Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Grief with no name

It is said the heart can only be put back together if we have all the pieces as if to suggest we start whole with one perfect, untouched, free of scars matter & as we progress through life events, people & time that will come & go, each leaving a mark where flesh should be, holes even, gaping crevasses that no time nor person can heal.

The thing about science, about technology, our advances forward in understanding who we are & why we are here is we know the heart as a physical instrument of love does not actually exist, love is in our minds. Pain is as real as it gets when someone hits you hard, yet it too does not exist & is relative to experience & thrives on the neurological stimulation & wiring in your brain to send signals back & forth to your body, it's why every painful experience by each human being is so vastly different. If you were to suppress the parts of your wiring which press the right buttons for pain & love, neither would you feel & there are people who are made this way, people who through physical trauma or mental tragedy, learn to switch off from pain & therefore from love.

Everything we feel, we do, we become, has been a matter of thought. Each touch, each experience shapes us like rain & oxygen to a plant, without these experiences we do not grow, just our physical presence. Our capacity to flourish is diminished by our lack of experience & as real as the pain of grief & loss is to our body, to suppress it would be to delay the inevitable as Sarah McLachlan describes in her lyrics '
hold on this is going to hurt like hell'.  After the death of my son I was in a place I had never been & went to my Dr for a check up. Without looking up or examining my heart or the parts that were traumatised, he pulled out his script pad & began writing 'here this will help'. I knew the only thing which could 'help' right then at that moment was to wake up with the sound of my son's voice calling for breakfast 'more buttered bread Mummy'. No drug to suppress what I was going through was going to make that 'better', it would just take it away & with it my capacity to feel him at all.

Human beings need matter; we need to feel, to do, to experience so we can exist. We want the worst parts of life to be non existent & all the fun bits to be abundant, yet our greatest education, knowledge & skill is learning to process both. How many times will you continue to stick your hand out the window of a speeding train if another train was coming past in the opposite direction? We learn as we experience. For any person who has known the force of grief when it takes over your existence from the death of a child, there is no experience more intense, more life shaping than this. To not grieve would seem to minimise all those feelings we shared with our child, our experience, our relationships together from the beginning past the end.

Grief is one of those things universally shared, Kubler Ross was the pioneer in 1969 as a psychiatrist in the US, her studies revealed 5 stages of grief (denial, bargaining, depression, anger, acceptance) we experience. There is no order to these emotions & they are not limited to the 5, however Dr Kubler Ross hypothesised you will experience all 5 at some time following the death of someone you know. Criticism of the 5 stages today stems from the view these 5 stages are only relevant when the person is emotionally close to you. In George Bonanno's book 'The other side of sadness' grief is described as non existent, this overwhelming loss & sadness as a natural education in resilience, a process for facing adversity & overcoming it, grief is part of being human.

Whatever your thoughts or feelings are, Clearly as the social psychologist Charles Corr suggests, there will be individuals who will try these responses on for size & many will discard them, it will come down to personality, life experience, culture, individual coping strategies, how you manage any form of stress in your life, how you respond to being pushed outside your comfort zone. The loss of a loved one will take you to a place you have never been before, whether you return or not will be decided by all the learning experiences before this marker on your timeline. The death of a child will be like no other grief experience in your life & if you know someone who has experienced this, the before & after them, you will know no one is ever the same again.

That's the thing about being human we are so easily studied & examined, we are a species of pattern & history, as we know more we can build on the knowledge of the past to better understand why we are who we are, to help those who cannot help themselves, at the most vulnerable times of their lives. Grief will do this. It will take out that non existent heart & throw it across the room, stamp on it with the weight of an elephant, then hand you back your heart all tattered & torn with the expectation it shall go on.

