Down at the creek it is so cold. Not cold enough to ice the creek over, as I saw happen one winter a few years ago. But cold enough that I wrap my scarf around my neck three times so that I can still walk slowly and see the also slow signs of spring that are, nevertheless, emerging: buds the size of seed pearls on the snowberries, Arrowhead leaves emerging from the freeze-dried winter soil and above me, the tips of the Alder branches dead decorated with the tiniest beginnings of catkins, fringes on all the twigs.
So fucking slow.
But it slows me, which is partly why I come. Though I need it less lately... I have entered into some state of patience with myself that I haven’t known before. I am treating myself as if I am beloved, with some consistency. Yesterday I was journaling and I started to write “I should have...” and then stopped there and wrote instead “Arg! Don’t talk to my beloved that way!“
Who was I saying that to?
My inner critic, the one I have called Edith for about 10 years. That was a stroke of genius, naming her… Not a stroke I claim as my own, though it has served me well and I have passed it on many times.. It was offered to me by a coach friend, Michele Lisenbury Christensen (who is now a relationship and sex coach!! Check her out.)
Clarissa Pinkola Estés talks about the inner critic in her version of Bluebeard. She calls it “the natural predator.” She says that there is “within the psyche naturally an innate contra naturum aspect” which is “against development, against harmony, and against the wild. It is a derisive and murderous antagonist that is born into us, and even with the best parental nurture, the intruder’s sole assignment is to attempt to turn all crossroads into closed roads.”
She also says “In folklore, mythos, and dreams, the natural predator almost always has a predator or stalker of itself as well. It is the battle between these two that finally brings about a change or a balance.”
Now, I have, as you know, a bone to pick with the debasing of the word “predator” to mean a destructive human instead of an animal that is a sign and keeper of a complex and rich ecosystem. But, putting that aside for now, I feel this. I feel this balance rising within myself: My animal’s lust for life force vs the critic’s small-ifying and constrictive powers.
So I will give my animal credit for this new patience with myself, for this new fierceness with which I defend the beloved which is me, for the way I am willing to match the pace of my growing life to the emerging buds of spring: Slow.. With faith that it is inexorable.