Grief Part 682

I will start this post by saying that I am no expert when it comes to grief. I have danced with grief a number of times from a young age to today, at 54 years of age. I say dance with it because grief has a rhythm to it that moves you. I have experienced the death of two grandparents, a number of friends, my baby girl, both my parents, my older brother and finally the man I loved and lived with for twelve years. Each experience was different and each person’s death brought about a change within me. Howard’s passing happened Sept 15th, 2015 and I have to say that his presence in my life and his exit from it has changed me in ways no other experience has. Howard’s life and death had a profound effect on me and in some ways I am still discovering what those are. I will tell you that the grief never ends but it changes over time and becomes more of a slow heart warming waltz instead of a heart racing paso doble that spins you around and shakes your world. Grief changes you and grief changes.

I am one of those people who cries when I am happy and laughs when I am sad. This is not to say that I do not cry when I am sad. Howard’s death brought me to my knees, but I did not cry, I wailed a deep soul shattering sob that robbed me of breath and thought. I would cry myself to sleep at night and when I woke up in the morning for just a moment I would forget that he was gone and then the sobbing would begin as reality came into focus again. I cried at the grocery store, I sobbed in my car and had to leave a few places, (the bank for one) when my emotions overtook me. I wouldn’t change a minute of the grief. It was heartbreaking but it was also heart opening. I do not see the world in the same way, my vision is clearer because I see with my heart, not my eyes. So a year and a half later something will catch me by surprise and the loss of him will overwhelm me. I was visiting the hair salon that I frequent a few weeks ago and a song came on the radio there that had special meaning to me and Howard and the tears started flowing. This is a song by Shawn Mendes called “Never Be Alone” and here are some of the lyrics:

I promise that one day I’ll be around
I’ll keep you safe
I’ll keep you sound
Right now it’s pretty crazy
And I don’t know how to stop
Or slow it down
Hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now
Take a piece of my heart
And make it all your own
So when we are apart
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
You’ll never be alone
When you miss me close your eyes
I may be far but never gone
When you fall asleep tonight
Just remember that we lay under the same stars
And hey
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can’t stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now

Howard passed this song on to me through a friend who is a medium. This happened while he was still alive but could not talk much. He did manage to say a lot to my friend in spirit while he was still alive even though they did not really know each other well. He chose his words sparingly at this point and did not waste his energy. Well, I played the song as Howard lay in his bed in our living room, while a few friends were visiting, Howard had his eyes closed with a big smile on his face and his toes were dancing to the music while the rest of us had tears streaming down our faces. After Howard was gone every time I started my car (for a few weeks) this song would be on the radio, it was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It made me cry and reminded me that I am never alone.

So, here I am early in the morning finishing a post that I started over 4 months ago. I want you to know that I still miss him and think about him every day. I also want you to know that some days I still struggle to find my place in this new life I have created. Sometimes I still struggle. Howard’s artwork graces the yard and walls of the new home I share with Shawn the new amazing man in my life. He has brought much joy and laughter to my life. He loves me, he challenges me and encourages me to dream and grow. But, grief is a funny thing and I don’t think it ever goes away or is something you can overcome. I believe that it is always there, always a part of you. Grief changes you and grief changes you again, but your dance with it also changes the grief.
Now, it is not so much about the loss of Howard in my life, but the end of the life that Howard had cut short when he was just beginning to blossom as an artist and had found something he was so passionate about.

I believe that I have a difficult time finishing this post simply because there is no end to this story. Nor can I sum it all up and leave you with a something to think about. This is just a snapshot of day 682 of grief.

Be kind
Love ya
Donna

Shaped by the Past, Sculpted by Dreams

I have been awake at 4:44 am for the last three mornings. I am not sure why, and this morning I was having a dream about Alfred Hitchcock which will make my friend Debra laugh. So, I decided to sit and write while the coffee is brewing and see what comes up. I think about things a lot, my mind never seems to stop unless I sit and meditate and lately even that is difficult. I have this unsettled feeling swirling around inside me and I cannot explain it. It is almost as if I am waiting for something to happen and feel like my life has been in a holding pattern for a long time. Weird huh? I you have any insight into this please let me know.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is my childhood. Most likely because my sister is writing a book and we have been discussing some of these things lately. My sister and I are 13 years apart in age (she is older) and had completely different lives growing up. Her father was an angry abusive man and mine was the gentlest of souls who rarely got angry. Our mother met my father after her first husband was killed in an accident. It amazes me that four children in the same family can be so different and have such varied responses to life events and their memories of them. It makes me wonder how reliable my memory of events actually is.

