“The greatest risk we can take is to be seen as we truly are.” – Ella in the movie “Cinderella”
Revealing it all; being real and authentic; walking our path with openness; allowing people to see and hear how we are REALLY doing – all of these can leave us feeling very raw and vulnerable. We can feel as if our very skin is being burned off as we stand unshielded before the world. We can want to run and hide away so that no one can see us.
But these very things that leave us shaking before the world, fearing that we will be rejected when we are truly seen, are what gives us the strength to become more and more deeply our true selves. The selves we long to be but often hide so that we can fit into molds the world (or we ourselves) have placed us in. When we choose to bravely stand in who we truly are in this time and in this moment amazing things can happen. We can be like the phoenix that arises again from the ashes of its’ own death. We can become glorious human beings walking our path in light and love and adventure.
“In ancient Egyptian mythology and in myths derived from it, the phoenix or phœnix (pheonix, phoenixbyrd, feonix, foenix) is a mythical sacred firebird. Said to live for 500 or 1461 years (depending on the source), the phoenix is a bird with beautiful gold and red plumage. At the end of its life-cycle the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises. The new phoenix embalms the ashes of the old phoenix in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (“the city of the sun” in Greek). The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal and invincible — a symbol of fire and divinity. ”
For now, the kids and I are like the baby phoenix just arisen in the ashes of our lives. We move like an infant – bursts of energy, awkward movements, collapsing with exhaustion in the blink of an eye, looking around in wonder and sometimes bafflement at the world around us. We are imagining and dreaming of new adventures and places we can explore. We eat a little, play and work some, rest a lot. Simply growing from infant to adult is hard work. And believe me we are all infants in this new “cuckoo luckoo land” we are traveling in.
As much as we all would love to become the adult phoenix able to regenerate itself, for now we MUST stay in the ashes. There is healing to be had here first. Healing that we don’t want to rush or it won’t be complete. In the ashes are the fuel for our amazing rebirths and we will come out stronger than we have ever been.
I know that all of you who are journeying with us want to take all the pain away and magically make everything right again. As much as part of me deeply wishes this as well, I know that I must stay in this time and in this moment. It is harder to admit the kids need to stay here as well since I long for them to be light-hearted and full of joy again. But they too need to stay in this time and in this moment. Here – in the confusing, dark part of our path – is where our rebirth can happen. In the ashes, the cocoon, the egg, underground – all of these images work. Not always an easy place to be, but necessary.
Walk with us, hug us, hold our hands, be silly with us, sit quietly beside us, talk with us, feed us – yes! These are like lifelines for us or like the balance pole a tight rope walker carries as they put one foot in front of the other high above the rest of the world. Feel your own pain and honor it as the growing space for your own rebirth. Journal your path. Share the wisdom of your story with me and how it is making you stronger. Be silly with me and help me feel a little bit lighter for a while. Keep talking with us about your memories of Russell. Share your confusion, your pain, your joys, all of your lives with me. I long for the connection of simply being with all of you.
But take or wish away our pain? No. It is ours and we have earned the right to feel it all. We need to wear it with openness and honor to our journeys. Yes, we will rise someday like a phoenix, or a dragon, or a butterfly or a butterfly dragon, able to fly in our full power. For now, we are gentle with ourselves and continue to give ourselves permission to tap out of any situation that is just too much for us.
Please do not fear putting “too much” on us or talking too much to us. We are getting very good at honestly speaking of what we can and cannot do. We can listen to the stories of others’ lives. I love hearing about what is going on in someone else’s life as it feels like a reality I want to get back to. Reach out to us through text, email, messaging, phone calls. We will respond as we can. But each message is taken in and does a little bit to nourish our infant selves.
As the world moves on and life returns to “normal” for most of you, memories of Russell and this cuckoo luckoo time will fade which can provide a lot of relief for most. This is a good, normal and healthy thing. The massive amount of adrenaline released a few weeks ago is starting to fade. I see the shift happening around me and I think “yes, it is good. Others are finding their way out of cuckoo luckoo land.” As I “move on” with life my memories fade but I am left with a deeper aching. Instead of being a raw, open wound it feels like deep arthritic pain. It is deeper, always there, sometimes very sharp and other times just a dull awareness. But it is always there. I imagine it is similar for our children.
We all become quieter. Not because we are getting over it but because we are growing number with the ache. It is actually harder each day in some ways as the shock of it all wears off. Easier in little ways but the overall feeling is deeper and more stunning. We continue to feel shaking to our very cores. “Real life” seems so incredibly strange now. So our need of you is even stronger than ever. Hugs, texts, cards, candy surprises, invites to do something fun, keep them coming!!!!
I know that many fear saying or doing the wrong thing so may say or do nothing. That is okay too. I know that all of you continue to feel some bafflement at this turn of events. I feel the love pouring forth even in the silent moments. And I know with 100% surety that if I ask for anything others will do all they can to help. Silence doesn’t mean not caring to me. Silence means we are all sitting in a reality that is confusing and profound.
I continue to walk my path in the only way I know how to. I take one deliberate, baby step after another, moving forward. I breathe in and I breathe out. I love my children fiercely and do all I can to encourage them to follow their own, very unique path. I do what I can with my day and don’t beat myself up for what doesn’t get done.
I take great risk each day to stand strongly and be seen as I truly am – a shaking, trembling, sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing newborn hoping to become a butterfly dragon.