A Horse’s Gift

horserainbowbridge

Horses. They hurt us. They heal us. Sometimes all at the same time.  Every single one that we come into contact with has a gift for us.  They stand ready to walk with us into a magical place of possibility, connection and wonder.  All they need from us is a gentle hand, a willing heart and trust in them to be ready to take us on adventures we can barely dream of.  With them we can fly.

I am the owner of Avalon Horse Farm, a large boarding facility set on some of the prettiest land in our area.  It’s a magical place that can leave people feeling like they’ve entered another world when they are there. As the owner of this business my roles are more numerous than I care to name here. It could take pages to identify every part of my job description.  And what is calling me to write today is a role that has developed over the 10 years Avalon has been alive.  It is a role that I have balked at, railed against, cried over, and yet that the horses themselves have called forth from me in their greatest time of need.  I can only write of it for the first time here today because of the final gift Samson, a horse at Avalon who died yesterday, gave to me as he spent his final hours on this earth.

I am going to attempt to share all that came forth for me yesterday, even if it is a stumbly, choppy sharing.   Writing is healing for me and it helps me become more clear about the path opening up before me.  Sharing it with others is a vital part of that process. As it goes out to the world there is an “ah ha” that settles over me that I can’t really explain.  I just know that writing and sharing it is something I just have to do when my muse awakes.   So I will share what came to me as unfiltered as I can.  I’m warning you all now it feels pretty twilight zoney writing this.  But this is all that came to me yesterday, rushing through me so strongly I had to take notes on my phone to not lose it all.

All of the horses at Avalon, not just the ones that I personally own, are mine.  They are my herd. I am their leader, the head mare of the entire farm.  Every single one of them, from the moment they enter Avalon, has a piece of my heart.  In the early days with us I spend time just being with them, listening to what they would say to me of their life before, what they bring to Avalon, how they connect with the world.  I watch, I listen, I feel all that I can to learn about them.  I know them and they know me.  I can walk into every herd and feel things from the horses, hearing what they want me to hear.

Death shaman – that is the unique role I have at Avalon that I have pushed against for a very, very long time. Because I know these horses and they know me, each of us connected by invisible, powerful threads of loving energy, I take the responsibility for their care deep inside myself.  The first few horses who died at Avalon in our early years left me with such guilt that I had somehow missed something, done something wrong, or just hadn’t done enough to keep them safe.  I would spend weeks after silently mourning their deaths, not understanding back then why my grieving was so deep.  You see, early on, I didn’t understand clearly my powerful role as leader of the entire herd of horses at Avalon.  I just kept blaming myself for not doing a good enough job somehow.

It was a mare named Cindy who broke her leg about 4 years ago (my timeline is foggy these days), who first started to shift my understanding of myself. As we stayed with her in her final hours the message she clearly kept speaking to me was “This is not your fault. Avalon is not an unsafe place that causes death. Avalon and you are the place that we need to/want to be for ourselves and our owners when our time arrives.   You are the one who can stand in the shadow place between light and death, at the start of the rainbow bridge, ready to hold our people as we leave this earth. We need you.   You do not cause our deaths. You ease the way for us.”    I was stunned for days at how loudly and clearly this message came to me as if Cindy herself was speaking to me, wanting to make sure I heard her final gift to me.

It took me years to process through that.  It took Russell’s death and my radical experience of being able to stand in the center space of powerful LOVE between the light and dark spaces of life for me to really begin to open up to the magic of what I can do in the moments before death.  I somehow can drop out of this world and sense myself in a different realm of being.   I truly experience these moments as not really being in this world but somehow being in a heightened awareness of the transition from life to death that is about to take place.

In the final hour of Samson’s time with us yesterday, my awareness of this transitional space seemed to explode.   For the first time I didn’t just sense myself there I could see myself there.   I wish so much I could draw that space because it was so vivid and so clear as I sat there.   Again the title Death Shaman settled over me like a cloak wrapping around me; though I don’t yet understand exactly what all that means.  I do know my role in this transitional time for the horses (and other creatures of Avalon) is to hold space for all who are there; to drum their way to the rainbow bridge; to hum or chant “be well” for them and their loved ones as they step closer to leaving this world; to be ready to open the gate and let them go; to hold steady as their humans make their way back.  And that is what I did.

