Follow your bliss, Joseph Campbell said. Be exuberant, feçund and prolific in the world, trusting your gifts and making the most of them. Do what you are called to do and the power will flow through you.
So many of us work hard to play small, to deny who we are inside, to try and not be scary to others around us. We look at our family, the people we need to stay connected with and work to make them comfortable, attenuating our power to not be threatening or challenging.
There is a long list of things that other people think I should be blissful about, the things that they find attractive. Nature and small talk and family friendly improv comedy, just to name a few.
At this advanced point in my life, though, it is clear what really brings me bliss, what feeds my own exuberant nature.
I love, love, love destruction. To me, tearing apart human stories is what can wake me up in the morning with a sense of purpose and value.
This isn’t, I know well, a drive that easily endears me to other people. Most people like their stories the way that they are, unconsidered and apparently functional, working to keep them stable and in stasis with the world. They find my habit of tearing stories apart rude, threatening, invasive and rather demented. They don’t want difficult questions that may expose twists in their thinking.
If you want healing, I can be very helpful. If you want to resist change, though, well, then I am just an amazing pain in the ass, someone to be avoided or silenced. What I do isn’t nice or easy, it’s raw and rough, exposing what most people keep hidden away from the light of day, away from the eyes of others, away from their own manicured self-image.
When I pull stories apart I find meaning, deep and powerful meaning. The meaning is in the truths we tell and in the lies we weave, in the places where we understand clearly and the areas where we rationalize to beat the band. Looking inside is so relevatory to me that it keeps me thrilled, immersed in the meta of our lives.
Some would say that this drive to pull away the covers of stories, finding connection and intensity just isn’t a womanly thing. Women in this culture are supposed to be cute, nice, inoffensive, not nasty, muckraking and questioning.
My mother, though, the goddess Kali, would disagree. She is the Hindu god of empowerment & change, and as such she is the destroyer, tearing open worlds which, when rent apart give birth to the new and better.
This is a powerfully feminine calling, though it is the call of a crone, one who has learned from a lifetime of nurturing and caretaking the need to enter her goddess period, the time she serves a bigger vision of the universe and not the smaller demands of individual comfort.
To me, destruction is revelation and in revelation comes the gift of creation, the blessing of the divine surprise that lets us see ourselves and our relationships in a new way, connected and threaded through with the love that binds all things.
When I remember not to whine and feel sorry for myself, any value I share comes from the power of my x-ray vision. After decades of using myself as a laboratory, tearing apart what I was handed and rebuilding my self, I can see connections and twists pretty quickly and pretty clearly.
The gifts of my mother Kali are hard to return to the world. People heal in their own way and in their own time. They cannot be rushed any more than you can hasten the gestation of a baby in her mother’s womb. We, like every mother, can only work the process, planting seeds that we hope will nourish the future.
My own art is in finding new ways to communicate the old truths that we humans have always placed into myths, sharing the experience god through sharing story as we always have. Sometimes that happens one on one, sometimes in writing, but the goal is always to offer ways to see deeper, to understand values, to connect with continuous common humanity.
For me, this takes a balance between a sharp mind and a tender heart, between cutting thought and generous empowerment. That is where I live.
The existence of Kali as archetype, as goddess, heartens me, showing me that there were always people like me in the world, daughters of Kali, and that there have been times and places in human cultures where we have not only been seen but have also been valued for the spark of the divine that we carry within.
Transformation, moving beyond our current understanding, is the only path to transcendence. The hardest part about seeing the new is almost always letting go of the old, releasing the noise and clutter that holds us in the place we are stuck right now. Being open to healing & growth demands being open to the divine surprise, to the miracle of seeing what we thought we understood in a new light of love & connection.
My mother Kali holds the understanding of that process, of the need for smashing expectations and letting go of convention before building the new, the better and the more respectful.
That’s the passion she breathed into me, the energy that motivates me and that has always been hard to share with those I love in the world. I fight with them and for them, all out of the love Kali placed in my heart.
I am, like so many others who came before me and who still exist in the world, Kali’s daughter. She is, as much as you would rather not believe it, the locus of my pride.
Not that it is easy to share.