I have said before that one of the books I always go back to in certain seasons of my life is “Women who run with the wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. I find that I always have to go back to chapter 5 especially, titled “When the heart is a lonely hunter” and I have written about it before Of love and all those other scary things…. Why do I always go back to this chapter? Because relationships fail and it helps me to make sense of the ups and downs of relationships.
Today I want to explore the concept of the life/death/life cycle in the chapter of this book that I have read many times than I can remember. The author, Clarissa, explained how in order to know what true love is, you should be prepared to meet or confront this cycle. The cycle basically talks about how everything in life has a beginning and an end, and this is echoed not only in traditional folklore but in the Christian Bible. Ecclesiastes 3 goes in depth with this concept of time. If you are unable to allow things to end, you will not be able to begin or birth newness into your life. This applies to everything, not just relationships, but my reflections have been around the romantic relationships aspect of life.
If you are like me, you also struggle with goodbyes, but they are a necessary part of our lives. The popular adage “we meet to part and part to meet” comes to mind. But when you come face to face with the life/death/life cycle it means that you are accepting that some things need to die in order to bring forth new life. I struggle with this because in romantic relationships, the author mentions dying to self, letting your ego die in pursuit of a lasting union. Some things just cannot survive if you want to be in union with someone and from the top of my head I can think of my stubbornness, my desire to have the final say, some thoughts that I might need to relearn, etc. These things need to die in order to make room for new ones that will sustain a relationship better.
To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship.Clarissa Pinkola Estés
In other cases, the whole relationship may need to die, not just aspects of one’s personality. At times we hold on to things too long when they are no longer serving us. When you know when to let go, you are able to make room for new things or people to find you. This is not easy at all, but it is a necessary part of life. In the book, Clarissa calls it a “dance with lady death”. You cannot be afraid of death if you want to birth new life.
I tossed and turned last night in my bed because I could not bring myself to accept that there is a grave that needs to be dug in my life and that I will need to bury something soon. I don’t want to let go and I am not ready, but I am very aware that I might need to in order to breathe again. A song by Elevation Worship called Graves into Gardens has been a much needed balm to the pain of my realisation. You can listen to it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwX1f2gYKZ4. This song encourages me and reminds me that God is able to turn my grave into a garden, which essentially means He will bring life out from what is dead.
As I go through a mourning period of the things that need to die in my life, I hope you also take a moment to think about those things in your life. You may be blocking something new by holding on to what needs to die.
Until next time,