Today the bookstore at the Tai Sophia Institute was open. I am going there for acupuncture–treatment for the persistent migraines that have plagued me. Tai Sophia is graduate school, a place where healers come to get advanced degrees. It is a beautiful place with a generous spirit.
The bookstore is a typical campus bookstore. There are good pens, pretty paper. There is a coffee bar with good Chai tea and excellent chocolate. There are the required textbooks for the students who study acupuncture and herbal medicine. There is white-out and post-its and notebooks.
And there are shelves and shelves of beautiful books: books on health and healing, fiction, poetry, philosophy. On days when the bookstore is open, I arrive for my appointment a half hour early. I plan to stay late. I come to wander through the shelves, to pick up books and read, to see what treasure I will find.
For weeks this book has been calling me. All Sickness is Home Sickness. Finally, today, I picked it up and held it in my hands. And as if my magic, a woman stood in front of me and said,
“Are you here for the open house? Are you here to study acupuncture?”
I look around. Yes, I didn’t even notice it but the bookstore is packed with people. Wearing name tags and looking serious–like healers-to-be should look. Yes, today was their open house.
“No”, I say. “I am a patient here.”
I pause for just a second and then as naturally as breathing I say,
“But I WANT to be a healer. I have always wanted to be a midwife. I am drawn to it in a way I don’t understand.”
I am babbling, a thousand miles a minute, saying things to a complete stranger I have barely whispered to my closest friends.
“I have a career I love. I am not changing paths anytime soon. No, I am not here for the open house but I maybe one day I should be. I think it is the next leg of my journey. Not now–but one day. Some day.”
I can’t stop myself now. The words are pouring out.
“Sometimes I think of myself as a midwife anyway. A midwife who is there to hold the space so creativity and joy can be born. You know, the crazy person who just comes and holds the space and makes tea and says ‘breathe’ so beautiful things can emerge. Maybe that is what I am meant for. I wonder. I wonder all the time.”
She smiles at me, a knowing look. Not patronizing. She doesn’t think I am crazy. She has walked my path. It as though she knows what is in my heart. She says to me,
“That book in your hand is a good guide book. It will lead you where you need to go. For those of us who are healers it is a touchstone. It is grounding. It is for you.”
I looked down at the title again. All Sickness is Homesickness. What could that possibly mean? I look up and say,
“Yes I think today I will buy it”
But she is gone.
Tonight, after Max fell asleep, I pulled it out. It is a thin book and so I think it will be a quick read. But instead, I read slowly. This is not a book to be rushed.
And then, I read this paragraph and I am stopped in my tracks. I read it again and again. It is as though the author is speaking straight to me. It is as though these words were written for me alone. I can’t stop reading them. Even now, as I write emails, pay bills and fiddle on my guitar, this book lays in my lap.
“Throughout my entire life I have only ever wanted to love and to live from that love. It is love which is my constancy in a day–like a golden thread stitching through time and showing itself amidst the fabric of all the daily goings-on. I see that love weaves together all things, that there is nothing of life that is not part of the warp and woof, part of the stitching of love’s handiwork. I say this, not as a belief, but more like a midwife present to the miracle and wonder of life, ready to receive the new promise, inchoate gift revealed–human being–word made flesh. It is, in fact, for me at the moment of birth, when one human being emerges from another that I see most vividly the possibility that our lives are for one another. The very cry, the proclamation “I am” resounds and is held in the listening of the rest of the human family. At that moment one birth is all birth, one possibility all possibilities, one beginning all beginnings. We are here for life and we are here for one another, that is, to forward life and forward one another.”
-Dianne M Connelly
I want so desperately in this post to react to this paragraph but I cannot yet. So instead I will write it down verbatim. I will just let it be–speak for itself. Speak for me. Speak for the magic that happens when you babble to complete strangers in bookstores.