Treasures beneath the surface: finding buried beauty in our souls.

So “Homeschool Day” at the La Brea Tar Pits conveniently fell on the same day as our weekly Nature Day. We’ve been meaning to go for months, and all signs pointed to this being the perfect day to finally make the trek up. We load up in the adventuremobile,  I pull up the directions and saw that it was a one hour and thirty-freakin-seven minute drive up there. I almost bailed. But I put on my mental rally cap, and made it out of the driveway. On the (97-minute, 45-mile) trip up there, we talked about what the museum might be about. And then we talked about how we would navigate the day if I had in fact left my wallet at home…we decided that I would bum parking money from my homeschool sisters who carry their minds with them more often than I do, and allowed myself to rest into gratitude for those sisters. Because let’s face it. After all the rallying and driving I had already done, turning around to go home was simply not gonna happen. (Spoiler alert, I had my wallet!)

We arrive after navigating all the freeways and surface streets and all the questions I can’t answer about tar and museums and bathrooms and snacks and if our friends are already there or behind us (see: questions I can’t answer) and find that the parking lot is full, and we get to park at nearby LACMA. We park, and this is the moment I find I do have my wallet and we all dance the happy jig and make our way towards the museum.

And for the next three hours, we learned about a whole world that lived beneath the IMG_7907surface of the still wild and harrowing Los Angeles streets. Wooly mammoths, saber tooth cats, dire wolves, ancestral condors, all trapped in tar pits and preserved beneath the surface since the Ice Age. The Ice Age! That’s like, 20,000 years ago! There are active tar pits bubbling all over the preserved land, even with one fenced off active excavation site. But there’s also just high-vis construction cones littering the yard, where tar is rising up from the earth due to some disturbance. An earthquake, a shift in energy, a bit of tar ready to bubble up and see the light of day.

And as I was laying on my mat this morning, heart open, asking Grace what I need to learn today, I saw the parallel between my own life and these tar pits. In November, I flew across the country to take an Enneagram class with one of my dearest friends. I remember wondering if I was past the “ahas” of my life, because it would just be baby steps from here. Little ways of growing and learning and living into the person I want to be. And then the Universe shared with me through a soul-cracking-open experience in December, that I was very much still able to have some massive breakthroughs. Radical ways that I can show up in this life, with intention and boldness and love. That December day was both excruciating and peaceful, emptied me completely and filled me back up, I cried tears full of despair and hope. I held it all, released it all, and I physically felt like my body was breaking. That my sternum was cracking as my heart and soul were exploding into something totally new. It was the earthquake that brought the wooly mammoth to the surface.

There are ways that I show up in relationships today that were previously a struggle. My voice is coming back, in love and authenticity. I get to speak my needs, my wants, showing up without agenda and just basking in how Love is being returned to me the grandest of ways.

There are ways that I show up for myself today that were previously a struggle. I claim my time, I honor what I know to be best for me. I fill my cup so that I can have something to pour from. It’s so cliche, and every mama gets advice to fill her own cup first … but I didn’t understand the beauty of it until I claimed it. Without guilt, without apology, and with a whole lot of listening to and yielding to Grace.

So here’s to tar pits and earthquakes and disturbances that allow the wooly mammoths in our souls to arise. Here’s to uncovering a world beneath the surface of our lives. Root way the F down, maybe a million years down; rise way the F up.

 

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