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Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

Patchwork Quilt: Part 2: The Common Thread of the Self

I used to think of the Self as a layered being— layers of stories, beliefs, emotions. That is the language I was given to describe it and to process it— to peel away the layers.

Through my personal journey of healing trauma, I discovered the emotional “peeling“ to be more of an unwinding from the body. Each emotion was like a thread, spun by stories and bound with beliefs and, if I followed the thread back to its origin, it would unravel itself and the emotional energy would be set free– free to experience life directly without the filters of history limiting its reception.

I adapted my language of layers to include this unwinding, inputting a spiral with each “layer” now as its own helix and with the Self journeying up that spiral—round and round—until it is released. This spiral also offered a comforting explanation for the common phenomenon of relapse: that we weren’t back at square one but had come full circle on the spiral and, though it seemed we had returned to that same old feeling or thought, we were actually higher up on the spiral with a greater, more expanded vantage– a vantage that needed to be instilled into that “layer” and then the spiral could turn again. Evolution hadn’t stopped or regressed; it had revolved.

Truth, and yet there is more to it... the more that was always there– the thread. Science describes our mind–body relationship as a set of neural pathways connecting thought with emotion that, with repetition, become patterned pathways in the brain and the body– mental and emotional reflexes. The thread that I had found and the unwinding that ensued were these pathways becoming un-patterned from my biology— un-patterned but not decommissioned.

These energetic pathways are meant to be here to receive and process our human experience.… and to remember it. Yes, we are built to store memory within our cells in order to learn and evolve. These reflexes help us to navigate our human world safely and wisely. It is the same with any animal on our planet with one significant difference: the human mind manipulates memory and then attaches it to current reality, thus navigating a greatly distorted illusion of reality.

But for now, let’s just focus on the biological reality of our cells as memory banks and begin to value them as such. Perhaps their “layers“ are something to honor rather than to discard. Perhaps their thread, though unwound and released from our identity, is meant to remain as a connecting force between our cells, between all our parts and pieces of self– like the yarn woven through a patchwork quilt.

A quilt warms our body, by its construct, and our heart, with its honored memories— honored, cherished, and woven with hands of love… and more than love. For each memory, each patch, is chosen by our guardians–our circle of grandmothers –and represents significant steps along our life‘s journey: the acts of power and the painful transformations that lend color and texture to our soul and that, together, create a beautiful and living piece of art– the human form of a spirit evolving. And the thread woven throughout them all is one singular strand passed from grandmother to grandmother, story to story, self to self. It is the strand of the spirit itself, present in each and equally alive within them all.

This is why we need not seek to remove that thread, nor the patches of memories. Rather we must honor them, cherish them, and reweave its missing pieces together— the parts of ourselves that we tore off in shame, or hid under “safer” colors and hardened textures. They are aspects of our soul, looking to come home again.

That’s what the grandmothers revealed to me in the vision I shared yesterday. It isn’t that Death is not a valuable tool to one’s process. Of course it is! I will forever embrace the Angel of Death and her medicine— the unwinding of what no longer serves. This medicine is imperative to our evolution and yet, the grandmothers were inviting me into an integration— to re-member versus to dismember my selves. “To spread the quilt out before me and to take myself in.”

Though there is more to share about their invitation (and more for me to experience), for now, I just wanted to invite you all into it as well... to consider your Self not as a tier of layers but as one layer, existing all at once. In this way, I suspect that the medicine of our history will unfold and return to us the gifts we traded for the promise of Death’s enlightenment, or, as in the case of healing trauma, of the Survivor’s power. No matter the promise, the trade wasn’t meant to be a Self sacrifice but an offering and an addition to our patchwork quilt... in trade for more of You, not less.

Patchwork Quilt: Part 1: Integrating the Self
Patchwork Quilt: Part 3: Meditation

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