The youngest once asked how could I possibly love her as much as her siblings and surmised as my heart was physically so small 'wouldn't the first child get the most?'.  I told her the story of when my 2nd child arrived; 2nd child & second son, Benjamin Matthew James McMillan 'Ben'. I told the truth how I had also wondered would I ever have enough room in my heart or time in my life to give the same selflessness to another & the answers came long before the doctors & nurses placed him in my arms for the first time, as I willed him into the world through every hurdle through my pregnancy; I realised the heart does not start as a whole or is so fragile in capacity it cannot expand for another, it explodes, endlessly, the heart has no end. I told my daughter the heart is this amazing part of us, I particularly focused on being a Mum as the only viewpoint I knew well; some Mum's have this way of expanding their hearts to no end, sacrificing themselves for their children, sometimes to their own detriment (yet that's another blog) & she should never be concerned I would not love her as much as her brother's & sisters, each time my heart would double in size & 'grow bigger & bigger & bigger' along with the size of her eyes as she followed my explanation along.

What I didn't mention is the parts where it breaks, like a rocket launch to the chest while you are still standing. For a while you may sink to the floor or find yourself sitting at the bottom of the shower hugging your knees as the tears finally come after months of holding them in, with someone banging furiously on the door to see if you are still alive & when it comes, when it breaks, its the size of an ocean sized dam after years of drought & the first rain that doesn't stop pounding against the hardened soil. Time stands still for only so long to get you through what you need, sometimes you may cover the heart to contain all it holds dear, sucking in the air & holding it in, swimming a lap of a 50 metre pool underwater will feel like no feat at all once you've taught yourself how to hold your breathe long enough to contain a grief no dictionary can describe. 

The grief with no name, the grief unlike any other, when a child dies. There is a name for when a partner dies, you are widowed or when your parents time has come, you are orphaned. We regularly update the English language with acronyms and slang and yet of all the periods of time, there is no word to describe the death of a child. As the pain that defies our human capacity to go forward from such a physical and psychological ache in every ounce of your being, there is no word to describe the loss of all the years you had dreamed, the realisation what was once you & them will be locked into memory, there is a different you, it seems a piece missing & you will never be the same.

If you've ever seen the Academy award winning movie Crash (2004) where life is portrayed as moments of impact, crash like events, turning points in our life, grief is like that. Despite evolving over thousands of years, human beings rarely change who they are, we seldom adapt unless forced to, mental health rooms & psychologists are inundated with individuals whose lives are torn apart by their reluctance to adapt & change. Maybe it's a fault in our evolutionary instincts to fight, flight or flee. We are biological creatures like every other living being on this planet, as we adapt, we change & we learn to survive. What separates us in many ways is our social structure, we form tribes, clans, families, communities & it is through our social structures we adapt & change, even if for many it is just blending in. The difficulty in more recent decades is that social structure has diminished & we have become more isolated. Families live further apart, people communicate more by words & abbreviated ones at that, then spend time together. Some have the money for new large toys yet not to visit family at important times of the year. We are more forgiving of our politicians than we are of those closest to us & more tolerant of complete strangers in reality t.v. shows with their stereotyped behaviours than the people we love the most.

Our instinct to survive is the strongest of all instincts we have inherited, even above its closest friend 'reproduction'. Everything we become has a purpose, every experience, thought, action, behaviour; each serves to push us forward. Emotional response has been our greatest adaptation to our species. Emotions serve an incredible purpose by allowing us warning signs, indicators & highlights of what is happening for us. Over time our emotions have evolved too, flooded with foreign substances to our brains & organs, facing traumatic catalysts on a daily basis in the comfort of our own home, we are desensitizing to emotion, while the media instructs us what we should be angry about, tells us who to hate & why. Yet it is our emotions that command our instincts to stand to urgent attention, something is threatening our survival & immediate action is required. Science believes we are on the verge of changing our species like never before in the history of mankind, we are reprogramming our survival instincts & our emotions are leading the way.

There are some in the science & medical community who believe our survival instincts are under threat, that our natural capacity to adapt as a species has been over shadowed by the manipulation of our emotions. As we have become more technologically advanced, less sociable (in a close nurturing sense in Western individualistic societies), as we medicate our instincts at rapid rates & as we self indulge in substance abuse to suppress our feelings, the natural flow of evolutionary change, our capacity to adapt to adversity is threatened as we drown it in anything which stops us feeling fear, threats to safety, sadness, loss & grief, in fact it tampers with feeling at all.

