grief and loss

Run away or stay

The urge to run away is natural on one hand and on the other is contradictory to our innate capacity for compassion and staying with pain. There are millions of examples of open-hearted compassion and humility from humans in times of extreme crisis throughout centuries, yet parts of us want to run away and not feel. It is always way easier to hide, stay in the vibration of fear and non-connecting than open up to all horror and sorrow of the world and connect to as much and as many aspects of us as humans. It is understandable and sometimes we do need to withdraw just to catch our breath. Sometimes things make us freeze following trauma. The most difficult thing to do seems to be our connection to ourselves. We no longer in touch with who we are and what we are doing here. Often we become ‘robot-like’ and desensitised to all that surrounds us. It is a way of avoiding the harsh and painful, the unthinkable. It is a coping way, when life becomes disabled. At that point hope is lost, defeat prevails and we continue as we were on the road to nowhere, not feeling our own bodies. Again it seems something that happens naturally these days yet what about our natural ability to feel again, what happened to parts of ourselves that feel through life and live through all experiences that life offers, dark and light. We have potential for all things.

Tragedy carries a vibration of shattered hopes, dreams, connections and explosion of an array of uncontrollable feelings that seem impossible to contain. Connection with others will help that, safe and accepting holding will do the job, unity in sorrow will provide a refuge from the attack of extreme emotions. Tragedy can also propel us all into action, into feelings and into becoming more ‘us’. It can potentially get us in touch with life, with our own beating heart. It is an opportunity to be you! Please take it. Please choose compassion for the world and yourself as a part of the complicated system of connections and human life.

Blessings to the world! loss

When great trees fall…

just-elephant-digital-fine-art-photo-manipulation-by-hendra-m-digital-art-elephant-moon-tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

~ Maya Angelou

Back to yourself. The journey of 2016 so far 

This year many are digging deep into wounds that had lied buried in the unconscious for many years. Some are so deep that when asked our only response is ‘I don’t remember much of my childhood’. This is very common and no wonder. Pain we endured emotionally left many of us numb, avoiding, in a state of shock or dissociation and generally just coping. Humans are good at coping. However, it transpires that underneath all those layers of grief, pain, loneliness, dependency, addiction and pain lies a light, a divine light of our Divine child. What happened to it? Why have we given up on it? Were we ever aware of our own inner beauty, purity and joy?

If you cast your memory back do you remember being carefree, super creative and inquisitive with no sense of time?

All I remember is being alone, in what seems to be constant emotional pain, fear. Controlled, punished, blamed, shamed, criticised, undervalued, a nuisance, not good enough, silenced and ignored. Does any of those come to mind? What are we to do about it?

We must become aware and be completely honest about all our feelings. What we feel in the present when we react, get upset or feel panicked is a mirror to that original primal wound of our childhood. All we feel now we began to feel long ago, we learnt long ago to be a certain way. Waste. Souls shattered and fragmented into parts missing, split and lost. Spirit dimmed to a degree we have no concept of trust, what it’s like to feel joy or be in a relationship where there is unconditional love and acceptance. We cope.
This year we are faced with the universe making the way for us to begin our journey back to ourselves if we haven’t yet started and if we have the rhythm and speed is increased in a way of clearing our blocks towards our own light.

My year began with grief, my primary emotional wound of separation and loss. My childhood ended at five and I remember the moment in my body when I knew this was the end. There was no one to see me or hear me, no point asking for help no one would come. I became invisible and turned into a defended, frozen mute being stripped of joy and playfulness. Grief turned into a physical condition which scared the hell out of me and made me really look at how things manifest when left unattended. Self-love was needed, attention needed to be turned towards my emotions, not away from them. My inner child threw in the towel as continual denial of love and attention persisted with every attempt to reconnect. Hopeless and alone.

When on a spiritual pilgrimage this summer I failed to connect with spirit instead fear and anger was present with mood swings and desperation for freedom. It was a hard lesson in staying present with myself first and foremost instead of seeking to escape. One of my coping mechanisms abandoned me and it was brutal. I was required to stay firmly on earth sorting out the mess created many years ago by people who meant to caretake me. I understood well. I heard it loud and clear and embraced my state of brokenness knowing there was no other way than to dive deep into the dark cave of my primary wounding.

