It’s interesting to me that my last post was about what I do and why. My experience last summer with the homeless woman helped me to understand one piece of what is at the heart of my work. I wrote in that post about the fire of my heart that needs to be present and burning in this world, ignited by what I know about myself.
I know that I desire to learn to see what many don’t or can’t see, the largely invisible needs that live in the spaces between. The wanderers of the world know what I am talking about. What do we need, we wanderers, when we search between one thing and another and do not quite see ourselves reflected, yet know there is more to life than invisibility?
I have felt homeless in many ways in the months between last August and now—adrift in the world, untethered to my vision, disconnected from what would have grounded me in my focus on what my heart says is most important. I have felt what it is like to be in need of both “incorporating” and “ritual”: “incorporation” to keep me in my body with all of my feelings and senses alive and working together in service of my soul, and “ritual” to ground me and provide structure that keeps me in my right relationship with the natural order of things. I have been neither here nor there: neither doing my work nor willing to completely give up on it. I have been between. In other words, I have been my ideal client.
I return now with new fire on my lips. I have remembered another piece of what is at the heart of my work, one which I have known all along but has not fully come into consciousness until recently.
Several years ago, I was paging through a book called Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece, by Joan Breton Connelly, and came across a listing of titles of women who served in ancient Greek temples. One title, the “hieronostoi” (the one who searches for holy things), stood out to me for some reason. I wrote the name down, thinking that one day I would write a story about someone with that name.
I did begin writing that story, years later, and the Hieronostoi took shape for me as a character in her own right, a playful, eccentric woman who took people on picnics to the cemetery because she thought it was wonderful to feel surrounded by the memories of people who had lived a century or more ago, who stuck her hands in the multicolored light shining through a stained glass window and wondered if the different colors felt differently to her fingers.
It took me a while to realize that the Hieronostoi is not only a character who lives in my mind, but a part of me, and a part of me who is keenly interested in my work. She searches for lost holy things. She sees what has been disguised, the sacred which has taken countless forms in the physical manifestations of this world. She can look through someone’s life story and find the thread of holiness that was never completely lost, only hidden very cleverly, and can, with a joyful heart, pull that thread forward so that it now weaves into the person’s everyday life.
Holding this piece of who I am and what I do, as well as all of the other pieces I have known and held and written about and shared and lived, I recommit to my work. I commit to writing here on a regular basis, while I move in and out of the between, with all the uncertainty that is present for me as I learn how to bring my work and myself into the world. I am here.