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 IV Positivity as Self-hatred –Socially acceptable grief and Apparently I’m either not sad enough or too happy –Who Knew?

Time continues to pass for us all and as I approach the 15 month “post suicide” marker, I’m amazed by the expectations people have about how they think I should behave.

Situationally, if I’m not sad enough I’ve gotten called out in some shaming way for being too happy, and then reminded—like I might forget—that my husband did kill himself.  Or, I’m sad for a moment in time and am quickly reminded that it’s been long enough—buck up and think positively.  As though thinking positively when I feel lost or alone or afraid is a panacea for all that ails me.

Initially when this began happening, I thought, “Well, I can’t please everyone so screw it!”  (or something a bit less kind!)  The first few happenings did throw me.  I second guessed myself, briefly thinking maybe they’re right.   It was easy to do because I’m still juggling the “why” question about my husband’s choice and what part I played, if any, in how the situation unfolded.  Guilt and shame can be an easy go-to when things are FUBAR.

A few weeks ago I asked my friend T—she and her husband showed up immediately the morning of the suicide-“how did I present—how did I act that day”?  So much of those first 24 hours felt like I was a watcher and removed one

Image result for Masks

degree from the reality occurring around me.

 

She said that I had a weird smile on all day and that I was trying to take care of everyone else.  The policeman assigned to babysit me, her, the 5 dogs and the other 2 people who came to support me.

That was me trying to hold the state of positivity.  Keep the mask on.  Hold the illusion that all is well or will be.  You’re not good enough to expect support unless you’re bright and shiny, so stay shiny.

Of course, I wasn’t holding that as a conscious thought at the time.  Hindsight and deep exploration in the breakdown of the world I’ve known allows me to see that illusion clearly now!

When “positive thinking” is used in this manner—shaming self and hiding, ignoring, suppressing, distancing or judging our thoughts and emotions, we are making orphans of various aspects of ourselves.  Abandoning any part of self is an act of self-hatred.  Ugly or mean thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of, and when not acted upon are generally benign.  We are human.   We bring our past to the table until we learn to bear witness to and include all of our experiences and thoughts with curiosity rather than judgment.

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Abstract business background.

These last 6 years I’ve been primarily a caretaker for others in various situations and varying degrees of F-ed up! My world went quiet after my husband’s suicide which left a lot of time for me to consider my patterns of behavior and ways of being.  I was faced with many opportunities to be “positive”.

The whole construct of positive thinking is exclusive and perpetuates the unhealthy dichotomy of ; good/bad; right/wrong; now/then, while at the same time creating the expectation of an unobtainable state.  The state of ALWAYS being positive!  No matter what we do, we will still be human with a wide range of emotions and a society that thrives on labeling and judgment.

Love of self would allow all thoughts and aspects of self to well-up, including them and witnessing them as part of the whole that we are.  After all—it’s just a thought.  I don’t take action on all my thoughts and none of them should be judged as unworthy.  Some thoughts are simply no longer useful.  What if thoughts are simply surfacing in our awareness to be healed or learned from—transformed and/or released?   What if some thoughts are the fast-track to self healing is inclusion?

What if we simply allowed all of our experiences to be just experiences—Zen like, neither good nor bad—neither positive or negative?  Simply markers in time that we can either learn from and transform, or repeat and judge.  Inclusion is always an option.  And as thought precedes action—awareness of our thoughts creates dynamic changes in our actions which changes our experiences.Mayan Mystery Pyramid

As for me—I’m happy to be happy and I’m happy for the moments when I’m not. The sad/hard moments are opportunities to make distinctions and to clarify and heal aspects of my life so there can be more forward movement in whatever direction I choose.

So rather than “positive thinking”, perhaps a shift to appreciation and gratitude as a choice in awareness and a way of life might be more inclusive and allowing for all aspects of self to integrate. This shift creates inclusion where all thoughts are welcome, the perceived positive and negative!

Of course, we’re always well served when in control and mindful of what comes out of our mouths!

Here’s to growing awareness and inclusion of every part of “ME” and thoughtful awareness of how we choose to express!

With warmest aloha,

 

Kim

tribal-vector-element-with-eagle-head_MkjbCj8O_L

RISE!

 

This month’s challenge:

A practice in Positive thinking to notice what you like rather than what you don’t.  We’re not seeking to change anything about you –simply creating a new habit of looking for what’s “right” wonderful and inspiring!

3x daily stop and notice your surroundings and acknowledge what’s beautiful, appealing, abundant, joy filled or things you like.

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

The insidious augmentation of self….. & The Promised-Land of “Good Enough”

(No breasts were exposed in the writing of this blog.)

I freely admit that I would gleefully title my resume,  “Professional Student” or  “Well Qualified Scholar” had I been fortunate enough to gain sponsorship or disciplined enough to live a truly ascetic lifestyle in every other respect.   My personal addiction is to self-awareness and consciousness ascension– for fun! 

Without doubt, there are far more formidable monkeys to have strapped to one’s back, and of course I feel lucky to be free of the chemical options available as far as addictions go. 

It occurs to me, however, that I suffered for most of my life from a far more insidious and common addiction that spans every socio-economic and race demographic. 

The addiction to self-augmentation through seeking….   The attaining at any cost of more—more stuff; clothes, jewelry, outings, homes, furniture, books, technology , gadgets, etc..  The list might include education, degrees, certifications and any array of letters to put after one’s name.   Maybe more is LIKEs on Facebook and every other source of outside validation.  A biggy is seeking the good opinion of others at the expense of good opinion of self. 

 

This perpetual augmentation and seeking when born from lack and neediness or “what’s missing” means we never arrive at said Promised Land where we feel good enough, educated enough, pretty, thin or accomplished enough and well—just enough!

When we release the need to continually add to ourselves as a panacea for lack of self-worth, miraculously, who we are and what we have suddenly are enough—even more than enough and the seeking ends.   This is when life is infused with deep contentment and every endeavor is undertaken for the sheer joy of the experience.

No augmentation required!    

ADIEU --Aaron Feinberg

ADIEU –Aaron Feinberg

                                                       

Joyfully,

Kim

The Prison of Forgiveness

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

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    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

The Dog Park, Beingness, and the River of Grace

 

“Play is the exultation of the possible.” Martin Buber

As I return home from the dog park here on Kauai, I’m in awe once again over how much I learn about play, fun and the simplicity of approaching life with curious, excited expectations.

Our dog park here on island is an amazing space with a 100 yard fence dividing small dogs from big making it the perfect track to invite a chase.  Having 3 dogs, two small and one big, they are most often segregated and pining away for the greener grass on the other side.  But that’s another story!

Post dog-park nap time!

Our big dog, MacTavish, is the definition of pure beingness when he’s at the park.  He is indiscriminate and invites every dog to chase and play.  He understands boundaries and honors them without personalizing.  He graciously slows down for dogs that aren’t as fast as he is to allow them to stay in the chase.  He’s gentle with the elderly dogs and aware of where the humans are so as not to bowl them over.  He stays in sync with the way the other dogs and their humans are showing up and truly enjoys exactly how that is represented on any given day. In short—his true nature is joyful, gracious and courteous. 

I believe that the key to this presence is showing up with no expectations.  It doesn’t matter how often we go to the park, he is equally excited and appreciative to be there and naturally falls in to the rhythm of the day by simply allowing what is. 

When we approach life with that excited curiosity and leave our expectations behind, that’s when we can find the rhythm of our lives and easily fall into the flow—that river of grace– that supports us in sharing our true nature and joy with all of life.

Joyfully sharing my joy with warmest aloha, Kim

Dancing and “Stayin’ Alive”

I just put my feet in the air and move them around.
Fred Astaire

Ya just never know what’s going to move you.  A friend sent me the link to this YouTube video and I’m enthralled!  The effortless grace and ease the dancers convey makes me smile from ear to ear and feel happy to be alive every time I watch this. 

The collaborative effect of the original choreography, the Bee Gee’s passionate expression through their music and the editor who somehow decided to combine the two is a testament to how far reaching and inspirational sharing our gifts can be. 

The impact we have on others extends well beyond your human years (whether we are aware of it or not!) and the spin someone else might put on our original sharing can elevate that offering to an even higher level.

It’s a great reminder that regardless of our awareness and/or intention, we are always impacting the world around us so we might as well make our impact a positive one—whatever our gifts may be!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim

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