This transitional place is in a grove of trees nestled right at the base of the rainbow bridge from this life to whatever comes next.  It is a peaceful place with birds quietly singing, water nearby, and the sun gently shining through the trees. It is an ancient space.   I sit there with my drum, steadily maintaining the beat.   Samson is prancy, ready to step into the new adventure that awaits beyond the gate.   He prances around Emily and Meredith, not wanting to leave but also ready to run really free.   He know they cannot come with them so he tries to wait until they are as ready as they can be. He tries to tell them it will be okay.  He prances around and around and around them.  I drum and quietly hum waiting until they are all ready.

Then, the moment arrives.  It is time. The air seems to pulse with energy as love swells all around us, infusing everything.   Quietly humming I stand and open the gate.  The rainbow bridge stretches out beyond.  On the other side stands a whole herd of horses waiting for Samson to join them.  After a final whinny and a loving nudge with his people, Samson walks through the gate and onto the bridge. All the pain of this life fades away as he walks across the bridge into the waiting herd. With a gleeful toss of their heads they turn and run away into their new adventure.

I continue to hum as I close the gate and return to my drum.   Here I sit holding space for those left behind.  Here I will sit for hours, maybe days until I can make my way back completely to this world.  I will sit here as those who loved Samson reel with shock and grief.   I will sit here ready to hug them all with all the love and hope I can muster.

I am learning it takes me awhile to fully leave this transitional space.  I am learning that it is hard for me to function well in the day to day tasks of this life while I am coming back from this Rainbow Bridge Valley.   I am learning that I don’t quite know yet how to release all of the emotion I experience in that space so that it doesn’t just fester inside of me.  I am learning how to accept this role of Death Shaman that the horses and other creatures have asked me to be for them when the time arrives.  I am learning to believe in things that others can’t see which makes it challenging for me to explain.  I am learning I don’t have to have all of the answers, I just have to be there doing what I can to ease the way.

All of this, Samson gifted to me yesterday in his final goodbye to me.  I receive it with awe and humility that I have been entrusted with such trust by him and all who enter Avalon.  For as long as Avalon is mine, I will do my best to lead with love through all that comes our way.  Thank you Samson for showing me all you did.  Run free sweet boy, run free!

 

Standing in Center

justbreathe2

Today I am standing in the center space, the space between the light and dark of my life.  I do not have the strength to do much more than just stand there, focusing on my breath and allowing the waves of the light and the dark flow over me.  And for the first time in months I feel compelled to write about that center space that seems to call me back to it over and over and over again.

I spend my days seeking to choose gratitude for all the amazing things in my life.  I am living a dream of a life in many ways.  I can now walk to work from my new farm cottage that I love.  My work on the horse farm that I love with people and animals who fill my soul can be so life giving most days.  I have children who daily amaze and inspire me just by being the amazing young people that they are.  I have friends and family who support me in more ways than I can name.  I have the freedom to choose new paths of learning and sharing my gifts with the world.  I have opportunities to heal and grow everyday.  Every single day I write in my journal of all the things I am deeply, profoundly grateful for. These are just some of the lighter parts of my life.

Then there are those darker things, those deeper things that are just as much a part of my everyday life.  Many of the new things that I am daily in awe of and bring me joy have only come about since Russell died; some even because of the aftermath of his death.  The farm cottage I adore is only ours because we could no longer live in the house that Russell and I loved; the air is too heavy there for us now.  The adventures, new learning opportunities, and all the growth in my business and personal life have been able to happen because of the financial freedom we’ve had from Russell’s last gift to us in the life insurance money we received.   The reminders I receive like at the memorial walk yesterday shock me again and again as it becomes more real again.   It’s not that I ever forget it’s just that I remember on deeper and broader levels again.   Being in groups of couples can still leave me feeling so awkward and lonely that it is way easier to just stay home most of the time.   The awareness of all the things my kids still have to face as they journey through milestones with just me can knock me to my knees.

