Have you been told to dust yourself off and keep going when you knew that you were hurt in a deeper way than others realized?
You knew that this certain fall made more of an impact than just any.
Trees experience deaths that are marked by knobby places where there was once a limb. So do we.
Most of our culture is fast paced. We are expected to keep going and keep winning. So short is the attentiveness of those around us. Everyone is in the chess game of life, concentrating on their own piece.
There isn’t often a lot of care given to those who lost something that they counted on having. We often just say something like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or, “You’ll get it next time.”
Children and adults identify themselves based on winning or failing at things. As children we are told things like, “So you can’t hit a baseball. You can choose a different sport.” As adults we might be told, “You aren’t as acclimated in reaching people. Maybe you should get someone to teach your program for you.”
When these perceived “failures” happen, a death happens inside. These deaths leave subconscious marks. These marks are where there was going to be a life, but it stopped. These deaths often cause us to reconfigure who we are. And, they are often the inside, deciding factors on whether to do certain things or not.
In Central and Southern Mexican Toltec wisdom, these are considered to be death markings on our soul and they are called “assemblage points.”
Assemblage points are like the knobs on trees. We think our identity is made by these knobs or markings. In Toltec wisdom, they say that this is us identifying ourselves through our “little soul.” Our soul is so much larger than we remember. We forget our “big soul” throughout our lives as we identify more with the personality that we made.
We go around avoiding things, being afraid of being hurt, not living our lives to the fullest. We live with the restriction knobs that say different things about us by societal definition. We see people doing amazing things and we yet we do not think we can do such amazing things ourselves. This is because we are identifying ourselves by the knobs that we see. And, we feel that others see these knobs on us too.
The knobs of restriction are deaths that we never honored. We never got a chance to grieve these deaths. For the most part, we have simply gotten up and walked a different path. Where we thought would be life broke off unexpectedly. We went on feeling like we failed. Most of these deaths are hidden away forever, never to be communicated to a soul. Most of us do not even mention these deaths to ourselves. We’d rather forget where we failed and concentrate on what we’re good at now as a natural means to survival.
In the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D talks about these deaths. She calls them “descansos,” also known from the old Mexican tradition of placing crosses where deaths occurred. In this tradition, deaths are grieved and honored as a place where there was life, but an unexpected death occurred forcing a different way to be chosen. How many descansos do you remember from your life? There have been many for me. These deaths occur throughout our lifetime.
And, the truth is: We have not failed! Instead, we have been invited on a journey. As a matter of fact, we were specifically chosen for a mission to gather information for all of living kind!
We were headed one way through our limb that was growing. We were concentrating on its growth, reaching toward the sun the way new limbs do. A heavy wind storm came, and our limb broke off and fell.
We were so concentrated on what was supposed to be that we forgot that we were the whole tree. This is a lesson in why not to be attached to any specific outcome, but moreover the real damaging factor is in identifying ourselves through the knob, the perceived failure, from where our limb broke off. This is the way most of us unconsciously view our lives, through the knobs where our limbs broke.
We have the opportunity to be rid of these false images of failure in ourselves.
To wipe out false identities, we must love ourselves unconditionally, “failures” and all. We must consciously practice compassionate, unconditional love. Then, we will remember. The love, which is awareness without judgment, opens things. It loosens the way, letting light in so that we see where the deaths occurred. With no purpose in sticking around, the energy that is the assemblage mark, or the knob on the soul, can be released. Then, we can see our soul for what it is: bright, precious, new, old, powerful, you name it!
We can make it a regular healing practice to search our soul for those things that we perceive as failures. They will be marked as the places where we turned away and walked a different path than was expected, or an alteration from what we had hoped. When we find them, we can have a ceremony honoring them, honoring ourselves for our work, love, and energy that we invested in them.
We can even mark the places where our deaths occurred with a cross or other symbol to represent the descansos just as seen on the sides of the roads throughout Mexico, New Mexico, and other places where the old tradition is still practiced. Then, we will see more clearly that we are the whole tree, not just the limb.
We each have our stories to tell. We learn by sharing accounts of each other’s fallen limbs. Through the compassion, and unconditional love for all, we can show the way to living as the magnificent, perfect, and powerful soul that we all really are once again.
Author: Leahanne Woods Smith
Editor: Travis May