Saturday, April 27, 2013

Upon the Death of a Loved One

When someone we love dies, the grief and pain fills our eyes, our ears, our nostrils. Everything takes on a surreal quality, becoming at the same time duller in tone and sharper in relief. We feel that which we have never felt before. Even if others we love have preceded this person in death. Each death is unique; affects us with a unique sense of loss.

In the beginning, everyone around us either grieves with us or is gentle with us in our grief. Then they move back, into the middle distance, watching to see what we do next. Are we 'strong' enough to buck up and go on? Or are we of the weaker variety who continues to mourn? What is truer still is that they do not know how to deal with grief, ours which is immediate or theirs which is past or impending.  Because loss, like change, is inevitable.

The hardest part of the grief process is that it never really ends. It softens. It changes. It grows easier. It doesn't go away. We move on in spite of it and become stronger because of it.

Little things will, at some future time, remind us of the one we've lost. A flower. A particular sunset. A song. A random comment. We pick up the phone to call, only to remember that the one we want to connect with will not be there to answer. We turn the wheel of our car into a familiar street, slow to stop at a house, start to get out, only to be hit with a different face opening the door of the house and exiting without even noticing you sitting there, mouth agape. Again.

Those are the moments our humanity shows through. Our capacity to feel deeply, to weep openly and fully, to return to normal again. Only to get swept out into the sea of grief at another random moment.

When this happens, reach out. Find another person who can listen to you, raise a glass in salute to your lost loved one, quietly hold you, whatever it is in that moment that you need. Because through that too shine the moments of our humanity, our incredible opportunity to continue to live to the fullest a life that has suffered loss and learned to heal.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life in a Garden....

I love living in a city that bursts forth each Spring... or earlier, even late February or early March... with daffodils, crocuses, grape hyacinths and a vast array of blooming trees. Today, the Rhododendron Garden was also in bloom!
Trillium. State flower of Oregon. It's an amazingly delicate and beautiful flower! This year, I've been seeing lots of them in bloom ~~ and they range in colors from white to this gorgeous purple.

What do you love to watch in bloom? How do you feel about the blossoming around you?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Who's the New Prophet?

Awoke this morning from a dream, needing a moment to adjust, to rediscover the location of my body in its waking state.

In the dreamtime, I was in a small, aboriginal village quietly observing a ritual with a group of others who were outsiders like me, perhaps anthropologists or ethnologists.
As the rite was drawing to a close, a runner arrived with news that people from the government were on their way. The villagers responded almost as one to gather their things. Our interpreter said the people were moving into the hills or mountains or woods surrounding the village. They had been expecting this.
I found myself picking up a writing implement and, as though in a trance, writing on a piece of paper. The text was not in any language I'd ever seen, yet I recognized that it was text. An elder picked up the paper, looked it over closely, then looked at me. He spoke to me; the interpreter said, "How did you know to write this?" I said I didn't; I'd just seen the writing implement, picked it up and written. I asked, did he know what it said? The elder spoke again; the interpreter said, "It says, 'Who's the new prophet?' How did you know that the ritual we were doing was to call forth the new prophet? How did you know our old one left us?" Again, I said I didn't know.
Some of my traveling companions bustled in and said it was time to go. Our things were stowed in the back of a military-style truck and we were to climb in after them. The children of the village were getting into trucks as well. They were coming with us. One young girl, about 10 years old, walked past me toward the trucks. As she did, she absently handed me a bowl. I started to place the bowl on a counter/table in front of me, then stopped. The same type of writing circled the lip of the bowl. Looking at it, I could almost read it; I understood what it meant, yet couldn't quite put it into words. The same elder took the bowl from my hand, looked at it, then asked me if I knew which child had given me that bowl. I said I did. He said, "Care for that child well because that one is the new prophet." Then he made a gesture with his hands, dismissing me, hurrying me out. He handed me the bowl as I left. I climbed into a truck, pulled up by the girl who was her people's new prophet.

Who is the New Prophet in your life? What are you called to do to care for that One?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Proper Question, Part 1

Here's something to ponder:
"Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation ~ in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. the key question causes germination of consciousness. The properly shaped question always emanates from an essential curiosity about what stands behind. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open." ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
So what is the 'proper question' for you? What will unlock the secret door of your psyche? How do you begin to find which question fits best?

For me, this query shifts at the strangest times. Five hours ago, my 'proper question' was: How am I going to ever get through reading this book by tomorrow? Or maybe, in perspective, it was more appropriately, though expansively: How am I going to comprehend or even apprehend the themes in this book in order to write a review by tomorrow?

Now as I sit here, typing away at my blog, my 'proper question' is: How do I determine what is proper in each moment? How do I begin to find the key to unlocking that secret door? Oh, and while I'm at it, do I even know where that secret door is located? Sometimes, the proper question is the most basic!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cat Calls & Wolf Whistles

Today I read a post on Facebook that asked,"What do you think street harassment is about? Sex? Benign flattery? Attraction? Women who can't just suck it up and deal?"

One response thread essentially said cat calls and wolf whistles are from idiots and women should just ignore them. My response: Really? Why? These brief 'comments' ~ which is essentially what they are ~ allude to the sexiness of the person being objectified by their occurrence. Would we expect someone with an intellectual disability to ignore being called a 'retard'? or someone who's being called a 'fag' to just keep walking? All of these are forms of harassment.

It's not just the acts themselves. It's the underlying expectation that these acts are not only acceptable but also appreciated; as though women and girls should be happy to have the attention of some male in the middle of showing off or a testosterone rush. It's objectification in its crudest form ~ because society considers it as acceptable as they once did the use of the N-word and the bullying of sensitive, emotional boys. As with both of those, it needs to be stopped. Period.