As parenting is evolving in many parts of the world, children of my kids generation are predicted to take mental health rates to unbelievable heights as the least resilient of all generations of our time; statistically each of us have several people in our direct family with mental health issues & many of your children's friends will be medicated. I could talk about the simplest of parenting tasks like teaching your children to pick up a towel & hanging it up, to encouraging your children to problem solve themselves out of issues they've created, yet read my other blogs. Children today are more anxious than ever before in time & it is parents, holding hands with a devolving emotional society who have taken them there.

The reality is there are some pieces of experience which must be felt, lessons to learn, to etch the synaptic responses throughout our brain, to educate the parasympathetic nervous system. We need to feel people, all of it & after hitting the wall of grief, it was a choice I consciously made to take my grief & park it next to my bedside as I wake each morning & roll over & step out of bed. A smiling face to remind me nothing in life, no financial, marital, relationship or occupational hazard, no health issue for myself will ever be as hard as holding my son's hands as his breathing slowed & told him to stop fighting, it had gone on long enough, he would always be the bravest most courageous person I know & it was Ok to go somewhere better now, free of pain.

Grief begs you to discover parts of yourself, as John Green brought us to tears in his 'Fault in our Stars' it 'reveals us', to evolve as no book could ever describe nor mind could imagine. Take what someone who has never experienced the death of a child, with a grain of salt, you don't wish that experience on anyone. It's like trying to describe being hit by a Mack truck & surviving, there are some things in life words fall short of painting & whilst textbooks can outline well the stages of grief, no one can hold the memories or stories you keep tucked inside.

My moment of impact was 12.12.98, my son Benjamin was 3 years and 4 months of age. We had been told since he was 16 months old he was going to die. In fact at the time we were told we would be blessed to see him survive 3 months post diagnosis of a Grade IV glioma in the brain stem. It was the 'too hard' basket of all cancers at the time. Over the short time we fought the hardest battle of our lives, I had joined an international support group for parents online, to share information, trials & suppport; of the 40 plus children we had shared, Ben was the last to die within less than 2 years, there were no survivors.

I have those moments when I think of each of those children, their parents, families, friends, the people I came to know. Had we all been on one airplane or in one tragic event together, the world would never have stood by & let the death of more than 40 young children go without notice; many under 5 years of age, all before they had the opportunity to stand up in assembly or be sent to the Principals office, let alone be grounded, have their first kiss, drivers licence or to dream past Thomas the Tank Engine or Disney movies.

The world would stand up & adapt, it would change, learn & advance our species forward if only it could see these experiences begging us to evolve. That is what tragedy demands of us, as individuals & as a race, we must learn from every experience, more importantly the most painful, it's that intrinsic pack leader survival instinct, our will to stay alive. Yet with all the suppression of emotions, the numbing out we have become self absorbed in, donating to cancer is less likely than alcoholism is in families. Imagine that as a species, we are more comfortable with spending on average $20-$50 per week drowning our own pain, so we don't feel at all & p***ing it down a toilet than we are with giving $1 every week to prevent the death of thousands of innocent children who didn't even get the same chance we do as adults, to chose a drink or a cigarette or to eat ourselves into obesity. Little beautiful lives whose only wish was to survive. This goes across all areas of childhood illness, as children have the softest voices, the most vulnerable & they depend on adults to advocate for their needs.

It's a strange world we live where more money is spent on educating adults against preventable disease than it is on fighting unexplained terminal illness in children or resolving the preventable sky rocketing mental health rates in our young people, for goodness sake a child of 10 took her own life in Sydney earlier this week! I have no doubt addiction, the thousands you spend on cigarettes & alcohol, on take away & obsessive eating stem from an inadequacy you have never faced, a vulnerability you will not address or an emotional pain your refuse to acknowledge & good psychological intervention could save many diseases you will burden the health system with, yet we all have our suffering & we have our choices. I only wish we could focus more saving the lives whose choices are diminished by their age & power to create change, who are not wallowing in self pity & self indulgence. The young lives who just want to survive.

