Blazes and Cairns: Week of June 5, 2017


If you needed to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, who would you call to take you?

There was a time in the not-so-distant past where I didn’t have an answer to that question. I was single, living alone, and my community ties were young and new.

The fact that I didn’t know who I would call left me feeling sad, lonely, and a little afraid.

We’re often taught that our biological family members are the ones to fill these roles. That we’re stuck with family. That blood is more important than any other kind of relationship.

It makes sense on one level: many of us are raised in some kind of nuclear family unit. As tiny humans, we actually do rely on our family members to fulfill our basic physical and emotional needs.

But for many of us, holding onto this model as we get older doesn’t make sense. For many of us, our physical and emotional needs weren’t and aren’t actually met by our family members and continuing to pretend as if they are is harmful to all involved.

It’s like staying in a bad dating relationship out of a sense of obligation.

No, thanks.

The idea of chosen family is a real and present thing for many (most) queer people I know. One of the many reasons I am grateful for having a queer identity and perspective in the world is because I have made room for the notion of queer family. And my life is significantly better for it.

How awesome is it that I get to choose the people in my life with whom I have the closest relationships? With whom I feel seen and loved and supported? Pretty fucking awesome.

For many people, the notion of biological family as the central support system works, and for many, many others, it does not.

For many queer and/or trans folks, biological family is not an option: many of us have been disowned, kicked out, or have chosen to disconnect ourselves for a variety of reasons. Often for reasons of safety, self-respect, and survival.

And, as is the case with myself and many queer-identified people in my life: we are actively trying to break the relational patterns we learned in our families, passed down through generations. We are trying to move through the world in a different way.

And that challenging work is fueled by a massive dose of intention and awareness.

Last week I sent out an email to my queer fam to ask for support around a specific situation currently happening in my life; responses started coming in immediately and were beyond supportive. I felt the bedrock of my family beneath me, holding me up.

This week, the 10 of Roots encourages us to recognize our elaborate and deep root system. To feel gratitude for those who are holding us up.

We may be reeling a little from the tumultuous season of May–a time of deep transformation and letting go. We may be tempted to close in around our tender hearts in this time of uncertainty.

Much like when I wasn’t sure who I would call in an emergency, it’s easy to focus on the things and people that aren’t in our lives. It’s easy to see the things we have left behind and feel afraid when we don’t yet know where we’re headed.

The Roots suit is associated with the element of earth: those things that are tangible and grounded and stable in our lives. It references the things we have built and are building, and the material things we need for survival.

The number 10 signifies the culmination of something, the end of a journey. Although our work is never done, use the energy this week to look around and feel gratitude for a job well done–for the work we have put in creating a solid foundation and root system in our lives.

It’s true that building anything takes persistence and work. Just like roots take time to grow and expand, reaching ever deeper into the earth.

Sending that email last week to my queer fam felt hard. It felt vulnerable, and there was a part of me that feared that it wouldn’t be received well–that I would not be received well.

But I took a risk and trusted that my vulnerability would carry me through. And it absolutely did.

The 10 of Roots also reminds us to acknowledge our lineage and larger connections, to find comfort in the ways we have survived.

For me, this means both honoring the gifts that have been passed onto me through my DNA and family history and to release those things and patterns of relating that do not serve me.

It means working to consciously move through the world differently than what I was taught in my family. For me, that work is to move past my own shame and to allow myself to be seen. To ask for help. To be cared for. To take up space. To give generously but also be able to receive. To lean into the fear of rejection. To talk about difficult things when they come up. To be connected to a larger network. To expand into my glorious self.

To trust that all of those things are the key ingredients to roots digging deep into the earth. To being held up and supported.

It means looking around me and seeing this big, complex and beautiful network of queer family in my life and having deep gratitude for its current presence. And also recognizing and honoring the ways queer and other marginalized communities have created their own complex and beautiful networks as a means of survival throughout history.

Use the energy this week to practice gratitude. To look around and see those who are rooted firmly around us, near us, connected to us beneath the ground.

Practicing gratitude in a system that profits off of us believing there is not enough to go around is a radical act. It can be so much easier to focus on the things that are not there. The things that we wish were there. The things that we’ve been striving for.

This week we are given the opportunity to note all of the ways we feel rooted, to be held up by them. We are given the chance to let go and trust that we don’t have to hold ourselves so tightly to remain upright.

Questions for reflection as you move through this week:

  • Who and what are you grateful for?
  • Who are the people in your life that hold you up?
  • In what ways do your honor your lineage and also let go of the patterns of relating that don’t serve you?

May you give thanks for the solid people in your life.
May you allow yourself to be held up by them.
May you remember that you are always growing.

With much gratitude always,
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Embodiment is radical. Experiencing is radical.
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Your information stays with me.

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