For a very long time after Russell died I seemed to have this ability to stand swaying, even dancing at times, in the center space between dark and light.  In those earliest days, weeks and months I was devastated but felt so strong and so in touch with what I was experiencing.  There was an awakened sense about me as I walked and talked through my days.  My writing and my ability to radically stay in this time, this moment sustained me and gave me hope that somehow, someway I would be able to transform my life through my healing and then someday be able to offer that opportunity to others.   I believed that the path I was on was so clearly where I needed to be.

These past 5 to 6 months I have felt stuck in a quagmire of inertia, indecisiveness, and so blah.   Oh I ‘ve had amazing experiences, feel deep gratitude for the abundant blessings in my life, find joy in the little things, but my body, mind and soul have been dark and clogged. It’s as if something poured lead into my very bones and each movement forward takes monumental effort.  I will have really, really good days but then I have days that I simply just can’t – I can’t do anything.

It doesn’t feel like an active grieving that is happening, though I am sure the grieving I am doing for my life coach/mentor who died in March is playing a part in all of this.  Saying goodbye to the house Russell and I loved is part of it as well as memories surface and I close another door on that chapter in my life.  Plus, the fact that my voice, my muse has been quiet as a mouse lately definitely isn’t helping.  I somehow, once again, got it into my head that if I’m not writing directly about my grieving process that I shouldn’t write, at least not here on my blog.  Why or how I got that notion I have no idea.  But it wrecks havoc on me.  My writing works like letting out steam in a pressure cooker. When I can’t write the pressure just builds and builds and builds pouring all of the darker stuff deeper inside of myself.

Maybe what I need to do is simply be gentle with myself and allow myself to be exactly where I am.  Maybe I need to write about all of that as my writing is really about sharing in a vulnerable way how I am trying to live a life of authenticity open to daily transforming and growing; it’s not just about writing about grief though that how I started this journey.  Maybe I need to stop worrying and thinking so much all of the time and just do the things that resonate with who I am right now – not who I was or who I might be but who I am in this time, this moment.

So today I stand in this center space between the light and dark within me and I breathe.  I breathe while I feel the swirly emotions of confusion, grief, longing, fear and sadness.  I breathe while I feel the lightening emotions of joy, hope, desire, love and gratitude.  I breathe as I feel deep gratitude that this morning I could write again.  I breathe as I feel humbled finding words to share my journey, my profoundly personal journey.  When I write I somehow find my way forward more strongly and confidently.

In this time, in this moment I stand here and I breathe!

Get over yourself

warriorcreated

“How to get over your b.s. already.” This is the title of section 4 in the book I am reading You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life by Jen Sincero

This section is exactly what I need to read right now! Before I opened my book I wrote in my journal “I want to be the best me. Not this shell of me that I am now; this lost, lethargic, overwhelmed, whiny me. I want to be a Peaceful Warrior of Joy; a Dream Weaver and a Grief Advocate. All that I want to be flows from these two things.” And then, I opened my book.   There I read “Why would you create anything that’s not totally awesome?” And all that came to mind was ‘Well, I don’t know. It seems kind of foolish anything less.”

And then I began, rather quickly, to reframe the thoughts I shared yesterday on Facebook about feeling like I don’t quite fit into Avalon, the horse farm I run,  anymore. This thought led to “Well of course you don’t fit in the same way. You aren’t the same. And, the community isn’t the same because you have created something new. Their efficiency is the gift to you so you can find a new way to share your gifts. Be grateful, grateful, grateful! Come on already, Lara, get out of your own way and create something brand new as a Warrior, Weaver and Advocate.. GET OUT OF YOUR WAY!”

Well huh! It’s going to be an interesting, amazing day if this is how it starts.

