Suicide Aftershocks VOL VI: Gestation, Endings & Beginnings. It’s Time I Write a New Story

While contemplating this month’s Blog post, it occurred to me that my first in this series was written almost 9 months after my husband’s suicide.  Nine months is the gestation period for human development and signifies incubation, evolution and emergence.

wombwisdom.me

wombwisdom.me

I hadn’t considered the significance of that timing.  I was ready, at that roughly 9 month mark, to work again and to put myself out there in an authentic way.

Now, roughly 18 months post suicide, I’m ready to be done with this “Aftershocks” series.  This is the second gestation period from which I’m grateful to be emerging.  I feel as though I’ve been birthed into a better, stronger, more capable and kinder version of me.

We can’t have new beginnings without endings. While I wish certain endings had occurred differently, I’m grateful to be transitioning into the next cycle of my life and look forward with enthusiasm—incubation complete– for now. I am freed from the most recent womb of gestation.

As I stated in the first volume of this “Aftershocks” series, “In the grand scheme of things, that’s the simplicity of what has occurred for all of us these last 9 months.  Moments in time strung together and defined as an experience”.

These last 2 gestation periods do not define me

I am not defined by my marriage or by my husbands’ suicide.  These experiences have smoothed my rough edges and brought a depth of grace, compassion and knowingness of interconnection that is beyond anything I knew before.

5db49b842d2a763f50064befaa092e82--grinch-heart-holiday-crafts

…his heart grew 3 sizes that day-Grinch

 

They have taught me to embrace the vast ocean of my own strength, stretched my fixed boundaries into fluid response and blown open my heart into a boundless and inexhaustible reservoir of love and wonder.

 

 

I’ve used the term “Ground Zero” as a marker for the day of Bill’s suicide.  I officially lay that to rest now and re-purpose that phrase for myself.

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dreamcatcherreality.com

Today is Ground Zero for the story of my life—for the beginning for my new story.  A new journey I am excited to create and embark upon.

Here’s to birthing our dreams and allowing life to unfold in its ever fluctuating beauty of beginnings and endings while choosing to stay awestruck and humbled.

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Osho Zen Tarot

In humble gratitude for this miracle called life,

Kim

tribal-vector-element-with-eagle-head_MkjbCj8O_L

Rise!

SUICIDE AFTERSHOCKS: VOL III Southern Women’s Wisdom–Discomfort and the Power of a Pause

During the last few months I’ve found myself referencing my husband’s suicide in conversation as the B.E.  (Bill Event)

and making time distinctions based on before and after Bill did what he did.  It feels healthy for me and lighter than using the word suicide.  He simply did what he did-what he chose to do.business_110009277-012914-int

As time passes and I’m happier and more present, how he died is becoming almost irrelevant.  Interestingly when people ask, I pause to decide how direct I care to be in that given moment as my experience has been that most people can’t really handle the truth of suicide.  They seem ill-equipped to respond without judgment.  Most become highly uncomfortable or pretend they didn’t actually ask how he died, rather than pausing and considering a response.

Suicide.  Just the word causes discomfort. Suicide carries so many judgments—social, religions and familial.  When I do use that word, it’s not that I’m choosing to make others uncomfortable.  I am simply choosing to honor myself and respect the level of comfort I’ve been able to achieve in the aftermath of a horrific situation.

 

58d7e6020950c8147cc62a476d63af49The first statement one of my brothers made to me the day of the B.E. was, “I didn’t know your marriage was that bad”.  He maintained this position and even went so far as to publicly state that he and everyone else knew that Bill’s suicide was my fault.  This was my BROTHER! 

A person I considered a friend commented, “How could you not know—you’re so intuitive. This is what you do!  You must have known this was going to happen!”  This was a FRIEND!

My dad’s reaction to my first and only crying phone call to him in the days immediately following the B.E. was, “Quit living in the past.” He said this just prior to hanging up on me.  This was my FATHER.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do and called a girl friend—

a bit older than me and raised in south central Virginia.  Her wise counsel came in the form of a question.  After hearing my pain over the judgmental and insensitive comments being made, she asked,

“Kim, does your Father have a vagina?  Do any of these people you’re speaking with have vagina’s?

I responded no, that they did not, in fact, have vagina’s.  Her response, classic, quintessential southern pragmatism, “Don’t you know you can’t have a conversation when you’re upset with a person lacking a vagina?

Enough said.  I was laughing while crying and oh, so much better!

A girlfriend I grew up with reminded me gently, “Honey, if common sense was lard, your family wouldn’t be able to grease a pan—I don’t mean you of course!”

