I have banished pieces of my soul
To distant places in the desert of my life,
Where no predator can sniff the scent of shame.
Parched, pale remnants of miscarried experiences,
Are separated, not cut away
As Tibetan Buddhists
Dismember their dead to honor life.
These are abandoned out of fear of life.
The Seer inside weeps for the missing pieces
Until the time for action replaces grief.
She lifts up her mighty frame, and swaying across the desert,
She swoops up the cast-off pieces
And with one sound kiss, redeems them
With her love.
What was separated is seamed.
Pieces to Peace.
c. rita h kowats 2013
Published in presence, An International Journal of Spiritual Direction: Vol. 20, NO.1. March 2014
Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ story about La Huesera, The Bone Woman, has walked with me in this meditation. A Jungian psychotherapist and a keeper of the stories, Dr. Estes is a read you will not easily forget (http://www.clarissapinkolaestes.com/index.htm) . The Bone Woman, as the legend goes, lives in our souls and does the work of collecting bones from the desert so that she can sing life back into them.
Walk with me in meditation for a time. What experiences have you hidden away out of shame or anger or disappointment or revenge? If your experience could talk to you, what might it say? What do you want to say to it?
Look deeply into your soul. What do you see? Can you find the Bone Woman? What form does she take in you? What qualities does she have- courage? intuition? “holy audacity?” forgiveness? perseverance? Do you have faith that she can redeem your lost pieces? Is it time? Which particular pieces can she bring back to you at this time? Which ones need to stay in the desert until you are able to make a home for them? Can you release Bone Woman to do her work? Do you need help? Who would you ask to help you?
How can you ritualize homecoming- a feast, with a friend, perhaps a reconciliation? (“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Lk, 15:24.) Make a welcome- home card and keep it in your journal. Write a dialogue with your soul-piece, forgiving it and asking its forgiveness for abandoning it. If you are a painter, paint the return! Just do something to mark it.
In the presence of the Holy, I shed the shroud of shame and fear. I commit myself to live in one peace. Amen.