When I read back on my original post about Alchemy and what this year in focus was going to look like, once again I’m amazed at the purity of the theme as it has played out and also simultaneously, how I could never have predicted how this would turn out. Here I am typing, pausing to catch my breath. In the beginning I situated my experience of Alchemy as the proto-science, about transmutation, transformation of one thing into another and of dedication of self to a great work, in my case to *be* the great work. That’s still absolutely true, but how it looks is vastly different to how I imagined.
So if I imagined one thing, way back in February, what does Alchemy look like now?
It looks like profound uncertainty. And grief. Change. The self I started the year as is not the self I am halfway through. I have started my career as a midwife, I’m halfway through my graduate program, halfway through that crucial first year where I come to understand how does my own personal practice look, what do I do and value and how do I make it come together in the increasingly time pressured experience of hospital midwifery. This year I’ve also experienced a major breakup in my live in poly relationship which was both unexpected and deeply painful. I’m growing and changing and processing, grieving all at once. And there is also joy, profound joy too.
I love my graduate program, the hospital I’m working for has been sincerely supportive and I am finding my way as a midwife. What is most true for me right now is that: I want to give the best care I can and be the best colleague I can. Nothing is perfect, things remain undone, and not everything is done to the standard I would want were time not a pressure. And yet if the thing I fret most over is giving the best care I can and being the best colleague I can be, then I am reassured that I’m working in the right direction. I care and each day it matters to me, each family matters to me. My colleagues matter to me.
I can also see fledgling pathways forwards in how I may want to extend my practice, learn more, grow more, develop programs that could make a difference. These are ideas at present, but they have gravitas. I’m not ignoring them and I’m considering them from a ‘what if?’ perspective in that I assume that what I am thinking of is actually possible to create and implement. Obviously that’s long term, but the seeds are there. That’s reassuring in and of itself because this job I studied so hard to qualify for matters to me more than ever. I’m so passionate about it and I didn’t understand before now what it was like to be motivated so strongly by some kind of calling. Midwifery is my calling and is the most practical means in which I can express, generate, and act with love.
While my path in midwifery is clearer than ever, my personal path is not. I am uncertain and I am dealing with grief in the loss of one of my most important relationships. Additionally I am sitting with and processing all the fears I have as a result of what I’ve been through, they’re powerful and will take time to dissipate. I have to incorporate the additional cynicism that I’m experiencing into who I am and how I go forward, I can’t just pretend it’s not there. Alchemy is about experimentation and being open to the unexpected. It is also about sitting with uncertainty and taking on that not all will be revealed, explained or understood at the end. That part is hardest for me right now.
However, I have determination and bravery. I have the love of my circle around me. And I’ll continue to sit with the lessons that Alchemy brings as part of my year long enquiry. I have a feeling that I’ll barely recognise myself by the time I get to the end of the year. Certainly, there’s so much already that feels changed inside. But it’s still too raw to really write about at present.
For now, in this update I can say that I chose the right pathway in Midwifery and that I want to follow that wherever it takes me. Personally everything is particularly uncertain as I undertake the most acute healing following my breakup. Also my remaining live in partner, together we’re now working out what we have together. We were never a two and never conceived of being a tow, and now that we are, we’re approaching it intentionally. We’ll create something lasting and special – we already have the love, commitment and trust. Now to explore the shape and possibilities together. That’s still a little bittersweet, but the joy and whimsy in the possibilities is absolutely present.
My original post wasn’t all that specific about this theme, and I feel this one follows that same pattern. Things are no clearer in specifics, and yet there’s been so much growth and change. I will never be the person I was from the beginning of the year, but I’m already appreciating and a little in awe of the person I’m becoming. As always, I’ll do the best I can, give the best of myself I can.