1. Truth: The secret to flight, to freedom is to open your heart. For the longest time I’ve been gluing found feathers to my sleeves and in my hair, drawing ink outlines of wings on the skin of my back, buying angel wings intended to be used for Halloween costumes, reading books on the mechanics of flight, imagining that in this way I would eventually learn to fly. Flight–the journey through space, movement through time, escape from fixed ideas and expectations, freedom doesn’t happen this way. Instead I have to relax, let go, leap or float away, open my heart and let it all in, soar in a way that is entirely different than birds do.
2. Truth: Unravelling, being broken can wake you up, give you back your life. When this started to happen to me–trauma, loss, grief, suffering–I imagined myself a perfectly constructed sweater being unravelling loop by loop, stitch by stitch, falling apart, but it turns out it was more like a tangled mess of Christmas lights, usable and workable only after they were unravelled–only then could they be lit up, only then could they color the darkness. I lost so much, only to discover what was true, what was real, what mattered in the ashes of my life after the burning. At times, it felt like dying, but it was only after, shaky and raw, that I felt fully alive, broken open.
3. Truth: Courage and vulnerability are essential, the only way to stay awake. Courage is the ability to do something that scares you, to have strength in the face of pain or grief. To be vulnerable is to be exposed potential harm, to possibly be hurt, wounded. To love what is mortal, to open my heart and be present with whatever arises, to be fully alive, awake and present, to accept impermanence is to be both vulnerable and courageous.
One wish: May we be brave even as we are broken. May we keep our hearts open knowing that we are vulnerable, that we’ll be hurt. May we have the courage to unravel, to fly, to love, to stay awake to life as it comes, whether terrible or tender, beautiful or brutal.