Let’s Dance

For most of my life I have always felt that I did not fit in. Didn’t seem to fit with my own family, coworkers, or society. I tried to fit in, I really did. I did what they told me was right and good and tried to be part of them but something always felt off. It was like they were living in a slightly different world than I was and spoke a different dialect.   I wanted to be a part of it so badly that I sacrificed my own beliefs to try. One day, I do not know the date, I realized that I could no longer live that way if I wanted to live. I am now sure that I was not the only person who struggled with this. I’m sure of this because I have met others who felt the same way over and over again. We were struggling to be true to ourselves in a world that wanted conformity and we paid a price.

Some of us turned to drugs and alcohol to deaden the feelings we had inside. Some of us walked away from society and live far from other people, hermits I suppose. Some of us stood up and made a huge difference in the world. We were not thanked for it at the time. Look back over the history of our culture and these people will stand out like sore thumbs! You decide who they were, I am not going to tell you. Please do not judge us for trying to stop the pain, we did not know any other way to do it and felt we had no one to guide us, we felt we had no other choice. We are a passionate bunch and have created some beautiful art, music, movies, books and poetry in our attempt to reach out to you from our hearts. Our hearts pouring out of us in the hope that the pain would stop and someone somewhere would understand. Most of us have not stood out in the crowd but we are stepping out now!

I use the word dance a lot in reference to pain. Anyone can walk with pain but there are those of us who literally dance with it. We get down and dirty with it in a primal way and because of this have much to share with you. I have come to realize that I have been in pain both physical and emotional for most of my life. I did not talk to many people about it. I did not think they would understand. Now I realize that them understanding my pain was not the point. The point for me was I needed to understand it and sharing has helped me do that. This is the story of Donna, pain, fear, joy, celebration, love and hate, the whole enchilada!

I do not have a competitive bone in my body, jealousy doesn’t exist in my world. How do you think I fit in a corporate culture that has a cutthroat attitude? Not so well, so I left the corporate world and just took a job. I have been selling you things since I was sixteen years old and I was good at it but not in the traditional sense. I even used to go to chain stores and teach the employees how to sell based on the corporate cultures mandate of illusion and fear, that was my career. That is not how I sold things though. I sold by not selling! I gave you information about things so that you could make the best decision for you! I empowered you to purchase based on your own wants and needs and had some of the highest sales rates in the country. They could not figure out how I did it. I was honest with you and sometimes I would even send you away without selling you anything, not what the boss wants to see but they couldn’t argue with the sales statistics. I developed relationships not customers. As you can see, out there in the retail world this is starting to happen all over the place. Woohoo!

One thing that people are surprised to learn about me is that I was a classically trained violinist and started playing at the age of seven. I was fairly good and at the top of my class in music school. Then it got super competitive and I walked away. Not because I couldn’t cut it, the competitiveness ruined it for me. I had my first solo at a concert when I was twelve and no one in my family came to see it. I was heartbroken. I walked away from it all a few years later. It was the pain I couldn’t handle. I feel music! Even today I do not listen to music with my ears, I listen with my heart, so it doesn’t matter if it is being sung in a different language, I feel it. I still love the violin, it is the instrument that speaks to me and once in a while I will rosin up my bow and let all the pain flow through me and transform itself into the air as sweet music. Even pain can be beautiful.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the world is changing. There is a shift in consciousness happening all around us and I am excited. I am doing my happy dance! We are moving from being exclusive to inclusive, head thinkers to heart minded, small minded to open minded and oh my God we need that if we are going to thrive as a people. Don’t be surprised the next time you see a homeless person sit down to play a piano like a genius, or sing songs so sweetly your teeth ache. The only difference between you and them is they danced with the pain and have not found their way back to their chairs. They deserve love and compassion as much as you do. Feel the music, feel the pain, just feel. What I once looked at as a curse I now see as a blessing. I help people, I help them heal in many different ways and I can do this simply because I can feel the pain, my own, other people’s, I feel the world’s pain and I am ready to dance with it. So today I say to you, I don’t feel as though I no longer fit in, I was born to do this, I was born to be part of this new way of thinking and help people in whatever form that takes.  This new world that is forming is all about the heart and love. Are you ready to be part of the revolution that is taking place inside of us, are you already part of it? Good, let’s dance!

