Sunday, January 8, 2012

To Peel is to Heal

To Peel is to Heal

 “Life is like an onion:
you peel it off one layer at a time,
and sometimes you weep”
~Carl Sandburg
I love to cook and garden. In fact, I grow lots of the food that I cook for my family. It is all part of my holistic and sustainable approach to life. One of the constants in my garden, my kitchen and my healing practice is the Onion. So today, I share some thoughts with you about Onions. 
Even now, in the dead of winter, there is green in my garden, the green tops of onions making ready for the coming Spring. I love when the garden is blanketed in snow and yet the green onions and garlic tops are peeking out of the snow... hope springs eternal and these bits of green are my reminder that that which appears to be sleeping is indeed working underground. 
My kitchen pantry is never without onions. Cooks know that for most dishes, the addition of onion harmonizes, improves and enhances the flavors. I have been known to say that if I have onions in the house, I can make something out of nothing... it is indeed a magic ingredient. “Banish the onion from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.” -Elizabeth Robbins Pennell

In the kitchen at this time of year, the onions from last summer's harvest, like their relatives out in the garden, are thinking about growth as well. Peel back the papery layers and slice the onion in half and you will find a bit of green deep in the center. Hope Springs Eternal, while these onions are destined to be eaten, they are ever ready to begin the growth process again.
Peeling the onion is a common metaphor for healing. Edgar Cayce taught that "we are like onions and each of our layers looks very much like the one before. But as we peel the onion, we get closer and closer to the center: to the heart of the matter, the core themes that are pervasive in our lives."
from the New World Encyclopedia: "The expression 'layers of the onion' is used to describe a situation in which it is possible to go deeper and deeper revealing seemingly similar layers until a central core is reached."
Lately, I've been thinking about this metaphor as I work with clients and as I work through my own healing process. Imagine the papery outer layers of the onion.. they peel off easily  to reveal more layers. Each time we get through the next layer, we learn more about ourselves and become stronger. And we think, Ahhhhh, I've done it, gotten though, smooth sailing now! But since this process is like an onion, you pull off one layer, and there is yet another layer! Our work is to get to the innermost core, the deepest layer. But we must work our way thorough the outer layers first. We peel back one layer only to find a juicier one underneath. In my kitchen, I am reminded that occasionally there is a nasty yucky layer between two perfectly edible layers of onion and once I wash that messy part off, the rest of the onion is good to use.  
We must remember that each layer brings us closer to the center. And in that center, is the promise of growth, the potential for a new life. We must remember that, from the onion's perspective, those layers and layers are simply compost and fertilizer for its next stage of growth. It is the same for our healing process, all of those layers of life experiences and healing work are nourishment for the BE-ing that we are BE-coming.
the onion peels
the tears spill
the pond fills
the lotus unfolds
~ Reisha

No comments:

Post a Comment