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

 

 

Buying Into Bullshit

I cannot believe that I am writing this! Remember that this is after all only my opinion and in no way am I trying to tell you not to believe what you believe, or am I asking you to agree with me.Having said that, let’s do this. I am so tired of bullshit! I had a chat with two friends of mine yesterday. You know, the real friends that allow you to just say whatever you want and need to get of your chest, without getting upset about it or taking it personally. Anyway, we discussed many different things and they asked me one question (a lot of people have asked me this in the last six months) “Are you going to open your business again?” In my head and heart I heard HELL NO! Up until that moment, whenever I was asked this, I would say I am not sure. Something didn’t feel quite right until yesterday when the hell no came screaming out of me. My business was a retail store that sold yoga, meditation and metaphysical products to the not so general public. I just fell into the business with a forceful nudge from the universe. I cannot open that business again because that would mean I am not living an authentic life and at this point I have trouble being anything but authentic. You do not need the shit I was selling! What most of you wanted was someone to talk to and I provided that for free, no purchase required. What I got out of the business was you, I needed you to interact with me and at that point in my life the only method I had to meet you, was to sell you stuff.

Please note that this is not an attack on a specific industry but the retail industry as a whole and certain segments are singled out only as an example for making a point. You want to practice yoga get on the floor or the grass and do it! You do not need a mat, special clothing or any of the other stuff that you are being sold. It has been done for centuries without any of that. People want to sell you stuff and in order to do it they need you to believe that you cannot possibly do it “right” without their stuff. Meditation, same thing, just sit in a comfortable position and get it started. Mind you, I do love my meditation bench and it allows me to sit for long periods. (In my case 1/2 an hour is long) and be comfortable. You want healing and look for things that are going to make it faster and easier. These things you buy are tools people!   They are just tools to get you out of the small minded world you have trapped yourself inside of so you don’t feel the pain. They can help sure but no one thing or one person can heal you. You heal you! You get honest with yourself and do the work because if you don’t no one person and no thing can save your ass. If every time you need to make a decision you consult someone or something you are not acknowledging your own feelings. You want someone else to tell you what to do and then if it doesn’t work it is their fault. Take responsibility for you and find, search, and seek out the help you need but don’t expect to not have to do the work.

Sorry, I went on a bit of a rant there. I feel very strongly about it and cannot sell you things at this time. What I want to sell you on is your own ability to help yourself. Sure we need help sometimes and that is true for all of us, accept help, seek the help, be the help for others. I am not saying don’t buy the tarot cards or consult a psychic, or use crystals or have a reiki treatment or seek professional medical help in any capacity. These are all wonderful tools on the path to healing. I use Reiki, tarot cards, crystals, essential oils, and medical professionals on my own healing journey. I do not depend on them to make decisions or to solve my problems. What I am saying is do not expect them to fix you. I am asking what you would do if none of that existed or all just went away. What the fuck would you do? Well some people would have you believe that if you would only have nothing but positive thoughts it will be all rainbows and puppy dog kisses. I say bullshit! You want to get rid of your pain then you need to get down and dirty with it. Roll around on the floor naked and make sweet love to that pain!   Feel it, don’t try to push it away or cover it up with flowery words because sometimes your fucking life will depend on your ability to dance with the pain. I have survived some seriously nasty shit over the course of my life, am thriving even and for the most part am a warm and happy person. Most of my friends, notice I said most, would agree with that statement. Some would call me something much less flattering, they also have no idea what I have been through in my life because I don’t share all the details with everyone. I have danced with the pain in the many shapes and forms it came in. I have been there. I hope you do not have to stay with the pain as long as I did.

I don’t care how many positive and self affirming thoughts you have going on in that pretty little head of yours, it is masking the symptoms of a much larger problem. It cannot take away the pain until you face the pain and there is always help available. Please get help if you need it and please don’t feel as though you are all alone. That is the big secret, everyone feels alone with their pain and afraid they will be judged, ignored, rejected etc. etc. if they reach out to someone. If the first person you reach out to is a complete idiot reach out to someone else and then someone else until you find the right person. You are fucking worth it and your life matters no matter what you have been through. You are not alone. Think about it, with over seven billion people on the planet I am sure there is someone who will understand what is eating you up inside.

Positive thinking has its place for sure! What works for me is sending the positive thoughts out to others, by helping them I help myself. I am not focused on my narrow little world, I am getting out of my own dark and sometimes self defeating mind and giving to others. What you put out into the world comes back to you, they say. I’m still not sure who the hell “they” are but I could kick their ass right now. Manifest the life you want “they say”. So, what you put out comes back. Putting out I want this, I need that, this is what I want my life to look like, blah blah blah is grasping. You grasp anything in your fist long enough and you will choke it. Grasping, greed, me, me, me. Just think you get back what you send out!!! Send out love and compassion for others and you get love and compassion back from others. Send out all the bullshit you have bought into and you get back more bullshit. Is it starting to make sense?

