Broken and afraid…


“It takes 10 times longer to put yourself back together than it does to fall apart.”  Finnick to Katniss in Mocking Jay

I find myself these days broken and afraid.  Perhaps I have been like this since the beginning of my journey in Cuckoo Luckoo Land. Maybe the shields of my own making and the people around me who have acted like shields kept me from seeing how many pieces I broke into during his time in the hospital and when he died.  Or perhaps it is only as I walk deeper and longer into a world without Russell that my entire being feels as if it is crumbling under the weight of all that I am holding up and holding onto right now.

In the end it doesn’t really matter when the breaking began.  What matters is the here and now. And in this time, in this moment I feel broken and afraid.  I feel as if all of the pieces of myself – my heart, my soul, my physical body, my gifts, my strengths, my weaknesses – all that I am is laying jumbled around my feet in a million tiny pieces.  All of it is scattered around me waiting for me to reassemble it all into some kind of cohesive whole again.

I am afraid, however, that I may never feel strong or capable enough again to pick up the pieces of my life, the pieces of me and function in the world.  I am afraid that the ache that settles into my chest will be as much of an ongoing, constant pressure as the arthritis in my knees has become.  Always there, sometimes dully present and others so strong I am rocked to my core.

I am afraid that nothing will ever feel good enough again.  Long have I struggled with expecting too much from myself.  Most of the time, I actively work to be content with whatever I get done in a day, not stressing over what is still on my to do list.  These days I am afraid that I will never, ever get things done from a list.  Because I just don’t care enough.  I don’t have the follow through energy to get things done.  And any drive to push through is not easily accessible.

I am afraid that I am not enough for my children.  That just me with them leaves them with such a gaping hole that nothing I could ever do will make it better.  I am afraid that our combined sorrow and confusion over the craziness of this time may leave us treading water, or feel like the waves will keep crashing over us for years and years to come.   When there are two parents you can share the burdens and the joys of parenting.  There’s less pressure to get it all right. You can tag team on everything.  You have someone to support you when you are feeling weak and vulnerable and just don’t have answers.  As I settle into the reality of being a single parent, I fear that I will mess up my kids and just am not enough.

I am afraid that I will spend my days always right at the edge of having the Kraken come barreling up from the dark depths  of my pain and confusion and just start striking out at everyone around me.  In spite of practicing many of my coping tools today, the Kraken came barreling up like it had been shot out of a volcanic eruption.  Several folks got caught in the tentacles before I was able to breathe, regroup and reel it all back on.  Even as I apologized and they each said it was okay and they understand, I felt so sad that I just didn’t leave and go be alone earlier. I fear that I will hurt so many people as I am trying to wander through these lost, lost days of finding the pieces of myself.

I am afraid some days that the darkness, the Kraken will win completely and I will be left all alone in the aftermath of a rampage.  I fear that I push people away in my inability to be around anyone some days.

I am afraid many, many days that I will never really heal.  I still feel so lost and so confused and so stunned most days. Even on the good days that I feel pretty strong and capable of breathing deep, there is a part of me that fears I will never really be able to handle all of my life again.  It is often still the simplest of things that can push me flying off the ledge, down into the abyss where the Kraken lives.  I find it hard to trust that the butterfly dragon will lift me up and out of this abyss and help me soar in the light.  I fear that my heart will always hurt.

I am afraid that I will not be able to remember the simplest of things ever again.  I forget everything these days, everything!  If it isn’t sent in text or email format I can’t remember. And if I receive messages in writing, or I write it down myself it’s gone out of my brain within minutes.  I do not like feeling so foggy and confused all of the time.

