Anyone who has ever cooked in their life has (most likely) peeled and cut an onion. And if they are like me and don’t cook that much, they’ve peeled some pretty old onions. You know the type I’m talking about. It’s the, ‘It’s-my-time-to-make-dinner-and-oh-crap-the-only-onion-we-have-is growing’ type. You don’t want to go run out to the store and buy new onions. So you make due, and cut into it, and recognize very quickly that it is an onion..
a very STRONG SMELLING onion. And there are lots of nasty bits in the onion. But you peel back the layers anyway, eyes watering, feeling like you are going to sneeze any moment, and get out of it what you can.
This week, my spiritual work has been a lot like that onion. It isn’t because I neglected it. Nor did I forget about it. But instead, being on the hot seat was key for me to find the damn onion in the first place. And even then all it did was provide the road map to where the onion was at; it didn’t even present me the onion to start my work.
But once you have found it, I think the harder work begins. What are the layers? Are they had habits that you are recognizing are causing more harm than good? Are they things you have to heal from? Or in my case, are they realizations about your life that you have been trying to deal with for years, and are just now able to acknowledge with words?
Each issue is a layer of that onion. For me, the layers sort of look like this –
– I was never allowed to have any opinions of my own growing up (Peel it back)
– I was forced to conform to the way my family thought and felt (peel…)
– I had roles I had to conform to – Mary’s daughter, Margaret’s granddaughter, A member of THE Christian extended family known well in the area I lived, the sisters who sing so well together…(peel, peel and more peeling…)
– I never felt safe having my own opinion (peel…)
– Because I never felt safe, I never learned to voice those opinions (peel…)
– At forty years old I’m finally learning what it feels like to put words together to say how I really feel (peel)..
Every one of those realizations pull more off of your own identity and who you think you really are. Your fears are realized to the point where they can start falling away on their own. Your roles are identified and cataloged in order to determine whether or not they are still needed. You realize your shortcomings, and your strengths.
By the end, there is nothing left but you. And you feel more naked than you have ever felt in your life. You have no shields, nothing to protect you, and that thought is liberating and downright scary all at the same time.
I feel like in some ways I have nothing left. I am broken down, only to be built back up. That building back up process cannot come fast enough for me, but I know it is not going to be very fast at all. I need to understand these layers. I need to understand why they are there, to grieve and heal, to get angry and to fully let go of what it is I don’t need anymore. But then comes the biggest fear – the fear of failing, not learning what you need and having to do this all over again.
I supposed in a way it’s my very own spring cleaning. But where I would usually work like heck to get it over with, this time I am going at the speed of my Gods.
I’d say let the examination begin, but it already has. I’d say hopefully I won’t cry at this onion this time, but that already happened as well. And it was all meant to be that way.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that when you reach for your Gods and want their attention that it is an easy process. They will accept your service, and they will pull you apart, layer by layer, in order to make you into a truer image of yourself.
If you chose this, I pray your onion doesn’t stink as much as mine.
Photo from deviant art