saguaro and lotus (or my fire friend)
book in hand
pages frayed and inked
energy eager to satisfy
an intellect that can’t stop questioning
a heart that can’t stop yearning
and a soul that can’t stop seeking
answers, a path, meaning,
passion that comes easily, but not lightly
smolders then flares up hot
flinging fire raindrops
dignity, equity, justice,
child warrior to child champion
blast furnace forged
then hush, remembering love
soft, remembering kindness
breath, remembering goodness
morning breaks a new time,
a woman’s time,
a woman with roots
and memories indigenous,
a woman with arms cast wide
to gather a rainbow and wrap it round
the dreams of tomorrow,
a woman with eyes and heart
waiting the smallest flower
knowing that in the shadow of the rock
a quiet, a strength,
of petal pushing aside granite
and forever blooming spring
by Ellen Hohenstein
This is a poem my beautiful friend Ellen wrote for me as a birthday present last year. On the eve of my 39th birthday, I got a tattoo honoring the poem, and all that she has meant in my life. The first two tattoos I got were a reaction, a decision made on a whim. The one I share with my daughter and this one are a manifestation of my soul.
Ellen is a woman who came into my life like water that seeps into the pores of a rock, freezes and breaks it open, that’s what she did to [for] my heart. My heart had hardened from the outside. Hurt too many times, it had learned to protect itself, to resist others before others would reject me. There were only three people I was willing to be vulnerable around: my daughter, my grandmother, and my husband. Everyone else was a potential perpetrator.
Ellen drew love into my life the way the roots of a saguaro draw water to its petals. She saw in me what I was too hurt to see. Gradually, through her light, I began to see in me what she saw and my petals softened, opened to vulnerability, and I received everything I deserved. It was her all-encompassing compassion that taught me to step out of the shadows of my own fears. I had learned to see through the eyes of those who criticized me, and I had forgotten the forgiving essence of compassion. The way she listens without judgement or reproach allowed me to experience the embrace of unconditional acceptance. I had experienced this from those closest to me, but she taught me to take the risk of loving outside of my safe zone.
From the moment I met her, I loved her. Thousands of years ago, our souls agreed to come together in this lifetime, and forge a friendship that has yet to reveal the impact it has made on the world, though I know the impact it has made in me. The universe has a way of giving us what we need. Two years ago the universe decided it was time to give my grandmother back to the ocean, and then I understood the gift of Ellen in my life. There are some people you come across and the connections you make with them are brief, like a drop of rain in the life cycle of a tree. And there are others, who like the soil that anchors the roots of a tree, embrace you for the rest of your life.
Ellen and I are soul-friends – we have a connection that transcends age, culture, and experience. There is a calling, a language that exists in our soul, that if we choose to listen, will reveal the most profound secrets of who we are meant to become. Ellen was one of the secrets my soul revealed.
“A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other’s individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on this deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials. While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension… seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence. This means recognizing that we both have an important part to play in helping each other become more fully who we are. A soul connection not only inspires us to expand, but also forces us to confront whatever stands in the way of that expansion.”