Freedom

Well, the move is complete and I hand over the keys to the new owners of my home today!  It is a bittersweet moment.  I knew who I was in Sooke and am not sure who I am in Langford, if that makes any sense.  I guess I felt that I belonged in Sooke and don’t feel that way in the new place yet.  I will give it some time, but know this is only temporary.  Let’s see where the universe sends me next!

Now the unpacking and further sorting and sifting through the material parts of my life begin.  My goal is to get rid of all the things that are not necessary or bring me joy.  Cannot part with my car Lola though and I am so happy she has a warm and safe place to wait for me.  It is going to be so much fun driving her this summer!

Wow, the last year has been quite a roller coaster ride.  Lots of highs and many low spots to navigate through.  My life has been completely changed because of Howard’s life and death, mainly his life though.  It has also been changed by the new people who have entered and become so important to me.  I am blessed to know and care for each of them.  It can be hard sometimes when life turns shitty to find the positive aspects of it.  I am one of the lucky people who can experience and see both sides of every situation.  Even during the darkest moments there was light visible.

I had better get this day started and over with.  There is a freedom that comes with not being tied to a property and animals.  A freedom I have not had in a very long time and I’m not quite sure how to respond to it.  There are so many options open to me that it is hard to pick one.  For now I will just keep sorting and sifting and see what direction the universe sends me in.  I do know one thing, it will include many wonderful new people and I am looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them.  I also get to build on the relationships that have already formed for me and that is exciting too.  Even freedom has a price.

Peace and love to you all
Donna

Guardians of Stone and Trees

I am sitting here on the sofa and it is quiet this morning, my slightly soiled chair is at the new house. My yellow mug is filled with steaming coffee and the rooster next door is not awake yet. Oh let me correct that, he just woke up and has started broadcasting his manliness to the other roosters in the neighbourhood. Once he starts the rest of them get going, he seems to be the ringleader though. I hear him but I rarely see him. He’s like a sneaky little ninja rooster!

My magnolia tree in the back yard has bloomed and I was hoping it would before I move permanently in two weeks. I was given the tree as a gift on Valentines day twelve years ago and it is now over 14 feet high and overflowing with beautiful white blossoms. I am amazed it is even alive because the neighbour’s goats ate it down to a small nub when it was still in the pot. I do not like goats. Interesting tree, it has no leaves when it blooms, the leaves come later and it is still beautiful after the flowers are gone. Most of the trees planted around the koi pond were gifts. There is a twisted baby black locust tree that has leaves that hang like little ringlets, a waterfall maple that turns a brilliant red in the fall, a fig tree, an assortment of replanted trees that were used in the house for Christmas trees and a gorgeous rhododendron that was transplanted here and has blessed us with huge red flowers every June.

It is not the house I am going to miss but the land and the trees. I am surrounded by tall pine trees, cedars, alders and other trees I am unable to identify.   I feel safe and secure here surrounded by these green sentinels. I have lived in a nurturing green cocoon for years, but now it’s time for me to leave and it is much harder than I thought it would be. I don’t know if I will come back to visit, it would be like stepping back into the past where there are only echoes of the time I lived here. Things change, people move on and new people and things take their place. I hope the new family is happy and that they thrive here. This land is special and has a way of becoming part of your blood and bones.

My new place has no back yard. All I can see out of my windows is this massive rock that has little niches that are just begging for some potted plants, steps carved into it that essentially go nowhere, moss strategically growing in the best spots and my raven sculpture sits on it greeting anyone who walks the path to my door. I love rocks, so it is a wonderful view in my opinion. I feel safe and protected there with this huge guardian of stone keeping watch. It is the perfect place for me to be for the next year. Ooh I have to remember to take my stone gargoyle and find him a spot on the rock!

I have had lots of help with the move and things are clearing out quickly. I cannot believe how empty this place feels. It almost feels as though with everything that has left the property a little of the spirit of the place has left too. More and more of the things that were part of Howard have been sold or given away and every time something leaves it is like he is slowly letting go of this place as well. We both had a lot of letting go to do. The hardest thing for me was to see Howard’s mountain gorilla sculpture leave. I know it is going to a great home where it will be loved, but he has guarded the gate for a long time and the yard feels bare without him. There is also a huge rock in the front yard that looks like the head of a gorilla and the picture for today’s post is a shot of it. The one below is a picture of Howard and his Mountain Guardian sculpture that I took before he got sick. It was rare to see Howard smile in a picture so I really like this shot.

Mountain Gorilla

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful day and that you are able to let go of the things, people and places you need to with grace and love. Much love and big squishy hugs to you all.