#warriorwomanseekingjoy #Iwilldoit #newdirections

 

Moving out, moving on, moving forward

movingforward.jpg

I am back. Finally, after months of a very quiet Muse I am back.  In the time I’ve been away I think I’ve written out the beginning sentences of at least a dozen different musings.  But none of them, for a variety of reasons, have made it further than a few quickly written notes.  I’ve wanted to write more but just haven’t.  And it has left me feeling very off, rudderless and almost paralyzed with a log jam of thoughts and emotions inside of me.

My return today comes out of two main pushes on that log jam, loosening it enough for the water to begin to flow a little more freely again.  If I am patient enough with myself I think I can slowly break the jam loose so it doesn’t just come crashing out of me flooding everything it’s path.  At least that is my hope.

One of the gentle pushes has been my saying YES to a “Writing your grief”, 30 day journey with Megan Devine of Refuge in Grief.   Writing from daily prompts members of the group are invited to share their writing in a closed Facebook group, a community of fellow grievers seeking to heal.  In the 4 days I’ve been in the group some very powerful things have started to move again inside of me.  The sense of being stuck, paralyzed in place by everything in my life, that I’ve been experiencing for about 6 months seems to be ever so slightly easing.  To find a new “tribe” of people who get my journey in such profound ways is such a gift.  I’m very grateful for this daily chance to write my story and read the stories of others.  As we hold space for one another I feel the healing reignite.

The other, more forceful push is packing up our house for the impending move of Demetri and I to a new home at the entrance to Avalon, the horse farm that I manage.  The move to a new place will naturally bring forth new energy as we start to create home in a new space.  What is most powerful right now though is the sorting and packing of decades of memories.

In past moves there has been that dual sense of loss and beginning that happens with all moves to a new space from an old one.  But this move is providing whammy after whammy after whammy of memory that can knock me to my knees if I’m not careful about keeping myself grounded.  Everything in this house holds some kind of memory of a life that Russell and I built with our children in this house and land that we loved so much.  We dreamed more in this space about what could be than in other space throughout our entire life together.

As I sort through books, papers, pictures, old letters to one another, knick knacks, cookware, etc. everything gets the test of “does it bring me joy” before I decide if it will go with us to the new house, be stored, or given away.  The house we are moving to is much smaller than what we currently live in so Demetri and I are clearing out lots of things that no longer bring us joy.   It is not always an easy task, especially when I delve into things that Russell and I bought or did together.

The pictures and the letters between Russell and I that I am finding are the things that rock me to my core.  While much of it does make me smile and will at least be safely stored, when I find these things my breath is momentarily taken away.  Memory on top of memory pours into me which is joyful, but then I am also reminded that all I will every have of Russell from here on forward are memories.  There will be no more dream making, no more memories created, no more new beginnings with him.  And I find myself shaking my head at how surreal it all seems.  I look at pictures from our life together and I simply cannot wrap my brain around the fact that he is no longer here.

I am ready to move out of this house, this first farm that I have loved so very much.  It has become a cave that all I want to do in it is hide away from the world.  I very much need a big step forward in shifting my energy and I hope that living in a new place just a short walk to Avalon will help me continue to unblock the log jam in my heart.

I don’t seek to move on as that implies I have something that I must lock away into a box never to be part of my journey again.  All I seek to do right now is to move forward with renewed hope, renewed purpose and renewed energy.  I seek to stop feeling paralyzed by life to such a degree that I get nothing done.  I seek to move freely and confidently towards new dreams that are mine.  I seek to move forward towards a life filled with joy, love and laughter.

 

What would you do?

bebrave

What would you do if you knew that today was your last day? Your last day to say what you want to say to those you love.  Your last day to do the things you’ve always dreamed of doing. Your last day to hug someone. Your last day to soak up the wonderfulness of your favorite things. Your last day to adventure. Your last day to say “I love you.”  Your last day to eat your favorite foods.  Your last day to be brave.  Your last day to be the best you that you can be.

