Sarah La Rosa

Gather the Bones

Sarah La Rosa
Gather the Bones
La Loba sings over the bones she has gathered. To sing means to use the soul-voice. It means to say on the breath the truth of one’s power and one’s need, to breathe soul over the thing that is ailing or in need of restoration...That is singing over the bones.
— Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I joined a book circle not long ago, picking up my worn copy of “Women Who Run With the Wolves." Week One examined the introduction and Chapter One.

I recently found myself in a mild state of depression; listless, fretful, overly sensitive, frequently ill.
I could hear my body screaming at me, but unsure of its yearning, continued going about my frantic schedule: early morning meditation, work, family, bills, late to bed... and the cycle beginning again the next morning.

Trying to fit in time to be the loving, attentive wife, mother, daughter, sister- forget it.
There just hasn't been enough of me to go around.
Struggling with guilt and resentment toward anyone who inadvertently pulled on my attentions was the first signal that something inside me was seriously out of balance.

So, I've returned to La Loba~ the 2 million year-old woman who sings the bones to life again.

She came to me in the bathtub this past week- in my case, as all sacred visitations seem to prefer, the bathtub appears to be the perfect incubator for revelation and the spiritual stripping away of grime I've collected over the hours and days since my last immersion in those waters.

I was ill, fighting the latest of an inconvenient series of colds that had me aching and fevered. Candles burning, incense wafting through the humid air, I struggled to focus on my current read, only to put it down in frustration as my bleary eyes began to cross.

In the moments that followed, I noticed the exquisite sensation of the hot water caressing me everywhere at once, the involuntary lifting of my body as my lungs filled with air, then the sinking as they emptied again. I could see the yellow glow through the back of my closed lids, even sense the flickering.

When was the last time I decided to just be in the tub?
For the life of me, I could not remember.
Gather the bones.

This got me started on a whole series of questions.
Where else in my life do I elaborate?
When is it to excess? When is it avoidance?

I started getting really honest with myself in those bath waters.
La Loba, Gatherer of the Bones, brought my attention to addictions- to Distraction.
These bothersome addictions that keep me from doing the true work of soul.
The distractions that keep my attention focused anywhere, on anyone, other than myself.

I have become an expert at the art of self-avoidance.
Instead of sitting quietly with myself, I find myriad compulsions that effectively stall the quiet needed for the soul voice to be heard.

La Loba reminds me that these distractions keep the bones scattered, dry and thirsting for life.

So, I committed, right there in the bathtub, to begin gathering the scattered bones of my life.

For me, this would begin by implementing the practice of noticing, without judgment.

Where and when do I find myself reaching for a distraction?
Where and when and how does it happen?
How does it make me feel to distract myself from the uncomfortable question, observation,

Gather the bones.

I began considering the passions of my 10- and 12-year old self.
What were those things that lit me up?
When did those joys grow dim?
When was that precise moment the fire started losing all that glorious oxygen and faded to a barely-there ember?

To this day, I cannot tell.
It was a gradual death, so slow and so consistent that the body died and the wind blew the bones to the far corners of my earth without me even feeling it.

Gather the bones.

This bone gathering work will be the work of my life.
I'm summoned to an invisible journey, marching into a familiar-feeling desert
in search of far-flung bones.

But I hear a sweet singing, and I know I am meant for the mending.