 

Please don’t kill spiders

Be kind to everyone

Donna

 

 

The Other Side of Grief

Five letters full of pain and wonder that is what grief is.   In the midst of the pain there are some wonderous moments.  Grief has a lot to offer if you are open to it.  Grief can leave you  laying on the floor broken and also be the catalyst for a life beyond your wildest dreams.  At least that has been my experience over the last year.  Life is never all positive or all negative but a beautiful blending of the two, you can’t have one without the other.  Well, I suppose some people can, however, the two help define each other.

People will be there for you during rough times and offer to help.  Let them help.  Allowing them to be part of your grief, even in the smallest way, is your gift to them.  You may all be changed by it in ways none of you expect.  I know that grief has changed me and I have observed how it has changed others around me.  Not all of it has been positive, but most of it has.  The grief has shaped a softer, yet stronger heart in the middle of me.  Funny how it works sometimes.  You have to find the softness and the gentleness to find out what your true strength is.  I usually think of strength as assertive, forceful, or a test of endurance.  Now I see strength a little differently.  

Strength comes when you are able to experience all of your emotions and see the truth behind them and how they are connected.  There is no good or bad, right or wrong.  Strength comes when you give in and let go.  You must let go of the bullshit and the untruths to see yourself.  Let go of all the beliefs and things that you think define you.  There is nothing like a life shattering event to help you clear away the bullshit that you have based your sense of self on.  

Grief strips away the layers you have wrapped yourself in, attempting to protect yourself from the pain of love, life and death.  You cannot avoid the pain so you may as well throw yourself at it and experience it fully.  It is the experience of its fullness that releases it.  Go for it, things cannot feel any worse.  Oh wait a minute, yes they can.  All you have to do is resist it or try to ignore it and it will make you feel worse just to get your full attention.  So I say, experience the pain of grief fully.  Then you will begin to notice the small bits of wonder hidden inside.  You will laugh, smile, cry and start living again.  It is up to you whether you let it harden or soften you. I choose the softness, we have enough hardened people on this planet.

Have a soft heart

Hug people and dogs

Donna

Grief and Compost

Woke up this morning with tears streaming down my face. I had a dream about Howard which I do not think has happened since he passed away. It was a wonderful dream and he was so happy and full of life. Then I woke up and remembered that he is gone and the grief started pouring from my heart and eyes. This has not happened for months and took me by surprise. I remembered the last few days of his life and some of the conversations and experiences we had together. I asked him not to leave me here all by myself and he said he wouldn’t. I knew he could not stay and I could not stand to see him in so much pain. So, I had to let him go and let him know I would be okay. He just grinned and said I know you will, like he knew something I didn’t.

There must have been some part of him that knew he would be leaving long before he got diagnosed with cancer. He tidied up a lot of loose ends with the vintage cars and made connections with people who would become important to me. Sometimes it feels like he is still looking after me and that I am never alone. Other times, I can barely remember what it was like to have him here, my life has changed so much. I have no regrets, I feel no guilt, and know we both loved and appreciated each other. Howard actually thanked me for staying with him through all of it which surprised me. He said some people would have walked away. I don’t want to know those people. How could you walk away from someone you love just when they need you the most. According to the hospice staff it happens more frequently than we know. What a sad and lonely world we live in.

I thank the universe that I had the strength of spirit to stand by my man when things went to shit. I never realized how much strength I truly had hidden inside this small body. I will be there for the people I love regardless of how much it hurts me to see and feel their pain. My heart just keeps getting bigger because of it. I also had a lot of people who stood by me and supported me through this whole process and my God I love them for it. They are my tribe, my community. It takes special people to allow someone to fall apart and just be there for them without trying to change it or fix it for them. Some want to stop your tears and your grief. They cannot handle your pain, it makes them feel things they do not want to feel inside themselves. It is all about them and their fears.

Today I have a few people coming to the house to take more things away. The fishing boat, some sculptures and tools. Soon there will be nothing left but an empty house sitting on this land. Land that has nurtured me for twelve years. I am going to walk away from here soon and it is proving to be much harder than I expected. However, I am not walking away from my life with Howard, I am walking towards something, I am walking towards my future.

Be there, really be there, for the people you love. Don’t shy away from the tough times, you don’t grow when everything is all rosy. In our disposable society, in which even people are disposable to some, be the compost. Be the compost that provides nourishment and promotes growth in others. Take all the pain you have experienced in your life and use it to find that connection with others and encourage them to be the best them they can be. Be compost for their soul and yours.

