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.

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…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

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Rise!

Suicide Aftershocks VOL V: Synchronicity and Windows of Opportunity, and How a Canine Helped Unpack my Heart and those of my 3 pups!

Early this year, about seven months post suicide; I was sitting at my computer aimlessly wandering through emails.  My late husband’s email address was still active and receiving as I had not yet dismantled his accounts.  He had an account with a site called NEXT DOOR.  It’s a website that allows you to connect within your neighborhood to promote community, communicate real time with neighbors and happenings and go local.  (www.nextdoor.com )

As I was scanning through the mail, a post on this site came up of a neighbor looking for a daily dog sitting situation for his very large and active Belgian Malinois.  I clicked the link and responded that I was interested and gave my phone number before I even realized I’d done it!  Once I clicked SEND, it hit me that I’d put myself out there. My mature, fear based response was to immediately delete my husband’s account and pretended it never happened!  I didn’t think I wanted any kind of commitment plus I had three dogs of my own.IMG_0595

A couple of days went by and the matter slipped my mind (or I blocked it out) until I received a phone call from the guy looking for dog sitting.  This was one of those synchronistic situations where I decided to roll with it even though my mind was screaming “DON’T”.  Coincidentally, he was immediately able to bring the dog by my place for a meet-and-greet to see if we would all be a good fit. My “normal” at that time was far from normal.  I was on edge, defensive and anxious a lot of the time, in relatively deep grief and quite scattered.

I have about ¾’s of an acre fenced on the water which is essentially my own dog park.  The owner and McLovin’ the dog arrived (names have been changed to protect the innocent!) and things went great.  We decided to give it a go which meant I would have McLovin’ daily for an hour.  I was weirdly excited and scared at the same time.  My heart recognized that this was a window of opportunity for me but my mind was telling me that it was a mistake to have a mid day commitment long term.

Our first day I thought—I LOVE this dog AND I’m remembering why I don’t want a puppy!  But my heart was singing!  This dog was a giant, pain-in-the-arse dose of presence! He’s smarter than me, curious and full of vitality which in dog speak equals trouble, opportunism and loads of adventure.  He needed eyes on him at all times.  This meant that my routine went out the window and I had to be fully alert and engaged while he was with us.  This shift of focus was powerfully transformative.  It allowed my mind to relax, my edges to soften and my heart to open again.IMG_0621

IMG_0504McLovin’ and my biggest dog, MacTavish, became best buddies instantly and my 2 little ones were equally captivated by him.  He clearly liked us too, and his very being-ness created an entirely new dynamic in my home. IMG_0631

This giant puppy engaged my dogs in a playful and experimental way, bringing out the inner puppy in them and effectively eradicating the grief and pain that they’d experienced in the loss of my husband, prolonged exposure to his depression, as well as my grief and diverted focus.

I kept him in general 2-3 hours daily simply because it was so much fun. He brought a joy and lightness I needed desperately in my environment—in my home.  This is so relevant because most of my friends were uncomfortable coming to my house as it’s ground zero for my husband’s suicide.  I nicknamed him “McLovin’” because he’s the definition of unconditional love on four legs.  He’s silly and affectionate in a full body, roll all over you and against you kind of way.

My mood never mattered to him—he was forever happy to see me and even more so to come to my house and play with the pack.  If I stopped and sat, he’d immediately be on me—literally!  He would sit or lay on me instinctively knowing what I needed to lay down my guard and navigate back to my heart.

Daily, when I left to get McLovin’, my dogs would wait at the window patiently for our return and then pine away for him when I took him back to his house.  On days I would leave and come home without him, my dogs would howl and cry—berating me for coming home alone!

This is the beauty of synchronicity and taking chances—the willingness to go beyond fear and just roll with it!  It obviously didn’t occur to my rational mind to bring in a new puppy pack mate as “healer” for my dogs, my home and my heart, and yet that is exactly what happened in the most unexpected, fun and joyous way.

In short—a situation I was scared to enter quickly became one of the most profoundly transformative opportunities in this very difficult year.   A window of opportunity that I allowed myself to open, for which I will forever be grateful.  And it came in the unexpected package of a very big puppy, who, to loosely quote the following song, “shone a light into my darkness”.

So here’s to leaping through windows of opportunity with reckless abandon!

Joyfully unpacking my heart,

Kim

Living toothless—the Courage to be Authentic –Jim Carey as “Vera De Milo” and authentic Self-Worth

After breaking out a front tooth at the gum line one otherwise glorious Sunday afternoon on Kauai, I found myself with only one option—get over it and live with it until my dentist could see me Monday!  As my message and work are centered on radical authenticity, recovering from unconsciousness and complete acceptance of our humanity as the only path to integration of our divinity, I couldn’t work myself up into drama or upset or even much embarrassment about my appearance!

Only missing one!