Please stop buying the shit they are selling that tells you that you are not enough, this pill will fix all your problems, that car will earn you respect, this newer and bigger house will improve your messed up family life. The healing starts internally with you and a decision to do the work you need to do to start the healing process. Seek the help that you need in whatever form that takes for you. But, I beg you not to hand them the power you were born with to know and heal yourself by purchasing the shit they are selling. You do not need to purchase anything to be a happy healthy person in all of your brilliant glory, what you need is other people, that human connection. You need love and you cannot buy that.

Be the love, be the change
Love you all
Donna

Embracing the Pain

I blew the dust off of my yoga mat this morning and spent 30 minutes with some of my favourite poses. I forgot how soothing it was to spend time just breathing and moving my body. When I am struggling with something I have a tendency to do busy things like clean the bathroom or go for a long walk. This morning since my struggle was internal I decided to go inward and listen instead. What am I doing and why am I doing it? That is the question I asked myself this morning. Sometimes I don’t get any insightful answers, I am just left with more questions. Perhaps the answers are hidden in those questions. Then again, maybe sitting here with a cup of coffee and writing will illuminate those dark corners inside me that I have not been willing to fully shine a light on.

Bring on the light! Okay, where is it? No great moment of illumination has happened. Yoga reminded me that it takes time to work the stiffness out, just be in the moment and breathe, just be. How can I forget these things so quickly after I have learned them? I don’t like being in pain and as a typical human I just want the pain to stop and apply short term fixes looking for a long term solution. So I turn to one of the best things I have ever learned from Buddhist philosophy, embrace the pain. All the things I do for quick fixes only fan the flames of the fiery pain. Sit with it, befriend it, love that painful part of yourself, love yourself. The flames will burn, shape and reshape you and out of the ashes a new you is born. So tonight I will sit here and burn.

Well, yes, pain burns but at least it has heat. So I look for the positives in pain and to be honest I cannot even describe this pain. All I can tell you is that my soul is crying out for something so strongly that it feels as though I will cease to exist if I don’t find it. Pain, it is warm in my case, also reminds me that I can feel some wonderful emotions. Pain teaches me that I have a heart, I have more in common with others than differences, that I care for myself and others, I have the ability to love others unconditionally and pain reminds me that it is not always returned to me in kind. Okay, pain whether physical or emotional is my teacher. What exactly is this pain educating me on?

I just got to meet someone that I had previously only had contact with through writing and phone calls. Huge risk for both of us since we had an idea of who each other was but that first meeting always says so much. I recognized him instantly and walked towards him arms and heart wide open. First moment wasn’t so awkward phew. What a relief! We got to spend two days together. We ate, laughed a lot, walked, sat, talked and talked some more. We have huge differences in opinion on certain matters, but it doesn’t matter. We learned from and about one another. We learned. It was a beautiful two days and then it was back to our regular lives. I am changed forever because of meeting him. I am changed because by learning about him, I learned much about myself. Sometimes seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can give you a new perspective. Arkemedes it was an honour to meet you my friend, I ask the universe to send you many blessings on your journey.

Now it is 6:30 at night and I am sitting here in my slightly soiled chair exploring my pain. We all have some pain in our lives and how we approach our own as well as the pain that others carry says much about us. Embrace the pain, yours and theirs. Compassion and love can heal the most damaged of us. We just need people in our lives who are willing to stand with us in the fire and bring their own pain with their arms and hearts open. We can bring great healing to others just by creating that space where we can support and acknowledge each other. No judgement, just space for healing from the pain.

Love yourself

Hug Everyone

Donna

 

Heart and Mind

I am sitting here in the dark typing and listening to Hozier’s album at a volume level I have not reached for in years! Times they are a changing. I cannot count the number of things that have changed outside of and inside of me, all I can tell you is I do not feel like the same person. I no longer just see the world and people, I feel the world and people through new eyes and a new heart. I know I use that word heart a lot when I write but I happen to think it is a most important part of us and living from your heart has much different results than living from your head. It seems to work that way for me. My mind, when I am all alone, can be a dark and scary place. It is full of insecurities, drama, what ifs, should haves, assorted lies and untruths and can come up with movie worthy disaster scenes for my life. What about yours is it all light and positive in there? I do know that some people always seem to be positive and see the good things , but I think they have either been born that way ( lucky buggers) or have learned to live from their heart. Anyone can do it, it just takes practice.

Sometimes I think our minds always try to see the differences between us and our hearts see the similarities. When I have interactions with other people holy cow does my mind like to dance around, at least it used to. Now it only does it when I am extremely uncomfortable or out of my comfort zone as they say. I’m working on it! When I can focus on the person in front of me, get my mind to quiet down, I notice I can hear what they are trying to say and also what they are not saying as well as many other subtle little things. My mind want wants to think about what I am going to say in response, does this person like me, wow I didn’t realize that he had such big ears etc etc. My heart just hears and does not dance around from feeling to feeling. It is caught up in the moment and experiencing the other person. I feel them and their words!

