Tuesday, August 16, 2016

He begins to feel away from me.

I've known this feeling before. I don't like it. Why is it happening so quickly this time? Is grief so familiar to me now that I don't even need much time to process? Or am I in denial?

His hands. I remember thickish .... like his feet. Hobbit feet, we called them. He could grow hobbit hair, as well. Not surprising that Tolkien was one of his favorite authors.

I vaguely remember the physical space of him as he came through the back sliding door. Usually grinning, and bearing gifts. Thoughtful, sweet gifts from his place of work, Costco. He loved seeing the new things that came into the store. He loved owning and giving the things that came into the store!

My exercise shoes are because of him. My heated blanket in winter. Our kitchen knives.

His first gifts? Nausea and stretch marks. The nausea faded with time. The stretch marks didn't.

I now touch my scarred skin reverently.

Please, help me remember. His hands, his legs, his arms. His smell. His hugs. His laughter.

(Oh, that boy loved cologne. Remember that day at Macy's? We went to pick out earrings for your girlfriend, but we couldn't help stopping at the perfume counter.)

I remember the snarky remark said with a smirk. But also, the serious softness of his eyes that took in so much. That tried to understand. That in the end ... left us lost for awhile.

I open the mp4 file on my desktop. The video begins. And I try to remember.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I will never be the same ...

Wednesday morning, July 27th, we learned that we had lost our oldest son to suicide.

The pain is unreal. The myriad thoughts and emotions swirl in my head as I examine the kaleidoscope that was his life. So many patterns, colors, shapes shifting across a landscape of 30 years. His was an amazing spirit.

There is longing ... to see him - his bright, playful eyes, which were also the windows to a heart more sensitive, stronger, and bigger than I ever realized - and to sense again the physical space of him. His pillow sits on our kitchen bench. I sometimes pick it up as I pass by and breathe in the lasting traces of his scent.

And as I think on the future, I feel - almost hear - his saying, "It's okay, Mom. Don't be afraid. Be your crazy, talented self. Don't wait. Use your gifts, they are already there. Let the world be enriched by you. It will be all alright. It will be amazing."









Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Well, while we are on a roll … a different way to view the New Year

Today, a guest post. From a man I tremendously admire. Everything he writes is spot on. (Did I mention I admire him tremendously?)

In my faith - I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - we partake of the sacrament in remembrance of our Savior every week. I know many Christian faiths have this practice. But no matter what faith you ascribe to, the principle of reflection and service can be put in place by anyone.

I was heartened to find this article because I am not the only one receiving such ideas during the sacrament. (I thought it was Heavenly Father's way of communicating with my busy brain - during the Sacrament He knows I am a more or less captive audience.) I know these ideas are gifts from God, and I'm so grateful to add to that understanding with the writing here.

Blessings to all of us as we strive to make the world a better place.

http://ldsmag.com/the-failure-of-new-years-resolutions-and-something-better/#.VKblOzeMVSA.facebook


(I'm not sure why the link is posting this way … cut and paste, folks?)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Before

Before.

When the roots were new.

When the roots were new, beginning to anchor themselves in the ground, making a foundation for growth.

Before. Before branches and leaves grew thick and wild, catching whatever wind came by, swaying and twisting with breezes, gusts, storms. When the beginnings of existence were just life.

Now the tree is overgrown, branches and leaves creating density.

Pruning is what is needed.

A friend and I were recently discussing New Year's Resolutions. I told her that I hated making resolutions as I associated resolutions with - something that is broken, not kept. She then related to me that the Latin root of resolve means to let go. Naturally, I looked that notion up before committing it to this blog post. Because heaven forbid I should get something so important wrong. A lot riding on that word.

"I find it very interesting that the Latin root for resolution, resolve, and solve is solvere, which means to loosen or let go. How odd … This suggests to me that in order to keep New Year’s resolutions—determined solutions to perceived problems—then perhaps the trick is to let go" Steve Lee
http://wilmingtonfavs.com/2013/01/02/perhaps-the-trick-is-to-let-go/#sthash.Sx3VTDUr.dpuf.

