Inhale, Exhale

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To breathe – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.  Sometimes, oftentimes, that is all I am confident I can do. It’s what got me through Russell’s traumatic illness and death. It’s what got me through the days, weeks, months of shock that followed. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale – over and over and over again. Standing still, eyes often closed to picture my breath, letting go of any and all expectations upon myself but to focus on my breath.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

I find myself turning to this again as I prepare myself for Kateri to move to her new job in Hampshire, IL which is about 5 hours from home. She will be working at a horse farm with a talented rider and trainer who she greatly respects.  It is a wonderfully grand adventure for her first move away from home.    Just writing those few words took longer than it normally would as I had to stop and breathe – inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

As thrilled as I am for this new opportunity for Kateri, an opportunity that fills her with confident excitement, the thought of not seeing her everyday threatens to drop me to my knees.  Being with my children everyday, being able to hug them and talk with them everyday, has been one of the key pieces of my healing journey.  To not have one of them here is almost unfathomable to me.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

The moving out of a child is hard for all parents I am sure. We want them to grow and fly free. But we also want them to be close by, able to be hugged at a moment’s notice. We want to see them become strong, confident adults while also wistfully longing for the days we could still hold their hand in public.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

I am experiencing a rawness, a view through a darker lens as I am poignantly reminded that I alone am the parent helping launch Kateri into the adult world and will be doing the same with Soren and Demetri in the next several years.  I am reminded more deeply, more singularly that as my children leave I will soon be alone. All of the dreams that Russell and I shared for “when the kids are grown” are no longer a possibility. They shattered into a million pieces when he died.  And in the preparations for Kateri’s move I am made vividly aware that all dreams are now just my own. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

Layers upon layers upon layers of emotions I’ve been feeling these past weeks have left me near mute.  I haven’t been able to write about it much less talk about it.  And I haven’t even wanted to – for my own sake as well as Kateri’s I have chosen to stay in the moment, embracing and loving every precious one as the gift that it is.  I’ve chosen to wait to share my story so as not to draw away from Kateri’s joy.  I have chosen to see the awesomeness of this new path for her and help her find her way through her own fears, worries and questions. I have chosen to love this time for all that it is – the joy and the sorrow, the looking forward and the looking back, the mystery and the known, the tears and the laughter.  All of it is part of one magical whole. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

As the words bubble up inside of me, ready to spoken, I focus again on my breath, the most powerful tool I have to stay balanced and grounded.  With tears flowing down my cheeks and a smile on my face I trust the path I am on and the one that Kateri steps onto today.  Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

I’m trying. I really am!

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There are sooooo many curse words that want to come flying out of my mouth right now.  I feel my Kraken swirling around inside of me wanting to protect me from more crazy ass shit flying around us.  I am trying to listen to her while also tapping into my other archetypal wisdom figures (ie Dragon and my Muse) who help balance out the dark, lashing, energy Kraken brings forth in me.

I am trying every single day (oops almost added some curse words in there) to move forward; to clear my energy; to make new choices for life; to find the positive in situations; to believe that no matter what chaotic messiness pops up around me I can find humor in it; to choose gratitude as my primary focus for my day; to not get sucked into the abyss of seeing only misery and wrongness in my world.  I am trying!

But wow, I am worn out by life right now.  Kateri’s horse, Walter, has problems AGAIN in the leg that just received weeks of treatment.  We are looking at another trip to Mizzou for more treatment.  We are looking at another Thanksgiving with some kind of horse emergency or critical care needed.  In the last 4 years every single major holiday family time – Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas – has brought us some crisis connected to the farm; except for maybe 2.

I am tired – emotionally, mentally, physically.  I am trying to tap into all of my healing, coping tools; I really am.  But wowza I am tired to an extent I can’t even explain.  I just keep thinking enough already. What the blankity blank blank do I need to do to get us the blankity blank out of this pattern?  What on earth is the lesson that I need to learn?  What will it take to stop the frickin merry go round I feel trapped on?  Maybe I am trying to hard and I need to just let go; but let go of what?