It has been a journey and I continue on a rollercoaster presented to me this year, but there’s now hope, light and more awareness that I know will guide me to places I need to visit within myself. I was allowed to practice my earth based spirituality, work with the land, engage in cooking and creativity. I was allowed to keep that practice having been told it would indeed keep me grounded and present. That came as a relief and a confirmation of my path being truly beneficial to my emotional healing. I feel blessed and hopeful and less fearful in the world that promises many challenges and struggles. I can do it though and we all can. Whatever it takes we will dig the light from within ourselves and meet our Divine child once again keeping it close this time forever safe and present.

Blessings!

The Emptiness of Death

images

When someone leaves your life forever, never to be seen, heard, experienced or felt on no level, never to walk the Earth again or breathe the air or see the sky, it feels empty to the one left behind.

Empty to a degree that nothing seem to fill that particular emptiness. It is a feeling of despair and disbelief and hopelessness about anything that can be done about it. We can’t change death, we can’t rewind the clock to stop things from happening, we are powerless at the hands of the force merciless and sudden.

It is one of the human experiences that is beyond comprehension. We can’t make sense of it with our minds and when turning to our hearts the pain is too much and unbearable when we tune into that hole, that emptiness, that nothingness that suddenly entered our lives.

Cruel – yes

Unfair – yes

Gaping emptiness – yes

755-saying-goodbye-broadband_dvd.original

No amount of reasoning, pleading, conditioning yourself to it is going to stop it in its tracks. When it is time, it is time. How does one say goodbye to that, in the emptiness, in the hole with no sunlight, just emptiness. How to be, what to do, what to feel – all and nothing at the same time. Overwhelm of ripping claws of devastation created by an empty space or frozen in that moment when nothing else exists, no longer exists and you are suspended between living and joining that emptiness.

The pain is sharp. If it was to be described in tastes it is like it suddenly goes very bitter or extremely sweet when overwhelmed with memories, e.g. it is all about extremes of either unpleasant sensations to the max or the pleasure of remembering to a degree it is also unbearable when feeling a hand of a loved one in yours like it was five minutes ago.

Emptiness, what to do? All we can do is stay in it, stay still and wear whatever masks are thrown at you whether it is sobbing creature rolling on the floor whaling and howling like it wants no longer exist or flooding in the ocean of tears till you can’t breathe or see and all sense abandon you in that moment. A road to realisation that nothing will ever fill that emptiness is a long one and it might take for the rest of your life to even begin to feel ok with the knowledge there is emptiness.

Does it transform into something remotely comforting? I think we do need to aim to transform it into something even if it is something we create with our imagination. It is powerful to feel and know that something or someone gone is gone forever. The truth is they are gone, what we are left with is a feeling, a knowing, a memory of it once existing with life and passion and blood in their veins and laughter in their belly. We hold that image where the emptiness is, we make peace with it, we carry it within us carefully hidden in a sacred space of the heart. We can always access it and eventually we will feel more love than pain, more warmth and chilled sensation of an initial emptiness. It is not impossible, but it is a long process of first and foremost of honouring all the feelings that dance around that emptiness in unison with your soul crying. The rhythm of your heart beats as one with the Earth and the lulling comfort of the Earth gives us a reassurance that within the emptiness there is a hope for growth.

iStock_000002115148XSmall

Reading while going through grief

Glencoe
Glencoe Lost Valley, Scotland

While going through a grieving process last month I found myself overtaken by a stampede of endless chattering of thoughts with an additional overwhelm of feelings. I felt I could not breathe, could not be, relax, feel one thing at a time or focus on one thing at a time. I was in a spinning wheel and it was terribly unpleasant. I knew the process of bereavement was takin place and the aim is always to let yourself feel everything. Often, as I also found with my clients, it is not the feelings that are the problem it is the constant chattering of the mind that is difficult to endure. It is frequent my client would say – I wish I could stop thinking, more so than I wish I could stop feeling. Interesting. What was happening to me was both processes at the same time – thinking and feeling and it was manifesting within my body in a way of physical symptoms and ailments. What I wanted to do was to escape, relax and be still.

What came to my awareness as I was searching for some relief and peace was the saying ‘escape into a novel/book’. I never really experienced that sense of being completely consumed by a piece of literature, my memories are more of reading because I had to read for studies, work, etc. I seem to have forgotten the last time I read a novel. I intuitively decided to test this out and began searching for a novel, but which one… I knew I wanted to find and wondered if there is such a work, which covered both my love for Scottish highlands and magic. I found the one pretty quick, which was incredible as if something somewhere guided me towards that piece and relief I was looking for. Trust your intuition I say, it never leads to astray, but always to the heart of what is needed.