I held a tiny little hand as a purple foot filled with holes, so many it was hard to know where to prick next & told him how brave he was, how courageous, sang songs & told stories to hold back both our tears at the same time. There were no disability parking stickers, just 4 flights and more of stairs with a pram & a toddler at times; for a long while I was pregnant, then I had one on the front of my body, one on the back & one in the pram & off we went to to our friend chemo via the pathology. We were on first name basis with the medical staff & tickle-me-Elmo has been to theatre more times than most adults, the first to try stereotactic radiation in a child under 3 years of age & of the first group to have pediatric pain specialists on speed dial, afforded to main adults previously. There were many firsts & many lessons & a great deal of pain. Everyone coped differently, most friends shut us out, they stopped calling or coming around or inviting us to get together's, family too. Many said 'we didn't know what to say' & yet sometimes you don't need someone to fix your current situation you just need to empty your thoughts out loud.

When a child dies marriages are 3 times more likely to collapse under the strain, as if the current statistics are problematic enough. You will both grieve differently & if one of you reaches for the numbing stick, one of you will be standing alone holding all the balls in the air at the same time. Grief will change you & at the same time reveal you. There is no experience greater for ripping off all your layers & leaving your heart & soul naked as the death of your child.

Sick adults speak loud & clear, sick children, from those I've known, take it on the chin. Children will tell you it hurts right when it does, then go off to play, they don't drag it out as long as they can; they rarely complain, in fact Ben's central line became known as 'Fred' he was joining us everywhere we went we figured it might as well have name. I wasn't even sure when to stop treatment, we searched for trials everywhere, imported drugs from overseas, sought out naturopaths, acupuncturists, removed EMR products from the home, changed our eating patterns. I used every survival instinct I had learned from reproducing another human being & put whatever I had into keeping him alive. Evolutionists suggest theories of male reproduction instincts as a need to assert dominance & control, for females its about nurturing & continuation of the species. It begs to figure, when we face the two leading instincts of our species it is no wonder it reveals our vulnerabilities. It is what we are designed to do, to adapt, to change, to survive.

If I could share anything in memory of my son today as another year passes, I would tell you to let go of the struggle, let go of the control, of the ideas you have wedged between your ears about how life should be. We are here, we exist to survive, to adapt, to learn, to change & to grow. Fight the hard fights, give to what matters, you matter, what you love matters, be the change you want to see. Everything that happens in your life is not happening to you, it is you.Remember when you are stuck in being a victim of your experiences, you cease to adapt & evolve. Your experiences, your choices, your actions & behaviour is YOU! Do something with it, don't waste your life being stuck, feel the air in your lungs as you speak your mind, be yourself & take life on with the gratitude of someone who is thankful to be alive.

Whenever something begs you to sit up & take notice, you feel a well of anger or frustration or control arising ask yourself 'does this really matter?'. How you dress, what you enjoy, what gives you joy are matters for you & the richness you impart to others.

There are the pieces of you that MATTER & then there is the wasted time & energy you give to the stuff that doesn't. Your children matter, what you love matters, joy & compassion, understanding, hope & survival. It doesn't matter whether you get the best parking spot at the supermarket or someone cancels your appointment, it doesn't matter if your computer dies or the ATM isn't working & you have to talk an extra block to another, put a smile on your face & stop resisting the change, walk with a spring in your step. It doesn't matter if you put yourself out there, there are no silly questions, only questions you never ask. If you never go, you'll never know. If you never ask, you'll never know the answer. Holding back & staying in the safety of your cave are not going to advance you as a human being. As the saying goes 'A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for' (William G.T. Shedd). If you want the best out of life than ask for it & go get it. Love with all your might, dance with no rules, sing as if you were born to & paint like you have Picasso in your veins. Say what has to be said & learn from the results, you won't learn as long as you keep it all inside.