Think about it…

What are the things you know would be the first to go; the things you would stop doing as soon as you knew you have just one more day?  What are the things you would move heaven and earth to make sure you were able to do?  What are the things on your bucket list that you are waiting until “someday” to do?   What are the things that you find yourself doing day after day after day that seem to suck the life right out of your soul?  What are the things that bring you joy just at the thought of doing it?   What are the things you dream of doing but have no idea how to make them happen so they remain only a fantasy?  What does that deepest, most authentic part of yourself start to shout out to you as you think of having just 1 more day “PLEASE do it now, speak it now, let it go now, love it now, be it NOW!”?

Over the past 2 years of my life’s journey that so radically changed when Russell went into the hospital and died just a few days later,  there are a handful of things that I return to over and over again that feed my soul to such an extent that I can hear a resounding YES vibrate throughout my body.   On days like today, when the memories are strong and I remember how powerfully I stood in the magical mystery of fully living in this time and this moment, it is easy to look again at what it is I most want to live and speak on this day which is all I really have.

My children, just being in their presence, is bar none the most wonderful thing for me.  Every single day of my life I will tell them I love them and am proud of the paths they are choosing that are uniquely authentic to them and them alone.  They are learning to follow their hearts and do what they dream of doing now, rather than waiting for that nebulous “someday” so many of us wait for. I will do all I can to support them on their journeys and trust that they are wise enough to choose their own paths.

Writing, that wonderful tool of my Inner Muse, feeds my soul in ways that leave me in awe.    I write for me, as I wrote for Russell and I 2 years ago, but I also write for those who long to speak the words in their hearts but just can’t make them come out.  One of my biggest dreams for myself is that I will create a life in which writing is the vast majority of what I do as my creative, working self.  I will blog. I will write and publish books. I will create wonderfully new, imaginary worlds for people to enjoy.  I want to continue to speak this journey of mine, the transformations of my life, with vulnerability, honesty and complete authenticity.  I long to have my journey and the gift of my Muse to write it out loud inspire others.

Helping others to dream brings me more joy than just about any other thing. To envision a life of such possibility that we can only do all we can each day to inch closer to making those dreams a reality is magical to me.  This is what I want to offer to others.  We can create a new world for ourselves if we first allow ourselves to dream of what it is we REALLY want for ourselves.

I want to become an advocate for those who grieve the loss of a loved one either through death, divorce or other forms of separation.   The world struggles to be able to listen to all of the paths that grieving can take us down  Oh the first year after a loss speaking things out loud is accepted but after that first year support can get quieter and quieter and quieter, just as the shifting changes in ourselves get louder and more unsettling.  I feel such a powerful calling to speak my journey out loud because it’s not just for me I speak it for.  I speak it for all of those who feel they have no voice.  My Muse is a gift and with that gift comes a responsibility to share the images, the insights and wisdom I am gaining from this journey. Not everyone will understand, want to hear or care what I have to say and that is okay. If I can help just 1 person feel they are not alone by sharing my story then my journey and Russell’s journey have more meaning for me.

Adventuring in big ways and little ways, finding new things to bring joy into my life and my kids’ lives has become one of the greatest tools for building a new life.  Traveling, archery, rock climbing, new books, running, Smite conventions, building Avalon Sanctuary, puppies, new diets, and so much more have been adventures for us in the last couple of years that have become stepping stones to create lives that hold meaning and purpose for us.   We are striving to live out loud what we dream of doing right now. Not everyone understands the choices we are making and that is okay. They are our choices to make for the lives we dream of living.

So I ask you all the question again, What would you do if you knew today was your last day? And then I ask us all, What are we waiting for?   All it takes is one step to fall down a rabbit hole into a land where you life has changed forever. Do not wait. Do it NOW!

 

 

Every single day

FB_IMG_1429667168732

Every single day is a struggle for me, even on my really good days.  I struggle with doubt, insecurity, fear, anger at the goofiest things, and a lethargic unwillingness to leave my house, my cave, my safe place.  Every single day is a battle between rebuilding myself/my life and an ongoing burning down of my old self/old life.

