All the synchronicities. For some context, I have been working with my own ancestral history and a grandmother of mine who was born 100 years before me. At the age of 17, she rode on horseback (on a horse named “Tormentor”) from Pennsylvania to Texas as one of the first Indo-Europeans to settle in Texas. And the only woman (we know of) as part of the Texas “First 300” to journal about her experience. She wrote: “Texas was a heaven for men and dogs, but hell for women and oxen.” She lost children—a babe at 3 months and a son at the age of 27. They traveled with a herd of cattle to help them find their way. She came to me in a dream, expressing the grief she experienced in losing her children. At the end of a ritual designed to honor her life and losses, I went to her gravesite and received a very clear message—you don’t have to carry my weight any longer. The pain of abandonment; the unexpressed grief; the fear of being left home alone with her children and intruders pacing around her cabin; all the pain our family inflicted on others, seated in good intentions; all the told and untold violence; etc. She told me to set her torment down, that I was free to live my life. And that I must live my life in service to feeling its fulness and making the world more beautiful; that I must tend to and carry and continue to cultivate and harmonize my voice with hers. She wants to care for and carry me in the same way I have carried her through ritual and remembrance. She no longer needs my body to grieve, but she now needs it to feel all the joy she longed to, but couldn’t, when she was alive. I feel that this particular chapter reflects such a similar message. It feels like Katherine has needed your body to bear witness and grieve her losses, and it sounds like, through your remembering, that she is no longer drowning in grief. And that she now needs your body to dance and breath beastly breaths, like the Mother cow; ready to feel and bring forward the light that needs rescuing.

As for your questions, re: 1: as someone who has not been called to become a mother in the literal sense, I feel that my journey has been to find the eternal mother, Nature, and She has been teaching me how to become a mother to Her. So I really liked presencing that mothering can be felt and expressed in both literal and non-literal ways. Katherine acknowledges that she has been learning how to mother her own gifts of expression as a way of keeping life churning and alive. I recently heard the term the “Placental Soul” as a way of describing that life force that calls to our heart and feeds our gifts.

Re 2: As for her dream, that little boy could also be symbolic of her own soul desire. He could represent her love for writing or some other very particular, beautiful, easy-to-hide, small thing of her heart’s longing that has been with her since she was a child. A desire that she may have had to keep secret or protect and now wants to more deliberately show and nurture.

Re 3: Yes, interesting move between expression through words and movement. Dancing offers another channel of poetic expression when the limitations of words are reached. Perhaps she got tired of talking about The Sacred and wanted to live it in a more personal, non verbal manner.

Re 4: I wonder if her decrease in writing is connected to learning the art of dance. Perhaps the conversation is moving in a different direction, where she is finding her voice through her limbs, torso and feet. Perhaps she feels more expressive through movement and posturing rather than writing. What is your sense of Katherine’s relational arch with the natural world?

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Dear Schuyler ,

Thank you for this story, this space and the invitation to share reflections. This was my favorite chapter so far. I felt the themes of contemplating motherhood alongside career and a spiritual path so poignant. As you said, the cruelty that you have to choose. The way aspects of our society don’t include children and then also dismiss the mothers.

My heart sunk reading , “you are dying from grief.” Acknowledging the seeking soul. And the yearning to know oneself, the courage to seek it.

I also loved in your comment, the bringing more emphasis to Katherine’s love of nature. This feels very alive and a great way to feel her brilliance and insight through metaphors of nature’s teachings as well.

Loving you on this journey. And grateful to be a sacred witness!

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