Perceived problems. Hmmm … still this notion of something being broken. Life - and perhaps myself - as something needing to be fixed. But these are just words. Like the word resolution itself, they will have whatever meaning I attach to them. Getting to the root of the word allowed for new meaning. Space. I could breathe with this.

So, the question arises: What do I wish to let go of in this New Year? This month? This week? Today.

One item is fear. I wish to let go of feeling afraid. Unafraid = Feeling confident. Trusting myself. Being myself.

Going after things that matter with a heart full of faith. Being cognizant of good, better, best. Let's go for better and best, shall we?

What am I afraid of, you may ask? It doesn't matter. Enough to know "it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good."

"Who doesn’t love the idea of starting fresh and looking forward? Resolutions are an opportunity to look ahead and let go of the past. The Latin root for resolution is resolvere, meaning to loosen, release and dissolve. Often there’s something we need to dissolve in order for something new to emerge … We can achieve our resolutions and goals by being connected to our intentions rather than driven by insecurities. A common example is the New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Your stated goal may be “lose 10 pounds.” Your intention could be to “feel more connected to my body.” Notice how the intention comes from a place of kindness rather than a place that may be based in needing approval or validation from something outside of yourself." Rachel Allyn

Kindness. I like that. But what if I don't wish to let go of parts of my past? What if I wish to return to my roots? To return to before.

Our first home had a lovely rose bush out back, against an east facing side wall. Ideal location for growth, if given enough water and nutrients. The bush produced large, multicolored blooms, perfect for cutting. So very beautiful, and free for the taking.

I am not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination. I can handle a hose, and that is about it. And it's all I care to do. But my dear rose bush required pruning. So, I got out our gardening book, filled with lovely photos and practical advice. (If I don't know something these days, I google, instead of looking up the answer in books. I am VERY good at googling. And darn proud of it. I can find you the answer to almost any question you might pose.)

I discovered that in order to prune my bush, I would need to cut the branches. Like, almost all of them. The goal was to get down to the original canes that grew flush with the base of the bush. Doing this allows for bigger blooms come the following spring.

OH, THE FEAR. I worried that pruning the roses would hurt them. How could my rose bush ever come back in all it's glory, with so much cut away? I was terrified I would make a mistake and ruin the bush for good. What to do? I was the only one who would be taking care of that bush. It was up to me. After careful study of the diagrams in our book, I tentatively picked up my tools and began hacking away.

Amazed. Even with all that cutting, it came back - and then some. The blooms were as large and beautiful as ever. New branches grew, with new buds. The rose bush flourished, providing flowers from May to October. I learned how to cut at just the right spot to allow for new growth. Pruning and cutting was an ongoing process, but I learned to see the form of the branches and where space was needed between them. I learned what to cut. I learned what to let go.

To let before guide it's growth.

Before.

Before fear, perfectionism, other voices, worry, too much responsibility, too much busyness, too many branches and leaves. When before existed in excitement, dreams, trust, possibilities, laughter. And an absolute belief - faith - in all of it.

Unafraid.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stages

I walk into the master bedroom of our new home and turn on the dresser lamp. The light casts a soft, comforting glow. I then close the blinds. I well know the effect the lamp light will have to the outside from the clerestory windows. I have set the stage, as it were, not only for any one passing by, but also for myself. I will leave the room for now, but there is some comfort in knowing it is ready for my return when bed time approaches. I'm just funny that way.

If any one were to see my pinterest boards, they would see the interplay of stillness and motion that captivate my mind and my senses. The time for motion this day is over; stillness reigns.

I think of the lake just a few blocks away. I can't see it at night, but I know it is there. I know of the hundred geese or more which land on the lake in the fall. One can hear their honking (to each other?) as they fly above in formation; they then alight onto the water with a small splash and settling of wings.