What I see around me is a wealth of human beings so afraid to feel the stuff that makes us human yet prepared to waste their time & feed the frustrations of the very lives they've created. You know that human beings project the things about themselves onto others they most fear to face themselves? It's much easier to tell someone else to get their crap together than to address your own. It's much easier to pass judgement about someone else than it is to take a long hard look at yourself & where you are going.

Whatever is your thing, go do it. Take grief by the horns & teach it to walk beside you. The Morcombe family have shown this with the tragedy of their son, where would they be today had they allowed themselves to be swallowed up by their self pity, how many lives have been changed & the closure they have brought to themselves by their tireless selflessness to face the critics & accusations & fears of a society & yet continued to honour their son's memory.

Grief & loss is not about wrapping your children in cotton wool or invading their privacy & trying to spend your whole life preventing pain, it's realising the value of one human life is something we have so little control over, it happens, it will happen & it does not belong nor can it be owned by any of us. Go ahead get angry, really pissed off if you must, then go through that & come out the other side & give back to their memory life. Time will take what it can when it must & we can only stand by as time passes or we can dance with it. One year you can be having the best Christmas of all time with your sister & her family, your son's are laughing, you have not a care in the world as children disappear under a sea of Christmas paper & within 18 months, two of the people with you are gone. It's about getting over yourself, it's about appreciating we are the fortunate ones, we are breathing, we have life, to not waste their memory in vein. To give it all we have with gusto.

All human life is a matter of time, we are matter, that is all we are & our existence is defined by the time we have to do what we do. How you chose to spend your time will be entirely up to you, remember you don't have time, time has you. There are no guarantees & I don't say this to leave you in fear. I say this so you are reminded as those who attend funerals & make a pledge they will change their life & go home to the very routine & keeping busy they had beforehand. Life can change in a moment, if you take it for granted you will miss the most amazing, beautiful, incredible opportunities to feel every single aspect of life on offer.

Try hard not to be caught up in the wishes of others, the demands judgement places on you. Try to resist living someone else's dogmas about how you should be living your life. Go & live life the way only you can, love who you chose to love, work or don't work, be passionate about whatever you chose, if you are surviving, your not hurting anyone, why should it be a problem for someone who is hiding from their own? Attract like minded souls who celebrate you as you are & encourage you to be the best you can be. 

In my lifetime I've ticked off most of the top 10 traumas. A few weeks ago when the pressure was placed on a little harder, I had no one to chat with & called into a local hospital to find a social worker to vent. It was rather like a National Lampoon to mental health in Australia I wish there was a camera, the first person told me there was a 3-6 month waiting list & would I like to make an appointment, so I called the well promoted & funded mental health line to find out it is a triage service to re direct you back to the community where you must wait another 3-6 months for an appointment. So I called another initiative & had a 32 minute wait time on hold, so I hung up. In the end I had a chat with a psych on the phone only to be told I should be proud I sound so sane & if only more people understood the importance of venting & taking things off your chest, how therapeutic it is. I didn't bother telling him one I understood Dr Brown when she first took herself to a professional for professionals & said none of that bullshit childhood stuff, just let me get this stuff out & sort it for me. I had the tools & knowledge to know enough about my feelings & behaviour when it was time to empty the pack on my back to allow for more on its way, survival had come down to a fine art in the last few years.

There will be times in your life that are going to suck big time. Times you need to throw something, yell, scream & cry. There will be moments in your life you want to hide in your cave & tell life to go away as you control every aspect around you. You can't. You won't control everything around you. The only person you can do something about is yourself. Get your own stuff together & watch the ripple effect. We take time, we do not stop learning when structured institutionalized learning ceases (as you would know teachers teach knowledge & information, they don't prepare you for life). It's our moments of difference, the events that rip apart our souls & the ones which have us singing from the highest mountains which have the greatest power to edge us forward as we evolve, the rest give us food for thought, keep us stimulated & with purpose. Yet it is the outside your comfort zone where the real stuff gets your heart pumping & the wires upstairs firing like fireworks.

