I met some trees a few weeks ago – full of fruit – peaches, pears, and apples…surrounding my sister’s new home with their protective branches, scraggly demeanor, and rough trunks. My sister gifted me with a brown paper bag full of unripe pears, with specific instructions about ripening. I carefully tended the rock hard fruit, not quite believing they would ever be ready to use. Although it took three weeks, today they were ready, and I decided to make a pear tart. Mixing the dough, peeling and slicing the pears, watching the juices bubble in the oven, I started to notice the thoughts and feelings and sensations going through me. This move to a new home came at the end of an unprecedented eight months of my sister, my partner, and I living together, while my sister figured out her next life steps.
As I added lemon juice and butter and cinnamon, the images of this living together time flowed through me. I reflected on the myriad conversations my sister, partner, and I had about change, transitions, and belief systems. I thought about the ways in which we examined what we thought was possible. The topics we approached, like money, spirituality, family patterns, and sharing space, weren’t easy at times, but, in the end, supported us to shed masks, risk vulnerability, and experience a deeper connection.
Smelling the sweet/tart smell of the baking pears, I started to think about the word, incorporation. I thought about how much I’ve learned about trauma and how it affects our bodies, how negative experiences live on in our cells, and how much tenderness and patience we need to transform these experiences into healing and wisdom. I noticed that with all the learning about trauma, I don’t always think about how positive experiences also impact our bodies. How we carry new learnings within us as well. That our cells process the ways in which we shed old habits and try out new ones. That we need time, space, and the same tenderness and patience to incorporate non-traumatic events too.
In the dictionary, the archaic form of incorporate is to embody. Our bodies take in and process all we experience, and it can be healing to experience this process by using our physical form. Mixing, measuring, rolling, washing the dishes, slicing, pouring, carrying, all reminding me, with each step, that these pears are now part of my sister’s life and, even at a distance, part of mine as well. As I put the peels into the compost bucket, I imagined the skins transforming into dirt, which will eventually be delivered to a community garden, somewhere in Boston. Our ideas, efforts, and energy of the past nine months now transformed into nutrition for other life forms – worms joining the metamorphosis that will feed the roots and leaves of vegetables in the future.
Although much of my work is with suffering beings, this rhythm of life and these connections to the more than human world are catching my attention. Tasting the warm tart, experiencing that sour lemon/brown sugar combination of aliveness I thank the tree, the bees, the sun, the rain, and the dirt. I feel the gratitude of my relationship with my sister and my partner and all the patterns we have examined and rerouted. I imagine my body digesting and incorporating nutrients, and excreting what is not needed. I feel my soul being fed as well so that I can be fully in the world, bringing this awareness of possibility and love into my every step. Holding it all – the suffering and the joy – that is my intention. I want to feel deep inside the connection to change – hard, unyielding pear to juicy life-giving moment.