Pffft, I will find a better, calmer place tomorrow.  But for tonight I just want to curse, throw things and run the blankity blank away to Costa Rica where my phone won’t work.

The fact that I am still here, choosing to write rather than throw things, is proof that I am not only trying but that I am doing it I guess- I am somehow still going.  The warrior woman in me who imagines herself riding Karoly with a blazing sword in hand, her wolves (yes I imagine Willow, Tara and Hinata to be my wolves) at her side, taking on the world is speaking to me.  She says we can do it!  So I will try and listen to her tonight.

Embrace the Shitty

 

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It is time!

It is time!

It is time!

I wrote this in my journal first thing this morning.  I went onto have this be a thread throughout my day as I reflected upon what this means for me.  After conversations with a couple of friends, my life coach and lots of reflecting I’ve come to a few ideas.

What “it” is I don’t really know but I feel something rising within me, just about ready to be born.   Something is wanting to be created NOW.   But what?

Start something, anything – JUST START!  It’s time to stop trying to have everything figured out ahead of time, have the outcome clearly in my mind’s eye, and just do something already.  In order to crack open my heart I’ve got to just do it, do anything, just start!

As a perfectionist, who does try not to embrace becoming obsessed with getting things just right before acting, I get myself stuck all of the time.  I want to have all the pieces of the puzzle in place before I share it with everyone.  I have a vision of what things can or should look like and that vision can keep from taking simple steps forward.  Until I see the how I can stop myself from doing anything at all.  So I keep picturing possibilities without acting on any of them.  Stuck!

Writing increases my mindfulness so that I no longer feel numb or asleep as I move through life.  Writing daily helps me to pay attention to what is happening in the here and now as I become curious about what will grab my attention enough for my Muse to awaken and begin to speak.

So I need to just do “it” whatever the it is that calls to me each day.  Even if that means doing something I haven’t completely envisioned how it will turn out.  A friend said to me today as we were talking about all of the retreats/workshops I could lead but I stop myself because I worry I don’t known enough yet (not perfect), “Just embrace the shitty. Just do it even if it’s shitty the first few times out. Focus on what’s simple and fun and don’t worry about the outcome.”  Only by doing it can I get any better and actually figure out what most brings me joy.  It’s okay to not have it be perfect before I present it.  Gasp!

Well isn’t that a fun new mantra for a perfectionist to try out “Embrace the shitty”?  What a freeing thought it is to let go of any obsessive commitment to the outcome (life coach addition to the day long conversation with myself). Embrace where I am and let go of the rest.   It would mean digging deep and not allowing my desire to have it all be perfect before presenting it to others be what is my highest truth.   It means believing wisdom can come to others even if I don’t have all of the answers.

It’s definitely worth trying if it can help me just do it and start to take new action with something, with anything.   It won’t hurt anything to simply start trying out all of the dozens of ideas rambling around inside of my head.  And it may actually be a lot of fun to play with possibility rather than getting stuck in perfection.

It is time!

It is time!

It is time!

 

 

Time Outs

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Sometimes there can be no words. Or at least no adequate words to say to someone when a curve ball of life has been thrown at them.  Especially if it is someone who’s black and blue already from trying to dodge a lot. In those times when yet one more thing has happened all we can do is be there, give them a hug, and walk alongside them.

I’m also learning that during these times of dodging and weaving I need to step away for a while to regroup and re-center myself before I try to engage too much with people around.  Take a quick time out isn’t just for little kids who’ve done something they weren’t supposed to do.  Time outs give us a chance to say to the world “I just can’t right now. Give me a few minutes to reset my brain, my heart, and my body.”

As adults we often think we need to just suck it up and keep moving.  Allowing ourselves to take a time out can leave some of us (me for sure sometimes) feeling weak and ineffective.  However I’m coming to realize that time outs are one of the easiest, best ways for us to put our self-care and our health first.  It is 100% okay to say we need to focus on our own needs first.  If we don’t do it, no one else will for us.