Thank you Carolyn for the inspiration

Love you all

Donna

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The Dance of Grief

Grief is a funny word. I think it should contain more letters and have a harsher sound to it. It sounds soft and uncomplicated doesn’t it?   It is not soft, that is for sure. Experts say it has five to seven stages to it depending upon where you get your information. Seven stages sounds complicated especially since you can go through them in order only to revisit one of those stages at any time. Grief is different for everyone! Just like life and the way humans respond and react to that, it is different for everyone. Remember that.

Dealing with loss is complicated and you can grieve for many different reasons. My grief is due to the loss of my husband and sometimes it sneaks up on me in the strangest situations. I think it’s odd when someone says I lost my husband. I did not lose him, I know exactly where he went and there were times I wished that I could have gone with him. It would have been so much easier if he had lived and I had died, well easier for me. I would have traded my life for his and offered that solution to the universe a few times. The universe had other plans for me.  I have had a few long chats with the universe and all the powers that be, I was not impressed.

Okay grief let’s dance. It was mind blowing how powerful the grieving was. It brought me to my knees, some days I didn’t get out of bed and a few times I just sat in this chair staring out the window not seeing or feeling anything. I had trouble concentrating, I couldn’t sleep, some days I couldn’t even get dressed. Please, oh please, oh please don’t ask me to make another decision. It doesn’t matter how many people you have around you, grief is there waiting for you. I just got this image in my mind of grief as a dust bunny ninja, lurking in corners and hiding under the bed, jumping out at you when you least expect it. Not only are you grieving the loss of the person, you are also having to let go of your dreams and the future you had planned. Your person ( mother, father, child, friend, husband) dies and your entire life is changed forever, dreams gone in the blink of an eye.

I am a practical person and can usually find solutions in any problematic situation. There is no solution for grief. It doesn’t stop and is constantly changing. One minute it is in your face and messing with your ability to breathe and the next it retreats back to its dark corner and waits. I can remember a day when I was out with friends and on the drive home I had realized I had not thought of my husband for a few hours, grief jumped into the seat beside me and I was assaulted by it. My heart screamed how could I have forgotten Howard for those few hours? My mind was on other things and I had some fun with the girls, then the minute I was alone the reality of the situation hit home. This was no ordinary lunch date because Howard was not going to be home when I got there.  Sometimes when I go to sleep I forget what has taken place and when I wake up in the morning it hits me all over again.  Some mornings I wake up and don’t think about it all.

Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. Because I have always had the ability to go with the flow when grief struck I embraced it. I explored this aspect of the process and went where it led me. Grief also has the ability to transform you and like any transformation the process is not pretty or pain free. The amount of growth for me has been proportionate to how willing I was to experience all that grief had to offer. I have grieved without apology. Despite the fact that I am moving on with my life, I still have moments of overwhelming grief. I had one last night. Driving home, tears pouring down my face and singing at the top of my lungs in great gasps and sobs.  Thank the universe it was dark and no one could see me. I grieve in private and I grieve a lot in my car.

There is no end to this story, no tidy summation to leave you with. The loss is always there, you just learn how to go on with your life and live with the loss. You learn to live with it and if you let it grief can teach you much about living. So please have some patience with the people you know who are suffering a loss of any kind in their life. Just love them through the process and set aside your own expectations of how they should be handling it. Until you have danced with grief you don’t know if you will be dancing a fast and hard flamenco or a slow intimate waltz.  In my case it has been an awkwardly beautiful interpretive dance that changes speed and rhythm on a whim.

Hug people, all the people

Love you all

Donna

 

 

Serenity’s Path

When you pull into my driveway there is a locked gate. Just past that gate on the left there was a rather large hand carved wooden sign that hung between two tall spiked medieval looking metal posts. The sign read Serenity’s Path. One day as I was leaving for work the sign had, after many years, rotted and crumbled to the ground. Me being me, I thought, I hope that is not a sign. I now think it was. The crumbled serenity sign reminded me that all things must end and nothing in this life is permanent. The signs are everywhere so look for them!

I lived behind a locked gate in a land called Serenity’s Path. I was happy there, or was I? When I would drive home after work I had to stop to open and close the gate and always stood for a moment to hang all the things from the day that I wanted to let go of on one of the posts. I would then thank the winds for carrying them far away and continue on to the house where my man, conversation and a cup of coffee were waiting. It was my life and while I loved it there was also this feeling of restlessness deep inside me that I didn’t quite understand. I had a wonderful husband, a business, a job and friends I adored so this restlessness confused me.

