Honoring Our Love

russelllara

Today is the 20th anniversary of the day Russell and I were married.  It’s not that it would have been our anniversary.  Whether he is with me physically or not, it IS our 20th anniversary.  It is a day to remember the commitment we made to one another to live a life of love, light and hope.  It is a day to tell stories and be the same person I would have been if Russell was still here in this world with me.  It is a day to look at pictures, listen to music, and smile about what a magical day our wedding was.  It is a day to honor our love in the best ways I can in this time, in this moment. By stepping forward with new intentions for my life I honor the love Russell and I shared.
“I want to honor the love, not the pain and not the suffering.”   Oh yes, I have no doubt that I will still have darker days but I seek at this time, in this moment to honor the love, hope and joy of why we chose to be together.  That’s where my healing is, in honoring the love.  I don’t want to focus my intentions or my energy on the muddled days, on the messy feeling days, on the heavy days.  I want to focus my energy and my sharings on the love I continue to feel.

Russell and I saw ourselves as individuals and as a couple as Wisdom Seekers.  We very much saw life as a constant quest for more knowledge – of ourselves, of others, of the universe, of the great mystery of life.  This is part of what drew us together. It’s also one of the strongest threads that could keep us engaged with one another even in our harder times.  We always had a sense that there is much more to this life than what we can see and touch.  Both of us love conversations with people that are real, seeking conversations.

Other common loves that drew us together and kept us together:

*Love of debating – Russell loved this one more than me but it was definitely a common thread between us.

*Love of community – one of my first memories is of Russell speaking in our first shared theology class about his need and love of community.  I been an organizer of groups and a builder of community since my late teen years.  This common thread between us was one of the strongest and most sought after.

*Love of helping others

*Love of reggae and salsa music – we spent much of our early years dancing.  Bob Marley’s “Is it love?” was our first dance at our wedding reception.  Dancing at weddings was always a wonderful treat.  Every time I dance at NIA now I think of him and smile.

*Love surprising others

*Love the outside

*Love reading – we had vastly different tastes in our reading choices but it is something we both loved to do.  Sitting in a coffee shop, each reading our own current favorite, was often something we would do on our anniversary.

*Love of the beach – this is the second strongest, early memory I have of Russell.  As we left our first class we had together and walked outside, Russell took off his flip flops.  Kind of stunned all of us around him, not in a bad way, just in a what’s happening way. He announced to the group “I have a beach spirituality and I need to have my feet on the ground as much as possible.”  We then had a brief conversation about Florida, the state he was from and my heart state, and I was most definitely intrigued by this person.  The rest is history.

*Love of family – some of our absolutely favorite times were spent being with our families.  Playing cards, lots of conversations, good food, silliness, going out, and so much more.  Just being with family is essential for us both.

 

Louis Hay and David Kessler write  in their book You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce, or Death,     “Healing from loss isn’t like getting a cold and a week later, you’re better.  Healing takes time, but we can teach people to say that they’re looking forward to peace.  The grief before the peace is extremely important because it is an authentic expression of your feelings as you build a new foundation, a stronger one.”

Russell was as unique a person as they come.  He always strove to be true to himself and his convictions no matter what.  Truth and the seeking of truth was one of his highest priorities.   Speaking and living my truth has become a daily intention for me.

I honor him, I honor US, by building my new foundation in light, love, hope and peace.  I honor our love and our early dreams by speaking my truth. I honor our love, and not just the pain of this time, in focusing on the ways that he continues to be present in my life everyday.  I honor our love as I focus on my healing not just my grieving.  I honor our love every time I focus on my self-care and our kids care, tapping out of stuff that isn’t good for us.  I honor our love when I attempt to see the good in every single moment of my day.  I honor our love when I cave up to recoup and re-energize.  I honor our love in my dancing, my playing, my laughing, my finding joy in my life. I honor our love in allowing myself to feel happy without feeling guilty.  I honor our love in the ways that I love and support our children on their own, unique paths.  I honor our love when I honestly share my pain so that it doesn’t fester and eat me up inside. I honor our love as I change patterns of thinking that no longer serve me to new ones that do.

