Saturday, 31 May 2014

Nuggets of Hope

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own.
There you can be sure you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb tonight.
The night will give you a horizon further than you can see.
You must learn one thing: the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you. 
~David Whyte
(bold emphasis is my edit!)


A few weeks ago I wrote about denouncing the month of “meh”; about viewing my situation at the time as an opportunity to re-connect rather than retreat; with the hope that by the end of the month I could say “I loved this month”...

Well you know what they sometimes say: things may get worse before they start to get better.

Last week I hit a low point. Understandably discouraged, overwhelmed, lonely, frustrated. And losing hope. That last piece came as a surprise to me because in all of my past low moments – of being discouraged with my own situation, with my failures or lack of progress, with my relationships or lack thereof, with the state of the world we live in – there was always a small, nagging morsel of hope longing to be heard. Offering reassurance and encouragement to keep pushing forward. That, as the saying goes, this too shall pass. Sometimes it was harder to hear or took longer to break through the empty silence, but it was always there.

When I realized I could not hear even it's faintest whisper, I also realized I do not know how to do this without hope. I do not know how to pull myself out of this without hope.

I thought to myself even if that hope goes forever unrealized; even if it is empty, blind, or naive, I need to find it again and hold onto it in order to keep pushing forward.

It's funny sometimes how the Universe will bring to you the things you need when you need them, if you only open your eyes to see. Nuggets of hope began to come my way -
In the unlikely friend who called three days in a row to check on me and drag me outside for a walk by the water.
In the friend's voice reminding me: “You won't always feel this way.”
In the friend's trusting questioning: “I wonder who he will be...?”
In the friend's at first seemingly out of place response yet acknowledging the opportunity that grows from these spaces: “I am excited for you!”
In the innocent acceptance and play of nieces and nephews.
In the genuine laughter that flowed from re-connecting with a friend from a distance.
In the fulfilling of a long-ago commitment to share music with a community from my childhood.
In the invite for a much-needed night out with different friends.
Even in random quotes appearing on Facebook.

Hope had not been lost – it was just being safely held in different places, and handed back to me in pieces when I needed it and more importantly was ready for it again. Whether they did so consciously or not, I am grateful for the people in my life that are able and willing to do that for me and with me.

So it's been a long month. A tough month for more than just myself, as stories are passed back and forth among friends, family, and co-workers. But the nugget of hope I can offer is that today is the last day of this month. Tomorrow, a new one begins again!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Re-writing The End

“Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened”
~ Dr Seuss

Endings are rarely easy. Especially when they are seemingly abrupt and unexpected. Especially when it's something you didn't really want to end.

I had this thought: I didn't even get a chance to find out what I didn't like. The time was too short, reality held at a distance behind the best masks on display. In some ways that is maybe the hardest part – that I didn't have a chance to find out what I didn't like.

I had been there before. And really, that is why this impending end hit the way it did. Because I had been there before. Left standing by myself in empty, silence. Wondering what happened? Wondering when it changed? Wondering where I am? Wondering who you are? Wondering why...? It had become one of my stories - like we all have stories. Stories of how the experiences of our lives play out. Patterns that seem to repeat over and over again...

...until something changes.

Perhaps it is the smallest detail. Perhaps it is the loudest scream.

It was a story I did not want to re-tell. Or a story I wanted to tell with a different end. And so I did. I re-wrote The End. I took control of my own experience. I asked for answers that I did not want to hear. I spoke words that used to catch in my throat. I let loose the loudest scream in order to change the smallest details. I sought closure because it's absence drove me to places I no longer want to visit. I empowered myself by re-writing The End of one of my stories.

Still... empowerment ebbs and flows in the empty silence that inevitably follows even when answers are given and words have been spoken. Closure helps, but disappointment and rejection leave their mark no matter how long or short. No matter how it ends. No matter who is the first – or last – to call it out loud. Because endings are rarely easy, even when they are slow and expected. Even when you have decided that it is the best thing to do in the moment.

The very fact that this ending held opportunity for a re-write is what I found I didn't like. There is no right way to do this: the advice rings in my ears. Perhaps there was another way. But I have been in the end of that story before and it was not enjoyable. This time wasn't so much either. But at least I have editorial credits in re-writing The End; in creating the possibility for a new story to begin.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

A link to more...

