Monday, December 16, 2013

A Death in the Family and an Emotional Hangover...

I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of a text message on my phone.  Groggy and without my glasses, I picked it up and checked to see who it was from.  It was fuzzy but I could see that the message was from my Dad.  I had just gotten a new phone number and sent it to him the day before, he was letting me know that he got my new number and that his Dad had passed away earlier that morning.  I sat there in shock, "No, he can't be dead.  No."

My grandfather had Alzheimer's and, according to my Dad, he hadn't eaten or drank anything in 6 weeks.  We knew it was coming as my sister and I had just had a conversation about it a month or so ago.  We talked about how important him and my grandma and my aunt were to us growing up, about how time had gone by and we lost touch, about wanting them to know how we felt before we got that phone call.  And now it was too late.

Still in a daze I went upstairs and outside, trying to let the news sink in.  The tears started to roll down my face and I sobbed for the loss of this man who was such an important part of my childhood.  I do believe that birthing back into spirit is a beautiful process because you are home and free of all the human constraints.  He was no longer suffering and I know that my Uncle Roddy who died at 16 years young, and my sister Carrie, who died at 8 years young, were there to greet him.  I wasn't so much sad that he had died as I was sad because I would miss him.  I was also sad because I had lost touch and hadn't seen him in 10 years.  The blanket of Regret washed over me as I wished I had told him how much he meant to me.

Childhood was not a good time for me.  I lived in a chaotic house full of lack, anger, violence, among other things.  It is what it is.  But when we would go to my grandparents house and/or my aunt's house, we felt safe, we felt wanted.  There was a sense of freedom at those houses for us, not freedom to do whatever we wanted to do but freedom to just be the kids we were.  Freedom to laugh as much and as loudly as we wanted, freedom to ask for seconds, freedom to hang out with the adults as the whole family would sit around the large kitchen table after dinner and talk and drink coffee.  They always made it a point to call and ask for us to visit around the holidays.  They loved us and we knew it.  I loved and still love them deeply, but do they know it.

In his passing I was reminded of the importance of telling people how you feel, before it's too late.  While I know this and I've even re-posted things on Facebook that talk about it, I failed to actually do it.   As I mentioned, my sister and I had just talked about it, and I still failed to act on it.  I know that he knows now, I just wish I would have told him while he was still here.  But I don't wish to stay in that place of regret and, as the day went on and the tears fell, I came to realize that I chose to be inspired by it.  I choose to honor his memory and his passing by working toward telling the people in my life who have had a profound impact on me, how very much I appreciate them.  It's important.  You never know how much time you or anyone else has.

At the end of the day and after many many tears, I read a post about someone having a bad day due to my grandfather's passing.  It made me realize that I did not have a bad day.  I had an emotionally draining day but it wasn't at all bad.  I loved and was loved by this amazing man who made my childhood a little easier to bear and who was now back in his true form of spirit and no longer suffering, how was that bad?  But what I realized was that I see people who have lost loved ones use their passing as an excuse not to let joy in, as an excuse not to live their lives.  I refuse to use the passing of my grandpa Frank when I was pregnant, my sister who died too young at 8 years old, my Grampa Wahl who just passed, or anyone else who might go in the future, as an excuse not to live my life.  Yes I'm sad, yes I will miss them, and yes it hurts.  But does it truly honor someones memory to use them as an excuse not to go on with life?  When they look on from the realm of Spirit will they feel happy and honored that you are being dragged through life by their memory instead of fully living it?  I don't think so.  If anything I would rather find a way to be inspired by their lives and their passings.

I woke up Sunday morning with an icky feeling head and a headache.  Emotions ran high on Saturday and a lot of emotional energy was released resulting in, what I call, an Emotional Hangover.  In spite of that I felt a sense of peace about his passing, about the roller coaster of emotions that had visited me, and of ways I hope to be inspired by his transition.  There's still the funeral which, if I can go, will be very emotional as I will be seeing family I have not seen in many years and will be visiting the house where memories of him are and he is not.  I can already feel the emotion on its way.

Goodbye Grampa Wahl, may you rest in peace and know that you helped to give my childhood some happy, safe, and joyous memories.  Thank you for teaching me how to tie flies, for making me laugh as you popped out your dentures and made funny faces.  I'll miss you "ole dog," and I'll love you always.

May you be blessed with love and light,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Inspired by November "Super Soul Sunday" episodes...