Every time that I choose to focus on peace, love, light, joy and gratitude I honor our love.  In this time, in this moment, in every time, in every moment, I honor our love.   Happy anniversary Russell. Today I will laugh, and love, and be silly, and drink a beer in honor of our love.  Today I celebrate US!

wedding day

Into the Zone

orbfire

Before I start writing about today’s musing I must first say that last night’s celebration for Avalon Horse Farm’s 8 year anniversary was amazing!  It is always one of my favorite days of the year.  The camaraderie, yummy food, creative costumes for horses and riders, cooperation, game playing of kids 5 on up to 18,  gorgeous and warm fires, stall trick or treating, and the overall positive vibe of everything at the farm during these celebrations is spectacular.  Last night’s weather couldn’t have been more perfect and the joy was almost palpable all evening.

As absolutely wonderful as the celebration was and as loved as I felt all evening there was a deep thread of aching for me throughout the day of prepping and the evening of festivities.  As I looked around this amazing community of horses and humans (and some dogs and cats too – smile) I felt such a missing of Russell and a fresh sinking in of the reality of this time, this moment for me that I wanted to run away from the farm and hide away in some cave all alone most of my time at Avalon.   I found myself sitting almost glued into my chair at times, holding onto the arms of the chair to keep myself from jumping up and just running away.  In the midst of feeling such great joy and love for the farm, its’ people and creatures, the fantastic fire, and the conversations all around me, I also wanted to curl up in a little ball and cry until there were no more tears left inside of me.  I found myself being very quiet at times because I knew if I opened my mouth to speak long rambling sentences of sadness would pour out of me and I very much wanted to keep myself and the whole of Avalon firmly in focusing on joy last night.

But I stayed and entered into conversations as well as I could.  I smiled and laughed and played with the kids and reveled in the biggest fire I think we’ve ever had.  I stayed all the way until the end, turning off all the lights and saying goodbye to my animals before driving home. I took a few last pictures and soaked up the quiet, healing breath this magical place, Avalon, holds for me.

It was as I drove home that I pondered how it was that I could stay all night when a large part of me wanted to flee into the cave of reclusiveness.  Oh, I know a large part of it was the obvious joy pouring forth from all of the people gathered there last night.  As they have done for these many months, it is the joy and love of others that I tap into to carry me through when I am feeling shaky and vulnerable.  It’s easier to feel the light and happiness when those around you are so very content with the space they are in.  And I had dozens and dozens of folks sharing that with me yesterday.

But it was a deeper insight that I had that leaves me pondering today.  I realized as I drove home that throughout the day I had stepped into my Zone.  My Zone is the place that I quickly move into whenever there is a crisis in my life whether it be at the farm or at home.  My Zone is the place that I easily am able to stand in that Center Space of breathing, light, love and possibility.  In the Zone I can problem solve, help others to center and ground themselves, see possibilities for healing, and handle just about anything with grace and dignity.

Russell and I used to celebrate the fact that in a crisis he and I were an almost unstoppable team.  We could work together during these times without speaking almost.  Somehow in those crisis times we would set aside all the goofiness of everyday challenges and open ourselves up to the realness of what is most important.  In the Zone we were strong, calm, and very capable of handling whatever was thrown at us.

What I realized last night is that I have somehow, in the last few months, learned how to step my way into the Zone whenever I need to create a safe space around me.  I don’t need there to be a crisis to trigger a drop into this space.  I simply need to make the choice to stay in the center space of missing and belonging, of joy and sadness, of absence and presence, of grieving and healing.

I was kind of in awe as I realized that I am learning how to tap into the power and strength that My Zone provides for me.  It is a place that I can choose to stay in joy rather than flee with the sadness that wants to grab hold of me. It is a place that I can be present without having to be completely engaged in everything swirling around me.  It is a place that I feel very strong and capable.  It is a place that light and love are more present than anything else.  My Zone is the place that this time, this moment are all that matters.

I am deeply grateful for the wisdom I am gaining right now.  I am deeply grateful for the ways that I am learning to tap into my wisdom and my strength at all times, not just in those desperate times of a crisis.  I am deeply grateful that I feel and see Russell’s in so much of the world around me – our kids, giant bonfires, silly sock baskets, good beer, and more.  I am deeply grateful that I have family and friends who hold me up even without knowing they are doing so.  I am deeply grateful that I am able to start stepping into My Zone of power and possibility and safety anytime I need to. I am deeply grateful that I stayed at Avalon for the entire celebration and soaked in as much joy as I possibly could.  I am deeply grateful for this time, this moment, this life.

