Tag Archive | grief

Always in our Hearts

As the rain gently falls
we remember those who are 
with us in our hearts

They will always be a part of us

We honor their heart and soul
surrounded by their essence
as we tend to the flowers of the earth

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

 

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

 

 

 

Just do your best; You’ll find your how!

Change is a fact of life. Our bodies change, as do our cognitive abilities. Sometimes we embrace change, but sometimes change can be frightening. The fear of the unknown and the anticipation of what might be can be paralyzing; the feeling of vulnerability can prevent us from moving forward.

A few of my friends, including myself, have been going through significant grief, loss, and change the past year. Loss of many kinds, including illness, financial upheaval, deaths of loved ones, and watching how a progressive illness affects a family. We are also navigating aging in a society where becoming a woman of a certain age can make you feel irrelevant. Big.Tough.Stuff!

As I was talking with a friend yesterday, who was extremely distressed, I found the best thing I could do was to silently offer myself as her mirror. The grief and fear she is experiencing are (appropriately) palpable, but she is also doing some wonderful things both for herself and the community. Personal growth, and being of service to others is one of the constants in this person’s day-to-day life.

Sometimes, in the muck and mire of what life throws at us, we forget to see, and often don’t acknowledge that what we do, and who we are matters.

I go through feelings of irrelevance and self-doubt a lot. Especially when I can feel I am on the cusp of change. Right now, I have hit the pause button on many outside activities in my life. As I work to reconnect with myself; my center, I notice that my interests are heading in a different direction than they have been the past few years. That’s a natural progression for me, as I learn and grow. But, it’s also a bit scary. Although I still could be quite satisfied with the path I have been on, I’m also anxious to listen to what it is I may want to do next.

I find right now, that I am feeling the wind of change calling to me. Just as I was purposefully trying to be a mirror for my friend yesterday, I find I’m also seeking out the mirrors in my life. The ones who reflect back who I am without any masks. The person I have been working hard to become, without feeling shame, the need for perfection or control, but who can also firmly set personal boundaries.

As my friend and I were talking, she was describing to me an intensive class she will soon be taking. I started to think about the things I’m willing to let go of now, and the absolute openness of what will come next. Both of us began to get a bit stressed and animated over the, “how are we going to get through this?”

As my friend got up to grab some water, out of my mouth, from somewhere in that wise-mind of mine, I heard myself say the words, “Just do your best – You’ll find the how!”

I really believe those words were just a random thought that was passing by, but the words came out. We stared at each other in silence, stunned into the connectedness of knowing that it will be okay.

What happened next? We sat quietly next to each other, understanding that with change comes uncertainty. But that uncertainty only requires us to do our best, and trust that the how will reveal itself in its own perfect timing.

Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

 

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

 

Mindfulness and Grief

My mindfulness and meditation practice is extremely important to me. Some mindfulness masters teach that you cannot fully begin to meditate until you have wept deeply. I once read a story of a Zen teacher who flirted with meditation for years before he decided to commit. He recalled how he wept openly and often for two years and only after he had grieved for many things in his life was he able to sit in silence.

Recently, as I was sitting outside enjoying a beautiful day, I began to feel the pull of profound grief and sadness for the life I had uncovered: the loss, the pain, the torture, the years that I clung to survival as my only way of life. I was sad for the years of having no hope, no dreams, and no promises made, thinking that whoever came into my life would leave. I don’t dwell there very long anymore, but sometimes, it’s a place I walk through after being triggered.

I began to recall the lesson about weeping. I thought about the many times during guided meditation that I would begin to shed tears, not weeping, but feeling the unmistakable wetness. Feeling the tears stream down my cheeks, I stopped and pulled myself back to reality. The reality of kids, shopping lists, or work.

At the time, I didn’t understand that perhaps those tears marked the beginning of my spirit wanting to open up, cleanse myself through grief, and help guide me on my path. I didn’t understand that there is openness after grief, and it is an important part of life and growth.

Before I came inside to write this, I grabbed a fuzzy that was floating in the air, made a wish, and blew it away. I wished I could go away deep in the woods without the sounds of the world and just sit, just be with the sounds of nature, and the fog coming up from the ground at dusk.

I thought about a story I once read of a girl in a silver boat who had gone through the woods and came out on a beautiful shore.

Though I yearn to go into the woods without the sounds of the world, it can be a difficult experience.  I get triggered in the woods; bad things happened to me in the woods, and, still, I love the woods! My desire to go into the woods to find a simple, peaceful experience, is coupled directly with traumas that are so triggering that going there is a challenge.

Mindfulness requires me to stay in the present. After I experience a flashback bringing myself back to the present can be difficult, especially if I’m in the woods. Yet, I want to be in the woods, I feel connectedness in the woods. It’s a paradox.

I realize that the girl in the silver boat and the Zen master who said they wept for years are stories. They are metaphors that help show us another way. They provide hope and give us the strength to keep trying, keep breathing.

I have been wonderfully surprised that some mindfulness teachers are saying, if a person is working through trauma, perhaps just sitting and meditating is not the best path at the moment. Practicing mindfulness is important, being able to sit with the feelings as they come is important, but forcing yourself to sit for a prescribed period of time may be counterproductive.

For me, that is the reality of my practice. Sometimes I can sit for a minute, sometimes longer. I accept that this is the process of healing and that meditation is just one tool in my toolbox.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had many conversations with people about grief and loss. Often trying to define it, and the many ways it can manifest itself. The feelings that sneak up on us, reminding us that loss comes in many forms and can be caused by many things. Some are overt experiences, some are insidious vestiges leftover from long ago. Staying mindfully non-judgemental when the feelings of loss and grief creep in seems to be a common struggle. It can be difficult to navigate.

