December 4, 2013

word of the year...

I was never good at making (or keeping) New Years resolutions. But choosing a word for the year? That felt right for me.

In 2012 my guiding word was nourish. And it was a wonderful word which served me well that year. (Actually, it's a good word to focus on all the time, in all areas of life, but I digress...)

My word for 2013 has been clarity - and holy wow, has this been a year of clarity for me! I can't even begin to list the ways.

These words chose me. I didn't choose them. They came to me out of the blue, hitting me on the head, demanding to be chosen. And this has happened months before the actual beginning of the year.

So I wasn't surprised when my 2014 word-of-the-year landed in my lap, out of the blue, when I wasn't even thinking about words of the year or anything related to the concept.

It happened about 2 months ago. I suddenly, simply, completely knew what my word for 2014 would be.

It chose me. And it wouldn't let go.

I started to blog the word before now, but I didn't. I've told a few people already, and posted it in a forum or two. I don't feel the need to keep my year-word secret, or close to the vest. For me, personally (although it's different for different people) my word in no way loses 'power' when I tell what it is.

If anything, it becomes an even stronger force in my life when I speak it, write it, share it with others.

So I'm saying it here, now...

My word for 2014 is INTEGRATION.


And so it is.

December 2, 2013

in the shadow...

In the shadow I sit, tv flickering, candles glowing, tears flowing.

Breaking apart. Breaking open. Breaking free from expectations and guilt and shame.

Opening to the unknown, to what's to come. Feeling my hurt, my joy, my strength.

Breathing: surrender, accept, release, trust.

Breathing this mantra of my soul.

December 1, 2013

regaining inner peace...

So it's finally December... and this has been one hard-ass year. And the hard isn't over yet.

As I wrote in a previous post, my 87-year-old father passed away in late August after many months of a downward decline and severe pain from a spinal fracture (which happened almost exactly a year ago). My 84-year-old mother is in frail health, has severe back problems of her own, and has been having strokes which have impacted her memory and confusion.

There has been so much about this whole year that I don't even have words to express. Not yet, at least. And perhaps I'll never find the words.

There has been so much about this whole year that I don't even have words to express. Not yet, at least. And perhaps I'll never find the words.

How do I describe how my heart has been broken wide open... and that in the midst of the incredibly hard and painful, there has also been healing of relationships with my parents, and a blooming of an inner strength and power I never fully realized I had.

How do I describe the painful breaking-open-heart which also, at the same time, has meant a heart open for more love and compassion and connectedness and joy?

How can I ever describe how hard it's been to watch what's happened to my parents? And how hard it's been for me to try to help them, and realize I can't and couldn't do all they needed?

How can I adequately talk about all the many lessons I've learned this year?

And how can I ever describe the family drama, the disappointments and hurts and anger - things I might never be able to share here, because some of it isn't my story to tell, and even the part which is mine to tell... well, I'm not ready. It's too fresh, too raw, too painful.

One thing I know for sure is this year has reinforced what I believe to be true about my own journey. Over and over again, I've had new periods of healing... and then stagnation... and then more healing.

For many, many years I've thought of life - and of my healing journey - as a spiral. This year has made that imagery even more significant for me.

I've been reminded, again and again, that I don't grow or come to a new realization or enter a new phase of blooming, and then that's it, I've 'gotten there', I've been born anew. No - there's no there there. I'm constantly emerging, constantly birthing, constantly in process.

Another thing I've been reminded of again and again - learning and re-learning this valuable lesson - is the importance of self-care and self-soothing and self-nourishing. I turn to what brings me comfort. I turn to what brings me peace. I turn to what helps ease my pain and grief and fear.

This has been a hard year - the difficult time isn't yet over - and I've just gone through another round (or, more accurately, I'm continuing to go through a round) of pain and grief. Family drama. Hurts. For quite a while now, I haven't been all that fond of the holiday season (probably not a popular opinion to have, but I'm just being real about my feelings) - and this Thanksgiving holiday turned out to be a fresh new hell for me. More painful than I can describe. (Again with the lack of adequate words...)

These past few days I've done another deep-dive into extreme self-care. Taking it easy. Being gentle with myself and my feelings. Doing restful things, calming things. Trying to feel the pain and let it wash on through me with cleansing, releasing tears.

Finding my center again.

Regaining inner peace.

Will this be a permanent thing, this inner peace?

From my past experience I have to say no. It truly is a spiral for me. Peace, for me, doesn't come and stay. I spiral around to another place of hurt, fear, grief, anger... and then I do what I need to do to help regain my inner peace again, I lean on the help of friends and others and various tools to help me connect to that peace again... and I find myself on a different place on the spiral, another place of inner peace.

And then my place along the spiral of life moves again. And again.

But I continue to move again to the place where I find the inner peace. Where I can feel the calm that's there, even in the midst of the storm or the shadow.

It's an important part of what helps me get through the difficult and hard times.