Hi friends –
It’s been many months since I have written to you. Thank you so much for all the love and prayers you sent me during my surgery and recovery in December and January. The support I felt, so widely and deeply, is impossible to name with words other than, thank you.
I have started many letters this year since, but nothing quite landed to send.
2022 has been a period of dissolving illusions and structures that no longer served me. Something about the process of surrendering my gallbladder, opened up an ability to surrender and release my grasp on so much else I had been fighting for. The process has been rich, generative, blissful, confusing, clear and deeply painful. Sometimes all at the same moment.
There will be a time in the not so distant future, I believe, that I will share more details of this season. But for now, uncharacteristically to earlier versions of myself – the process is feeling necessarily more internal, and held by a smaller container of other souls that love me and know me intimately.
I’d been needing some kind of ritual that gave me an external sign of this process. Two days ago, that ritual happened.
Twenty three years ago I got a tattoo with a dear friend.. Unlike every other tattoo I got before or after, this one had been on a whim. She had a symbol picked out that was said to represent “forgiveness.” I picked out on the car ride over that said it meant “to see with the eyes of love.”
But when they drew it on my wrist, it scared me to have an eye staring back at me the rest of my life*, so in haste and fear I looked at the sheet and saw another one that said it meant “keeping peace.” Sure, I like peace. (*side note that I’m pretty sure my next tattoo is going to be that eye I wasn’t ready to face half my life ago.)
The peace tattoo didn’t heal well and for a multitude of reasons, I never liked it. For years I wanted to cover it, but didn’t. Because well… keeping the peace was easier.
Then a couple weeks ago it, along with so much these days, became clear it was time.
I no longer care about keeping the peace at the expense of truth.
Instead I want to invite a full surrender to the cycles of life in whatever mysterious, messy form they take. And it hit me…
As a child my entire family’s favorite vegetables were mushrooms. I know, I know – mushrooms are fungi, not vegetables, but my father liked so few actual vegetables, he said they counted. I agree.
Through my life I have continued to love to eat already foraged and observe wild mushrooms (haven’t yet mastered or mustered the courage to hunt). They have been nourishing my body and soul. Teaching me about the death and rebirth process like nothing else in nature does. They show up where there is death and dying, create the most fertile, rich, efficient and often beautiful and vivid decaying process that readys the matter into building blocks to regrow new life.
Today is Good Friday, a day that in my rich lineage was a day of honoring death – and all that is lossed and mourned – wrapped up in the larger Easter story, where the hope of resurrection is contained within the process of death.
So today feels like the right moment to share this. The vividly beautiful, resilient and medicinal Turkey Tails (versacolor, polypore) that I suspect will be with me until my entire actual body does its own final decaying process. Hopefully, if green burial is an accessible thing when I die, in an actual mushroom burial suit. (Look it up, they are so cool!)
There is much, much more to share about the deep regenerative and transformative process I am in. And I know the time to share is coming. But for now, as I did on so many Good Fridays growing up, I will allow the details of this time to remain quietly held in this holy space of silence.
Thank you for all of your love and support over the years and even over this time, when I have been less in touch with external communities I’ve created. Your presence is part of the wide and strong web of support, much like the mycelium that every forest system is held together with, and that has been allowing me to navigate dark days with more ease.
Until then – wishing you so much room, and the profound gift that mushrooms offer us.
(from “Mushrooms Dymystified” by David Arora