I am afraid that I will lose the farm, the business, the community of Avalon that I love so much.  Only when I am surrounded by the all of the Avalon kids or when I am completely alone with just the creatures of Avalon do I feel hopeful.  The day to day workings of the farm can still leave me feeling confused, completely incompetent, and more lost than even when we first took over the farm.  Just last week I went to Home Depot to pick up a few supplies for adventure camp.  I ended up almost running from the store in a panic.  Such waves of “what the hell am I doing?  I can’t run a farm.  I can’t run my life.  I just want to be home with my kids, nothing else.” flooded over me.  An easy trip to a place I rarely went to with Russell and I just about lost my mind.  I breathed through and didn’t run screaming from the store.  But I fear my ability to ever be able to completely manage Avalon again.  Teaching lessons is okay. But scheduling lessons for new students feels like climbing Mount Everest.  Feeding the horses and turning them out with someone is good. But handling a feeding on my own – nope. Answering the simplest of questions feels monumental.  Helping folks work through differences of opinion, or planning for shows, or handling anything more than putting a halter onto a horse seems near impossible many days.  So I fear that I may never be all there again and able to work with confidence and ease.

I am afraid that my desire to be fair and inclusive of all people in our community will fall by the wayside as I no longer have the energy to reach out to people.  I just don’t have the energy or desire to invite people along for the journey.  I can barely get myself and the kids out of the house some days.  The thought of trying to reach out, invite others into conversations about Avalon’s future projects and direction, and make sure that people have a chance to voice their dreams and concerns is way too much.  It actually leaves me feeling grumpy and ready to just quit everything.  I feel myself, at times, closing the circle around myself and the kids tighter and tighter.  And I find myself not really caring if others feel left out.  In some ways this can be a path to a good thing as I learn to stay in my business and out of others, placing the responsibility for inclusion back on others.  But right now I fear living feeling grumpy, resentful and pissy.

I am afraid that others will start losing their patience with me and my journey.  I fear that then I will be alone.

I am afraid that I won’t be able to go out and have fun for an entire evening or day again.  Crowds still tend to do me in within an hour to 2 hours of being in them.

I am afraid that as I sift through the pieces of myself and attempt to put them back together that there are many more good- byes ahead. Good-byes to people who I no longer can connect with; good-byes to long held dreams; good-byes to pieces of myself that no longer can fit into part of the new, cohesive me; good-byes to many, many things.  Again, while I know on many levels that some of these good-byes could be a good thing, right now I just don’t know how I can handle more good-byes.

I am afraid that as I attempt to put myself back together that I am still in the breaking apart stage.  If that is true it may be a long, long time before I am back together.

I believe that the first steps to releasing the choke hold fear can wrap around us are naming what they are. There are many more things that rattle through me each day.  And I name those at least into journal.  I want to be whole and courageous again, rather than broken and afraid.  But for today, in this time and in this moment I walk my journey feeling broken and afraid.

Rambling, rambling, rambling


I am fairly confident that this will be a long, rambling journey of a blog. But hey, I am writing again and my life is a long, rambling, muddled journey right now. So my writing matches my journey.  If you are ready to read, buckle up for what might be an interesting journey.  I plan to allow myself to write whatever pops into my mind and heart this morning.

Most of my blog posts and musings as I like to call them have clearly and almost fully been written in my head long before I try to set this into readable format.  The last several weeks have been so jam packed with activity and warring emotions that my ability to formulate all running through me into coherent external words has been impeded.  Overall, I’ve been okay with that.  Avalon activities are running strong – 3 weeks of summer camps down, off property large group adventures, planning for some awesome events coming up this summer, gardening, care taking, and tons more.  The last 3 weeks I’ve spent well over 65 hours a week working.  I’ve been surrounded by people, animals, and the land.  Mostly that gives me good, positive energy.  But at times it feels way too daunting to manage and even at Avalon, with its’ 75+ acres I feel crowded at times. However, even on the darkest of rainy days (which we’ve had wayyy too many of)  I fill with gratitude that Avalon is my work and my sanctuary.  From the beginning of Avalon almost 8 years ago, I have walked that land as if it was made for me.  The very place itself continues to sing to me. the community that is there now, committed to the mission of Avalon and to my family, listen to my song and call me back to it when I begin to lose my way.  Without them and all that Avalon is for me, I have no doubt I would still be walking the dark and lonely paths of Cuckoo Luckoo Land all alone.