We talk about neuroplasticity now which we couldn't conceive previously, the ability of the brain to heal itself & rewire its functions when one is lost. What computer continues to function when its hard drive is corrupted? I've tried this experiment, a hypothesis, I figured if my brain could suffer the impact of grief, loss & enormous trauma then what if I flooded it with positive experiences? What if I rejected the notion to swim in a sea of sh*t & instead I took the things I knew made me feel good, surrounded myself with people who spoke warmly & with affection (& cut off the rest), what if to heal my brain (my heart & soul) if I gave back to myself the very things sadness & grief & loss was taking? The thing about emotional responses is as Dr Brene' Brown describes, if you shut yourself off, numb it out (as many traumatised people respond) you don't get to chose what you switch off, it's all or nothing. If we don't put back into ourselves after a traumatic experience, we become emotionally bankrupt.

We cannot give the death of a child a name as at this stage it is inconceivable to humanity to understand how any soul could endure this type of pain & go on, yet we do, many many of us do. I am blessed from knowing Ben, for being his Mum, for holding his hand for as long as I could. My life is richer for our experiences & no book or many degrees could give me those lessons.

When you decide not to feel, when you decide to screw around with your chemistry, with our innate responses to experience, you mess with the whole lot, the good stuff, feel good & amazing stuff, hence the numbness that lingers after.Our Statutory authorities survive on teaching its members how to suppress our evolutionary instinct responses, to face fear, ignore it like it doesn't exist & go past it, teaching their employees to switch off & disconnect & wonder why when the crap hits the fan why coping becomes so difficult & many do not survive. Trauma is a normal response to incredible events, we will be scared, we will feel fear as our safety is threatened; the death of any person dear to us will hurt like hell. We must allow each other the space & time to feel what is real & vitally important to our survival, we must improve our social responses to grief & loss & open our hearts more, not close them down.

Dr Brown's research explores human beings as two types of people, the whole-hearted & those who resist being whole-hearted & what separates the two is our vulnerability. To experience grief we must face our vulnerability, our fear of pain, of loss, of sadness of crying until there are no tears to cry. We must resist the urge to shut down & switch off. What we need are shoulders to lean on, hands to hold & a society which allows us to grieve through our traumas. Not the society we are producing today where when stuff goes down you are forced back onto the next shift or cut off from the very social network which has given you courage & strength all this time. Is it no wonder post trauma stress is on the rise. We must let people grieve as only they can, in their own way & stand beside them without judgement or a need to fix it.

We cannot have our cake & eat it to, there is always a consequence. If we do not feel we cannot know the highs by avoiding the lows. Our brains may be the most incredible deepest section of an undiscovered ocean known to man, yet it requires us to feel the hot to know when it's too hot, to cuddle, touch, face our fears as they occur, feel every bit afraid & go past them stronger for it; to feel each other in order to stimulate our nervous system into wiring up & pumping our feel good chemicals through our body. If you go shutting this system down & turning off parts of it to suit yourself, you risk screwing with the rest.

Having lived through the grief with no name, it is possible to come out the other side. To take all those experiences & grow into a better person for it.

We need what Elizabeth Lesser describes 'a soft front & a strong back'. We need to learn to carry the weight of our grief & losses, to keep our hearts soft, our minds open, our souls with compassion, understanding & hope. We must lean into life, not out of it. 

If you look around you will see as many people living someone else's life other than their own. People either leaning on the pole of life for support to prop them up as time goes by (alcohol, food, drugs, whatever gives you a fix & helps you avoid real life), the ones who are too afraid of their own vulnerability to lean into life & lean back instead, stepping right out of the life they could have if only they'd walk the walk. The ones too afraid to say what they mean & mean what they say. Too scared of being themselves, afraid of their own vulnerability.

I know them, all of you & I see you.
I see how you avoid conflict or embarrassment by not expressing how you feel, sometimes you might avoid saying anything at all.
I see the liars, the cheats & the fake people, hoping that if they lie to themselves & then to others, if they cheat their way through life (little do they realise there are no shortcuts) & those who get dressed in outfits to impress & anything except that which brings them joy & makes their body dance inside.
I see the ones who still tell themselves life is measured by things, who has the most toys, who earns the most money, who are so busy keeping busy & pretending to be what they think life is measured by, the very thing they are seeking is passing by with time. Remember when you couldn't wait to grow up? How is that working for you?

