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

Pure Presence

Me with Dogs

"Pooh and Piglet"
Present with friends!

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.   “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.  “MY FAVORITE DAY.” said Pooh.

As I sit this early rainy morning in the home I love on Kauai, I am overwhelmed by my gratitude and contentment to be exactly where I AM, how I AM and who I AM.    I’ve been home for 3 weeks now after a long 6 months of being more gone than home, (physically and mentally) and I finally feel like I’m here—now. 

This feeling of pure presence is weighty and light all at once.  It’s comforting and familiar and foreign all at the same time.  I realize sitting here how much I’ve lived this presence and neglected allowing it over these last months.

Like so many of us, life kept happening at a break-neck pace and while I showed up, not all of my engagement was conscious or intentional.  Not all of my engagement was reflective of the woman I think/say I am or of the woman I am becoming.  Interesting, because I am becoming said woman in part because of my awareness of this lack of intention and presence. 

I was blessed and fortunate to be with my parents on the east coast for much of my mother’s dying process and to be her caretaker the last few weeks of her life.  Her process kept me focused on her and my birth family and the ever present needs of what was happening there.  I can see, now, how I neglected my Kauai life, family and friends, my work, goals, health and well-being. 

Today is my favorite day because of this feeling and this allowing of me to just sit—to simply be and to enjoy the sound of the rain and feel the contentment, grounding and peace of being here, now. 

The awareness and ability, in action, which I trust to more deeply cultivate is pure presence to whatever is happening in the moment, without gauging its presumed level of importance compared to other concurrent events.

So, may today be YOUR favorite day and if today happens to become tomorrow—may it be our favorite day, too!!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,  Kim

The Holidays, Freedom and Choice

Today, my interaction with the world will be...____?

Ohhh--which to choose!

The holiday season has gotten me thinking about freedom and choice.  I love going out shopping and seeing the decorations and mostly smiling faces.  Feeling the energetic enthusiasm of crowds of people doing what they do for the  holidays.  Since moving to Kauai, I’ve edited and simplified much of my gifting.  This choice has created a freedom to enjoy the holidays with no self-imposed or society driven anxiety about doing it “right”!

Freedom distills down to the power of choice. We are choice making machines–what to wear, eat, think, say do. Where to go, how to feel, who to include, whether or not to keep our word, do our best or not do anything.

One of my favorite adages is, “If what you’re doing isn’t working, then do something else”. Einstein, among others, is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Most of us have grown up being exposed to this way of thinking, but so often fail to apply it in our day-to-day lives. Instead, we operate on auto-pilot, reacting the same old ways rather than giving thought to perhaps trying a different approach, or shifting our perspective.

Our ability to think for ourselves, to change our mind, to shift perspectives is directly linked to our sense of self-worth.  It is only when we decide that our good opinion of ourself is more important than the good opinion of anyone else, that we have the ability to start making thoughtful choices that serve us.

It’s interesting, as well, that when we make choices that serve us (i.e. healthy boundaries!) we actually create space for those around us to do the same.  It’s amazing how many of my friends feel grateful, or let-off-the-hook by me being the first to embrace and then enact the no-more-gifting policy.  This choice has also created the freedom to enjoy people simply for being.

I enjoy the holidays more and more as I get older and make the choices that allow them to be simple, easy and people-focused.  Feeling like just being and giving the best I have to offer energetically, in my thoughts, kind words and heartfelt actions is enough–that’s TRUE FREEDOM!–and it’s a choice.

Happy Holidays and warmest Aloha,

Kim

Hormonal Hell

Roll of the Dice
Who will she be today?

I write this not for the women going through perimenopause or menopause, but for the partners who love them—Primarily, MEN!

I find myself at 46 in this transitional period of my life and it’s like giving birth to a demon on a regular basis.  The worst part is knowing that I’m behaving badly during these out-of–body hormonal driven moments (or hours or days!) and being unable to stop myself.  Worse yet, is that there is always evidence that I’m “right” about whatever position I’m defending and fighting for with my barred teeth, crazed eyes and bloody nails.  When the hormonal-haze lifts and I’m blessed with a moment of mental and emotional clarity, it is evident by the shell-shocked and haggard looks on my loved ones faces that I’ve dragged them down into the pits of hormonal hell once again. 

It’s difficult to explain unless you’ve been through it, but everything feels so real during these hormonal fluctuations that it’s hard to tell which perspective on a charged issue is real and a choice, and which perspective is imagined and having all the negative aspects amplified by raging imbalanced hormones.

When I’m “balanced” hormonally, I understand that I’ve made choices about my past and history and that’s where it stays.  Under the driving influence of hormonal fluctuations, I use the past as a weapon of mass-destruction!  When this is happening, and I’m in the middle of one of these initially innocent discussions with my husband, it’s like I’m floating far above the incident, looking down with full, conscious awareness thinking—“Kim, that was harsh-Oh—No No No—you didn’t just say that!  Oh—don’t’ go there!”  and I’m powerless to stop once the ball gets rolling turning a normal conversation into WWIII. 

Living on Kauai, with close neighbors in an open window climate, I can only imagine what they think about me!

So this is a call for understanding and loving allowance for anyone who is dealing with a woman of a certain age who may not be responsible for her hormonally driven actions.  Please, understand, we are powerless in the moment to stop.  Allow us the grace to make amends in the moments of clarity we do experience, and if all else fails, keep handy a vial of Holy water and the number of a courageous priest should our heads start to spin around like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist”! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qG5V2iBvFs&feature=related

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim

How to Procratsinate WELL

If only there were more time!

Time waits for no woman!

So it’s a week since my last blog and I’ve been feeling a bit of procrastinator’s guilt at not having written a post before now.  I’ve been pondering the topic all week, and I’ve decided that giving up procrastination is an unachievable goal—so I’ll put off trying to stop! 

After all, if I’m involved in one project or task, I’m NOT doing something else.  So, how do we chose what to accomplish and what is actually beneficial to procrastinate on?  The trick, I think, is in having a clear vision.  Whether it’s a vision of how you want the house to look for a party or an explosion of growth in your business, knowing what you want and imagining how it will feel when you have it, creates a vibrational pull of inspiration that definitely helps me make the choice between running errands or working on the project that will take me even one step closer to my vision.

Debbie Ford, in her book, “The Right Questions” (www.debbieford.com) asks;  “Will this choice propel me toward and inspiring future, or keep me stuck in the past?”  Will it move me closer to my goals or farther from them? 

I love these questions because if you’re honest, there’s no hiding behind distractions like running errands or saying yes to others requests when you could be helping yourself!  Many of us—me included—use busy work as a balm to make us feel a bit better when we haven’t worked on something we SAY is important to us.  Running errands or helping neighbors is measurable and feels like a reasonable justification for not doing something else—the thing we’ve said is important.  This is my favorite way to procrastinate. 

If you find yourself doing busy work today—make the conscious choice to procrastinate for the higher good of taking action on the project or hobby or relationship you’re truly passionate about—and enjoy it!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim