The Queen of Shovels

After 1000 broken vows

We will rise again. I promise.

Surrendering to the mystery

of knowing or not knowing.

We finally understand

that we will not do

everything we say we will.

This confession should feel like a relief.

We have transcended getting it right

when we finally get it that we won’t.

We can finally let ourselves off of our own meat hooks

when we finally know that integrity

comes and goes. And we just have to keep trying.

That perfection is illusively granted

and highly over-rated. (give it up)

When we realize one fine day

that in the night our truths lined up single file

and went out for a midnight spree

and didn’t come home and we wake up


Then it is time to begin again.

To invent oneself anew.

To forgive ourselves and others

and to take the armor of the heart OFF.

And Breathe. Better that the heart

be broken 1000 times

then never open all.

And when those who are called to serve

break one thousand pencil tips on 1000 future plans,

finally realize we will not be able to save the world.

We wake up and smell the future.

After all the promises and all the dreams broken

open by love and effort and fervent passion –

we have many tools to choose from. We do!

We have perspective. Experience. Humility

and longing. Oh that relentless longing.

And, thankfully, we have many, many shovels.

And keep waking up to what needs to be done.

But just imagine what it would be like if the hopeless dreamers

stopped dreaming of peace? The world might stop spinning.

It isn’t that I thought I would save the world…

My job is to wipe the fevered brows of our creative musings

not demolish the hospitals that house our sicknesses,

though I do dream of revolution for breakfast.

Don’t you know – we each who move in light

must also walk the valley of tears to wake up

to brightness again? It is ok to touch the strings

of disillusionment and pluck them until a pure

note comes out even if your fingers bleed.

And this is my truth: That I have no idea what is going on.

Nor do I claim to. I only know that we must create and keep

on creating.

But that whatever it is that is happening in our world,

I do know what Rumi knows:

This is not a caravan of despair.

And it doesn’t matter if we have broken our vow 100o times.

Before the mending with red thread and Mary’s needle

– first the breaking.

Breaking open.

I am not the queen of joy or positive thinking

or secrets revealed. If I am queen of anything

it is the queen of shovels. Shovels for digging

through and excavating the lost parts of women’s

herstory, my own herstory. We who run with

wolves must also dig for bones.

The last dig revealed my paintbrush was too dry.

Covered in dust and cobwebs I cried at the sight of it’s

stiffened bristles. Fingered the crusted read paint

at shaft’s edge. Delight in a sticky sparkle of glitter,

a shining fragment from happier times.

My paintbrush is covered in tears now

thankfully, and finally those dry bristles are wet

with the salt of me and the sea,

and ready to mark

a blank canvas with a new life.

A new vow.

Vow 1001 – I have been waiting for you.

I don’t know how it all works

or how it will all work out.

I know love rules supreme and that I am

ruled by the house of the heart.

I know Jesus told me to love others as

He first loved me but I don’t know what that

means today. Though other days I feel it.

I know kisses are medicine

I know the ocean heals.

I know my mother loves me.

Open the doors open the windows

open the chimney and sweep out the cupboards of shame-filled crumbs.

Shake the rugs and empty the bottoms of the closets.

Dust off the cowgirl boots and put them at the foot of the altar

where the Icon of the Black Madonna glows in our sister’s circle.

Ah then,

then write it all down or paint it all out

or sing it all out loud or dance it into the sky.

Give your intention as a gift to your creative muse.

But whatever you do – don’t keep it locked inside.

The queen of shovels has sent you an e-shovel,

the post attached reads:

Just dig.

So in the final moment of this musing

dogged and drafted with sorrow and hope.

I beseech the Black Madonna

Mother of dark roots –

and red earth and bumble bees

mother of bright blooms and withered branches

help me to dig. Show us where to find the treasures

and how to excavate the glistening shards.
Signed in stardust and soil,
Shiloh Sophia