For six months I’ve felt like I was falling apart. Like pieces of my identity were dropping to the floor and I was simply too spent to pick them up and fit them back into place. It was almost as if I was a medieval knight coming home after a long war dropping armor as she rode, a greave here, a hauberk there, my metaphoric path becoming littered with bits and pieces of who I have been, leaving me standing in a clearing, naked, cold, and bemused.
So why didn’t I use what I know of self-care and resiliency – and that’s a LOT – to stop this seeming collapse? Why didn’t my practices and strategies snap into place so I could pull out or pull up or pull over or pull it together?
A few hours ago, I couldn’t have answered that question. I was still pondering it, with a smattering of shame and guilt stirred into the mix. “(I’ve been a mentor, dammit. I know this stuff! I’ve taught this!”)
Then….there was a deep, liquid blue. Yes, I do mean the color blue. (Stick with me. It will make sense in a minute or two.)
A little context; I’ve been an aromatherapist for 25+ years. Essential oils are some of my most loved well being allies. Over the years, I’ve introduced many people to their fragrant support, including my mother. And, yes, they are some of the allies to whom I usually turn, but hadn’t.
My mother asked me to refill the aromatherapy face oil I created for her. To help my mom, I would have my hands and nose full of essential oils for the minutes it took to recreate the blend. As I was adding one of the essential oils – Matricaria chamomilla – also known as German, or Blue Chamomile (Ta-da! Blue…) I started thinking about it’s rich, deep color and how that color comes to be.
Chamomile flowers are white with a yellow center. Their stems are green. There is nothing visibly blue about them. But, when you distill them – subject them to high temperature and pressure via steam – they release their essence. A glorious essential oil that is indigo blue in color.
Chamomile flowers cut away from their mother plant and subjected to intense circumstances produce something unexpected. Something rich and powerful. A velvet midnight sky color coupled with a warm honey, apple, deep forest, slightly wild-yet-comforting scent and an exceptional capacity for supporting peaceful well being.
Despite having taken a great deal of trouble and energy to sprout, grow, and blossom, the plant is stripped of it’s identity as a chamomile flower, subjected to a process that further distills it and in response becomes unexpectedly magical.
That’s what has been happening to me. And that’s why the usual practices didn’t apply. Yes, I took time and energy and care to grow into the woman I’ve been for nearly a decade. But, like the chamomile flower, I’d reached the peak of my bloom. So, the Universe harvested me and began applying lots of heat and pressure. The usual responses were meant for the context of me being a growing plant, not for the new context of being distilled.
I’m being distilled. Refined into something surprising. Perhaps magical. Certainly something rich with power and exceptional capacities.
The process is difficult. Downright terrifying at times. Stripped from my known context + pressure = a whole lot of unknown and uncomfortable. But now that I understand what’s happening, surrendering to the rendering is easier.
So to answer the question that is the title of this essay, yes, I am falling apart. And, it’s OK.