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,

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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 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

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