Now, I am at a point where I am venturing out into the dating world. The landscape is unfamiliar and I am definitely out of my comfort zone. You guessed it, mind racing along. Breathe, Donna, just breathe. It is hard to put myself out there. Despite the fact that I share some very personal feelings and circumstances with you, I am not so willing to be that vulnerable on a date. What has been very interesting for me is people having access to my writing sometimes before they have met me in person. This gives them a certain advantage don’t you think? I am not paranoid in any way shape or form, but I am cautious. A woman has to be careful out there. So they have access to my writing and I am going in blind. Why did I do this? I’m not quite sure. However, how they respond to it tells me a lot about them in the end. Some people have backed off, others have opened up and shared some of themselves with me. That’s okay, I am not the right person for everyone but I am the person for the right one. Communication is key to a relationship of any kind and one of the most important methods we use to get to know one another. I realize that I scare some people off and that’s okay too because if they can’t handle it I would like to be privy to that information sooner rather than later.

I posted the following quote on Facebook yesterday, ” I don’t want to be the other half of your soul. I want to be the one who reminds you that you’re already whole.” GS. I have no idea who GS is but I think those are wise words. I want that for you and I want that for myself as well. Remind me that I am enough, just as I am. Tomorrow I get to see someone who is travelling a long distance just to meet me. He heard me! He is making an effort and going out of his way and I truly appreciate that. We know there are no guarantees but damn you have to take some risks. I am not the only one taking all the risks and putting in all the effort. He has read my posts and from our conversations and his actions has read between the lines and picked up on a few things that others may have missed. Challenge accepted! I will keep you posted and yes I am sure he knew to expect that as well. If not, he does now lol.

Don’t forget to hug people
Hug yourself too!
Donna

Greetings From the Dandelion Whisperer

I had an interesting experience when I hosted a small group at my home last week. I had bought some fresh flowers for the table. I bought mums and tulips and divided them between two vases. One vase was for the table and one for the bathroom. I don’t understand it, but I love having flowers in the bathroom. I cut the stems at different heights and arranged them in a haphazard fashion in my Grandmother’s red crystal vase. Beautiful right? They were a little messy and it drove a friend of mine, who works with flowers for a living, a little crazy. I think she actually winced when she saw them! She asked me if she could do something with them and I said sure! I wanted to see what a professional would do with them and I watched very closely. Watching her just hold the flowers filled me with delight, she has a special connection to them and this was going to be wonderful! She turned my motley arrangement of flowers into a beautiful, photo worthy creation. Then she looked at my face. If my mouth doesn’t give me away my face will. I really loved the arrangement and smile every time I look at them. What bothered me was I realized that for some people my wild ways were not all that attractive.

I’m a little messy and disorganized, so was my flower arrangement. I like to think of myself as a little wild, free spirited, outspoken slightly crazy person. People don’t necessarily respond as I would hope to my craziness and all the other wonderful attributes I have. They want to reign me in and turn me into some neat and tidy flower arrangement, because it makes them more comfortable! Not only are those flowers a reflection of me and how people respond to me, they are also a reflection of the person who felt the need to arrange them that way. I do not want to be tamed!!! I do not want to conform. I do not want to be like anyone else. My wild and messy flowers were now a neat and tidy but beautiful arrangement. I must drive some people crazy with my spontaneous and fly by the seat of my pants life! Good! If you are one of them and are reading this (I wish I could type that raspberry noise) I am sticking my tongue out like a five year old. God people are so serious. Fuck, loosen up people!

Even though I can be messy, I straighten things. When I go to your house I will straighten your artwork, fix the towels in your bathroom, line shoes up and if you let me, put your spices in alphabetical order. I will be moving to a new place in a few weeks. This will be only the second time in my life I had a place of my own where there was no one around to have an opinion on anything and there is a part of my that wants to dance for joy!   I am going to hang some pictures at odd angles just to remind myself of my need to line things up and also see who goes slightly crazy from all the crookedness. My lawn is another great example of my life. There it is 2.5 acres of wildness. I love seeing the dandelions and all the little weeds and funny things that pop up out of the ground. My late husband spent a lot of time in the yard cutting, trimming and pruning that wildness into submission. He never did that to me! He told me once that when he started the lawn tractor he swore that I went outside and talked to the dandelions and told them to duck when he mowed over them! There were always some dandelions left and I think he left them there on purpose just to make me smile.  God, I miss that man!

It is 5 am on a Saturday morning and I am waiting for a response from my flower arranging friend to use this story. I don’t want to make her uncomfortable, that was not the point. I love her, she is creative, funny and a joy to know. I just wanted to explore the flower arrangement and what it represented for me. So, how are your flowers arranged? I just want to sit back and watch people be themself without judging them. Observe people and at some point you will notice yourself being reflected back at you. Right and wrong is a societal and individual construct. Don’t judge just explore. So next time you mow the lawn think of me, the dandelion whisperer! I will be here rolling on the floor laughing my ass off!