And Then There Was Joy
Oh, the poignant sweetness...
"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. "— Louise Erdrich
My life has been, in the last few weeks, unexpectedly sundered by betrayal and heartbreak. I have been trying my best to still show up for everything, including for you all in this space, with as much integrity as I possibly can. Trying to distribute life rafts while also drowning is the image the last few weeks call to mind.
This last weekend I decided I needed to get out of the water for a bit.
If you are a more recent subscriber to the newsletter, allow me to point you back to an interview I did in the very beginning with The Pied Piper of Joy, The Divine Mistress of Sacred Silliness, Angelina Blasich. Angelina is a dear friend of mine and a deep blessing in my life.
Angelina was throwing a Covid-safe, outdoor, Purposefully Ridiculous Freedom Festival to celebrate the launch of her clothing line, Art You Gorgeous, at a local boutique. Masks on, we gathered in the sunshine— with tutus to borrow, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk, music to dance to, and invited everyone who passed through the immediate vicinity to join us and play.
Dozens of people— from old grey-haired folks to college kids, to little boys in Superman capes— spent three hours playing, laughing, connecting, risking.
I was reminded that even in the midst of grief, disappointment, and heartbreak we can choose to step into joy; that if we pursue lives of radical authenticity, service, and integrity then we will be worshipping at the altar of the most poignant celebratory love. Our hearts become so vast that all the beautiful, lurid, tragic, tender, awe-inspiring, ridiculous, playful, heartbreaking realities of this human life we’re living together can be contained within them.
Resonant with Erdrich’s quote, the Five of Cups emerged in a tarot reading recently for me. Here is the version that appears in my deck, The Alchemical Tarot.
The keyword for this image is disappointment; the wrenching sadness that follows things being irretrievably broken. And yet, witness the birds rising even as the honey’s sweetness pours out onto the ground.
If we allow ourselves to be present for the wholeness of the experience, then we invite in along with the disappointment the most poignant sweetness. All the things still unbroken. The rising flight of new possibilities.
I’m aware that I can often be a little too serious and earnest for my own good, friends. I tend to think and write a tremendous amount about the work involved in pursuing a life of integrity. But allow me to pause all of that for a moment and offer this assurance: if you really show up for life in all the fullness of yourself, if you commit to sharing all of the epic pageantry of this life with other people, if you risk and play with abandon, you will draw the most incredible souls into your orbit.
And together, my dear ones, oh, how you will dance!
It’s time for another large leap together, my friends. As of the publishing of today’s newsletter, we have reached 233 SUBSCRIBERS. Can you help me reach 250 before month-end? Please share this, or any other previous newsletter that really struck you, with someone specific in your life who you think would benefit. Blanket postings to your social media channels also help, but personal invitations can be powerful gifts.
As always, like (click the heart!), comment, subscribe below if you haven’t yet. You cannot imagine the way you all lift my heart. Thank you. XO, Asha