I think that every now and then stopping to catch your breath means not making things harder then they need to be...

I really enjoy writing for this blog. But sometimes I have a week – or a run of weeks - where inspiration runs short, and/or time runs short, and/or the physical and emotional energy required runs short. This has been one of those weeks when all of the above apply. So instead of being hard on myself I'm giving myself permission to stop to catch my breath.

And to share with you the following:

Over the past few months, as some of you may already know, I have also been contributing periodically to a blog about on-line dating WinkWisely. It's been a blast to remember & re-hash some of my on-line dating experiences!

So for this week's blog I am simply directing you to MY SPACE on that site. The most recent contribution actually just went up this week!

And hey, while you're there feel free to check out some of the other great writers that have contributed to the site.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Denouncing the Month of “Meh”

Loving something isn't about coveting it:
it is about appreciating it.
The best way we can show this love is by trying to nurture growth,
not inhibit it.”
~ unknown

But something amazing happens when you free your mind from the idea that one person [or thing] can define your happiness.
Psychologically, something changes in you when you release the need to make everything right.
You become your playful, relaxed self again.
~ James Bauer [bracketed italics mine]

Over drinks with friends the other night, I finally blurted out “I hate this month!” Listening to my own words and the stories of my friends I couldn't help but comment, “I wrote about this last year, The Month of “Meh”, and it's happening again.”

Last year I wrote about it at the end of the month, as a reflection of the weeks past. This year, only 10 days in, I want to denounce the month of “meh”.

We've had a long, harsh, cold winter. You can see that reflected in many things. But now, the sun is shining! The flowers are blooming! Temperatures have risen, and layers of clothing have come off! If there was any time of the year when it should be easier to be happy and connected, it is now!

I have found myself before in similar places to where I am now – feeling somewhat lost; or frustrated with little or no progress on goals and projects; or discouraged by one or more of the relationships in my life... And typically I end up retreating into myself. I avoid social outings and distract myself with a glass [coughbottlecough] of wine, ice cream and a good movie. Or a bad one, depending on my mood.

But this time, something feels different. Maybe it's that a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and really figure out what I wanted for my life right now. Maybe it's that I've done some growing and changing and learning in important ways over the past year or so and I understand better what I'm experiencing and how to move through it. Maybe it's all those things and more, maybe it's something completely different. All I know is that instead of seeing this situation as a reason to retreat and feel sorry for myself...

I want to view it as an opportunity to re-connect!

To appreciate myself, nurturing and allowing love to grow. To appreciate the relationships that mean the most to me, nurturing and allowing love to grow where it may.
To engage in the activities and relationships that – together – make me happy. To release the need to make things “right” (whatever that looks like anyway...) And to find my playful relaxed self again!

I'm denouncing the month of “meh”, and choosing to step up so that by the end of the month I can (hopefully) say “I loved this month!”

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Family History

I sat in the walk-in clinic waiting room earlier this week, filling out the new-patient information form. In the section labelled Family History I stared at the word Cancer.

Last week I had a realization, that in the last few months I've had some important life events begin to transpire. Mixed emotions accompany them. Patience is required. Juggling these situations along with all the other every day situations and all the situations my friends share with me from their lives... can be overwhelming at times.

And then there are the friends who sometimes look you in the eye and tell you a truth that you have perhaps thought about, but are no more eager to hear from someone else's lips than to utter it out loud yourself. A truth about acceptance.

I don't think you have fully accepted what is happening with your Mom...”

I reflected on her words and my thoughts later that evening, and I settled on a question: “How?”

How do you fully accept that someone you love has cancer? How do you fully accept that someone who has been a rock in your life is now struggling with a weakness? How do you fully accept that a parent – that your mom – is going through chemo treatments?

It is not something you do all at once. It is too big to be accepted all at once. It is something that has an initial crisis – at diagnosis; something that slides into a new normal – during treatment; something that requires patience – waiting for results. It is too big to be accepted all at once.

And so I have my moments – moments of forgetting; moments of living in the new normal; moments of remembering and moving towards deeper acceptance. Moments like putting an X beside the word Cancer in the section labelled Family History on the new patient information form at the walk-in clinic.

I left the Emergency Contact spot blank. I was after all only there for a simple ear infection. What possible emergency could come of that? Besides, I'd already processed and accepted one new piece that day. And sometimes, one piece at a time is all you can do.