I can tell you that nothing is more beautiful about a human being than their authenticity, their willingness to be flawed, to be a work in progress, to bare their wounds, children know this well. The ones who have suffered & learned, who decided growing was more important than saving face. Sometimes we appear to have the same lessons over and over again. We cross paths with the same or like minded people. There will be those who seem to experience the same stuff & you can see them or maybe it is you, stuck at the drawing board with the universe as teacher slapping it's stick on the board 'wake up how many lessons do you need?'. There is that moment, the grief with no name, when your life stands still & everything else, all the stuff you thought mattered, washing, dishes, floors, more sand inside than in the sandpit, how many dummies a child can hold & have in their mouth at one time, whether they should be sleeping in your bed still, there is the grief with no name that slaps you hard like a piece of concrete & tells you to drop the crap & go play more, listen to your heart calling you, do what needs to be done & must be done, the rest will be still there when you get back. Go live life as you were born to do. Wear what makes you feel good inside from the moment you step out of bed, even what you sleep in or not for that matter. This is your life. I can only tell how different you will feel when you make a conscious decision to live with authenticity, when you stop the crap, stop lying to yourself & others, say what you mean & mean what you say, do what brings out the best in you & ripples onto others.

You can't hide from your suffering, emotions or experiences, they follow you & linger in the depths of your brains & behaviour. Your heart exists in your mind & you have the power to shape it as you wish. It is not broken, it is being shaped & taught how to feel & embrace all life has to offer. Loss has the potential to teach us how to value the living more, how to get more from life, not less. Your heart is not damaged & filled with holes & despite this piece of you which feels missing (I know that), we are not puzzles to be solved, we are living beings waiting to experience life. These empty feelings, these missing pieces are the lessons we are waiting to learn, if you are going down the same path & crossing paths time & time again you've got some work to do, remember the 'Bear Hunt' we read to the kids, go through it, it's the only way to the other side.

What determines resilience in human beings is the capacity & ability to turn a negative into a positive, to take from something tragic, scary & horrific & turn it into purpose & meaning, to give it back life, its our capacity to evolve. If you are stuck, you have unfinished business, you haven't processed it, you let unanswered questions dominate your thoughts; if something is lingering, life is waiting for you to catch up, it's giving you another chance to adapt, change & survive, to live life as the gift it is.

The grief with no name teaches you to get up off that floor when you've stayed there long enough to recharge. It teaches you that you can live without things & stuff. It teaches you about ignorance & sheltered protected lives that people build around themselves so they can keep others out & themselves safe, it teaches you let them learn their own lessons. It teaches you to confront all you know about the worldview on stability & you can move more times than a gypsy & what stability is really about is emotions, about connecting with the parts of yourself & teaching your children the same, no matter where you live or what you own or how many cars you have or whether you are in a 1 bedroom shack or a castle. It teaches you that to feel is completely normal, all your feelings, these are real & as real as it gets to you. To shut them off would be to turn off the light inside your soul.

You do not need to experience the grief with no name to learn anything from the life I've experienced, from knowing every day is still a work in progress.  You can make a conscious choice that you will not wait for life to slap you so hard in the face to wake you up from walking in ignorance, to stop taking for granted the air you breathe, the people you love & love you, you can decide right here right now that you are going to live life as you were born to, with everything you've got, with honesty, integrity & authenticity; you are born to be whole hearted.

You could decide to learn from the past, from everything you experience, the good, the bad & the ugly. You could decide to make today the first day of the rest of your life & to be part of a wholehearted revolution, to live with a generous spirit & a bountiful heart, the heart that expands the more that you allow to enter it.

You can make a choice. To live or to exist, the choice is yours, it always has been. 


Thank you Ben from the depths of my being, thank you for showing me the way xoxoxoxo

No comments:

Post a Comment