Monday, December 01, 2014

Weighing of the Heart


Do you know the Egyptian story of the weighing of the heart? Let me give you the short version. The Egyptians believed that upon death, the soul or "akh" would, using the Book of the Dead as a guide and often Anubis as well, work through the 12 gates of the Duat on the journey to the the Hall of Judgement. Once in the hall, the initiate would recite the 42 confessions in front of the 42 judges. Then, the heart would be put on the scale against Ma'at's white feather of Truth. If the scales didn't balance, the akh would be thrown to the crocodile god Ammit and the soul devoured. If the heart was not 'heavy' and the scales balanced, the akh would be welcomed by Osiris to the Field of Reeds - where the akh would rejoin family and loved ones.

My birthday is next week. I'll be 47.  The number doesn't bother me, I'm not sure I look my age, and I'm pretty sure I don't always act it. 

Joseph Campbell said, "Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up.”  I feel, around my birthday, like part of me is breaking away and something new is evolving. Around this time of year, I seem to find myself re-enacting my own "Weighing of the Heart" ceremony.

I don't throw myself to the crocodile god if I feel I haven't lived by my truth during the proceeding year, but I do find myself evaluating where I was a year ago, and where I am now.

Last year at this time, I was in my fourth month of being a full time mom. The path had turned rocky and the honeymoon phase was definitely over. I worried if I was doing the 'mom' thing right. I felt unsure and I did a lot of questioning of myself. This year, I have a full year under my belt. Even with some of the changes and upheavals over the last year, I feel more confident I am doing the 'mom' thing okay. I still make mistakes and sometimes I still question if I have any idea what I am doing. December is a hard month, but I feel like the ground under my feet is more stable, and I feel like, as a family, things will be okay.

Last year at this time, I was not single. I did not expect to be so this year. However, I have found a new strength in getting to know myself. I still stumble at times with knowing who I am outside of being a 'mom', 'sis', 'daughter', 'friend', 'teacher' and 'partner', but I think I'm learning. I am finding my voice. It's not the 3 octave range it once was, but it is strong and clear and I am grateful for it.

Last year at this time, we had just moved to a new building at work. It was a big shift for everyone. The transition took some time, but I have settled into my new digs and I like being able to look out the window and see blue sky and trees. I still wake up every day loving what I do and where I do it. Teaching is one of the constants in my life and I am fortunate to find joy in what I do.

Last year at this time, I was 35 pounds heavier than I am now. I am proud of the running I did, and frustrated by the knee injury that has stopped that progress. I am also proud that I haven't put that weight back on and that I have continued a path forward to reach the goal of wearing one of these in Mexico!

I have changed over the past 12 months. I think I have become more centered, more connected and better in touch with what I want in life and what I don't want. In other ways, I feel like I have fallen in my goals of writing that great novel and my continued goal of letting go of perfection. I still haven't mastered the art of distinction between which pieces of my life I should hold on to, and which pieces need to be released. I second guess myself and, at times, I make choices from a place of fear, versus a place of centeredness.

It's a process, right? At this point in my life, I am not heavy-hearted; I feel light-hearted and joyful. I see such potential in the upcoming year!

It's my birthday and I am looking forward to celebrating. Because beyond it all, I am deeply grateful for each day I am on this planet. Each life I touch and each heart that reaches out and touches mine, changes me. Each moment I am here, each moment I am alive is a profound gift I treasure. I'm continually reminded that even when I forget about the magic - the magic doesn't forget about me.




Shannon McArthur said...

What a lovely way to acknowledge and celebrate your birthday! I love the progress that you've made, and the nod you give to the concessions you've made. No, your life is not perfect. What the heck would THAT look like? I think you've found a bit of perfection in your attitude and in your willingness to wear one of "those" in Mexico - that you're going says a great deal of good about what you're accomplishing. Happy birthday, and thank you for giving us this lovely gift!

Mary Kate said...

Thank you, Shannon for reading. <3