Growing up in a family filled with alcoholism and all the dysfunction that comes with it teaches you some things. It teaches you to not take responsibility for your own actions. Someone else is the cause of your anger, your need to drink, your inability to get ahead in life etc. etc. It teaches you to keep secrets. God forbid if anyone every found out what really goes on in your home or your head. They would turn away from you in disgust, wouldn’t they? One of the biggest things it teaches you is fear and mistrust. When you cannot trust your own family how could you trust others? When you live in a constant state of fear it takes a toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You are always living in anticipation of the next drunken tirade that is filled with discord and abuse, in some cases physical and in some cases emotional and in a lot of cases both. Not pretty is it? I remember phoning home everyday from school to ask my mother if she needed anything from the store just so I could check her tone of voice to see if she was drinking. If she was sober I would go home, if she was drinking I would go somewhere else. This is the only world I knew and alcohol was destined to play a large role in the rest of my life. I was enrolled in Life Skills 101 with an alcohol fueled instructors. I was taught to think and navigate life like an alcoholic. All I wanted was to be loved and spent many years looking for that in all the wrong places. I didn’t understand that I needed to love myself before I could offer it to or receive it from another person.

In my thirties I found myself drinking a lot and married to someone who drank enough that his work forced him into a rehab program. The alcohol saga continued, but it was a familiar one and I knew it well. Funny thing though, I ended up walking through the doors of AA in 1992 and my life was changed forever. It was in those church basement meetings that I was taught the healthy life skills that I was not taught growing up. It did not happen over night because my conditioning was firmly entrenched and they were asking me to feel my emotions and take responsibility for myself, both of which I had no idea how to do. I discovered that I only had two emotions, or states of being, angry or not angry. I sometimes still revert to anger in extremely stressful situations. However, anger is not all bad and boy oh boy can I get some housework done when I am trying to get rid of some anger in a healthy way. I have made a lot of discoveries about anger since then and that emotion is rarely caused by someone else or their actions.

It has been over 20 years since I started this journey of healing. I have learned a few things that have improved my life and me as a person. I still have much to learn, but look forward to it. It is impossible to know yourself with out understanding what made you who you are. One thing is for sure, you always have choices regardless of your life circumstance. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have any choices but you do. You choose whether you are hardened or softened by your experiences. You can also make new choices every day. You and you alone are responsible for the person you are today. Your life experiences began to mold you, but you are like an artist finishing the beautiful sculpture that is you.

I guess I have rambled a bit, though that is not unusual for me. I understand my mother and what caused her to be who she was. I also want you to know that every time I think about her with love and forgiveness her spirit becomes lighter and brighter. The people who were in our lives and have passed on are aware of our feelings and the repercussions of their actions when they walked this earth. We get to choose whether we will hang on to the anger, bitterness, or whatever else we are feeling. There is freedom in fully accepting responsibility for who you are. You can let the past shape your future if you want. Sculpt yourself, paint yourself, sing yourself or write yourself a new future based on who you want to be, not what has happened to you.

Treat others with kindness and compassion
Hug yourself for me

Donna

A Year of Grace

Apparently it can take more than one year to figure out who you are after your life is torn apart!  I didn’t realize how much of my identity was derived from my business and my relationship.  Once those things were gone, there I was standing naked, feeling exposed and alone, wondering what the hell I was going to do.  I have moved on with my life in a number of ways and most of the time it was trial and error and the best things were happy accidents.  This is the first time in my life I am not working, since the age of 15, and I also didn’t realize how much my self worth was tied into my job and being productive.  It has been one hell of a year with lots of ups and downs but the ups are winning.

I have done things in the last year I never thought I would do.  I tried online dating without much success.  How the heck do you write a profile?  The best and most honest one I could come up with went something like this:  I don’t dye my hair, I don’t wear make up, I own 6 pairs of black boots and I have all my own teeth.  There were few who were intrigued by this!  I finally gave up on the dating thing and asked someone I knew a bit if they were interested in being my friend with benefits, even though I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  Well, this friend with benefits thing turned into much more than I was expecting.  He helped me find the joy in life again and continuously makes me laugh.  He is a very private person so he may not like me writing about this.  Oops, too late.  I guess I just want you all to know that when you least expect it, someone or something is going to come along and help you find the joy in life again.  I also started this blog in the last year after a spiritual awakening of sorts and gained so much from not only the writing of it but hearing what other people had to say about it.  Some comments were surprising and made me see that I was constantly downplaying who I was and what I contributed to the world just by being myself.