I’m doing a bit of dodging and weaving this weekend as is Kateri and a few others within our Avalon community. I’m betting there are a lot of folks out there dodging and weaving things being thrown at them quickly and out of nowhere.  I am encouraging us all to take time outs when we feel our inner stress level rising.  Stop, go to a quiet place, take some deep cleansing breaths, and let go.  As we allow ourselves to just settle into the moment, not trying to figure out the future in any way shape or form, perhaps we can settle into a calmer, more grounded space,  At least that is my hope my myself and all of us.

All will be well and all is well!

I know because I have

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I am committed to writing a blog post everyday.  Writing fuels me and heals me and leaves me feeling like I’ve shared something of value with the world even if it’s just a small piece of one woman’s story.  The last few days I have written of things that popped up in my morning reflection time.  Today nothing is coming to the surface which allows me to share something I wrote last week (after the death of our oldest farm cat, Sammy) waiting for an opportunity to share it here. Starting my day writing here leaves me feeling like I’ve at least got 1 thing done each day.  It’s a great way to start my day.

What fuels you and heals you? How can you make that part of the start of your day?  How can you say YES to you first and foremost!

 

Loss is different now.  Each little loss of an animal at the farm used to devastate me, knock me out and to the ground for days, sometimes weeks depending upon the situation.  I used to wonder, after each death, if I could really run a large farm with a lot of older animals.  The chances for more frequent loss is higher than many other farms might experience. Each death impacted me so much. I would experience great sadness and guilt that I hadn’t done more, fear I had somehow missed something leading to the death.

That all changed, at least to some extent, with Russell’s death.  The depths of my sadness, fear, confusion, guilt and imbalance I’ve had to work through and clear out since his death has given me a far different perspective on death of others.  Other losses since then can leave me feeling sad but I’ve learned to bend like a strong willow tree much more easily now.

Once a month I get a week long reminder of how strong I really am and how far I have come.  The 13th is the anniversary date of Russell going into the hospital, the slide into Cuckoo Luckoo Land. The 20th is the anniversary date of his death. And everything in between is layers and layers of memories.

Every month the 13th – 20th is an opportunity to remember to use all of the tools in my self-care bag.  This bag is full of lots of tools that help me stay grounded, open to allowing things to flow as they will, shield myself from outside influences, be deeply grateful for all that I have and breathe, Just Breathe.  In this bag are breathing techniques, clearing tools, meditations, songs that heal, movements that keep the flow going, choices that soothe the weariness away, and so much more.  Dozens and dozens of valuable tools that I can often forget to pull out and actually use.   But this one week is a consistent reminder that I have tools that I know I can use, because I already have.

This week is a reminder to not allow outside things and people to control me.  Listening to my truest self, the wisdom of me that tells me what is best for me, this is what I remember to do.  We can never understand another’s journey, another person’s deepest needs, even if they are walking a similar path as our own.  I am reminded that I can listen to MY wisdom voice because I already have.

This week is a reminder that I can breathe, JUST BREATHE, through anything.  When all else starts to spin, no answers seem clear and the way ahead is foggy I can just breathe. I remember because I already have.

I am reminded that I am the Willow Tree  – strongly rooted, stretching my arms up to the sky, providing a shelter of branches, able to bend without breaking and so very strong. The things that I am able to withstand in life go far beyond what I every imagined for my life.  I am far, far stronger than I every knew I could be.  I know because I have already experience all of these things.

I am reminded that LOVE surrounds me and flows through me. I can choose to respond with love and light, feeling grateful for every little gift. I can choose to seek love and welcome it when it is given to me. I can choose to recognize that I am never alone.  I can choose to believe that love is the most powerful thing I will ever experience.   I know this because I already have.

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I am reminded that letting go and trusting that all will be well is the only way for me to find healing and become whole.  If I try to have all of the answers, understand all of the whys and make sense out of everything I become more lost. When I let go, allowing myself to live in the mystery I somehow find my path.  I know because I already have.

Each death now opens another door for me, peels back another layer of my cocoon. Death is a part of life and I can dance between the light and the dark, in that glorious space where love resides, in the misty Shadowlands of Great Mystery.  I know all of this because I already have. I already have.