I am coming to realize that the jam packed days of summer on a farm often can leave me so weary that writing just seems like too much of an effort.  I long to sit for hours when I write, allowing the Muse to flow through me and from me.
While I love to sit for hours at Avalon, most summers, the incessant rains we’ve been having this year have been driving me into the barns.  I like the barns okay, but it being under my Magic Tree, or walking in the pastures, or working in the garden, or teaching my students about riding in the open, painting jumps or all the other dozens of joyful things that can be done in the sun that I am missing right now.  The farm is greener than it’s ever been and yet I miss the sun.

The rain does, in many ways, match my mood these days and the persistent sound of it falling on the earth with the wind blowing through the trees can be very soothing. I find myself often watching the storms rolling in and smile thinking “yep, that’s about how I feel inside.” Dark, powerful, rolling around, wild, nourishing for the earth, sometimes soothing and other times hurtful, flooding, flooding, flooding with emotion and energy.

There is much that inundates me everyday, like the rain that keeps inundating the earth right now.  Some things come on me like a light rain that just mists the earth leaving it glistening.  I continue to be gifted with folks who reach out to me, sharing stories of Russell, sharing their love and hope for my kids and I, who hug me and say “I have no words. I love you. I’m sorry. I’m here for you.”  These people brighten my day and leave me glistening a little bit brighter.  Just yesterday, at Devinwood’s horse show I had so many people, some who I know and others who are new to me, come up give my a hug and just be there in that time and in that moment with me. this happens to me often each week. I am touched beyond adequate words of gratitude for the ongoing check-in texts, cards, calls, emails, facebook messages, seeking me out that continues to happen for us.  The web of love remains.

The daily reminders that Russell is not with us are like the constant, strong rain we often see in summers. Not really storms but solid enough rain that there is no way to avoid getting wet if you dare to step outside. So many things keep popping up that I want to call and tell Russell about or take him to see.  The grieving process is odd in the ways that one moves forward, then slides back, then gets stuck for awhile, then sees things clearly, then twists back through it all again.  There are days I can simply smile as I think of Russell and all that he was and is.  Other days, not so much.

Other times, I feel pounded by emotions and experiences so powerful, so threatening and so torrential I want to curl up in a bawl under my blankets and hide away from the world until the sun returns.  I just starting chuckling to myself that today, on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, it is once again dark, rainy with little hope of seeing the sun.  I love the summer solistice but even it seems darker  to me this year.  The emotions and experiences of all of the firsts we are facing is the hardest to endure.  Probably because for this first year, almost everything feels like a first.  The first time any of our kids have traveled out of the country; the first mother’s day without Russell helping pamper me; the first birthdays celebrated; the first summer solstice without a farm celebration (and usually bonfire); the first Father’s Day (double whammy weekend with yesterday being the 3 month marker of his death); the first time seeing family without him; and on and on and on it goes.

The kids and I are all making concerted efforts to make new choices, try new things, return to work, find joy in life, learn and grow and hope and love and live.  I am proud of all of them and I am proud of myself for how we are walking our journeys and trying to live as authentically as we know how to do at this time and in this moment.  But I am not going to lie or deny that the firsts pound upon us like the crazy storms we’ve been having this past week.  The first leave us as blind as one can feel when trying to drive in rains so hard you can’t see further ahead then a foot or two. One needs to trust in those drives and in the way our life is right now that all will be well and we need to just keep moving slowly forward.  Experiencing the deep, deep heartache of missing Russell and what our lives were can’t be ignored just like you can’t ignore the thunderstorms that pour over us.  It crashes and it booms and it scares us to our core some days.