Learning how to refit into places that used to totally be mine but  no longer feel like they are is so hard some days.  The rebuilding of me is proving to be just as hard as the deconstruction of myself and my life as I knew it for almost 20 years that happened within the first year after losing Russell.  Every single day I am torn between 3 aspects of myself: Who I was then – wife, purposeful, owner and owned by Avalon, a joint parent, confident in who I was; Who I am now – widow, single parent, broken, lost, very unsure of how I fit at Avalon and in the rest of my world; Who I want to be – healer, warrior woman seeking joy, filled with purpose and passion, capable of handling all that comes my way with ease. All of these are part of who I am and yet I find these aspects of myself can grate against each other in the most uncomfortable ways.

I want so badly to have a series of day after day after day after day that I’m not having to cheerlead myself into being a warrior, into feeling strong and healed.  I want to just feel light, free and grateful without having the coin flip in my mind leaving me feeling dark, trapped and resentful.  I want to feel like I can confidently say “THIS is my path” without second guessing every damn step “But is it really?”  I want to not feel my throat close up at least a dozen times every single day with ongoing ripples of grief and insecurity about who I am now

I don’t want to feel so  fricking lost all of the time.  I don’t want to feel like I’m walking a tightrope, in heels, over a ravine with high winds, carrying 500 lbs of extra weight.

I just want to feel happy and grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life rather than always seeing the negative now.  Where has this resentful, pissy, just want to hide from the world person come from.  I’m tired of feeling so alone even in the midst of a crowd of people who care about me.

Every single day I want to feel free to move confidently again.  I want to stop the push and pull between who I was, who I am and who I want to be.  I want to allow those aspects of myself to blend together in a more harmonious way.  I want to be patient with myself as I relearn who just Lara is after spending 21 years with Russell; surely it takes awhile to relearn how to be just me.  I must be patient and gentle with myself.

Every single day this past week I have sat in Avalon’s Sanctuary room thinking “This, this healing room I brought into being.  I fit here in this space.”  In this space, one of the very few, I feel safe, hopeful and capable  Considering a year ago at this time I had to completely tap out for the anniversary week in which Russell had gone into the hospital ending with his death, I stand hopeful that I am better, probably more than I know than I was a year ago.  `Being able to sit in this Sanctuary space to breathe, write, remember is a gift I am thankful for every single day.

So I return to where I began 2 years ago – just breathe.  Every single day, just breathe.  The rest will come in the exact moment and in the exact time that I am really ready for it.  Just breathe!

 

 

 

 

 

Not Enough Words & Too Many Words

whenbrave

There is so much rambling inside of my heart and head right now that I find it near impossible to find the words I want to write, no that I need to write.  No words seem adequate and yet there is too much I want to say as well.

For the past 24 hours I’ve been in deep shock, a shock as deep as the night that Russell died.  Rocked to the very depths of my being, I have been curled up in a ball crying and shaking and reminding myself to breathe, Just Breathe!    I stepped back into another rabbit hole last night and have been traveling the twisty paths of Cuckoo Luckoo Land – that place where things just make no sense.

Last night we received word that Ayanna,  my life coach, my mentor, my most trusted confidant, and my lifeline for the past several year died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer.  From the sounds of the information from her husband it was a very brief battle of just a few months.  Considering I hadn’t seen her for about 7 weeks, knew nothing of her cancer, she was younger than me, and last time I saw her she was the epitome of health, the news is beyond shocking to me.    I felt like someone had punched me in the gut and then shoved me head first down a rabbit hole into the darkness again.  As I tumbled down the hole my entire being just kept screaming “What? Why? How? Whhyyyy?”

I’ve texted some with Ayanna’s husband but it has all been supportive messages between us. I’ve withheld from asking the hundreds of questions running through my mind.  He doesn’t need to answer anyone’s questions right now. There will be a celebration of life ceremony for Ayanna sometime soon and perhaps then I will find some answers. Most likely I will never know all of the story.  But then again, I know that none of us ever can really know what the whole story is anyway.  Even if we are there for the acting out of the story there is always some shadow piece, some part of the puzzle that remains unknown to us.