Another grand moment came while at different girlfriend’s house in central Virginia.  I walked into a group and reacted – inappropriately– to a random participants comment about the B.E.   I kind of lost it and got angry –I really wanted to kick this person till she bled!  (an inappropriate response, I know–but I did pause!)  To avoid any verbal escalation, I went to my friend and said I need help getting under control!  She responded with,

“Well honey, that’s what the back yard is for—you go on out there and stay as long as it takes and I’ll make you some tea!”

8 or 9 weeks after the B.E. I was heading into a meeting with 2 executives and 7 trainers of a global organ harvesting and transplant organization.  The meeting was taking place because—well, that’s another story!  This meeting was a big deal for me and I was still quite emotional but in the “let’s get’er done” frame of mind and knew I needed bucking up before entering the meeting.  Like every southern girl would—I phoned a friend—with a vagina!  She told me,

“Tighten up that corset, put on your lip gloss, lift up your chest and speak slow and syrupy sweet—you got this.”

Scarlett Tightening up!

Scarlett Tightening-up!

Southern comfort no –alcohol required!

Here’s to the strong, proud and direct women in my circle—southern or otherwise!  Thank you for the perfect and timely wisdom and powerful support!

With warmest aloha,

Kim

Challenge:

Pause.  Practice pausing and taking a breath while you mindfully consider an intentional response.  Perhaps nod your head while you pause so the person you’re with will know you’ve heard them—if on the phone, during your pause make a sound like, “hmmm” so the other knows they’ve been heard.!  This technique can create connection, deepen relationships and communication and allows you to learn to listen from a place of desiring to hear rather than from the place of desiring to be heard.  Pausing often times allows the other to hear themselves, as well!

 

 

SUICIDE AFTERSHOCKS; Beneficiant & What beauty will I create in the space provided? Vol. 1

In 2011, life happened—like life always does and choices were made by me and my husband resulting in our relocating 5000 miles back to Virginia from Kauai in 2013.  For 5 years those happenings in my world presented as family elders becoming ill, 4 deaths, daily care taking, and all the stressors complicit with up-rooting your entire life, careers,  relationships, and the constant daily logistics of dealing with the overlap of our “living” while navigating the dying, illness and the dismantling of lives that had ended.

Fast forward to June 20, 2016.  By 8:00 a.m. that Monday morning, my husband had taken his own life less than 30 feet from where I stood feeding our dogs.

This is the first time I’ve addressed this in a public format.  I am choosing to do so because I find myself, more than 9 months later, benefiting from exactly where I am because of the choices I made, or didn’t  and because of the choices made by my late husband.

The word beneficiary is defined as, “benefiting from; receiving favor; being granted a privilege, or having a gratuity bestowed upon you.

Most often, we equate being a beneficiary with receiving money, property etc., after another’s death.

Having dealt now with 5 deaths and the myriad of legal-ease, documentation and bureaucracy that is required to “officially” close the books on one’s life, I started to explore just how I truly am benefiting from the way my life has shown up, comfortable or not, through my choices or the choices of others.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far….

I learned/ I am beneficiary of/ I choose;

  • I continue to choose raw authenticity when the waves of grief, sadness, regret and reality wash over me.
  • I chose to grieve well—to live the experience completely so I could process it completely and live fully present through it regardless of the pain as a means of self-love so when I arrive at “DONE” I can move forward in freedom.
  • I learned to ask for help, and allowed myself to receive it.
  • Grace—grace for those individuals, family and friends who simply couldn’t show up.
  • Allowance for those who couldn’t show up colored by the fundamental truth and knowing that their inability had absolutely nothing to do with me or their love for me.
  • Deep humility and gratitude for the people who came immediately and who stayed for the dirty work—the aftermath of my raw and seemingly inexhaustible grief, guilt, doubt, self-questioning, etc.. These same people who have stayed and held space for me to find my happiness again and are as equal to the task of allowing my joy as they were my pain.
  • The purge of situations, people and expectations from my life because I was/am no longer willing to show up in familiar roles for “them”. This was painful initially as from the outside looking in I had lost everything.
  • The rebirth of my “beingness” rather than filling a role of “wife, step-mother, friend, caretaker, daughter, sister”.
  • Reclaiming my integrity—self in relation to self. I am no longer willing to let anyone else’s well-being or opinions hold more importance than my own.
  • I continue to benefit from honoring myself—guilt free—for the choices I made knowingly during my marriage and with family members. This gives me the ability to learn from the dichotomy I chose to stay in without victimizing myself or creating drama.
  • I learned to be kind to myself and allowing when I was less than proud of my behavior or reaction in various situations.
  • I learned to “lean into the jib”, and get after creating something beautiful in this huge space that’s been provided.
  • While this may seem harsh or too pragmatic for some, an unnecessary distinction for others,–I fulfilled the terms of my contract—till death do us part—I’m ready for LIFE—and I’m grateful for this feeling of inspiration and excitement.

