Saturday, March 25, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 33

Living with Death & Embracing the Spinster
This is Week 33 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

One year and 33 weeks. The roundness of this number sits with me today. As Spring arrives to my part of the world, I watch the new life sprout from death all around me. New flowers burst forth from the dark earth. My kitties bring in fat gophers and leave bloody trails through the house. The flowers on the altar drop their petals. Death is everywhere, all the time, and so is birth and new energies. We cannot have one without the other.

I am more solid in my "new life" as a Spinster Widow. I work. I lift weights. I make art. I call my friends on the phone and hope that some day I will have more energy to go out and do things. I don't date. I cuddle with my two kitties as much as possible. Their furry wildness helps me remember my own animal needs — my own call to the wild. I feel close to going feral myself, which in some ways is the "spinster's greatest fear" — to lose her home and have to survive in the wilderness with no tribe and family to call her own. I feel that call to the wild in the wet, foggy mornings, as I get ready to go lift weights before work. Instead of tearing off my clothes and running into the woods, I grab my coffee and my bags and drive to the gym in the dark. I am choosing to stay here, with the people but the wildness is running through my veins. I am unattached. I am untethered. I am a Spinster Widow.

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 32

Losing the Old Me & Welcoming in The New Me

This is Week 32 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

Part of my Healing Grief Journey has been reorienting myself in the world. I've shared before about how close my late husband and I were. As a recovering co-dependent, I often found myself orbiting around his larger than life personality — supporting him and being his cheerleader — while often forgetting myself and my own needs. He did not encourage this way of being and often would call me out on it when it happened. In many ways, I had tremendous healing around my co-dependence during my time with my husband. He was a great teacher in boundaries and self-care.

Now I am on my own again, and part of my Healing Grief Journey is clearly continuing to heal the ways I can be in a relationship, not just with others, but with myself. This week has brought some deep epiphanies about how I have been both taking care of myself and abandoning myself. Old lovers continue to re-surface and present me with choices and decisions about what I am and am not ready for. Almost every time, I have chosen self-love over sacrificing my heart to another and it feels like a very powerful and healing act. It's also been fascinating to see how my healthy boundaries are received by these people — some get angry and abandon me and when this has happened, instead of feeling hurt, shamed and rejected (which is my pattern) I have felt grateful that these toxic people are now out of my life in a clean and clear way. On the flip side, others have received my healthy boundaries with love and appreciation, which has shown me so beautifully how self-care and boundaries are not in fact "selfish" but incredibly healthy for all involved, and in fact can bring in more love and connection.

a page from my healing art journal

Of course, this level of deep healing and "standing in the fire" has made my old anxieties come up full-force. The gauntlet mainly consists of hurtful self-talk like: I will always be alone; No one will ever love me the way my husband did; I am too fat and ugly to be desired; and I should be grateful anyone is interested in me at all. These are very old, dark thoughts that stem from my childhood and when they come up, I am trying to see them for what they are (scared, little girl attempts at protection) and gently let them go as being the very untrue statements I know they are.

This is in direct relation to my "heart re-calibration" that I have committed to. My word for 2017 is "Self-Love" and I'm proud at how I have really committed to that journey, alongside my Healing Grief path. I'm just creeping up to the edge of understanding that loving myself can only raise my overall "love vibration" which can attract all sorts of wonderful people and experiences into my life. Making strong, loving boundaries does not isolate me — it connects me to the greater power of love that is all around me.

This reminds me of an experience I had this week. It was late and I should have been in bed, asleep but I was wide awake. Normally, this would send me into an anxious panic. "I have to go to sleep! I have to lift tomorrow morning!" Since that anxious, panicked self-talk rarely makes things better, I decided to just "be okay" with the fact that I was awake. I put on some Irma Thomas, lit some candles and took a bath. It was a wonderful, sensual evening with myself. It was peaceful and gentle and I haven't felt that level of peace at night, since my husband passed away. It felt like a major step in my Healing Grief Journey. I am so grateful for this healing path.

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 31

Into the Spiral

This is Week 31 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

On "A Day Without A Woman," a co-worker gave all the women in the office a rose.  She let us pick out the one we wanted from the beautiful array of colors and sizes that she had in her big bouquet. I was immediately drawn to the discolored, tightly closed rose. Its outside petals looked dark and almost moldy. It looked the way I feel. As the days passed, everyone's roses started to open, while mine remained closed up tight. I began to fear that I had picked a rose that was actually dead inside. When I expressed my fear to another co-worker, she immediately gave my rose a nice, gentle massage and it has since opened up a little, to reveal a beautiful light pink spiral inside.

This may be as far as it will open, but it is till breathtakingly beautiful to me. My healing process feels like this rose — it is taking its time, and there is great beauty in the process.

Thanks for witnessing me. See you next week.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 30

Que Sera, Sera

This is Week 30 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

This morning I woke up with a song in my head. This often happens to me, and whenever I can, I try to play the song as soon as possible, to see what messages I am receiving from my unconscious. This morning is was "Qué Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" by Sly and the Family Stone (sung by Sly and his sister, the fantastic Rose Stone). I know it's not the original, but this is the first version I ever heard of this song and I remember listening to it over and over again on my little record player. The message resonated so deeply in my little girl heart.

When I was a kid, I was never excited about the future like my other friends. I grew up in an anxious, worried, intellectual household and I was exposed to a lot of the dark things of the world relatively early. I was afraid all the time — of nuclear war, of being abducted, of never truly being seen or loved. Listening to this song, over and over, made me feel better. It released the pressure of the "future tripping" I was taught to do. Whatever will be, will be.

When I meet other people who grew up in a similar way — familiar with this anxious worry at far too young an age — I cling to them like my tribe. These kinds of people understand me in ways that people who grew up with "happy, blissful" childhoods simply cannot. For example, those that grew up anxious and worried often run "worst-case scenarios" through their heads in the hopes that it will "protect" them from actual bad stuff happening. I used to do this too, and one of those scenarios was my husband suddenly dying.

And then the very thing I feared most and tried to protect myself from, actually happened. All that anxious worrying and "future tripping" did nothing to stop it from happening. And in a horrible way, that is one of the gifts of this tragedy. "The future's not ours to see...." I might as well let things be however they are going to be.

There is a calmness in this for me, today. It is a place I can rest.

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 29

Bubbles of Clarity in the Watery Depths

This is Week 29 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

Now I am a seasoned mermaid in the watery depths of my grief and sorrow. I wake here. I fall asleep here. It is a familiar place, with few stones unturned. There is deep beauty here. There are starfish and kelp, reminding me of the beauty that these depths can offer. Every now and then, I send bubbles of clarity to the surface of my consciousness — clarity I could not have received without dwelling down here full-time. I see these blog posts as those bubbles and I'm grateful that you are sitting by the sea, looking for them.

Tonight marks a New Moon and tomorrow there will be a "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse. Astrologically, this is a very powerful time.  I feel it. I feel the new beginnings and powerful endings very strongly this week. I feel a peacefulness amidst the chaos, that I haven't felt before.

Thank you for witnessing me. See you next week.