Living mindfully, staying present, and surfing the waves of emotion as they come is my goal. I set my intention every morning; I try to evolve and know that without shedding the tears, feeling the words, and experiencing the grief, no matter how many times it rears its’ head, my beautiful, internal gnarly scar of survival will have a hard time staying rooted in place.

Photo by Janet Rosauer

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

The Tender Ground of Acceptance

Years of muscle straining, oxygen deprived, mind exploding, grief-laden work to manage the grip of the skeleton hands of the past.

The rocky terrain and deep crevasses that held the traps of programmed words ready to pull me down into oblivion.

Deafening winds, echoes of the past knocking me down, pushing me sideways, making it hard to grip the rope.

The storm passes, allowing time to pause, to rest, to catch my breath.

So many times, wanting to give up, and give in to the beast of symptoms.

Instead, I chose to trust.  knowing, that I would be guided through the sharpest peaks and deepest valleys.

Summiting many times, thinking there were no more hidden mountains. Then catching glimpse of the last, gnarly climb looming just around the bend.

Everything inside me screams, “No, leave it,” but I realize that climbing all but that last steep incline would leave me stuck, and breathless. Allowing just enough space for the blinders of denial to slowly creep back into place.

I push through. One last climb to release the locked, cold grip of the past.

Then quietly, I make a gentle descent. The thick, foreboding, dangerously tricky mountain range looming steadfastly behind me.

Scar tissue begins to replace open wounds.

I work to accept my abilities in the wake of my past. A sense of accomplishment for not giving in to the siren call of hopelessness that still tries to fill my sometimes fragile, yet strong whole-self.

The arduous climb, my trust in the process, the quiet, gentle descent. The exhalation of living fully in the truth. My truth.

I have slain the beast, and with the Warriors’ call of accomplishment, I rest on the tender ground of acceptance.

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

Reflections

Reflections of those we love

shimmer upon the water

bringing comfort and strength

even as they soar beyond this moment.

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©Alexis Rose, Image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Seeing the Pain in Someone Else’s Eyes

They look so serene sitting straight, hands slightly clenched, gently laying in their lap.

The cadence of their voice is slow, even, steady, and clear.

The conversation flows.

But when you look into their eyes
the pain of hidden burdens echoes from the windows
of their soul.

You lock in, trying to console the dark, deep pain
that oozes quietly, insidiously trying to erode
their dreams of tomorrow.

Giving comfort with a nod, and a gentle smile,
mirroring a silent acceptance of who they are.

Reassuring them that they are seen
and letting them know that as time passes
it will be okay, that they are okay.

Please don’t turn away; look deep
see and respectfully acknowledge
the pain in someone else’s eyes.

Image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

Reflections Of Those We Love – For Terry

Reflections of those we love

shimmer upon the water

bringing comfort and strength

even as they soar beyond this moment.

For our beautiful and dear friend Terry, of spearfruit.com. Terry was a bright light in our blogging world bringing thoughtful posts, short stories, videos of himself encouraging us to boogie with him on his lawn, at the carwash, in the gym, and on a cruise. We love you and will miss you dearly my friend and will keep Gary nestled closely in our hearts. 
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©Alexis Rose,  image source: Pixabay

 

Zen and Grief

Some mindfulness masters teach, that you cannot fully begin to meditate until you have wept deeply. I once read a story of a Zen teacher who flirted with meditation for years before he decided to commit. He recalled how he wept openly and often for two years and after he had grieved for many things in his life, only then was he able to sit in silence.

I was sitting outside this morning, feeling the pull of profound grief and sadness for the life I had uncovered. For the loss, for the pain, for the torture for the years that I clung to survival as my only way of life. Sad for the years of having no hope, no dreams, no promises made…thinking that whoever came into my life would go. Not by virtue of old age, sickness or played out friendships. But would just turn around and go.

I began to recall the lesson about weeping. I thought about the many times during guided meditation that I would begin to shed tears. Not weeping, but feeling the unmistakable wetness on my cheek from tears. It was always at that time, I stopped and pulled myself back to reality. The reality of kids, shopping lists or work. Never understanding that perhaps those tears marked the beginning of my spirit wanting to open up, cleanse myself from grief and help guide me on my path.

Before I came in to write this, I grabbed a cottonwood floaty made a wish, blew it away and came in to write.

I wished I could go away deep in the woods without the sounds of the world and cry. I thought about a story I once read of the girl in the silver boat who had gone through the woods and came out on a beautiful shore. I thought about my intense pull to grieve.

Maybe someday I will get the chance to be like the girl in the silver boat, but then again, I realize that is just a story. A book, a metaphor. Perhaps the person who said they wept for years is also a story, a metaphor.

It seems I long for the same endings that people get in stories, movies, and books. It seems that sometimes I don’t have faith in my ability to heal completely because I feel like its just words I am supposed to feel, not feelings I am supposed to feel.

I’m having a hard time feeling the words. My body, my mind wants to feel the feelings. I yearn to be like those who have the ability to go find solace in quiet places. I’m not ready to dwell in those places. I know that its the way it is right now.  I accept it and respect the reality and the process of healing. Someday, perhaps I hope to grieve that too.

I am not a Zen teacher. I don’t necessarily want to be able to sit for hours. I do, however, intend to stay the path.  I set my intention every morning, I try to evolve but know deep down inside that without shedding the tears, feeling the words, I will never heal the way I want to heal. Without grieving over the life that was, I will just scab over and create a new gnarly scar. 

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