I asked Howard one afternoon, as we sat on the deck drinking coffee in the warm sun, if he would be willing to sell everything we owned, get in the truck with our travel trailer behind us and go on a great adventure. As per usual he raised his eyebrows, he did that a lot for some of my ideas, and said “Why would I want to do that, I love it here, There is so much I want to do here.” He had plans, so many plans. Now he’s gone, a half finished sculpture still sits on his work bench, and I am sitting here, drinking coffee in my yellow mug, with the same yearning for something more.

I want more than to spend eight hours of my day in a job that I have no interest in and a business that takes up an extreme amount of my free time. What am I doing this for? I am not a materialistic person so it wasn’t to get bigger and fancier things. Society places a lot of emphasis on and tries to convince you that your self worth is tied to being productive and having a career and all the right stuff. We live in a sad sad world that places too much importance on things that really don’t mean anything In the long run. It is all an illusion. Talk to anyone on their deathbed and you will not hear them say I wish I had worked more or had more material things. They say things like, I wish I had spent more time with my family and friends. They wish they had slowed down enough to enjoy the life they had. Don’t be that person! Enjoy what is right in front of you, this precious moment, because it will not last. Nothing is permanent, not the wonderful times and certainly not the bad ones.

There is an upside to all this! With the acceptance of no one thing being permanent comes freedom. I know my grief will not last, I know that bad days only last one day, people come and go and I don’t have to get used to any one way of being unless I choose to. While my driveway is straight, the path to serenity is not. The path has twists and turns, viewing areas and it sometimes doubles back to show you something you missed the first time. Whatever you are going through today, remember, it is only temporary. Learn from it, savour it because soon it will all just be a memory. Also remember it is your choice to view the world in the way you do. You can always change your mind and your viewpoint.

Live like you mean it
Peace and love to you all
Donna

To the Next Amazing Man

I have come to the conclusion that despite the fact that I am honest and outspoken I can be timid when it comes to asking for what I want. I think parts of my last post were bullshit and the universe with its grand sense of humour and timing challenged me on it. The vaginal angst part was true though lol. Some of you have sent me messages or phoned regarding that post and you made me think about things more deeply without bullshit clouding the issue.

What a wild ride the last year has been. Some people are surprised that I am doing so well at this point, especially if they have not seen me for four months. They never saw my knees hit the floor and my soul shatter, for the most part that was done in private. They did not see the rage and anger that whipped around my heart like a tornado. Most of what I went through, I went through alone. Yes there were people around me but they did not see what I did not want them to see. I have never heard the noises that came out of me in my grief, come out of another human being. I hope I never hear those heart rending noises again from anyone, ever. I don’t like to see anyone else in pain. That particular pain was so deep it changed me in ways I have yet to discover.

Here is a poem I wrote yesterday and I wasn’t sure what it was all about, now I know.

Winds howl
Lightening rends the night sky
Hair flying
Cold wet clothes burn
Arms raised
Gods, Goddesses challenged
Elements called
Power flows, thunder roars
Flung wildly
Across the land unprotected
Ravens cry
Trees bend from the force
Pain sorrow
Soul ripped apart

 

(I am not sure what the heck happened with the line spacing and I can’t seem to fix it so apologies if it is double spaced)

The pain I felt was like a primal force that changed me and shaped me. I know this woman but I do not recognize parts of her. Something in me was awakened by that experience and I will never view the world in the same way again. So me describing my idea of the perfect relationship was pure shit. That was my way of saying I was afraid to truly love someone because I did not ever want to deal with the pain again. If I can keep them at arms length and they leave or die it won’t hurt so much. Actually I think it might even hurt more because I would regret not loving them fully.

So I hereby give notice to the next amazing man that shares my life! I will not settle for less, nor should you. I am a wild, wonderful woman and I need you to stand toe to toe with me, beside me, in front of me and behind me. Love me fiercely like you mean it. Meet me with your heart wide open. Challenge me, fight for me (no violence of course, not that type of fighting), show no fear. Give thanks to the man I spent the last eleven years of my life with because his life and his love prepared me for you!

Amazing men do amazing things
Love to you all
Donna

Heart wide open!

It is so dark here in the wilds of Sooke this morning and waking up hours before the sunrise is a new habit of mine. I’m sitting in my chair with the fireplace going and a steaming cup of my favourite coffee. The coffee tastes better when I use my handmade, sunny yellow mug for some reason. This doesn’t make any logical sense, but trust me, the coffee does not taste the same in another mug. I’ve tried to use a different mug but I always come back to the yellow one. I guess me and the yellow mug have a comfortable relationship with one another. I know it’s curves and my slender fingers fit perfectly in the handle.