I know of the iron and wood bridges one can cross for a view. Or one can take the walkways under the bridges, water to one side, curved stonework on the other. For a moment I am transported, imagining the bridge walkways in Paris to be somewhat like this. Only in Paris one might be surrounded by soft city lights; here one is surrounded by lavender and various indigenous plants. (I never can remember their names. Memory often fails me these days.)

I like to think of the cool, dark pathways. I wish I could walk them more often.

Setting the stage of living: waking, usually falling back asleep for a bit, breakfast ad unloading the dishwasher, perhaps starting a load of laundry. Resting, watching a bit of TV (Royal Pains on Netflix at the moment), FB for variety and conversation. Perhaps a walk barefoot along the grass near the lake, then digging my toes into the sand along our little beach. Indian summer allows for such a pleasure at this time of year. But this short activity must be done towards the middle of the day.

Later, exercise to keep my EDS at bay for as long as possible. Usually a phone call from darling daughter. A light dinner.

TV with darling husband, or, if is not too late, a walk around the lake. My eventual goal is to make it all the way around.

Sunset. One day melds into another.

Maybe I am just getting older, and that is fine by me. I'll live life as it comes, no more running to and fro as I used to. I'll practice listening. I'll practice writing. I'll practice feeling. I'll practice loving. Some nights, and if my wrist strain ever heals - darn EDS - I'll practice dancing.

Everything will work out. The bedroom light continues casting it's spell.




Monday, July 14, 2014

Journeys, with heavy paraphrasing and quoting from Danielle La Porte.

The last year has been … hard.

First, a move. Then thee deaths, one quite tragic. The loss still stings. An expected surgery for a close relative, recovery, then an unexpected surgery and deep, bone penetrating infection. More recovery. Energy around me, and energy expended. Two children involved in two separate car accidents. Ongoing health issues for myself and my spouse.

Personal trials. Feeling swept along and swept under and coming up for air, just to be plunged deeper into vortexes I thought were over and done with. Will they ever be? I don't know. I don't ask myself that anymore.

I think what I need to ask myself is, "What now?" What will the next year look like, feel like, and how can I maintain a sense of myself in the midst of anything and everything? (I was going to say how can I maintain a sense of control, but I know that isn't realistic and isn't even what I want. No, what I want is more ME. Not sure what that looks like, just know it is what I need.)

At the heart of it, "I am tired of my version of being good." I am, in Danielle's words, "leaving the church of self improvement for the temple of me." It's just too easy to lose myself. I am really good at that. Heck, I am near PERFECT at it. Not too many things I can claim perfection in, but yes, feeling the need of not being good enough is one of them. Along with losing myself in the energy of others.

You see, my brain and my heart/spirit have this ongoing argument. My brain says, "Woman, you have messed up. Made some pretty big mistakes. You should have known better. Especially after what you went through as a child. YOU OF ALL PEOPLE should have known better." Then there is my heart spirit which says, "I believe in forgiveness. I believe in love. I am basically a positive person. Yes, pain has it's place, emotions are good - they teach us valuable lessons. But what about joy and deservedness and moving past one's mistakes?" I so believe in all of that, too.

I know I've been programmed since childhood - and I blame no one here, hey, life happens - for my seemingly opposing feelings. Maybe there is more gift in that opposition than I realize. Not fun to work through, and I hate how my mistakes have affected others, but, perhaps I'm taking on the problems of the world again here. A well known pattern. The lesson will continue until I GET IT?? Thanks, universe. Not quite feeling the love over here, but grateful anyway.

I have decided - NOT in the name of self improvement, but in being more me - to do a few exercises from La Porte's The Desire Map: Goals with Soul. So here are a few quotes from her blog as I contemplate my core desired feelings:

But spiritual passion can become punishing when it arises from the hollowness of our psyches rather than the fullness of our Souls.

I think we spend much of our lives dancing in the valley of striving and peace.

Striving from a sense of deficiency only fueled an obsession with self-improvement that kept me running in circles right ’round what I was looking for: the pulsating, nourishing place of my true nature, which is the doorway to fulfilling all my desires.


Woah.

And this, a list of lies easily ascribed to, no matter what our circumstances:
1. You were born not quite good enough.
2. Outside authority validates your worth.


I NEVER resonated with this phrase (snort): I would struggle in the space between mental discipline and emotional nourishment, the intellect and the spirit, for a long time. Often, I got stuck in my head and judged myself for the perpetual longing for True Love that resided in my heart. I tried to think my way through spontaneity.


Answers? Strong sense they are in me. Oh yes, they may take some digging, even a bit of research. But it won't come from a place of I am not enough or lemming to outside authority. This is not to say that sometimes I won't feel good enough - I am human, after all, and I'll embrace all human emotions - but I won't live there. It's also not to say that I won't listen to outside sources of information, but I'll filter the information through my core, not just my intellect. I won't let others define me. I won't focus on my deficits, but instead focus on what I AM. (Sounds like real rebel speak, eh?) Again Danielle resonates: When it comes down to it, I just want a sense of ease in my being, not an intellectual challenge.

I thought that learning to tolerate my foibles and desires was an achievement in self-compassion. But tolerance is not the same as acceptance. Tolerance keeps you on guard—you are, effectively, only managing degrees of agitation.

Woah again. And the same could be said for our relationships with others. Do we only tolerate them, or do we truly accept them? Being on guard is a tiring business.

Acceptance is the gesture of surrender that unleashes your real power to truly love—and keep on creating more love.

So as heavy as this post might seem - and I have no idea how Danielle climbed inside my mind and mapped out the maze so beautifully - I'm okay. Even grateful. I want a sophisticated devotion to life without sublimating my human wants—I want to lighten up.

I'm going to do some of her suggested work in exploring my core desired feelings. That might sound terribly easy to some folks. That's okay, too. I'm a big girl now and I can put on my big girl panties to figure out me. I feel a bit of a thrill at the prospect. Insanely, gloriously me. Because we all deserve that. (And one of the reasons I adore Mike Rowe - always himself!) Gotta love that. Oh, and the biceps don't hurt, either.







Thursday, December 19, 2013

As if!

"We do not heal the past by living there; we heal the past by living fully in the present." Marianne Williamson

"There are simply two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live." Dalai Lama (supposedly)

"The impeded stream is the one that sings." Wendell Berry

Okay, it's another quote day. But aren't these good ones? One would answer that depending on where a person is in life, I suppose. Well, I am where they are good for me.

I realized something this past week. I have been grieving my illness. Not 24/7, but close to it. I forgot about it for awhile in Aruba. No physical demands there, good weather, so the body and mind were happy to cooperate and just let me feel better. Not completely myself, but just ... better.

But much of the time, even if not externally, I wear my illness like a heavy cloak, and it can be smothering. I know it's there. I resent it. I wish things were different. I see the gifts that have come to me from having it, but I also see my limitations and how my life has changed as a result of it. And I wish things were different.

Yet, "the impeded stream is the one that sings."

So, what is my song? Well, what if, as Jack Canfield says, I acted 'as if?' As if I were okay with having limitations? As if I were okay with having the illness? As if I could still do what I wanted - within reason - finding ways, asking for help, refusing to play the victim or the martyr? What if I allowed myself to enjoy life despite my illness?

What if I just let go and refused to put on that internal cloak of sadness? What if I lived fully in the present, letting go of what used to be so the present me can sing?

What if I made today, and every day, the right day to love and live? What would that look and feel like?

To remember my heart and it's desires.

Grieving. Playing the martyr or victim. All part of codependence. Am I codependent with this disease? Possibly. Can I change that? Absolutely.

I close with one more quote, this one from Danielle La Porte. "The journey has to feel the way you want the destination to feel." Each day. Feeling, being, and then some doing. Grief, you have served a valuable purpose. Thank you for your lessons.