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  • Writer's picturegoodmorningmapmaker

Letting something die...

At first, I was just looking for a piece of paper, some way to write down and acknowledge an inner death I’m feeling taking place. A death of being too shy to show up. Of staying quiet when I have SO MUCH to say. When I’ve gathered lots of information about lots of ways, and I see people not knowing the ways, and I’m like, I’m holding the ways, I need to share them. And I’m not, and it’s about hiding, and I want to be done with hiding. With silencing myself. With waiting until I’m somehow more ready, waiting for some ultimate sense of clarity. And, then the clarity came. Just stop hiding. Be willing to show up and the ability and clarity needed for that moment will appear. Open the door. Let the wind in.

So, I was looking for a piece of paper to mark this commitment to showing up, but it really felt more like a death, a death of hiding. Acknowledging the ending of it and the comfort of it and the fear of acknowledging that for me to be okay with myself, to be my true self, I need to step in to sharing the multitudes of ways I’m carrying that are seeds. Anyway, to mark this beginning-disguised-as-an-ending, I was looking for a paper, and then saw my emotional design binder which forking HAS a worksheet in it designed exactly for this feeling, and

I felt so cared for by my past self. I honestly made this watercolor to depict a visualization I do, but I’ve never actually used the worksheet when in the midst-of-something-dying feelings. It felt like a lovely thing to approach, I wanted to pull it out of the binder and sit with it. It’s such a calm, regenerating scene, with a fresh mound of earth. And flowers growing, a butterfly nourished by the flowers. How to acknowledge the death? What to draw?

Well, I decided to film myself. At first, I tried to deny that I felt called to film myself— I’ll film this another time, but I realized it would really be embodying and acknowledging the death of hiding to film it. It would make the decision to stop hiding be all the more dead, rather than dying and dying but clinging on one more day, one more day. No, I was going to film it, and the hiding would be dead.

As I started to draw, I was first awash with a sense of the waves and waves of women who have been silenced. As morbid as it is, and we’re going morbid as we discuss drawing death, I imagined the mounds and mounds and mounds of bodies of all the women who were silenced, and I started to draw mounds, and that graphic imagery made me think of the mass graves of war and genocide. While these thoughts are horrible, as I was drawing the mounding shape, the shape of it felt calm. The calmness of a body at rest. And the disrespect, the violence of it feels like a fire, fueling my need to speak. To not stay silent about the tools I carry about how to be with our darkest feelings. We need to speak about these tools, these ways, we need to know where to go with them and what to do with them.

As I drew, the desire to speak on behalf of the dead inspired me to draw lips on all the mounds. I imagined different folks who’ve died and their perspectives on their own deaths. I imagined bitterness, acceptance, longing, a child who doesn’t even know what they’re missing.

I felt their energy singing out from their bodies into the world, and I started drawing lines radiating out from the mounds, radiating into space and radiating outwards into the depth of the earth. I remembered how when my mother’s ashes were returned to the earth after being kept in a bag for a year, I felt this sense all of a sudden that her body was now everywhere (the way her spirit became everywhere right after she died). I have this sense wherever I am that I am on my mother’s body, that she’s holding me. So I drew hands on the lines radiating out into the earth to add that feeling of being held by the earth, by the dead, by the silenced, by the silence. And not held like held tightly, held back, but held like supported, comforted, encouraged, believed in. Held like loved. 

And now here I am, describing it all, to not stay silent. Originally, this worksheet was developed because when I am in my lowest lowest lows and my mind has the thought that I want to die, I allow my mind to envision it. I envision myself dying, and I follow through with imagining going into the earth, decomposing, and becoming new. It often feels full of grief, and yet, I come out feeling tender, hopeful, and new. It’s like, a part of me is dying, a way of being, and I can be with that. So, I created this worksheet as part of the Emotional Design toolkit as a tool to be with at the lowest lows. I’m glad to say it helped me today, not at my lowest lowest low, but I was probably at like a 2 out of 10, and was carried up into feeling a profound sense of union, purpose, inspiration, and empowerment (which I’d put at like an 8 out of 10). Beyond the emotional spectrum and its intensity, I was also able to allow a real transition to occur in my grief. It got to be tucked in, turned over, and even started to bloom.

(Thanks for wanting to read this. I’d love to hear / read whatever this inspires in you)

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