Presence and Absence

yinyangdarklight

The sun is shining.  The temps are just about perfect for November. The birds are singing.  Tonight we celebrate Avalon’s 8 year anniversary with a pony parade, potluck, bonfire and more.  It’s by far the best weather we’ve ever had for our yearly celebration.  And yet I find I can’t get myself out of the house this morning.

It is at times like this that I am acutely aware both of Russell’s ongoing presence in my life through the sharing of stories, pictures, and lots of memories, and the absence of his physical being.  On a daily basis I walk this in between space between presence and absence. But bigger events, especially ones that Russell also loved, make the walking a little more poignant.  Reminding myself to simply focus on my breath is a mantra I repeat over and over and over at these times.

I have complete confidence that there will be lots of reminders of Russell tonight.  I also have complete confidence that there will be at least dozens of times I will think I am hearing his voice, or will look around to tell him something, or will smile as I watch others tend the fire as he so loved to do.   I will be aware in every part of my being of both his absence and his presence to me, our kids, and this community we celebrate tonight.

I am deeply grateful that the sun is out and shining brightly.  It calls to me to come out and bask in the warmth of movement in the sunshine.  I know that I will be able to move better and breathe more deeply once I get out and to the farm completing the final prepping for tonight.  Being with my pups, the horses, the people of a community who is excited about all that Avalon is for so many, my kids, all of these things are the call to step away from a rabbit hole of twisted up grieving that I can see wanting to open up before me.

I also know that my cave calls to me to enter and rest and lay down the sadness for just a little while. I have scheduled nothing for tomorrow so that I can rest and simply be in whatever space I need to be in.  I will be able to revel in all the wonderfulness I know will happen today. And I will be able to simply sit in that place of pondering Russell’s absence and presence.  I am at least getting much wiser about scheduling my rest time after a large event.  Smile!

My world calls to me and now, after writing some of the fogginess out of my head, I feel ready to step outside.  I am grateful for so very, very much today! In this time and in this moment I choose to fly in the light.

Happy 8 year anniversary Avalon Horse Farm

avalonfog

Today is an emotional day for me.  Today is the 8 year anniversary of the creation of Avalon Horse Farm​.  As I do every year, I have been looking back over the year at Avalon’s accomplishments, hurdles overcome and all the stories that have rolled in throughout the year.  Today I’ve also looked back over Avalon’s mission statement and my end-of-the-year reviews since we began.  Hours I have been sitting and reading and musing.
Russell’s name keeps popping up of course and I’ve been reading emails from him to me or to Avalon’s community.  I can hear his voice as I read and I am reminded of all of the dreams we shared; dreams not just for Avalon but for our entire lives.  I smile; I sigh; I cry; I laugh; I feel all the hope I still have for fulfilling dreams and also the ache that they are now mine alone to bring into being.
I am thankful for the extra hour of sleep I got this morning. I am thankful for the bright sunshine which calls to me to come outside.  I am thankful that my afternoon will be spent at Avalon with the Silver Springs Pony Club​ kids preparing the farm for our 8 year Anniversary party next Saturday, November 7. I am thankful to the folks who are reaching out to me day after day with just a simple hello.  I am thankful for memories both in writing and the ones that are just inside my own mind.  I am thankful that Russell and I said yes to the creation of Avalon 8 years ago for Avalon has been a place of deep healing for me these past 7 1/2 months.   Never could we have known how much I would need this healing space when we said yes 8 years ago but oh am I glad we did.
Avalon continues to grow and become even more amazing everyday.  The things that have been accomplished this last year are indeed spectacular.  And the dreams for our next year promise to bring more learning, play and healing opportunities to many horses and their humans.
My hope for year 8 and for every year of Avalon is that I can continue to keep the mission Russell and I set forth at the beginning alive.
“The new name will be Avalon Horse Farm.  Those of you familiar with the King Arthur stories will recognize Avalon as the place that was between the worlds.  It was not heaven, but it also was not the bustle and mundaneness of ordinary life. It is our intention and desire to create for you an experience with your horse that is outside of the bustle and ordinariness of everyday life.  We want your experience to be close to other worldly.”
Avalon – a place of healing and breathing.  A place of beauty to simply be with your horse.  This is my hope, my dream, the guiding force of all that I do.