be nurtured and cared for.
To add layers of resonance and meaning, the intersection of Coach’s story with mine is reflective of the 2019, moon-based Wild Woman Project Circle theme of Tiny Revolutions – performing small acts with the intent of greater change and drawing from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ piece above as well as Rumi’s quote “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place”. Our Capricorn circle inquired about Responsibility and our Aquarius circle will contemplate Revolutionary Friendship. Both of these concepts, responsibility and friendship are reflected in and border, auspiciously enough, Coach’s story above and solicit deeper consideration and self-reflection.
- What does being a friend mean? What are your responsibilities to your friends? How do these responsibilities differ based on how well-acquainted you are?
- How do you show up in your friendships? How do you tend friends and expect/desire to be tended? (this question brings to mind the Love Languages as well as the your own unique gifts you bring to friendship) Do you feel comfortable asking for these expectations to be met, and if not, why?
- Do you feel vulnerable in friendship? – being Seen fully as your Self?
- How can you balance compassionate care so that you as a caregiver and friend aren’t exhausted by all of the Work needing done?
- How do you avoid or foster potential friendships? Do you regularly “put yourself out there” to start new friendships or engage with others that are seeking friendship from you? Are you open to friendships that cross generations, gender, sexual orientation, racial, and/or religious orientation? How can you open yourself to new people?
“We are all looking for that presence in another which can shelter us, educe our own stories, make us feel through their engagement that we are necessary in this life. At some point we must come down off those waiting stairs and begin to act as if we are necessary. Whether it is reflected in our world yet or not, we must assume our own importance and begin to give the gifts which we possess and which are desperately needed. Where you long for the friend who calls only to find out if you’re well, be that caller for another. Where you long for eloquent prayers to be made of everyday things, let your own clumsy words bless your meal out loud. Where you wish for ritual under the moons, be the one who holds the heartbeat of gathering. Where you ache to be recognized, allow yourself to be seen. Where you long to be known, sit next to someone and listen for insight into what they love. Where you wish to feel necessary, give those gifts away” (Toko-Pa Tuner, Belonging)
Show up in friendship. Tend those in your reach. Please do give your gifts of Self away. Your friends need you, we all do.
Written by Dr. Allison Mitch. Material is copyright protected, please cite accordingly. For questions or collaboration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the women’s circles and mother*-daughter circles that Allison facilitates, see http://wildwomaninthesuburbs.com/additional-information-on-wild-offerings/ and register here: http://www.theresiliencyinstitute.net/learn/learn-classes/
As of late January 2019, Coach is recovering at home after having kept the nursing staff busy with trouble-making of various sorts and expects to be back to the range soon.