Through the lives we lived, I learned the harshest gift-lesson to accept, and the most powerful I know - that is, knowledge, an absolute certainty that life repeats itself, renews itself, no matter how many times it is stabbed, stripped to the bone, hurled to the ground, hurt, ridiculed, ignored, scorned, looked down upon, tortured, or made helpless.
I learned from my dear people as much about the grave, about facing the demons, and about rebirth as I have learned in all my psychoanalytic training and all my twenty-five years of clinical practice. I know that those who are in some ways and for some time shorn of belief in life itself - that they ultimately are the ones who will come to know best that Eden lies underneath the empty field, that the new seed goes first to the empty and open places - even when the open place is a grieving heart, a tortured mind, or a devastated spirit.
What is this faithful process of spirit and seed that touches empty ground and makes it rich again? Its greater workings I cannot claim to understand. But I know this: Whatever we set our days to might be the least of what we do, if we do not also understand that something is waiting for us to make ground for it, something that lingers near us, something that loves, something that waits for the right ground to be made so it can make its full presence known.
I am certain that as we stand in the care of this faithful force, that what has seemed dead is dead no longer, what has seemed lost is no longer lost, that which some have claimed impossible is made clearly possible, and what ground is fallow is only resting - resting and waiting for the blessed seed to arrive on the wind with all Godspeed.
Excerpt from The Faithful Gardener ( 1995, Harper Collins) by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
photo: India Flint, Botanical Alchemist