The Christmas a few months before Russell died was a low spot in my life. Honestly, up until Russell’s entry into the hospital which ended in his death a week later it was probably the lowest spot of my life. It was definitely the lowest spot in our relationship. We were struggling to find any joy in one another and had determined that after the holidays we would have to have some very hard conversations about how to move forward in ways that were healthy for each of us and for our family. It was a dark time with very little glimmers of hope sustaining us.
That Christmas my mom gave me the book Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. In it she inscribed the words pictured here naming me, I think for the first time, Warrior Lara. I remember how much that naming rang with truth and rightness as I read it. It felt like a mantle of strength and power was laid upon my shoulders with all the love that a mother can bestow upon her children. Warrior Lara – yes that is who is needed for the dark journeys into the soul. A warrior infused with light, love, knowing all she needs to know, a protectress, a woman capable of bending with the winds of chaotic life changes.
Little did we know at that time that in fact my heroine’s journey would indeed call upon me to become a Warrior of light and love for Russell, myself and my family a few short months later as we dropped down into Cuckoo Luckoo Land – the dark, twisty, mysterious path of his sudden illness, death and my healing journey moving forward. But warrior I became as I somehow found the ability to stand in the shadow lands between life and death; sorrow and joy; despair and hope. I found the unbelievable gift to breathe through it all, stopping myself from spinning into despair with a quick grab of my tree necklace, closing my eyes and focusing upon my breath. I look back on that time and still wonder how I did all I did with grace, hope, and a love for those around that seemed to pulse from the center of my being. I think because I became that Warrior Lara my mom named me.
This naming of me as Warrior Lara and the inhaling way that I read the book Outrageous Openness are two of the things that I credit as key factors for how I made it through Cuckoo Luckoo Land with Russell. Those and the unbelievable web of love, support and healing that surrounded us then and still does to this day. But this book impacted me in ways I am just now able to start remembering. (It’s funny to me how much is lost in the first months and years after losing someone.) I read it at least 3 times between Christmas and the day Russell entered the hospital. I wrote quote after quote in my journals and I practiced everything, allowing Tosha’s wisdom to sink deep into bones. Because of that I believe I was able to keep my heart and mind open to the world around me and move through things with deeper ease.
I wrote the following quote in my journal just days before that first step into the rabbit hole “I’ll move as if there’s a Force of Love waiting to aid me in every area of my life, big or small.” I not only wrote this down I repeated it to myself every morning and every night. I allowed the words to burrow into my core, infusing me with hope and light. As I read them I could feel Warrior Lara stand a little taller and hope a little stronger. I could believe that Russell and I were on the right path towards healing our relationship and I trusted that all would be well.
It didn’t end how I had hoped, nowhere near that. And the journey since has been a tumultuous ride through both the dark and light places of myself. For the past 6 months it’s been a dark, shadowy, confusing journey. I’ve lost a great deal of my ability to trust, love and just breathe. Fears I never, ever, ever used to experience have crept into my heart and wrapped vines of panic around it. Guilt about all the things I didn’t do with or say to Russell, as well as guilt that I’m not doing enough for my kids. I have barely felt like I could move or speak much less breathe with trust and love.
But I feel myself moving into a deeper openness again. I am naming myself Warrior Lara again and approaching life with a renewed determination to allow life to unfold again – breathing; standing tall; trusting that Love surrounds me; not trying to figure everything out all at once but simply staying in the Now; seeking wisdom sources that speak to me; and finding joy where I can. I am naming my fears and then letting them go.
I’ve started reading Outrageous Openness again and last night I began looking back through my journals of past 3-4 years. I’m following the seeds of wisdom I planted there as I seek to open myself back up to living an amazing life again. I am trying things that terrify me knowing that each little step of bravery builds upon each other to create a brave, magical new world for myself.
I am Warrior Lara standing outrageously open to life!