Each of us has something to contribute.  You don’t have to move mountains or earn six figures to have value to this world. Sometimes a kind word or a smile can change the course of someones day or life for that matter.  I recently ran into my former husband who I have not been married to since 1998.  I was a little uncomfortable at first but we had a few chats and it was like having coffee with an old friend.  I also had lunch with his parents a few days ago while they were in town and it was a joy to see them again.  I forgot how much I adored them and realized that when we got divorced I essentially divorced a lot of people in my life.  The pain of that period of my life is long dealt with and gone, there is nothing left but love for all of them.  One thing my former husband said in a text message really made me stop and think.  He said, “Maybe you just bring out the best in everyone.”  Perhaps I do, though my first thought upon reading those words was I am not that special.

If you have the ability to approach people and love them unconditionally that is special. If you can let them be them without judgement that is a wonderful gift, not only to them but yourself.  Don’t try to change people, love them for who they are and just by doing that you give them the space they need to grow and change because they want to, not because you think they should.  Don’t restrict other people or your love for them because of your own definition of right or wrong, good or bad.  Open your heart and the world opens its heart right back.  Besides, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  I love being wrong.

So, I would some up the last year as a year of grace.  There is a gracefulness to awkwardly finding your way.  There is grace in the tears of grief as well as tears of joy.  I am one of those people who cry when I am happy!  There is grace in this world, it is all around you and you can see it if you look for it.  You know what they say, you get what you expect.  So expect grace, expect kindness, expect love, just expect great and wonderful things to happen all around you.

 

Be kind to yourself.
Hug everyone like you mean it!

Donna
aka Miss Daisy

No Strings

I am sitting once again in my slightly soiled chair with a coffee beside me in my sunny yellow mug. It is five thirty in the morning and the birds are singing the sun up with cheerful little songs. It has all the makings of a wonderful day even though I have only had about four hours sleep. I had trouble settling down last night. There were a few things weighing on my mind and my heart. I have started making plans and dreaming and low and behold the universe throws a few curve balls at me just to see if I am paying attention and waits to see how I will handle it.

Have you ever had one of those moments where certain events in your life become clear in their meaning. I had one of those moments last night and I have to admit that it scared me a little. Actually my response was “well shit.” It reminded me that certain things are beyond my control. I can say I want this, I don’t want that till the cows come home and the universe in its wisdom will give me what I need. I never expected to fall in love with my life again, I never expected to feel or experience so much joy and peace again. Some of the best moments of my life have happened when I was not expecting it.

So I had a moment of clarity and it scared me. I am not sure scared is the right word. Perhaps it is more being unsure with a tiny bit of fear thrown in. I don’t know where this path will lead but I trust in the universe to guide me along and in the meantime will set the fear aside. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but I have had a few visions of the future and they do not coincide with what I thought I wanted. Perhaps there is a lesson in that. Do not be so tied to what you want and don’t want that you miss the wonderful people and opportunities right in front of you. Be flexible with your how your mind and heart respond to the events and people in your life. Be teachable.

I have ideas about how I would like things to be and have expressed a large number of those ideas on this blog. One thing that I do know for certain is that as long as I let my heart rule over my mind life is as it should be. The minute I start over thinking things and second guessing every decision, fears settles in and my mind gains control. Fear versus love the eternal struggle for control. So the universe is putting people and situations in my path to see if I can actually live what I say. Anyone can say anything, but can they back it up with action. The universe is saying enough talk Donna lets see some action.

So, I have said numerous times that it is all about living with your heart wide open. But what does that really mean to me? It is about others not about me. For one of the first times in my life, I have led a very self-centered life up to this point, the happiness of others comes before my own. I want the people around me to know what it means to be loved for just being them, no strings attached. I want to bring peace and joy with me everywhere I go and spread that around. I want the people in my life to know that they are appreciated and that I truly see them for who they are and that they are more than enough. I thought I knew what love was. The universe has shown me lately that I have only danced around the edges of it in the past. Well shit!

Have a bliss filled day
Hug people
Donna

Kitchens of Love and Laughter

Woke up this morning at 5:30 to a wet world that smells so fresh.  It rained during the night and the birds were singing enthusiastically this morning in celebration.  We have not had much rain this spring and us locals usually call our home the Wet Coast.  I love the sunny weather we are having, but (I can’t believe I am saying this) I miss the rain. It gives me an excuse to stay home and curl up with a good book and a glass of tea.

Cooked supper for friends last night and I realized how much I missed a kitchen full of people laughing, talking and eating together.  I have lived my life in self imposed isolation for so long that I forgot what it was like to be surrounded by people.  I am looking forward to buying a new home and cooking for friends.  I love to cook and try new recipes.  Well, I read recipes for inspiration then do my own thing.  I have never been great at following directions!  Some of my best memories involve being in someone’s kitchen with a group of friends.  I spent a lot of time in other people’s kitchens while growing up, playing cards, making music,eating, drinking and laughing.  So I spent the night at a friend’s house and am writing this morning at their kitchen island.  There is much food and laughter shared around this island.  I also have come to realize that this kitchen and the people in it have become a huge part of my life and my healing.  The kitchens of my past were filled with love and laughter and I know the kitchens of my future will be as well.

I am going to pay more attention to kitchens.  I think they truly are the heart of the home. Pay attention to what goes on in your own kitchen as this could be a barometer for the atmosphere of your home.  I like a tidy kitchen, it doesn’t have to be spotless but tidy and organized without a doubt.  I cannot cook in a messy kitchen.  I do have to admit that I have wanted to organize the kitchen for a few people and have even done it once.  I don’t really care if your kitchen is messy, it is your kitchen.  I do not judge you based on the condition of your kitchen.  It is your heart that captures me.  I watch how you treat other people, your family, and see how willing you are to laugh at yourself and the life stuff that is tossed your way.  If you have heart I don’t care how tidy your house is.

Just got a text message with a tarot card for the day from the Osho Zen tarot deck.  Oddly enough, the card was isolation but they spell it ice-olation.  My self imposed isolation was in a sense like being encased in a block of ice and my friends both old and new are contributing to my melting and merging back into a warm and caring community.  They are helping me find myself again. This is a family, the people who feed my body and soul.  Family is so much more than just blood relatives. Family is also the people you choose to spend time with that nurture your spirit and encourage you to be the best you possible.  I hope that in some small way I do the same for them, they mean the world to me.

So, as I sit here beside a fish named George pondering the significance of kitchens and families, I am filled with warm memories and heated hopes and desires.  There is fire in my soul once again and while I do not know what the future holds for me I am full of excited anticipation like a small child on Christmas morning.  Everyday brings more light and clarity of heart.  You have given me the space to heal and for that I thank you and give you the biggest and warmest hug.  Thank you for allowing me to find myself again.  If you ever get to Vancouver Island send a message, perhaps we can get together in the kitchen of my new home and fill it with food, companionship and wild hearted laughter.  I am looking forward to it.  Peace and love to all of you.

Hug trees and please don’t kill spiders

Donna

 

 

Winged Messengers

I saw a beautiful blue heron this morning flying overhead. I watched as he glided through the air with long effortless strokes from his powerful wings.   There was one glaring issue with this bird.  He was missing feathers on his left wing. The space the missing feathers created was obvious but it did not detract from his grace or beauty. The animals remind me of things and bring lessons for me everyday.   Today was no exception.   The people we meet in the world are not perfect, they have scars both seen and unseen. We all have missing feathers but still have much to offer the world.  I envy people who seem to move gracefully through the world no matter what life seems to throw at them. I feel more like a young foal who has not grown into its legs yet, awkward and stumbling across a field of grass wet from the morning dew.

So I watched the birds in the sky for a few more minutes and some played in the wind currents, some glided above the wind in spirals of flight and others seemed to be flapping their wings in a battle against the wind. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the winged ones. A few nights ago I had a message from the universe to look up. Stop focusing on the earth and look up.   Did the universe know the lessons I would learn from looking up and paying attention to the birds. Do I share these things with you so you will start looking around you and seeing the lessons that nature and all the wonderful beings we share this planet with teach us? I am not sure what the universe is asking of me most of the time. I just go where I am led.

The universe sends us lessons every day through people, nature, animals, and circumstances. Whether we learn anything or pay attention to any of it is up to us. I have discovered that the same lesson gets tossed my way time and time again until I pay attention. The world speaks to us in symbols, which can be hard to decipher sometimes. I seem to be getting a better handle on the symbolic structure of the world and have taken many steps to learn to interpret these symbols for myself. I see the heron and get one lesson, you will see the heron and it will hold a different meaning for you. Simple right? So look up today and tell me what you see. Are there messages for you in the wind, the clouds or the tree tops? What do you see when you are not just focused on the path in front of you?
Love to all
Hug everyone
Be kind

Donna

 

 

The Wind Through the Trees.

