I puzzle at the heaviness in my gut, the pinchedness of my heart, my paralyzed limbs, and compose theories of cause: overwork or wrong path or scary disease, and then I remember,

I visited the abyss again, reaching for the warmth and comfort that somehow seems natural to expect from that place, the place I came from – but it was empty, and told me so, yet again, in no uncertain terms, and left me gasping, aghast, spiraling into numbness.

I signal my body to go, and search for the energy that moves me toward work, loved ones, food, movement, but it is blocked by grief. I cannot seem to go any faster or expend any unnecessary energy.

I cannot whip the body into submission, so giving up my agenda for a moment, I move in closer to inspect: where is the deadness inside and what exactly does it feel like in my body?

It is a dry, silent moan in my throat, a hollow ache in my heart, concrete in my gut, that cannot move or produce sound or tears. Then I hear the wisdoms I keep delivering to others about self compassion and realize I need them myself. I slow my pace further and try to soften toward the alarming lack of energy I feel.

I offer words of comfort to myself, hand on broken heart, and climb the stairs to dress, with my still heavy body. I put on running clothes, too warm for this weather, but wanting the comfort of extra covering. I instinctivley know I need time to be outside, in some way.

I step out into the back yard and hesitate as I see the wet pavement, but She pulls me down. I lay down face first on the cold ground. I can feel the warmth of Pachamama even through the cold concrete, and I soak her in. The sun warms my back as it moves in and out of clouds.

It feels so good, better than I could ever have imagined to be plastered to the cold concrete, like a child laying face first in the lap of her mother. The roughness and cold of the pavement doesn’t seem a problem for my bare legs, the strip of exposed belly, or my face.

She takes me in her arms and I ask Her to take the burden of my heaviness from me, as my tears drop onto the pavement and She soaks each one in. I ask Her to be my mother, and She says She already is. I feel into the truth of it, discovering it there already, inside of me.

I lay there for awhile and She listens to me cry, and I can feel Her stroke my hair and chirp softly to me that it’s ok as I press my cheeks and wet eyes into Her paved breast.

As I lie there, the burden eventually somehow feels foreign, no longer mine and I feel it being pulled from me and absorbed into the earth, fertilizer for new growth. I can smell the early spring smells and the wet earth.

I thank Her and beg for the blessing of energy to run, putting my left hand out palm down on the pavement to receive her gift. Barely a moment later I feel it, the lightness of a burden lifted, and She says, go! Run, Sprite!

I lay there a bit longer as the image and feeling of lightness dance there in my brain and body, listening to the rustling of birds at work in the bushes, and finally, I rise and stretch.

As I prepare to head out, I pause to give another moment of care, hand on heart, to deliver another dose of the love of…who? The Universe? Pachamama? God? At once I realize what has been missing.

I wonder, have I ever really loved myself? I wonder if I could even do that, and what would it look like? I can barely believe it as I realize my own love for myself has been absent.

I check for a moment to see if I can do it, love myself. I close my eyes and imagine the love coming from myself, delivered to myself through the hand on my heart, and there it is – I can feel it – a little spark, the hint of pure self love. Satisfied, surprised, and planning to explore it more later, I hop out the door to run.



About Cynthia M Clingan

Cynthia Clingan is a licensed professional clinical counselor in Columbus, Ohio who offers somatic psychotherapy, spiritual coaching, and meditation and mindfulness instruction.
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