The book was set in 1600 in Scottish highlands, Glencoe with a protagonist, who was a ‘witch’, a wild creature. What a gem, what a journey. This woman will remain with me forever. Not only I ‘escaped into the novel’, it connected me with myself, with my inner sacred soul pieces and that unconditional love that shines above and beyond.

Corrag by Susan Fletcher (Kindle edition) is a historical novel, which is based on real-life events, they say, during 1600 when Glencoe massacre took place. The heroin is such a beautifully wonderful creature it was pure magic to read her story and see the land she loved so dearly, as I do, through her eyes. She could have easily be me. The novel took me away into the land of my soul and I melted into that landscape as I walked the land with Corrag and spoke her language.

For those of you, who loves the land of Scotland, history, beautifully evoking, poetic and atmospheric writing, magical ways of the wild woman, unconditional love, deep kindness, herbs healing and humanness most of all – read this novel.

Here are some REVIEWS of this book that saved me from going insane in the moment of being gripped by grief and it will stay with me for years to come. I experienced that ‘losing yourself in a novel’ feeling. It also sparked my desire and enthusiasm to continue writing my own novel, which had been left unattended for many years. Perhaps, it is time to breathe some life into it again.

Please note that this book seem to go under three different titles for reason unknown to me. Corrag title is a Kindle edition and other titles are paperbacks

Corrag

The Highland witch

Witch light

On grief and winter

grief and winter

On grief and winter

From a bereavement counsellor to a bereavement client in one day. Grief carries no warning, death does not wait, time does not stop, nothing stays the same, nothing lasts. Things change from one minute to the next and all we are left with is the present moment, just now.

Having sat opposite people in grief for years I suddenly got it more than I ever did before. I experienced bereavement when younger and, yes, it always gripped me to the core and it was something that did not just pass I had to live it every day, work through it every day for many years, 7 years seems to be the number for me. Here it was again, in my face, unapologetic, under my skin and everywhere in my body and I froze. I knew I could not accompany anyone on their grief journey for the time being, not now, not for a while. I was the client now in need of a counsellor.

Emotions consume you within seconds, you don’t ask for it, you don’t expect it yet you feel it so deeply you might not even recognise yourself in that moment. It is often unreal and you question how life was a minute ago, nothing will ever be the same again. It is strikingly profound.

As I handed my notice I felt a wave of emotion, a wave of pain for me, not for my clients or friends or family, but me. I was IN it. The thing with grief you think you will be ok, you prepare, you tell yourself things, you philosophise on what approach you might take and you apply various beliefs to the journey of life and death, but nothing, nothing prepares you for it and the reason is – emotions have no reason, they just are. They are raw and in need of expression. They take over your body, your mind, your soul and one has to lay in bed with it all feeling like drowning, falling. The sunshine dims and curtains close just like when a coffin is covered with a sliding curtain ready for cremation. Is this it?

For many this is the end and for many it is a beginning of something new. The truth is it is both, the end of something and the beginning of something. Life and death walk together always. There is never one without the other. The Sun rises every day giving birth to the light and disappears every night extinguishing its shining, but the stars are born and darkness is welcomed by all of us sleeping and resting. Grief draws us into the dark place, into the place of pain, questioning and searching. A bit like winter time, which rules the land in its sleeping and invites us into the darkness of our thoughts and emotions. We are thrown into ourselves to dwell on our year past, reflect on all that touched us and got us here to this moment. In winter we are helpless with it all, some like it others crave light and sunshine and that’s ok. Both have meaning and lessons and so grief also teaches us to reflect, how to really feel and miss someone deeply who is never to walk the Earth again. Nothing teaches us more about life than death. Grab it with both hands, I say, run with it invigorated by knowing that each day will never come again. Create, breathe deeply, notice, most of all notice and feel all there is to see and feel around you. Engage with life hungrily knowing that all those that left their bodies are now within us. They are woven into tapestry of our lives forever and we will carry their spirit till it is time for us to hand it over to someone else. The cycle continues. The wheel turns on the 22 December and the light comes back again.

Live, breathe, feel

Blessed Yule and Winter Solstice!

Winter Solstice