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.

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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

My Tooth, “Adult Onset Ignorance” & Choice

One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.”
Tim Burton

Tooth Fairy?

I was talking to my Dad after my last posting and he asked me how my tooth was doing.  I gave him the update and told him about various people’s reactions to my toothlessness.  His response was loving, affirming and perspective shifting.

“Well I’ve seen you with no teeth and I thought you were cute!” 

Of course he was referring to my childhood, but it got me thinking.   At what age does our humanity become a detriment rather than endearing?  How come when “life happens” to a child or young adult, trial and error learning is allowable and expected but after a certain age the expectation that we should “know” or “know better” seems firmly entrenched.

I can look at my own life and see countless examples of “adult-onset-ignorance” and “she should ‘a known better” moments.  Moments where my actions were far less than squeaky clean and many of which were shame and guilt inducing, and that’s just looking back a week or so!

“Self-Portrait”

Our humanity exists until we leave the body behind.  The human experience is the vehicle to our divinity making all that we go through relevant and enlightening, even our ignorant, ugly and ridiculous moments!  In learning to accept our own human moments, we will judge others less.

I am currently deep into my 4th decade on the planet and I’m still leaning through experience and sometimes not learning the first time!  Just like my Dad’s perspective on my toothless appearance, I can choose the perspective from which to view any experience.    

So what’s more empowering?  Viewing life  from the perspective of judgment and “should’a  known better”?, or through the gracious, allowing lens of,” Oh—another opportunity to learn here on earth!”.            

Crone or Maiden?

As for my current, toothless situation, I choose to think I’m cute, too!    Thanks Dad! 

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

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

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!

A New Dog and Unrealistic Expectations!

West Kauai--Mana Plain

 

Beach on West Kauai

 

Christmas Pups

A few weeks ago I was driving home from the Beach at Barking Sands (PMRF Kauai) when I saw what I initially thought was a goat. Upon approach, it turned out to be a dog—very malnourished and dehydrated.  Because of the location on the Mana Plain on the very dry, desolate far west side of the island, I pulled over to check it out and get him to his owners should there be a tag or chip.  45 minutes later and injury free– me and the dog—I had him in the truck and we were off to the humane society on the off chance that he was lost and would be claimed.  The dog had quite obviously been horribly mistreated and/or abused and at the end of his required 7 day stay for strays was deemed “unadoptable” which might have sealed his fate.  Small island that we are, I was called, told the news and asked if I was interested in taking him home, effectively giving the pup a stay of execution. 

I’m sure you can guess the rest—this new 7 month old puppy, with no manners, no pack training and deep seated fear-based reactions to humans has a new home with us and our other 2 dogs.

This is where my unrealistic expectations have been made evident!  Intellectually I knew what we were getting into as all of our dogs have been rescues, but in my hopeful magical thinking, “MacTavish” would show up and be immediately potty trained, sit and stay when told, meal time would be a calm event and he’d be able to walk on a leash with grace and ease.  Oh– and somehow he would intuit that we were his saviors and would never hurt him.  I think deep down I expected my two existing dogs to tell him the rules and guide him, Yoda like, into becoming the Jedi of the adopted dog world. 

I quickly woke up from that pleasant dream when we brought him home on the first night of what’s turned out to be 2 + weeks of torrential rain and flash flood warnings.  My beautifully clean house smells like wet dog and doggie poo and I can’t keep up with the laundry pile of dirty towels, throw rugs, dog beds, toys and blankets! 

I thought puppies and good deeds were supposed to be fun!  Oh well, another unrealistic expectation.

On a lighter note, MacTavish is smart and engaging and acting like a normal puppy rather than an abused one.  He loves our other two and while the biggest of the pack; he is most definitely 3rd in line of pack order—and happy with it. 

As for my “expectations”?  I opt to stay expectation free, and enjoy the small victories, wins, new discoveries and “ah-hah” moments this pup creates.  He’s the perfect fit for our family at this moment in time teaching us patience, pure presence, adaptability and unadulterated compassion and joy—no expectation required!

Joyfully and with 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