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mom

Twenty years ago I learned a veritable tome of lessons, some of which I’m just learning now, and it seems unbelievable to me that I can look back at anything in my life knowing it happened twenty years ago.  My mom taught me a lot about life while she was alive, and I’ve mentioned that before.  She taught me compassion, strength, and determination.  She taught me to seek adventure and levity in everything, to make people laugh whenever you can, and to live and love with all your heart no matter how scary the world feels.  She taught me to trust my instinct and eschew advice that doesn’t feel right.  She taught me to be myself.

What my mother’s death taught me was open honesty.  You never know when the last time you say “I love you” or “good morning” or “good night” will be the last.  It’s made me vulnerable at times, and I’ve had to learn to accept when it’s not reciprocated, but hey, another lesson, right?

But you see, it also taught me some less than positive lessons.  At twelve years old I was already well aware that I was different.  I didn’t have many friends, my anxiety and depression were already in full swing, and I’d already thought about suicide more times than I can remember now.  I needed help, and I was constantly told I was wrong, broken, or worse…that I was fine.  I was fat, I was slow, and I was constantly missing the mark.  At twelve I had already had at least one nervous breakdown, I was scared of losing everyone I loved, and I had been proven correct.  At twelve I discovered my intuition and empathy in the worst way, and I hated it, so at twelve I learned to hide.  I learned to expect the worst.  I learned to expect to be alone.  I learned that change is terrifying.  I learned to build walls, and forgot all those lessons about love and life and laughter.

When I started the Power of One it was immediately pointed out to me that when I’m uncomfortable or anxious I smile.  It’s a skill I developed at a very young age, but I imagine I perfected it at my mother’s funeral.  Since then it became a crutch I used to get me through parts of my life I felt I could not navigate, and it began to cloud the genuine me.  I’ve been lucky enough to have people in my life who could see through the fog and find that genuine me, but for most of my life I haven’t been able to see her myself.  I’ve merely been relying on the testaments of others who tell me they see her, like a fairy tale buried deep inside me.  As the lessons from my mother started to actually take root and as my intuition and empathy refused to be ignored, life got harder, and the more I stayed inside my walls the more the fires outside tried to cook me out. I tried to let myself be vulnerable…to the wrong people at the wrong times.  I tried to be happy…all the time, and ended up holding in the pain and sadness until I couldn’t, resulting in some pretty spectacular meltdowns.   I tried to be strong and independent…and all I did was feel more like a failure.

In the year since I seriously started putting effort into my transformation, I’ve worked on being open without being overbearing, happy without using it to cover up when I’m not, and to know when I can be strong alone and when I need to reach out for help. Not all has gone according to plan, but if my mom’s death taught me none of this other bullshit, it taught me that life doesn’t care about your plans, and unpredictability brings as much serendipity as it does tragedy, and the only control I really have is how I choose to react to it, process it, and move on with my life.    Losing my mother was not the first tragedy I’d faced in my life, but it was the first one I felt like I was facing alone.  The truth is, every situation we face in life we face alone, even if we have the strongest support system on earth, because we’re the only ones who can do the internal work it takes for real survival…and real living.

 

Love you, Mom.  Thanks for still teaching me.  after all these years.

 

Go now, keep learning..keep living….

Aloha.

yule31

I posted back at Sammhain about keening as a part of a ritual I had been accustomed to doing at Yule, a ritual that emphasized letting go and moving on as we welcome the light of new dawn and the new beginnings that come with it.   While it seemed unseasonable at the time, this season has brought me a very important lesson about healing.  What the Yule keening missed is that starting over is not an overnight process.

After my initial keening ritual I went through a lot of emotional turbulence.  I felt extremely free for a week.  Then I felt detached, as if my emotional responses were getting lost somewhere in the absence of what I had torn away.  For a few weeks it was a relief not to have to navigate feelings before I made decisions or started conversations, but something was missing.  Earlier this week that scar tissue began to heal, and with it came an entirely new experience, mourning.

Today I found myself grieving pain I couldn’t even place anymore.  In order to truly heal we must actually let go not just go through the motions.  This is going to result in some feelings of loss.  We become so comfortable with our demons that losing them can cause some grief, and only once we get over that grief can we be completely healed and whole again.

My focus for this Yule and the ritual we have planned is facing the void left behind and making peace with it, because that’s the second half of this process.   Before I can begin to fill it with the things I choose to have in my life I need to be able to accept it and coexist with it for a while, or it will end up full of whatever happens to fall in.  It’s hard for us sometimes to feel a void and let it be, because we associate it with emptiness and the unknown.  Instead, these voids are open space, full of potential for growth and new life within us, space we can only heal once the initial mourning has ended and we have truly let go and moved on.

Go now, mourn your demons and move on.

Namaste

Last weekend we celebrated Mabon, a festival of harvest and abundance.  We are beginning to reap blessings from the hard work we’ve sown, and we are entering a time when we have to look within to assess what is growing there.  This also makes Mabon a time for cleaning out and letting go of that which no longer enriches and sustains us.  After all, if there isn’t any room for new things they will be left to the elements where most of them will wither and die, and the year’s effort will have been in vain.  In a season of duality and balance, light and dark, there must be a balance between what we store and what we release.

This year has been huge in terms of blessings and progress for our family and as individuals.  This also meant there came a time to re-evaluate what was still beneficial and good in my life.  The answer came swift and hard.  I needed to look closely at the people in my life and decide who I could actually call a “friend”.  No matter how busy my life get I consider my friends family and make it a personal commitment to make sure I never neglect those friendships, sometimes lieu of personal time and attention.  In some cases this has led to beautiful, blossoming friendships that have supported me at my weakest.  In others no matter how hard I try nothing will grow.   Sometimes something wonderful grows, but has its season and fades away.  So why continue to spend valuable time and energy tending these things that are no longer viable in my garden?

This Mabon it was abundantly clear that it was time to thank the superfluous or wilted things in my life for the needs they did fulfill in their own time and acknowledge the need to focus on not just the new, but also the consistently good things that continue to enrich and enliven me.  My next steps are big ones, and I can no longer be distracted and held back by cumbersome sentiments that no longer exist.  Only by being honest with myself and cutting them free can I move on.

It’s been painful, but it’s also been an amazing healing experience.  By tossing aside the detritus in my life I have felt more free, more focused, and more driven than I have in years.  All that extra energy is finally going forward, and the space I’ve made available is full of new possibilities.

This harvest has been bountiful,, and I have no doubt that I will continue to be blessed, nourished, and sustained in the coming season.  This is the breathtaking feeling of balance.  This is the feeling of Mabon.

Go now, harvest something delicious.

Aloha

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