From one perspective, I “lost” many friendships as people could not hold the space for me to show up other than as the consistent, happy, solution-finding anchor most of my circle experienced me to be.   For others who left, they just couldn’t handle the gritty, ugly, authentic pain as it had the potential of forcing them to rub up against something equally uncomfortable in their own lives.

Beautiful spider web with water drops close-up

Perhaps entangled in all the leavings was an inability of those individuals to allow me the space and the grace of being weak, needy or vulnerable for just a moment in time.  For this I am grateful.  This experience has deepened in me the ability to see beyond a moment and hold space for any moment to morph into the next even more magical possibility.

In the grand scheme of things, that’s the simplicity of what has occurred for all of us these last 9 months.  Moments in time strung together and defined as an experience.

My moments were filled with the crushing weight of holding a loved one while his body released all life that was left as his soul withdrew—by his own powerful choice.  I am the beneficiary of having been imbued with the strength to respond with love and be with him through his death as I was with him through our life.  I was/am blessed with the gift of trust.   This trust allowed me to lean into that vast ocean of grace which was represented by LIFE showing up to support and love me immediately through the people, opportunities, beauty and magical moments that ensued and continue to unfold.

These next 9 months will be the same in that they will be a series of moments strung together which we will define as an experience.

So the questions I ask myself now include, “What beauty will I create in the space that’s been provided?  What intention will I imbue in the moments to come?”

How about you?

With warmest aloha and deep appreciation for all of life,

tribal-vector-element-with-eagle-head_MkjbCj8O_L

RISE!

Kim

Dos Equis to Retire “The Most Interesting Man in the World” Perhaps I could be the “Most Interesting Woman…”

“The weight of his words would break a lesser mans Jaw.”  Dos Equis 

Jonathan Goldsmith, the gorgeous actor  who portrays the “Most Interesting Man in the World” for Dos Equis beer;  http://dosequis.com/  quite possibly could be!  After reading several articles about him, I discovered that he is a renaissance man, self-made multi-millionaire, rescuer of a damsel in distress from sharks and saver of a stranded, injured hiker on Mt. Whitney.

The commercials are smart, fast-paced and funny!  Even more so now that I know the history of said “Interesting Man”.

After forcing my husband to listen to me read quotes from the “smooth Harold website (,http://www.smoothharold.com/top-30-facts-about-the-most-interesting-man-in-the-world/ )   and laugh hysterically—mostly alone—I pondered if I might be considered for the potential role of “Most Interesting Woman in the World”.         

Take Fact #1:  “He lives vicariously through himself.”   That’s a pretty nice definition of consciousness!  And interesting!        Compilation of interesting!

imagesCASNN3H3       After all, I own my own business.  I have been written about (albeit only cursorily).  I’ve been on television—perhaps by accident.  I’ve saved countless small creatures from imminent death or disfigurement and on many occasions I’ve rescued myself from bad relationships, situations and/or decisions.  I’ve helped clients and friends with good counsel (so I’ve been told!)  And I personally feel as though the weight of MY words might break a lesser woman’s jaw!

 This clearly qualifies me for the position!   (If you fall off the pedestal you put yourself on, does it hurt as much?)

       Here’s hoping you have a fun, silly and fabulous day enjoying life and laughing at your most interesting self!

In growing awareness,

Kim

 

The Year of the Agenda-less Voice –I just said what??? Perhaps silence is golden.