"evolve, transform, grow"
I had never heard of Mark Nepo before I watched the two "Super Soul Sunday" episodes that he was on.  He is, as Oprah described him, "a gentle poet," and a cancer survivor.  He has a very gentle energy and speaking voice yet, the impact of his words is quite powerful, at some points sending chills up and down my legs as my energy and Soul were pointing to the truths in what he spoke.  He expressed spiritual beliefs and thoughts in such a beautifully poetic way, I only hope to be able to express myself as well.  Here are a few of his quotes that I had to stop and write down during the two episodes:
"Whatever opens us is never as important as what it opens."
"To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken."
"We are broken open or we willfully shed."
"Every single being has n amazing unfathomable gift that only meeting life head on will reveal."
"You can't bypass the human journey, it's the cocoon that releases the Soul." 
After watching the episodes I started thinking about pain.  They (Oprah and Mark Nepo) talked about going through things, through pain.  It reminded my of something I say, "The only way 'out' is through the door marked 'in.'"  The only way to get out of whatever it is you are feeling is to go into it, inside of yourself, to heal it.  I was so inspired by these episodes that I wrote up a sort of intention, I guess you'd call it, for walking through pain, or any other emotion that's uncomfortable, or maybe just getting through any challenge in general.

So here it is:

I choose to walk through the pain, through the loss, through the disappointment.  I choose to go in their doors and walk through them.  I choose to see the beauty in the pain because, if I merely remain open to it, one day, my eyes will clear to see it.  I choose to walk through it all, one step at a time.  Some steps will indeed be graceful, while others will be anything but.  Some steps will lead to stumbling and falling face first in the mud.  I will see the beauty in those steps as well, for only while my face is on the ground can I see the treasure that is poking it's head up, ever so slightly.  In my stumble is where I will see, then dig out, that treasure.  Some steps will be me pulling myself back up, brushing myself off and sitting with the treasure that I have uncovered, hearing it's story, holding space for it, coming to know who and what it is.

Some steps will be taken in anger and, where in the past I would jump off the path and find a way around it, I will instead walk, or stumble, or perhaps even fall through it.  I will feel it and find healthy ways to process it.

Some steps will hurt and I might sit for a moment and rest.  And I will sit in the place of pain, hurt, loss, disappoint, or whatever the emotion might be, honoring it by listening to the wisdom it has to share.  For it is through those emotions that I learn what needs to be healed within me, what hurt dark spaces within me need the light of my healing love.

I'll take some steps alone and in others the quiet shrill whisper of shame might creep up from my deepest darkest spaces, as I know it will.  Instead of tucking it in my pocket and muffling its voice, with my head hung, I will share what it says to me so that I may heal those past hurt spaces from which it sprang, with my head held high.

I will not take my steps perfectly but I will take them in a way that is right for me, for my Soul, for my path, for my healing, and I will do my best to be okay with that.  I will do my best to learn how to love all of me, as I step "in," and not just the places that have healed so close to wholeness but also the places that are dark and dusty and still transforming and growing, as well as the ones that haven't even started yet.  I will remember that, while my heart was broken, I was not.  I will also remember that in the feeling of all having been shattered in my life, pieces are merely being rearranged into a truer more beautiful version of Who I Really Am.  I will step my way through and allow the process, sometimes skipping steps and later coming back and going through the process of those avoided.  Which for me means that I will do my best to not gloss over the process with where I want to be and, instead, set the intention and allow myself to heal into it.
I will continue to step into forgiveness each and every moment, as difficult as that can sometimes be.  I will remember that forgiveness is a gift of love and an act of kindness toward myself as it sets me free.  I will remember that I, too, live in a glass house and have hurt people before, and have been forgiven.

I will use my life and my experiences through these steps, and all others that I will surely take, to be of service.  I will allow myself to shine in my vulnerability while hoping to touch the healing hearts and Souls of others.

I will be patient with my humanness and love and accept it in all of its imperfect perfection.

And while I won't always understand what brought forth the pain in the midst of it, I will stay open to clarity, open to the purpose as I believe everything has many.  I will remember, in each step, that, as Eckhart Tolle said, "I am not the emotion, the emotion is in me."  With each step I will remember that the emotions, whatever they might be, whatever might bring them forth, are merely energy and I will do my best to allow them to flow through me.  I will remember, and remind myself, that everything is working out for my Highest Good, even when it might not feel like it.

I will remember that the moment will come when I will walk through the other side of it, having transformed into a better version of myself, one that I could not have been were it not for the event.  And I will set that intention while being present in each moment, of each step, of each beautiful breath of this crazy life I am living.  To the best of my abilities.

May you be blessed with love and light,