 

My husband tried to “help” my precarious vanity, by laughing hysterically, humming stereo-typical- music for the toothless and being his particular off-center brand of funny.  By bed-time as we were brushing –up teeth and readying for bed I in my sweats and sports bra, he gleefully commented that I kind of  looked like Jim Carey on “In Living Color”playing Vera De Milo!

Jim Carey

Jim Carey as Vera De Milo

Now—I don’t think I’m all that bad to look at, but when I got in to the spirit of play, struck a muscle pose, smiled big while I scrunched up my face and angled just right in front of the mirror—he wasn’t wrong!  At least we went to bed laughing—albeit at my expense!

In LIving Color–Vera De MIlo

Things got more interesting a few days later after the Periodontist had to pull the remainder of the tooth.  Interesting because for this I had to fly to Oahu for multiple appointments and a 12 hour day of business, shopping and public exposure.  After the tooth-pulling, the tray holding my temporary tooth kept filling with blood—making my whole upper set look like some garish Halloween costume—teeth swimming in blood!  The bleeding stopped as soon as the pressure of the tray with fake tooth came out.

Lucky me!  Another opportunity to be authentically exposed in my current toothless reality!  I decided while at my second appointment after the Doctor told me how disturbing and distracting my bloody swimming teeth were, to go toothless for the remainder of the day.

Tray with tooth–sans blood!

This seemed doable—I could shop and eat easily, communicating with closed mouth facial expressions and hand gestures’.  It was all good!  Until… I realized I had left my cell phone on Kauai!  As payphones are no longer readily available, I had to go to the help desk of the store I was in and ask the cute young attendants toothlessly to use their phone! 

This was the true moment of complete acceptance for me.  I enjoyed the rest of the day shopping, smiling big and speaking with reckless abandon—as though I had all my teeth!  What the hell—I live on Kauai, not Oahu anyway!

Our society is quite conditioned to “first impressions”,  the current collective view of beauty and the meaning we assign to any deviation from what’s “socially acceptable” as far as appearance is concerned.   Most of us develop our meter of self-worth based on this unexamined societal conditioning and the difference between what society says is okay and how we view ourselves within that framework.

Circumstances placed me in a situation where I could have disengaged from the day, jumped on the next flight home and hunkered down alone in the living room until I could comfortably wear my dental tray with tooth.   Or I could embrace the toothless, less than attractive reality I found myself in and enjoy the moment and the possibilities it might bring.     

Me–the current reality!

So while the way I see myself might still be a bit off from the “reality” of how others see me,  I am grateful to have been able to courageously and relatively easily represent myself—my true self, which has nothing whatsoever to do with how I look!  (oh—and I’m truly sorry if I scared anyone!)

Xena–Warrior Princess-The way I see myself!

So, where might you be in denial about a reality in your life?  Are you willing to courageously step into authenticity before you’re forced to make a choice?

Joyfully and with warmest aloha and all my teeth!

Kim

“Fully Formed Nuggets” foolishness, my dog MacTavish and Elaine Dancing on Seinfeld

“Be independent of the good opinion of other people.”      ― Wayne Dyer     www.drwaynedyer.com

It’s Wednesday and my fabulous friend and neighbor who shall still remain nameless, (she says, “to protect the guilty”!), has just left after inspiring me once again to share.

We were engaged in yet another meaningful/meaningless conversation about spirituality and the importance of having someone to share with that won’t judge or hold you accountable to your opinion of the moment as they can so quickly change.  She mentioned a group she’s regularly involved in and how she feels that she will be judged and labeled, “If I don’t drop some fully-formed nugget”. 

Mac in the middle

Mac in the middle

The visual alone—having 6  dogs between us who regularly share space got me laughing and considering how our fear of appearing foolish and being judged many times stops us from being authentic  in the moment.

Dogs just don’t concern themselves with appearing foolish, being judged, or dropping fully formed nuggets for that matter!  MacTavish, my 2 year old rescue is a bit behind the curve when it comes to dog-like behavior, and only recently has had any success with lifting his leg to urinate and having actual urine stream forth.  Last week he started attempting the victory-kick-it-out maneuver with his hind legs that his pack mates excel at.  MacTavish, well…..not so much.  He looks incredibly uncoordinated and so ridiculous that as a human, first I enjoy the silliness at his expense, and then I almost feel sorry for him, wondering what all the other doggies are thinking!  He reminds me of Elaine on Seinfeld Dancing at the office party!

 http://youtu.be/HQu_NLRvULM 

Of course, I know this is absurd.  Animals teach us the value in action of naturally,”Being independent of the good opinion of others”, when amongst themselves.   MacTavish is happy learning how to victory-kick at his own pace and sharing it in his own unique way.

I am reminded that when we follow our true nature, live authentically and don’t worry about how we look or sound to anyone but ourselves, life is easier, fun and we might just positively impact others with our courage to share.  Bonus, if we can be silly and laugh at ourselves that lightens the world!

Joyfully, and with warmest aloha,

Kim and MacTavish

Abundance, Feeling Rich and Mango season on Kauai!

