Sunday, November 2, 2014

Deep Grain of Love

Oh, my gosh, but it's been a year! 

Most notably, it was a year filled with Dad. Sitting with him for hours in his decline. Accompanying him to the edge of death and loving him to that far shore. Receiving his box of ashes, scooping some out. Standing watch as a TSA agent tested him for explosives before we boarded the plane. Honoring him with a large family crab feast he would have loved. Looking on as he was placed into the rich Maryland soil, reunited at last with our mother, the love of his life who preceded him in death by 18 years.

As all of this was happening, life continued on. An array of work challenges stretched me beyond my comfort zone time and again, culminating in significant changes in the way I conduct my practice. And to top it all off, I just turned 59. Yikes!

In his elegant poem, The Faces of Braga, David Whyte offers an apt metaphor for grappling with life's challenges. After eloquently describing ancient carvings above a door to a monastery shrine room, he urges us to be like that wood, allowing “the invisible carver's hands” to sculpt us and “bring the deep grain of love to the surface.”

A noble goal, but tricky in the execution. This past year, I was often willing wood in the carver's hands. Sometimes, though, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the chisel. But as the intensity winds down now, I know myself deeply changed. As I begin my 60th year on the planet, I trust more, control less. I am lighter, with a more immediate sense of that deep grain of love that's surfacing in so many places, including my own small life.

Often profound inner change calls for an external marker of some sort. One has appeared for me. My given name, Loanne, is a blending of my parents' names, Lloyd and MaryAnne. With them now gone, a new name has arrived.

Leia began as a spoken nickname, one that immediately resonated. It was not until I explored various spellings that I discovered that the letter combination I simply liked the look of~~Leia~~is Hawaiian, meaning “child of heaven.” Quite fitting. No longer child of earthly Lloyd and MaryAnne, I am freed now to be a child of the expanse they now inhabit. Spiritual traditions teach that that realm permeates this world of ours, vivifying each of us and the lives we live. It is this dimension I've learned to rely on more fully through the events of the past year. 

Life is not easy. We are challenged again and again, confronted with situations not of our liking. But what choice do we have? To accept and welcome the growth, or to resist. Accepting seems infinitely wiser. And more fruitful. In welcoming the carver's chisel, our true shape rises more easily from the wood, while all that is unneeded falls away. Our essence develops texture and depth. And the rest…just flecks of wood scattering upon the breeze.

Love, love and more love! May it rise to the surface, in ourselves and the lives we live. 

Leia Marie

Here's a link to David Whyte's exceptional poem, The Faces of Braga. Truly a gem!

More on Leia…It seems it can have a variety of mildly different pronunciations. My guess is it oughta be pronounced Lay~ee~ah, with a diphthongy thing happenin' with all those vowels. However, spoken quickly and without a lilt as English speakers simply must do, it comes out more like Lay~ah or Lee~ah, with the latter being my preference. (For any Star Wars folks out there, it is pronounced several ways in the various films; click here for relevant minutia. And just so's ya'll know, that fictional princess with the odd coif played no part in my name change!) 

And for those of you who know me personally and have had occasion to call me Loanne many times, I'm sensitive to the challenge imposed by changing names in mid~stream. So take your time and let the name gradually work its way into your psyche. It really is a fine change. See if you can feel the difference by repeating both names a few times, and I'm sure you'll come around in no time! But however long it takes, I do feel like Leia right now and have, perhaps, all along.


monica wood said...

One of my favorite quotes, author forgotten: "The remedy for love is to love more." thank you Loanne for another gem.

Anonymous said...

Sweet words and deep thoughts to go with them. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. (BTW - your Post a Comment sections still says Loanne Marie)

Leia Marie said...

Thank you both for your comments. Great quote, Monica. Seems it's a paraphrase of a Thoreau quote, "There is no remedy for love but to love more." I was not aware of it, so thanks for passing it on.

And as far as the name change getting into all the spaces it needs to be…It's been a busy morning here in technoville! I just think I have it everywhere and a new one shows up or, my favorite, one I changed changes itself back again! Ah, the Guardian At The Gate takes many forms!

Anonymous said...

Dear Leia,

Welcome to what you may have always known is your name and to what is open to you in your future. What a beautiful gift your writing is.

Leia Marie said...

You know, I half expect folks to roll their eyes about this whole name change thing, like, "C'mon, get over yerself, girl!", and while I suspect that is the reaction of some, most people are wonderfully supportive. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I personally like the new name. If you are comfortable with it, I say go for it! Having just gone to a funeral for a 91 year young man, and seeing all his children, my friends, I say love is grand.

Leia Marie said...

Love IS grand, isn't it? As is your encouragement to "go for it!" Stepping out like this is a bit of a stretch, so thank you so much!

Leia Marie said...

Just a quick note…Someone just shared they thought my name change signaled a feeling of disconnection from my parents. That has not been my experience. I feel that they are liberated from their earthly personalities to a large extent, that the Lloyd and MaryAnne I knew are truly no longer 'of this world' and so I was free to let the name they gave me go as well. So, no disrespect or disconnection intended. Just a new name for a new chapter in my life. said...

Leia, what a beautiful name! As you have tangled with me through my name change, so I will travel with you. With great love and respect

Leia Marie said...

Thanks, Cat! As you know, it is a HUGE deal when we take the risk of stepping out from behind a name that simply does not fit, when we are willing to stand up and say, "This is who I am," no matter the reaction of others. Thanks for understanding!

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Leia Marie