As I have followed the twists and turns of this new journey in Cuckoo Luckoo Land I have slept and eaten very little.  The pain is too raw, both physical and emotional.  Ayanna has known more of my story – every little nuanced piece of it – for 5 years that I cannot imagine her not being part of my ongoing healing and transformation.  With her I was always able to say anything and everything that I needed to say. Plus she could hear the things even I couldn’t speak out loud. She had this amazing ability to read the unspoken words of my heart and heal me in more ways than I can even name.  The tools that she helped me to learn are more valuable to me than anything I ever learned from a book or in a school.

Just being in her presence could provide peace and healing for me.  She would walk into a room like a radiant, light and love filled Amazon Warrior Queen.  When I was with her I believe anything was possible, even the seemingly impossible.  More than any other person she was an advocate for me to write my story – my story of Cuckoo Luckoo Land with Russell and the healing steps I have taken since.  She was going to help me write that book and also a book about healing through grieving. We talked about creating a program to help those who support people who have lost a loved one. She was going to do programs at Avalon Sanctuary – a space she believed was infused with light and love and that is truly a magical space.  When she was there at our anniversary bonfire she said she could feel the room pulsing with healing energy.  There were so many more things I hoped to journey through together.

Part of the powerful light throughout this 24 hour journey has been Ayanna herself, smiling to me and speaking clearly to me. “Dive into the pain Lara. Dive deeper. Keep diving. I am here in the light. Breathe and dive into all. Feel it; scream it; know it.  I’m still here. You can do this. You will do this. You’re not alone.  Love and Light and Peace is all around you. Trust the journey.  You are a warrior of love and it is your time to step forward and stand on your own. You are ready. Dance in the shadow place. Write your story. Heal your heart.”  Throughout all of my crazy dreaming as I’ve tried to sleep she has been in them, smiling and speaking to me.  What a gift that has been.

I honestly do not know what I will do without the presence of this unique, powerful, love filled, healing woman in my life.  Never have I met anyone else like her and never have I entrusted anyone else with as much of my full story as I have with her.  Her presence in my life over these last 5 years has brought me to more understanding about myself and the world than I ever could have imagined. She has helped me transform myself and my relationships in profound ways. And I do not believe I would be anywhere near as far along my healing path since Russell’s death as I am today.     I have a long way to go in many aspects but I credit her with helping me get to where I am today.

Tonight I watch The Matrix, a movie Ayanna and I often talked about as we explored the ways in which we can rethink what reality is.  It’s a favorite movie for both of us. “You are faster (or stronger) than you think. Don’t think you are. Know you are.”  “I’m trying to free your mind Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one who has to walk through it.  You have to let it all go. Fear. Doubt. Disbelief. FREE YOUR MIND!”    Morpheus just spoke these words to Neo as I was writing.  THIS is what Ayanna wanted me to believe.  That I could free my mind. That I am powerful and magical and full of infinite possibility.  She believed in me and this is what I will choose to take with me as I now make my way out of Cuckoo Luckoo Land back into my world.

Ayanna has reminded me again that there is no time but the one we are in.  I must live my life as authentically, as powerfully, as fully in the moment as I possibly can.  I must live my life out loud, telling people that I love and believe in them.  I must follow my dreams now.  I must do what I can to help heal the world and provide a place of breathing sanctuary because I believe this is part of my life’s purpose.  I must write my stories and share these with the world; it is for my healing and for those who need to hear only the story that I can tell.  I must be the warrior woman of love and light that I want to be. I must seek joy and believe it is okay to do so.

In this time, in this moment I breathe and I am thankful for the light that Ayanna has been for me.  May I continue to share that light with those around me who need it.  As I step out of the dark and back into the light I promise you Ayanna, I won’t forget the journey we’ve had.  Thank you!