 I was listening in on an interview with Wayne Dyer a couple of weeks ago on the topic of courage, his newest book, “Wishes Fulfilled” and how important it is to “start from the end”;    meaning to feel as though you already possess that which you are seeking to manifest.

Most of us on a spiritual path have heard this concept before and understand the importance intellectually.  The trouble with that is, it’s hard to feel healthy when you’re sick, to feel joyful after a loss or to feel abundant when you’re broke!

Well, not true during Mango season on Kauai.  Mango season here is magical.  It’s an assault on the senses.  Driving down any road or highway you’re treated to huge mango trees pregnant with fruit literally dripping off the branches.  It’s a riot of color and play of textures that not only makes you happy to be alive and filled with the mystery of nature, but leaves you feeling truly blessed with a deep knowing of how limitless this earth truly is.  Rich or not—you feel rich simply by observing the overflowing profusion offered at every turn.

So many of us have trouble with asking for and/ or receiving from life whether it’s things, money, love, validation—whatever.  Mango season for me is a reminder that you don’t have to ask, you need only observe the magnificence of the cornucopia nature has to offer to realize lack is a state of mind.          

Lucky for us, mind state is one of the 3 things we actually have control over.  So, when I feel any form of scarcity, lack or less than, I go outside and notice intentionally the grandeur and inexhaustible supply Mother Nature has to offer.  From this state of gratitude, it’s easy to do what Dr. Dyer suggests—start from the end.  When you feel abundant, overflowing and fulfilled, you can’t help but attract everything you desire to you!

For me, it’s always easiest during mango season!                                                                                                            

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

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!

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

The Courage to Look At Yourself

Mirroring and Allowance

Mirroring and Allowance

  

 Okay–I had a moment of experiencing my humanity (to quote Debbie Ford www.debbieford.com )  and it wasn’t pretty!  Long story short, I had a Doctor’s appointment scheduled on Oahu–I live on Kauai–that had been on the books for over 4 weeks.  After waking early, driving to the airport, catching my plane, picking up my rental car and making my way through busy Honolulu morning traffic, I arrived about 40 minutes early for my appointment.  (sounds like a lot of justification and set-up, huh?!)  

As I’m attempting to check in, the receptionist has apparently had a more convoluted day than I have, and is quite rude.  The situation worsened when I was told that I needed different paperwork and that certain things they had agreed to provide would not be provided.  This woman was unprofessional, rude, indifferent and uncompromising–no judgement, these are the facts.  I maintained my calm for mere minutes before I lost it. I reacted to the situation with a raised voice, insulting language and a complete lack of grace.  

The situation unresolved, I sat down to wait my turn with the Doctor, and seethed for a bit.  I wasn’t proud of myself or my actions/reactions.  I started to think what my husband would say had he witnessed my foolish, reactive behavior–and ever the pragmatist, as I am a relationship coach by profession, he would simply ask me, “how much money do you have to refund to clients this week?”.  

So why did I act badly?  If I had been walking my talk, I would have been kind and gentle.  Perhaps asked for help in understanding what was necessary for her to help me, maybe asked how her day had been and shown some empathy.  Rather, I made it all about me and my expectations which most certainly, were not being met.  The evidence was there–I was in the right.  

Does being “right” allow me to bully or punish another?  Does being right mean I get a free pass to be mean and behave badly?   It doesn’t.  I am responsible for the way I choose to speak and act in every situation.   And in this situation I chose to react and make wrong, rather than to respond and be open.  

My belief system is such that I must look at this situation as a lesson for me.  A way to gain insight in to my own behavior.  A fabulous technique to do this is called Mirroring.  Simply put, mirroring has you label the behavior that is most triggering for you in the other and then ask yourself where in your own life you are currently engaged in said behavior.  So I asked myself what was most upsetting about the interaction with this receptionist ( What’s the biggest trigger?)  and what kind of person does that/says that/acts like that?  I was most upset by “rude” and “uncompromising”, and the kind of person who acts like that in my experience is UNPROFESSIONAL”. 

Now that it’s narrowed down to “unprofessional”, the next question to ask is, “Where in my life am I unprofessional?”.  I knew immediately where that applies to me, and what I need to do to correct my own lack of professionalism.  Obviously, introspection is my hobby!  

But even after all this thinking–I still didn’t feel great.  Eventually, I was seen by the Doctor and had the rest of the day free for some much-needed shopping therapy.  I don’t like to leave things unfinished, and just because I had come to resolution  and insight within, I wasn’t sure the receptionist had.  I made amends by picking up a few chocolate bars from the downstairs gift shop as a peace-offering, and presented them to her with a sincere apology fo the way I had spoken to her.  I was pleasantly surprised when she smiled, accepted the offering and apologized to me!  

Here’s to all of us having human moments and the opportunity those moments present to take us closer to our divinity! 

Joyfully and with warmest aloha, 

Kim