The Handless Maiden

I’m about to leave town…going back to the US for many reasons. The main reason is to spend time in my beautiful high-desert homeland in New Mexico with family. My father turns 85 and his amazing wife is throwing him the party of all parties. Every friend, every relative will be there. For me, it’s been a huge year. In the last six months I’ve gotten a divorce, moved house, produced / edited a book with Finch publishing (released in November, called ‘Stories of Belonging’), taken on sole directorship of Kindred (I used to run Kindred with my ex-husband Alok) and completely restrustructured the business. In fact, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my miscarriage (see my editorial) and, well, let’s just say I could really use the time to stop, rest, reflect, renew.


From one perspective, you could say life seems tough right now. But actually, I’ve never felt more clear, more certain and more centred. I feel as if I am emerging from 15 years of exile…a period of time where I learned some very tough lessons the only way worth learning–the hard way. If you have any grasp of the fairy tale The Handless Maiden, well, that’s me. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about the tale:

‘Though we hate to admit it, over and over again the poorest bargain of our lives is the one we make when we forfeit our deep knowing life for one that is far more frail; when we give up our teeth, our claws, our sense, our scent; when we surrender our wilder natures for a promise of something that seems rich but turns out hollow instead.’

Yep, that was me…toothless, clawless, far far away from my own sovereignty. The trick to the story is in realising that there is a time in our lives when we must make the bargain, when we must give ourselves away, in order to incite our own essential rite of passage–one that results in hard-won road-tested wisdom. So the last year, as hard as it was, has actually been my emergence from such a time, where the changes that have occurred have simply reflected my own becoming, my landing deep within myself with confidence and uncompromising clarity.

When I look around, I see many of my friends are going through a similar metamorphisis. Something seems to be happening. There is a quickening that is forging our becoming. For what, I do not know. But I can smell something on the wind, and I’m excited. I see Kindred going through the same thing…needing to shapeshift in order to work within a new paradigm. It is all very good news.

You can read more of Kelly’s writing at EQUUS, here.

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