Standing in the storms of emotions that swirl around me from myself and my kids and the others who continue to grieve for Russell, is a daily – okay really a moment by moment – lesson in utilizing all of my tools to remain centered, grounded, and open.  Just taking deep breaths can be challenging at times.  I find myself reacting quicker and in weirder ways than I’ve done  before.  All those who have heard my reactive screams and loud gasps of late can attest to this.  My heart is so raw right now that I find I much more vulnerable to being thrown off balance.  I can recover fairly quickly in most situations but I can get knocked off my balance board by the most interesting things.  Thankfully, I practice my meditative skills daily so they are closer to  being in my grasp.  When I can tap into these I am able to remain within the powerful love and light that surrounds me.

Some days, those gifts of a day, I am able to dance for awhile in the rain.  Being with my kids always leaves me dancing at least in my heart.  I am so proud of them and the ways they are trying to be honest about what they need.  They are the brightest beacons of my love and my light.  Hearing stories about Russell and how he touched people’s lives also leaves me dancing. Kind of a low, swaying dance but still a dance.  I love hearing about how he made an impact in the world.  I do, so very strongly, wish he could have believed that he did.  But my journey is helped hearing from those who miss him.   I dance when I see the new things on the horizon for Avalon – as a horse farm and as the sanctuary I dream of.   Great joy fills me when I can be with my family and closest friends who don’t need me to be anything more than what I am in each moment.  Simply sitting and talking or just being with one another makes my heart dance a little bit more each time.

What the ongoing rain also allows me to do is to focus on things I wouldn’t usually choose to do during the summer.  My friend, Emily, has taken it as her personal mission to turn the office/lounge at Avalon into a true office for me.  On the whole my brain works a little clearer when I am there. I need a space there that is for the business so that my house can become just a safe, resting place for myself and the kids.  One of the bigger tasks in decluttering and preparing for a new office space was cleaning out the large, personal file cabinet Russell and I kept out there.  Why we had it there I’m not quite sure of anymore.  But it doesn’t really matter.  On Wednesday, during the pounding pouring rains of the day, I went through all the files.  Emily offered to do it but it was a task I knew I needed to do for myself and that was the day I just decided it needed to get done.  it was emotional for so many reasons – remembering things and finding lots of Russell’s writings.  But it was a wonderful step of clearing and letting go for me.

I have also been actively working to get clearer on many areas of my life.  There are new paths I can take and new decisions to make.  And, as with any unknown journey, I am figuring out what I need to make my journey the best it can be for me.  I help the kids as they figure out their journey as well, letting them know their decisions about everything in their lives need to be what is best for them, no one else.  Here are a few of the path markers I’ve been setting for myself and encouraging the kids to use as well.

*I need to be me and let others be themselves.  All of us, in every situation in our lives, need to do what is best for our own journeys.  To allow myself to accept others expectations of me to rule my journey, or try to impose my expectations on others is harmful to us all.

*Clear and let go of my judgements – about myself and others

*Expect nothing in return and learn to give freely

*Be VERY HONEST with all of it – Say my truth for myself and stand in it.                                                                                          As I move forward with many changes I am making for my personal life, for Avalon and its’ endeavors, and for my family I am trying to stand in my own truth about what I NEED for MINE.   If others truths don’t match up to my own, that is OKAY!  I can simply stand in my own and trust that all will be well.

*Raise my energy vibration

*Respect and acknowledge others’ free will.

*Send light and love to all everyone, especially to those who frustrate me

*Release my frustration

*Continue to clear and process my own energy and my own journey

*Become crystal clear in stating what I need and want from others. Then allow others to choose whether they can meet those needs or I can seek the fulfillment of them somewhere else.

*Let go of expectations and live in what is, not what I expect or want things to be

*Remain outrageously open to the possibilities of my journey.  Stop trying to figure it all out right now. Rather live and love right now.

I find myself reaching an end to words tumbling out from me. A few musings in my head but they seem better for another day and another writing. I am hopeful that with an off week from camp before me that I will be able to do some more writing and gardening and sitting and riding and reading and walking and playing.  I am hopeful for a week of allowing some of the pieces of myself that have fallen off to catch up.  Kind of hoping I have time for some napping too.  Smile!

Many blessings to you all.