Many years ago in a reading with a wise intuitive healer, I was given an archetypal view of myself that has supported my experiences, how I choose, what I feel, how I process. In a way that was ultimately helpful, I used this new archetype to remove some of my self judgment around the depth of feeling I carried in addition to seeing my life experiences and particularly the losses as any kind of random. Archetypes and symbolic sight are powerful that way, they change the lens through which you see.
She told me that she saw me holding a large blue glass pitcher. The pitcher the color of the blue doors one sees in Santorini against all that white.. That kind of blue.. the perfect shade of sky blue, piercing and clear. She called me The Water Bearer. In subsequent sessions with her, the Water Bearer showed up again and it began to slowly shift my sense of self and parts of my purpose.
After working and training in children’s psychiatric units, after a stint on the women’s prison psychiatric crisis team, after seeing hundreds of women in my private practice, and hundreds more in online classes and in class at a retreat center, after being the one who holds secrets and confidences and trauma and insights as truly sacred, I’ve always known that one of my greatest gifts is being able to be with enormous amounts of pain, without flinching, and without judgment.
I’ve heard of every kind of heinous sexual abuse and betrayal, every kind of addiction, every kind of love gone awry, every kind of promise broken, and countless acts of self harm. I don’t judge. Ever. Some people, some therapists or other trusted folk may say this, I don’t know if they mean it, but I don’t judge.
My own past is too imperfect. I’ve had too much trauma, shame, loss, addiction, and failure of my own to need to project that nonsense onto anyone else. I”ve had my own vanity, jealousy, rage, shame, self hate and devastating loss, in large enough measure that I don’t need to make you wrong in yours.
The Water Bearer archetype brought something new to the mix. It brought in a piece of my Divine Identity, a part of who I am and why I’m here. A bigger reason that urged me to train as a clinical psychotherapist, and as an intuitive and spiritual guide and coach. I felt an ancient thread that allowed me to see many lifetimes as teacher and healer, as one who held the pain.
As one who both held the pain and then knew how to transmute the pain. To create and hold the space for that kind of deep exploration, purging and releasing, into the bright clean light air where we can breathe again.
I only know how to swim in the deeper waters. The shallows don’t interest me, not socially nor in the work I do. I can see underwater, clearly and with soft eyes. Our aquatic natures which hold our emotional and psychic experiences and nature.. interest me.
So much so that I found myself moving to the beautiful sea here in Newport when my marriage ended, not really understanding what was propelling me to live just two blocks from the water. I am home. My lungs and body crave the smell of the salt and the depths that rise up, to see each day what the wind and the water and the sky are doing. I have taken countless pictures of this ocean, this bay, these skies. As the water and the wind and the rock stirred my own depths to allow me to purge what was no longer serving me, what needed to be released. I have been washed clean these last two years.
And as I move through another period of loss, of death and rebirth, of the Ashes at my feet and my choice to rise amidst the seeds of the new sprouting, I see that blue pitcher in my arms.
There is space again. I am not afraid of the hard, the raw and the ragged. Not so much of my own, not of yours. Whether you are my child, my friend, my client, or a new love, you and your pain are welcome. I don’t the cleaned up version, the bright and shiny…there is space here for all the feelings, they all get to have their say until you know the truth of who you are in all of the best ways.
Holding the archetype of Water Bearer moves me out of the self judgment of feeling things so deeply. Especially as a young girl, when being told that I was ‘too sensitive’ ( I know I’m not the only one who was told this…I’ve heard this story too many times) I feared that all the feelings and intensity reflected a flaw in my character. Now I believe it’s my blessing and yes at times my curse.
As a card-carrying empath, I feel my own depths in living color but I also feel yours. I used to just pick up energy wherever I was. I had no idea that some of what I was feeling wasn’t “mine”, that I’d just picked it up like a virus from whomever was nearby. I remember processing an old belief, an old fear that I would have been unable to mother daughters (I have two sons thankfully), and a wise teacher told me “That’s not YOUR fear, that’s your mother’s fear” which was a miraculous bit of healing at that time and since allowing the truth of it to metabolize.
One of the most important practices that has evolved for me as I’ve learned and healed and found my balance anew at 60 years old, has been discernment. Knowing what is ‘mine’ and what is not.
Part of what’s essential about this awareness is that you can never fix or heal what isn’t yours. Somebody suffering or playing with fire or being run by their own patterns, cannot change by your own hand.. they aren’t yours to change. It’s not your energy, your beliefs aren’t in the mix, nor your motivation or desire. It is literally not yours. Hands off. We need to conserve and manage our energies to heal what is ours. Most isn’t. The old Serenity Prayer said in countless 12Step programs around the world addresses this.. we can only change what is ours. The rest we give to God.
I know that I was here to feel. To experience many emotional challenges and losses, a few betrayals, deep healing. It has taught me compassion among other things. It’s slapped the judgment out of my mouth, It’s opened my heart. It’s made me see that we are all indeed connected and that the divisiveness is manufactured from deep fear among other things. We are happier when we remember that we are connected. It’s our natural state.
I know I was guided to the work I do. And honestly after 33 years I know that it is holy work, a blessing, a deep honor. I am still fascinated by our human nature and how it always always intersects with the parts of us that are truly Divine, holy sacred.
I know for sure that the cracks are how the light gets in, that as one of my teachers reminded me, that the term Wounded Healer is redundant. That if you sign up for that path, you will have many often painful Initiations. And I’m good with that. I get how it works. I’m 60 and coming out of my second Saturn Return and I get it. What doesn’t serve gets shaken loose and you become more of who you are. I have. You have.
Let the water flow. I’ll see you in the River. I truly love this section of the “Hopi Elders” prophecy:
“There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know the River has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle
of the river,keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.”
And if you know that it is time, time to swim in the deeper waters, to be able to see underwater, to be able to claim your own sacred archetypal presence, to use more of your gifts in the world, to release whatever is in the way, please reach out to me. We’ll talk, I’ll give you some feedback and resources to help immediately, and maybe we’ll work together. Most women find me when they are facing or in the midst of a big transition, a big change calling them, and together we will navigate it beautifully and powerfully and everything will change from there. Go to my Contact page and send me a note. Confidential and comes only to me.