At the turn of the year a mere 6 weeks ago my husband and I were joking about resolutions. In general, it’s not a practice either of us participates in but he laughed heartily when I seriously informed him that 2014 for me was to be the year of the AGENDA-LESS voice.
Not much else has been said since then, primarily because I don’t like to arm him with my apparent failures!! While I can’t truly classify this 6 weeks as a catastrophic failure, nor can I shine it up and call it a success.

vintage-romance

vintage-romance

Agenda, as defined in Webster’s is; an underlying personal viewpoint or bias. The true spirit of my year of the Agenda-less voice was to not use my language in any way to convince, manipulate, guilt, shame, nudge, sway, influence, win over or induce others with my wording. As these weeks have passed, I’ve become uncomfortably aware of how difficult it is to be 100% transparent and direct. Not because of intent to manipulate, but because of pure un-examined habit in communication. Not to mention the addictions to particular dramas and role adaptations we’ve adopted as defense and/or coping mechanisms. Yet, these too, are still simply unexamined habitual responses.
In our relationship this more often plays out in seemingly innocent ways which sound like statements inflected as questions, half sentences, open-ended statements or questions. For example;
B: “Where would you like to go for dinner?”
K: “I really don’t have a preference—you pick!”
B: “Okay—let’s try that new Swedish place.”
K: “Do you really want Swedish?” (Note the agenda being I didn’t want Swedish)

 
Options here could include laughing and acknowledging I did, after all, have a preference, or conceding that I had given up choice for that meal. Instead, I gave the power to my husband and then just as quickly took it away in a somewhat passive aggressive fashion!

Other innocent forms come out as statements meant to evoke a response like;
My computer is broken; You know my birthday is coming up; The dogs haven’t been fed. With no agenda, theses are simply statements, but if they are agenda filled and the transmitter’s expectation doesn’t get met, the receiver better look out!  

 
Some of the most soul-crushing displays of agenda in relationship include using any current hurt as an excuse to drag up the tattered laundry list of all past hurts. Using language that shames like, disappointed, should, really?, or comparing to other people or situations. A devastating use of agenda in relationship is the withholding of our words, our good opinion, our smiles and our love, just because we might not like something or agree.
So the old adage of “Say what you mean, mean what you say” applies to this year of the agenda-less voice as I mindfully learn to communicate just that succinctly.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I seem to be keeping my mouth shut when in doubt of my intention and clarity of response. A silence I believe my husband is grateful for.

In mindful silence for a good cause,                                                                 

Active Listening!

Active Listening!

Kim

The Prison of Forgiveness

(The following perspectives are based in a belief in God/Creator/Goddess as the One)

forgiveness-cap

    I’ve been inundated it seems lately by blogs, books and FB posts about the necessity of forgiveness. The ways to forgive and how the act of forgiving sets the forgiver free.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big fan of turning the other cheek and letting the perceived perpetrator off the hook so to speak, but forgiveness is a construct I’m no longer sure of.
Perhaps it’s just semantics, but with an NLP background, I’m a big proponent of the power of intentionally utilized language.

My initial concern with the concept of forgiveness is the implication that the perpetrator of said offense did something wrong in the first place.

This assumption of wrong-doing creates a victim of the one labeling an action as wrong.

The next issue is that labeling inherently turns the victim into the judge. This is the trap or prison of forgiveness. It is in this cycle of labeling and then judging that we close the door on alternative perspectives locking ourselves into only one.

Once the Victim-judge decides to forgive they become superior to the perpetrator because, after all, the victim-judge has decided to take the high-road which lies up-hill of the accused.

This high-road must be Creator/ God-less, bringing us full-circle to the initial incident where Creator/God must have screwed something up as indicated by the fact that the perpetrator requires forgiveness for some perceived mis-deed.
SO…… What if, rather than forgiveness, we simply decided to practice the ascension attitudes of Surrendered Trust and belief in perfection of the present moment (for more on ascension attitudes visit www.innermasterytools.com ).

Osho Zen Tarot

Osho Zen Tarot

In surrendered trust, we believe in the benevolence of our universe and trust that all events are an out-picturing of what might be termed as mis-qualified thought within us. It asserts that everything is perfect exactly how it is showing up. EVERYTHING—people, places and things. In a simplistic nutshell this means there are no mistakes, failures or accidents. It means that everything which has occurred in my life has happened because the universe loves me enough to give me the lessons I need to truly know myself.

What if I decided to thank life for all the uncomfortable, painful, ugly and even evil things that occurred in my past as the perfect recipe for who I am today and for the woman I will be tomorrow? What if I choose to look at my past only as inspiration? How would it feel to give up all resistance to the way things show up –no longer labeling, or defining things dualistically as right/wrong—good/bad—fair /unfair? Would we need to forgive if we responded to life with wise discernment through open-hearted allowance? (and yes, vote with our feet when necessary!) Then there would truly be nothing to forgive—only immense gratitude for the way my life has unfolded and continues to show up.

In deciding that all is well and there is nothing to forgive we are released from our self-imposed prisons of limited perspective. We free ourselves into the ability to live beyond our past into the new and ever unfolding goodness of life.
Besides, I don’t have the balls to say God/Goddess screwed up!