Went for a walk this morning and on my way back to the house I noticed the cherry tree beside the driveway. I swear the tree was glowing this morning with an aura of light surrounding it. This is a beautiful tree in full bloom with soft pink blossoms that are starting to cover the ground. So I stopped to thank the tree for all that it contributes to the universe. The tree was happy to be acknowledged. I believe that when you are looking at and experiencing trees they are also experiencing you. The trees speak, we just have to listen! My new landlords most likely think, what is that crazy woman doing now, standing there touching the tree with her eyes closed and a big smile on her face. They will get used to it. It is part of my charm.

I am sitting here in the living room of my new place on a dark grey sofa with a painting of a beautiful elephant hanging behind me.  I bought this painting yesterday because it spoke to my soul. Elephants have a lot to teach us. All of the animals have something to teach us and so does everything else in nature for that matter. I seem to have a special connection and an ability to communicate with rocks, trees and animals when I take the time to do so. Taking the time is the challenge at the moment. Anyway, sitting here on the sofa I can see Howard’s straw hat hanging on the coat rack across the room. I almost threw his hat out and a friend talked me out of it. Some days seeing the hat brings me peace and comfort and other days it brings pain and discomfort. This morning it seems to bring both. God I miss him. I miss the smell of him and watching him move. I loved the way that man moved, there was a fluid grace he possessed that enthralled me. Every movement had a purpose and grace combined with economy of motion is rare to see.

I love watching people move. You can learn a lot about them from their movements. Do they walk with their head up or down? Are their movements awkward or do they posses that ease of movement that comes when someone is comfortable in their own skin and the world? I think about how I move and what that says about me. Can people tell that I am shy by the way I move? I spent a lot of time walking yesterday and for some reason was really conscious of my hips. The way my body sways from the hips and where I was relaxed and where I was tense. Focusing on the movement of my hips really made me aware of being a woman. Even though I have lost a lot of weight, not by choice, I still have a few small curves and I love them. Yesterday I was 108 pounds of pure woman when I moved and felt very graceful. I feel as though at 53 I am finally discovering who I am on a number of levels and it is fun! I wonder what I will discover today?

I think I think too much! Yes I was laughing as I wrote that. I seem to be at one end of the thinking spectrum or the other. I either think a lot or I don’t think at all. Neither of these things are bad in and of themselves when employed in a healthy manner. Some things require thinking and some things don’t. On certain occasions I turn off my mind and just feel. It is like I am meeting the world through my heart and senses. In certain situations this can be overwhelming and then my mind kicks in. I have a tendency to shut my mind and heart off when I am really uncomfortable and have come to realize that this is a defence mechanism that I learned from a very traumatic event in my life. I don’t think, I don’t feel, I just retreat inside myself to a place where no one can reach me or hurt me. I have also discovered that I spent a lot of my time living from that place and not fully experiencing life. With the recent events in my life it is no longer possible for me to retreat. You cannot hide when your heart is wide open! I no longer feel the need nor do I want to hide. Here I am take me or leave me.

Sometimes I feel very lonely. In the past I would have tried to fill that loneliness with something. Now, I explore it and acknowledge it for what it is. Being alone is one thing, being lonely is another. If I am able to stay present and in the moment there is no loneliness. It’s going into the past or attempting to predict the future that sends me down the lonely road. I do not need someone in my life to be happy, healthy and whole. I already am all that. I don’t need someone to complete me, I want someone who will enhance me. That is also what I want for them, no strings attached. No strings attached is a tall order for most people and navigating a relationship under those conditions can be tricky. I believe that honest communication is the key. That also seems to be a tall order for some people. Sometimes it is a tall order for me as well in the communication department, I leave a lot unsaid. Honesty, well some would say I am too honest. I don’t think that is bad, you always know where you stand with me. Is leaving things unsaid dishonest? I really do not necessarily want to share all my thoughts and feelings with someone else until I am ready. Sometimes they are not ready to hear them either and that is okay. It really has nothing to do with them, I am responsible for my own thoughts, feelings, and actions. I cannot be responsible for how others interpret or react to what I have to say, I can only clarify things a bit for them if they have questions or concerns.

So, spend time with people you enjoy and who enjoy you right back! Spend time getting to know yourself. Get out there and sit with the trees, rocks, or whatever part of nature makes you feel good. Don’t be surprised when you ask the universe questions if the answers come back through the very fabric of nature itself. The wind carries the questions and answers, you just have to be silent and still long enough to hear it whisper through the trees. They touch both the heavens and the earth and are conduits of knowledge through their root system that covers the wonderful planet we share with them. Connect!

Peace and love to all
Donna