"One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star"
- Friedrich Nietzsche
I thought Autumn would last longer in Albuquerque, but the golden leaves of the cottonwoods have finally turned dull and most of the other trees were bare. In the mornings, geese can be heard overhead as they fly South for the winter. The blending of honking and batting wings make a burbling and murmuring noise that sounds peculiar. On Thanksgiving morning, our back gardens and prayer labrinth were lightly covered with snow and mysteriously, St. Francis's wooden head lay several feet away from his body on the white ground.
There are a few things that I have been occupying myself with here in New Mexico.
Though I work at the Center assisting with community events, a 9-day internship program, women's spirituality, and solidarity delegations with women across the border, I am only working part-time. I spend a fair amount of time mulling in my room, but I have made some effort to get out of the house by volunteering at the community art center and taking a few art classes.
I am also continuing where I left off when I was thirteen by joining an intermediate Irish Dancing course.
I showed up for the beginner's class first, which is made up entirely of kindergartners. This will not do, I thought, but I managed to swallow my pride for the intermediate course whose participant's range from six to sixteen years old. Actually there is one sixteen year old, and the other students are actually around six, seven, or eight.
One little girl in particular stared at me the entire class. We were dancing next to each other and whenever we paused for the teacher's instructions she turned to face me and just stared. At first I thought, maybe she wants to ask me to her birthday party? Occasionally, she yanked at the silly bands on her wrists to indicate her favorite ones. In the middle of the class she asked me how long I had been taking lessons for. I was slightly offended by this question. What was she trying to say? That I wasn't as good of a dancer as she was? Well, little miss, for your information I was taking classes before you were born.
I put on my babysitter guise and spoke slowly while nodding and smiling to make sure she understood,"Oh, I used to take classes a long time ago, and now I am taking them again. How long have you been taking lessons?"
"A long time," she said matter-of-factly and then turned to face the teacher again.
How long could that possibly be? I wanted to challenge her, "One or two years?" However, her mother sat in the corner watching the class with a gray face. Who knows what other sports or activities this girl is involved in? For all I knew, after this class she would be thrown into a silver mini van and dragged to jazz, soccer, tennis or a violin lesson she has been taking since she was two and a half. I decided to let it go.
At the end of almost every class she gets on her hind legs and hops around the floor like a frog. Often, other girls join in some kind of sporadic display pent-up emotion.
It is in these moments that I wonder what I am doing with my life.
While most of my friends are pursuing Graduate Studies or Careers in their field, I am piddling around in the wilderness trying to figure out who I am and what it is I really believe in. I'm traveling some and trying new things, but growth has been slow and I hardly feel like I am making progress.
While I'm working through my own doubts and darkness it feels fitting to finally be entering into the season of lighting candles and bringing our own unique gifts to the table. I have not arrived, yet something of goodness and grace is in the process of arriving. And maybe, at the most unlikely times and in the most unlikely places something can be born, begun, incarnated.