Here’s to a day filled with only perfection!

Joyfully, Kim

Purple Cauliflower and Assumptions!

Beautiful Cualiflower

We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.     Stephen Covey .

 

The other day I was shopping at Papaya’s Natural Food store on Kauai   (papayasnaturalfoods.com ) where I purchased a couple of heads of purple cauliflower.  To most vegetable enthusiasts, this would seem a non-event, but to me, it was a bit of a reach. Up until this, my 47th year, I had only partaken of white cauliflower.  I found out that day that I was, in fact, a colored-cauliflower bigot! Not intentionally, however, but merely as a product of my unexamined assumptions.

Upon first exposure to colored cauliflower a decade or so ago, I made the false assumption

Do trees grow out of Money?

 that such a vibrant and beautiful color in cauliflower couldn’t possibly be natural, so it must contain some unnecessary dye purely designed as a marketing ploy to get their kids to eat “fun” veggies!  I honestly don’t think I gave it that much conscious thought at the time; I simply never explored the purple globes further.

I was compelled to make the purchase of said colored crucifers because living on Kauai, good organic veggies don’t come cheap.  The white cauliflower were going for $9.99 a head and at half the size and double the cost of the colored.  I made the choice to go purple because I LOVE cauliflower and couldn’t pass up such a great buy (for Kauai!) colored or not.

Later that afternoon, I was out chatting with a neighbor and I mentioned the purple cauliflower.  To my immense amusement and lesser embarrassment, she asked me, “Well, haven’t you eaten purple sweet potatoes?” 

It was like my world opened up as I started mentally digging my way out of the pigeon-hole I had put myself in.  I was flooded by images of the hundreds of purple and blue potatoes I’ve eaten, the carrots of purple hue and the purple beans, beets and brussel sprouts.  How could I have gone so long and not extrapolated that information and applied it to the color of cauliflower?

My cruciferous assumptions kept me from enjoying my most beloved veggie for far too long.  After having a good laugh at myself, I started looking at other assumptions I’ve made and where and how they’ve limited my experiences.  

It opened my heart to remembering that people only know what they know, what they’ve been exposed to and chosen to explore further.  When we can laugh at ourselves and our own silly, seemingly foolish or unexamined beliefs and assumptions, we can look upon others with the eyes of grace when they might not know something we think they ought to. 

Mostly, it reminded me to ask-ask ask!  Ask questions externally and internally until a topic is exhausted.  So here’s to what we think we know but really don’t and the opportunity embarrassment provides to expand our knowledge!

Tighten up that Corset—Keeping my word—to myself!

Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Scarlett Tightening up!

Scarlett Tightening-up!

Oh—personal integrity.  It’s so easy for most of us to keep our word with our friends, family, at work and in the outside world.  We make a commitment and follow through without too much thought. 

I’m sitting at my computer doing the tasks that I committed to do two weeks ago and didn’t.  I didn’t, simply because they are less than thrilling for me and “I didn’t feel like it”! The tasks that have gone undone are not truly life changing or time sensitive, but because I made a commitment to do them, and then chose not to, they’ve been a serious energy drain every time I’ve thought about them for 2 weeks!

My friend and neighbor—who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent—called a bit ago and commented on my demeanor that “obviously computer work left me less than energized”.  When I told her, “Yeah, but I’m keeping my word to myself”, she laughed and told me to “Tighten up that corset girl” and get on with it!!!  (Yes, she’s spectacular and I have a whole list of “isms” with her name before them!)

So as I sit here with corset suitably tightened and actually enjoying myself now, I’m remembering a lesson by spiritual teacher Carolyn Myss, www.myss.com .  Myss correlated self-worth directly with our ability to keep our word with our self.  She asserts that when we lie to ourselves, we are basically training our soul to know that we are not trustworthy, and thus weaken the connection between our humanity and our divinity.  Even though no one else will ever know that we didn’t exercise like we decided, or give up sugar, write that report, or mail the package, etc. our soul, our higher-self, does.

 I believe that this relationship between our humanity and our divinity is the most important relationship we are here to experience and cultivate, so it makes sense to me that when I feel the emotional, mental and /or physical drain of not following through, that I am undermining my own foundation.  That foundation of how I feel about me.

My own opinion of myself matters more than anything, so I will keep my corset tight, re-examine all commitments I have left incomplete and either complete them or release myself from them and I will thoughtfully consider taking on any new commitments before making them!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim