“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”~ Maya Angelou
Don’t rush to get out of the mush sweethearts, it is intentional, it is purposeful, it is divinely timed. No external force tells the caterpillar to hurry up and finish being mush so the butterfly can reveal her beauty – it follows it’s own rhythms and cycle – yes heavily influenced by the external elements and season, but in perfect harmony, not denying it’s own rhythm.
Most of us know a caterpillar becomes a butterfly but we don’t talk so much about that process in the middle – we see the cocoon on the outside where not much is happening, but inside what’s going on? Inside the cocoon and the chrysalis there is a huge amount of activity as the caterpillar is literally becoming a whole new creature. Something that is only possible when the old structure of the caterpillar is broken down and turned into something new.
It’s kind of a gruesome process as the caterpillar literally digests itself. It becomes liquid, or MUSH. It enters the liminal – where the old has been destroyed and the new is yet to be revealed.
Starting to sound familiar to anyone? If you’re in the mush or you’ve been there you know exactly what I’m talking about. The mush in my experience is that journey into the underworld, that place of deep letting go – where there is a process of something dying and falling away – before the new can be revealed. And although we may share snippets of our journey into the darkness with loved ones, we often don’t share the depths of the darkness we journey in. And therefore we don’t always honour and acknowledge the courage and determination it takes to journey through the darkest corners of our psyche when mush is the stage of the cycle we’re in.
The female body experiences a mini mush every month – a moment where the body knows it needs to dissolve and let go. But even this mini mush is denied by the great majority of our collective. A collective that has called menstruation the curse, rags, that time of the month and treated this key part of the feminine cycle of creativity as an annoying little “Visitor of the Month’. It seems logical then that there would be fear and ignorance of the mush. An ignorance that in my opinion stems from a deeply wounded collective conscious that doesn’t value the moments in between. That doesn’t value the subtle aspects of life and evolution. That doesn’t recognise the beauty and potency of the feminine or the liminal – only that which can be seen, touched, explained and embraced as real.
The topic of being in the mush is so pertinent right now as it feels like collectively that’s where we are. As we grieve the loss of life as we know it, the loss of many lives from illness but also the loss of our everyday activities and liberties. I never imagined I would live through a time where the whole world would journey together into the mush – but here we are. And from where I sit it’s heartbreaking to feel the struggle and suffering but I see it also as the most incredible opportunity for humanity to let die the old systems and control dramas we’ve been imprisoned in, to step out of the ways we’ve given our power away and to allow our fullest most expressed selves to birth.
The butterfly to me is the budding awakening of ourselves as consciousness, of knowing ourselves to be so inextricably interconnected and linked to each other and this planet. So I see the mush as a beautiful, brave, potent place to be. But if we’ve received the message when we were young, and throughout our adult life that the only thing that mattered is when you’re achieving, doing, completing, succeeding – then the little voices inside and out of your head right now may be telling you you ‘should’ be doing more, you should be using this moment to launch yourself into success. To create something big and beautiful and inspiring. And this completely undermines and undervalues the in between that we’re in right now.
In a beautiful article about Traversing the Underworld in this time of pandemic the author writes. ‘…deeply encoded in our psyches, we may have the instructions we need for how to be human in the in-between space we’re living in. To find them, we have to know how to reach deeply into our own roots and wrap our fingers around the stories in our souls. We have to learn to speak the language of the mythopoetic; a grammar of symbols and intention, archetypes and intuition and instant knowing, dreams and secrets and great dramas played out over aeons beneath the surface of things.”
And this is where I think it gets tricky – our culture doesn’t really encourage this kind of self exploration or soul enquiry. It isn’t asking us to look inside and remember our greater connection to the whole – it’s asking us to follow the rules, do as we’re told and it’s encouraging fear and separation rather than a deeper considering of the emergent potentials (a whole other rant that needs it’s own blog!).
In Western Australia we’ve been incredibly blessed to have not experienced the immense loss of life and devastation that many other countries have and we’re moving towards a softening of social distancing rules. But to me it feels like we’ve missed half of the story and that we’re yet to fully acknowledge or feel the depth of the loss that has been experienced here and around the globe. To me it feels like we’re a little too quick to want to get out of the mush – yes I get it human nature propels us towards pleasure and away from pain – but when you start to bring consciousness into the game, there’s an invitation to let truth guide not our aversion to pain or thirst for pleasure. And yes I also get that we’re not here to only live in the inner world and self enquiry – that social engagement and economy are a part of the manifest world and they’re hugely important. But to me it becomes a question of balance – with a society so out of balance – geared towards the doing and the outward movement – what if we actually need to do less, and Be more. What if time being mush is what we need in order to restore balance to a system that is deeply broken.
In many ways this is why I teach Yin Yoga in such a ‘Yin’ (receptive, soft, gentle, still, slow) way. I get that it is out of balance because it is so much Yin with so little Yang….but when we live our lives every day in a way that really only values and encourages the movement and the doing – we need these little pockets to remember the beauty and wisdom and absolute necessity of receptivity, listening and slowness.
I don’t expect everyone to understand the value of the mush but I’m writing this for those of you who (probably the same those of you who are called to Yin) who have felt the call to mush, the pull to go deep inside and allow old stories and patterns to fall away, to create the space to hear the deeper knowing of the soul. Please keep trusting your inner knowing. Don’t let anything but your own relationship to soul and source guide you. Don’t allow the fear mongering from inside or out force you to take a single step other than the one that your heart is guiding you in.
Take this time to sit, be still, move with compassion, connect with the heart, connect with your mind – no not the mind that is telling you to do more, be more, hurry up, get there, the other mind – the higher mind – that is focussed and wise and connected to spirit. The one who knows from a place of deep intuition rather than a primal instinct that has been shaped by a past heavily influenced by fear.
And know the time spent in the mush for everyone is going to be different. We all have a nervous system with similar qualities but these delicate systems all have had their own journeys. So we’re not all going to be at the same point at the same time. Keep in mind with anything you read or hear – what each person shares may be the truth for them but the real question is – Is it true for you? For where you are right now in this moment. Take opinions as pointers but digest it and test it within your own deeper knowing.
We have schools to train us how to do pretty much anything you can imagine on this planet. But do we have schools to help us learn how to become the mush that is needed before the butterfly emerges? No, because no-one can know the exact path or process for you. Only you can enter the cocoon – you alone. But when you enter with the knowing you are part of the greater whole, that there is a golden thread of life, of love, of light that weaves it’s way through every part of your being there can be a great sense of trust that the mush is potent and essential. Remember this trust and create the space within yourself for your own knowing to emerge.
I’ve been beautifully ‘unproductive’ in the external world during these weeks, but I can tell you my inner world received orders for the most monumental of renovations….and like all good renovations it has started with an absolute complete demolition of the old. Old relationships, old stories and old control dramas that needed to be released. They’re currently all in the MUSH. I’m not entirely sure when I’ll be leaving the mush, but I’m not lost here, I’m intentionally here in the liminal – in the space of the in between. I’m mindful, I’m present, I’m connecting to love, to light, to the wisdom of my soul. I’m receiving all I need to rebuild a sense of vitality in a body and mind that had been deprived of the love and nurturing it needed. And I’m listening to all of the little synchronicities life provides to help me find my way to where I need to be.
And I know this too has been the case for many of you. Especially those who are highly sensitive, empathic, intuitive and who sense the subtleties of life. If you’re tired after a long journey of trying, don’t rush to leave the mush because others aren’t in the same space you are.
On this Full Moon in Taurus/Scorpio don’t deny the beauty and essential nature of the mud, the mush. But equally do remember the light. Allow the light of the full moon to shine her loving presence into all the dark corners of your psyche that are ready to be revealed. Remember neither dark nor light can exist without the other.
And neither the caterpillar or the butterfly would exist without the mush.
Blessed Mushy Full Moon to you <3
Buttefly Lion Art by: Marcel van Luit