Love to all

Anchors and Drifting

Fell asleep last night listening to the frog choir. One lone frog singing is as annoying as a dripping tap, but get a bunch of them together and it is a soothing and sleep inducing symphony of spring! Having ponds on your property helps with the frog population.
I slept for seven hours and feel refreshed with a new sense of peace this morning. Thanks frog nation! Yesterday, I had this vague restlessness and felt as though things were slightly off and to be honest was not my happy, smiling self. Took me until about two in the afternoon to work it out thanks to a quick (is there such a thing?) phone call to my wise friend Debra. We talked things out until I dug deep enough to figure out what was going on.

I am not generally a surface dweller, I usually dig until I find what I need. Right now I am tired of digging and analyzing and thinking. I want to have some fun! Finding the answers to what makes you the way you are is fun isn’t it? So these emotions I was feeling yesterday had me kind of low and I am tired of low, so I dug. Twenty minutes of telling Deb what was bugging me and her very astute questions and insights and bingo the reason popped out of my mouth. I said I need something solid to hang on to! I needed an anchor! Aha moment. Once the truth of a situation is acknowledged the relief is immediate, no resistance and the truth sets you free. Isn’t that brilliant?

All the changes that have happened in the last year and the ones I am still in the middle of have left me feeling like I am adrift in a stormy ocean. Plans ha, the universe is constantly saying no to my plans. Okay, I am adrift in this vast ocean, can’t make plans, and don’t know which direction the shore is in so I can haul my little ass onto the sand. Fine, I will just lay here on the choppy water and float to wherever the current takes me. Breathe, relax and let it all go. Why do we always have to have a plan? I am usually allergic to solid planning because life is structured enough, but right now I want to make some. Universe says no, not quite yet.

Okay, fine. While I wasn’t completely happy with my life, work and relationships last year, it was a solid life. I had an anchor to keep me from drifting. Actually I had a few anchors. The problem with anchors is if you use them at the wrong time or get tangled in the anchor chain the results can be disastrous. For good or bad reasons (it doesn’t really matter at this point) Howard was my anchor.
He provided stability for me when I needed it the most and to be truthful I don’t think I had any stability in my life before I met him. I gained weight for the first time in my entire life simply because I felt safe and relaxed. I was loved and felt safe. Here is the problem, Howard is gone from this earth and I have realized that I need to be my own anchor. Howard gave me twelve years of his life to teach me how to stand strong on my own.

Howard taught me a lot. In fact, I am still learning from our life together. Ooh the sunrise is spectacular this morning! I just looked out the window and the sky is a beautiful pink with deep streaks of gold. Great day to be alive and witness the miracles of being here on this planet. Back to the post. I think we place too much responsibility on the significant person in our life to be the thing we need. By that I mean, we look to them to fill in the gaps of our soul. That is not fair to the other person. You and only you are responsible for your own thoughts, emotions and actions, period. Sometimes we like to think that the other person is the cause but that is just us avoiding the truth and digging deep to find it. They pissed you off, dissappointed you, didn’t meet your expectations, whatever and you justify what you do in response to that. You are lying to yourself. It is you who are responsible.  You cannot receive love until you are giving it without expectation.

Of all the things I miss, having a sidekick or playmate is what I miss the most. Someone who has your back and loves you just the way you are and has fun with it! I’m working on it but also realize that I have to offer the other person that as well.  None of us are easy to live with all the time so a sense of humour is essential for a happy relationship with anyone. So my thought for the day is be your own anchor, take responsibility for yourself, have fun, get rid of your expectations of how others should be and relax. It is all temporary anyway. Appreciate the people in your life and let them know how much they mean to you. Most importantly don’t place unrealistic expectations on them, let them be them and keep your heart wide open so you don’t waste one spectacular minute of your life together.

Spread some love today
Hugs to all
Donna

The Joy and the Anger

One of the most difficult years of my life has created some amazing changes in me. While my initial response to all of the adversity and loss that I faced was a soul numbing anger, things have taken a different turn in the last few months. There is a softness in me that did not exist before and a renewed and refined compassion and love for others has blossomed out of that. While I have faced challenges before in my life, this was the first time I looked nowhere but inside my own heart for solutions and answers. I did not look for an external solution.

Something I have discovered is that I have an ability to be in the moment with whatever is happening internally and externally. I am able to be present and look at what is going on and as a result have a better understanding of myself and others. One thing that happened when Howard passed away was extreme sadness and grief which greatly conflicted with my hopes and the feelings of freedom his death gave me. I believe that conflicting emotions are normal during the loss of the significant person in your life and we waste too much time feeling guilty about it. It is a horrible situation to be in, you are trying to let go of them, the life you shared, move on with your life and remember and miss them at the same time. It is a tall order, the letting go and holding on to their memory all at once.