Comfort is good and bad. I wish my name was Comfort, what a beautiful way to introduce yourself. Hi, my name is Comfort!  I like it and I am sure people would automatically feel at ease around someone with that name. We do some crazy things in order to be comfortable with ourselves and the rest of the world. We will put up with things that make us uncomfortable, in some cases, in order to continue on a familiar path. Better the devil ya know, right? Well, as some of you already know my life had some drastic changes last year. My spouse of 11 years, his name was Howard, passed away within a few months of being diagnosed with cancer. The type of cancer doesn’t really matter, the fact that it ended our dance together on this earth is the real matter. Funny that I used that phrase because we never, ever danced with each other. So, Howard was ill and I had a business and a full-time job. Needless to say, I closed the business and cut back my hours at work, so we had time to be together and I had time to look after things for him. I don’t think many people know that Howard and I worked together with his parents in their family business of 38 years. Yes, I worked with my man and my in-laws! There are a few stories there!  Back to the important parts. Howard and I both thought he would survive this. We never for a moment thought that a man who never got sick and was so fit and healthy would succumb so quickly. He did everything he could to stay here and I was amazed at the strength and grace he possessed when faced with his own mortality. I unfortunately did not exhibit the same grace.

Howard was my anchor, my comfort in a world of uncertainty. My business and my job could be replaced but this man was so special and my god he showed me every day how much he loved me. He didn’t speak about love much, he lived it! His actions, which I think spoke much louder than words, told me everyday how important I was to him. He never once criticized me or made me feel silly or small or less than beautiful. I do some crazy shit so I think that took great strength! He loved me when I was at my worst and my best. He held me as my heart was breaking when I lost the baby we created together and never once tried to stop my tears, he loved me through it. He loved me unconditionally and with every cell. I was comfortable, happy and empowered. Then it all ended.

Okay here comes the messy and graceless part. I could not find the gracefulness in me without seeing it reflected back to me through his eyes. Did I mention that his eyes were blue? A beautiful denim blue that spoke to my soul. Okay, I’m just avoiding the uncomfortable parts. Here we go down the rabbit hole! I was ANGRY!!!! Can you imagine a small 5 foot 3 east coaster angry at the world and spewing it out upon the people she loved and complete strangers in grand and dramatic fashion. No? Okay think of a wild animal (any big ferocious feline should work) ripped from their environment and placed in a small cage and put on display for people to gawk at. Yes, that is a much better visual. Now imagine for another second that this feline was so in touch with the world around her that she could communicate with the universe and caged that was taken from her too. I could not feel anything. The beautiful and wonderful world of spirit (I will post about this aspect later) that I had experienced since I was born was gone. It felt like someone had shut the door and turned off the lights in a room with no windows or fresh air. I was blind with rage and grief. Everything that I thought made me who I was had been taken away.

I love being wrong! My friends and family loved me through the most difficult and graceless period of my life. Now here is the funny part. Despite the fact that my entire life had been destroyed, because that is how I saw it, a whole new life was being born. Even through my rage and grief I could see the possibilities that we’re now available to me. Talk about conflicting emotions! Grief and hope we’re fighting a war inside me. Then I thought about the man I had loved and knew he would want me to celebrate the fact that I was alive even though he was not. He was selfless that way. Howard was instrumental in me learning how to be me without apology. He taught me to stand strong with my feet firmly planted on my path and my heart wide open. He would be upset if he thought I closed myself off from the beauty and miracles of life because he was no longer walking with me in this physical plane. He inspired me when he was alive and continues to inspire me now that he is gone. Thanks Howard, I will always love you and will live my life to the fullest to honour all the love you gave and the things you taught me.  You were an amazing man Howard and amazing men do amazing things.  This last sentence was a little joke between us!

 

Wow, I have gone through a lot of tissues writing this! I just want to say a few more things before I start my day. Don’t be afraid to love with 110 percent of your soul. Love is not painful! Loneliness, anger, loss, isolation, a hunger for connections with others, now those are painful things. Don’t be afraid! I wish I could show you the world through my eyes and heart. Oh yeah, I can do that and have made it my mission. When you see me it shines from my eyes and if you are open you can see the love that radiates out of me and get a glimpse of the world through my heart and eyes. It is a beautiful world but you have to approach it with your heart wide open in order to see it! So for the people that avoided me in the grocery store, there is a softer and gentler Donna walking down the aisles so you don’t have to run away anymore.  I’ll show you the wonders of the universe, yes I smile with my eyes and heart

 

 

Oh yes, and hug people, as many people as you can!

Peace and love to all

Donna