Kali unfurls her tongue in her role as the ultimate deliverer called upon to salvage a situation that seems hopelessly out of control.
A little bit of backstory…
In August of 2014, on the heels of my dance with breast cancer, I made a solo sojourn to my home and roots, Northern California, to visit my nearest and dearest friends and family. I made a 1000-mile figure 8 loop that took me from the Bay Area to Calaveras County (where I lived for 13 years) to the Sierra Foothills and Tahoe, visiting every dear friend and family member I could find. It took me a month. That was my last trip to CA. I was long overdue for a visit. I had not seen my three sisters or two best women friends in two and a half years.
It was a short trip, and Apollo joined me for this one. I made plans to briefly visit my two besties and my mom and sisters. It was hectic and the visits were short but sweet. When someone asked me why I was making this trip, I thought for a moment and said, “I’m here to love the people I love!” I didn’t really grasp that wouldn’t be all sunshine and roses. Just a few days in, the dramas began to unfold.
Elephant in the room
I’m going to change the names to protect the innocent. I’m not looking to embarrass anyone or elevate myself in any way. Mostly, this story is about the power of love in all its forms and what I’m willing to do for those I care about. Hold space for intense meltdowns. Shift from mild-mannered visiting sister/friend into a wicked “tough love” paradigm-shifter. Call out the elephant in the room that’s left piles of poo everywhere. The elephant no one else is willing to see or talk about. I love elephants, don’t get me wrong… but those invisible, metaphoric space-holders call out my Kali, especially when they involve someone I love.
Not quite what we had in mind…
The first drama involved a couple, dear friends both of them, who were experiencing intense, painful challenges in their relationship. I started getting angry texts before we even arrived, and once we did arrive, both Apollo and I held a powerful space for this beautiful couple to dive deep and navigate the underworld. Things felt stable when we left, and we felt we had been a true contribution to them. But it definitely wasn’t what we had envisioned for a visit. Apollo and I left ever so grateful for the loving, solid, easeful relationship we have.
The next stop left me shocked and appalled. To see someone so dear to me several years into heavy drug and alcohol addiction and all of that showing on her face and in her nearly-wrecked life. Having not seen “Jennifer” in more than 2 years, I could see the heavy damage to her body and especially her face. It reminded me of some “before and after” pics I had seen once online of meth addicts whose faces had deteriorated beyond recognition. I was seeing a skull instead of a face. It scared me badly and my inner Kali began to rise.
Gathering the forces of good
I was reunited with Jennifer’s daughter “Angela,” who was not speaking to her mom because of the addictions and felt the loss deeply. She’s in her early 20’s. Since we were all going to be in the same room together, I invited Angela to write out her thoughts and feelings. Then I decided that some kind of intervention was in order. My time was short. I would be on a plane early the next morning. I invited all the others that we would be gathering with to write something to Jennifer as well. No one responded to my email. The elephant grew bigger. It was up to me and Angela. After avoiding Jennifer during the gathering and seeing how that impacted her, Angela finally decided to give her the 8-page handwritten letter. I had read it already. It was heart-wrenching. She wanted her mama back. They had grown up together and were best friends.
Kali roars to life
I decided this was my time to move. Jennifer’s façade was cracked. The hardened addict that refused to feel anything and masked all her pain with drugs and alcohol was feeling something. And Kali came roaring to the surface. I had been so supportive and loving in the past, not judging Jennifer for her drug use, just loving her. That wasn’t working. At all. I asked hard questions and made harsh observations. Just me and Jennifer, one on one. She wouldn’t look me in the eye until I demanded it. I pointed out the car “accident” she had recently had, totaling her truck (which wasn’t her fault, nothing was ever her fault). No such thing as accidents, Kali told her. Wake up call. WAKE UP before you lose EVERYTHING! Including your 15-year old daughter, who is cutting herself in her room. “Why do you suppose she is doing that?” asked Kali… “Perhaps because she has no mom and her home life is trashed?”
Good cop, bad cop
Angela and I naturally fell into roles of good cop and bad cop. Angela, crying for her mama back from her broken-heart space somehow reached through the hard shell of addiction, and Kali waltzed in for the kill. That necklace of skulls is not made of plastic, you know. Kali slashed the air with her knife and cut through the bullshit and excuses.
In the end, Jennifer told the gathered group that she would go into rehab. She nearly chickened out of that, but between Angela’s powerful request that she do so and Kali’s enforcement, it happened just before we all left the gathering. Now, we must all hope and pray for redemption for the one we love and almost lost.
Kali is considered one of the most compassionate of the Hindu deities because she provides liberation to her children. She and Shiva are the destroyers of unreality. The ego trembles in the presence of Kali, knowing that its demise is imminent. A person who is attached to their ego will not be receptive to Kali and she will appear in a fearsome form. A mature soul who engages in spiritual practice to remove the illusion of the ego sees Kali Ma as very sweet, affectionate, and overflowing with incomprehensible love for her children. [Adapted from http://www.goddess.ws/kali.html]
Hope and prayers
I love you, Jennifer. I pray for you every day. May the universe conspire to bring you everything you need to transform into the woman you were born to be. Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Auntie, and perhaps eventually, Grandmother.
Blessed be, Amrita