Life is full of conflicting emotions, challenges, joy and miraculous moments. We choose how we respond to that! I allowed my anger to take over for a short period but could not sustain it for long, it was killing my soul. The anger did serve its purpose for that period of time and I am thankful that I experienced it. The anger taught me a lot and may have been the catalyst for the softening that happened. I have a softness for myself and my struggles and have started behaving in a more gentle manner towards others. I do not know, nor should I presume to know how others should be under any circumstance. We just need people to allow us the space to work through it in our own way. We all need that space to learn and grow.

Having the ability and desire to look objectively at yourself and your reactions to the world and circumstance is a priceless learning opportunity. You can allow theses things to harden you and I believe that the people who feel as though these things have happened to them will harden. Life is happening to them, they are not active participants in their own life, the surface of the why of things is barely scratched. When you take the time to look deeper with an attitude of discovery and wonder it is amazing to see the layers and depths of the pain and untruths. My anger was there to insulate me from the pain and fear. But in insulating myself from the grief, pain and fear, I also insulated myself from fully experiencing all the good, the joy, the hope and the wonder. It is a double edged sword, anger is, that closes your heart off so you don’t feel anything.

I sat in this living room the day I started this blog and had an awakening of sorts. I fell in love with my life and could see how all the emotions, both conflicting and complimentary, were connected. I will call this a spiritual awakening simply because I experienced my own soul breaking free from all of the constraints my mind and beliefs had placed upon it. I was free in a way I had never been, I was free to just be. No rules, no right and wrong, just me naked in my humanity. I have great hope for humanity and know that people just like me are having awakenings of their own in the most mundane of places. Our quiet strength is far more powerful than the anger and fear being spewed out of so many minds and angry hearts at the moment. Living with your heart wide open allows you to feel everything and that can be a scary place to live from. It is painful and my heart breaks on a daily basis but my heart with it’s wide open embrace also gets to experience all the joy and wonders of being human in this time and place.

Be gentle

Donna

Rhythm

Six in the morning, frogs are singing spring into existence and it is warm with rain falling softly to the earth. What a glorious day to be alive. Woke up this morning feeling grateful for all that I have experienced and the people I have met. Thinking about a trip just to get away and relax. I’m not sure if I can swing some time away in the sun at the moment but I have a brand new passport just begging to be used. We shall see what the next week brings and how much I can get done. Universe I need a vacation could you please help things fall into place for this to happen. Thanks in advance!

I do not like asking people for help and have had to do it a lot lately. I am used to being the one helping others. So I have a garage sale to organize, a house that is sold and needs to be cleaned out, my new place to set up and all I want to do is lay on the beach in Costa Rica. I guess I am going to need some help to swing it. I find lots of people offer to help but a number of them don’t usually come through in the end. My suggestion, don’t offer to help people if you are not willing or able to follow through. Don’t offer because it is the polite thing to do. Mean what you say and say what you mean!

I sit here in this half empty house with its bare walls and my mind and heart are flooded with memories. The laughter, the tears, the lives that have passed through here and all the dreams that came true and the ones that got destroyed. This house has been truly lived in. New people and events are creating some more memories as I let go of the place I have called home for for the last twelve years. It is more than just a house, it vibrates with the energy of the lives lived here and has a personality all its own. The enclosed overhang of the roof has been home to a bird family for the last three years and I never had the heart to close off the area where they built their nest and started their family. I can hear the babies squawking, as I sit in my chair, and the feet of the parents scuttling back and forth to feed their constantly hungry brood. I got to see the babies on their first flight and it was magical.

One late afternoon last summer I sat on a rock by the large front pond looking to see how many fish were visible. We put a few dozen gold fish in there every year but few survive the wildlife and circumstance. I saw three that were about two years old and then five little one year olds swam by and my heart filled with joy. I was so excited to see that five had survived the year. You know how you get that feeling on the back of your neck when someone is watching you. That happened to me and I turned around and got to witness a fawn slide to the ground as a doe gave birth. I sat there and watched as the mother cleaned it and the baby took it first shaky steps with some gentle nudging. It was a beautiful moment and tears were running down my face. Outside life was bursting forth and Howard was in the house fighting for his life and losing the battle. No matter what is going on in our lives the earth and all her inhabitants continue on, not knowing what you are experiencing or how much your heart aches. How can joy and despair live in my body and be experienced at the same time?

Like all things nothing is permanent, not your circumstances nor your emotions. Whatever you are feeling now is temporary and bad days only last one day. Don’t hold on to things, people, emotions or ways of being. Allow them all to flow in and out of your life like they naturally do. Hanging on to any of it only chokes the life out of you in the end and crushes the joyous moments in your tightly closed fist. There is a rhythm to life and yes even death. So dance and dance like you mean it.

Peace and love to you all
Donna