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 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

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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

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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: VOL III Southern Women’s Wisdom–Discomfort and the Power of a Pause

During the last few months I’ve found myself referencing my husband’s suicide in conversation as the B.E.  (Bill Event)

and making time distinctions based on before and after Bill did what he did.  It feels healthy for me and lighter than using the word suicide.  He simply did what he did-what he chose to do.business_110009277-012914-int

As time passes and I’m happier and more present, how he died is becoming almost irrelevant.  Interestingly when people ask, I pause to decide how direct I care to be in that given moment as my experience has been that most people can’t really handle the truth of suicide.  They seem ill-equipped to respond without judgment.  Most become highly uncomfortable or pretend they didn’t actually ask how he died, rather than pausing and considering a response.

Suicide.  Just the word causes discomfort. Suicide carries so many judgments—social, religions and familial.  When I do use that word, it’s not that I’m choosing to make others uncomfortable.  I am simply choosing to honor myself and respect the level of comfort I’ve been able to achieve in the aftermath of a horrific situation.

 

58d7e6020950c8147cc62a476d63af49The first statement one of my brothers made to me the day of the B.E. was, “I didn’t know your marriage was that bad”.  He maintained this position and even went so far as to publicly state that he and everyone else knew that Bill’s suicide was my fault.  This was my BROTHER! 

A person I considered a friend commented, “How could you not know—you’re so intuitive. This is what you do!  You must have known this was going to happen!”  This was a FRIEND!

My dad’s reaction to my first and only crying phone call to him in the days immediately following the B.E. was, “Quit living in the past.” He said this just prior to hanging up on me.  This was my FATHER.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do and called a girl friend—

a bit older than me and raised in south central Virginia.  Her wise counsel came in the form of a question.  After hearing my pain over the judgmental and insensitive comments being made, she asked,

“Kim, does your Father have a vagina?  Do any of these people you’re speaking with have vagina’s?

I responded no, that they did not, in fact, have vagina’s.  Her response, classic, quintessential southern pragmatism, “Don’t you know you can’t have a conversation when you’re upset with a person lacking a vagina?

Enough said.  I was laughing while crying and oh, so much better!

A girlfriend I grew up with reminded me gently, “Honey, if common sense was lard, your family wouldn’t be able to grease a pan—I don’t mean you of course!”

Another grand moment came while at different girlfriend’s house in central Virginia.  I walked into a group and reacted – inappropriately– to a random participants comment about the B.E.   I kind of lost it and got angry –I really wanted to kick this person till she bled!  (an inappropriate response, I know–but I did pause!)  To avoid any verbal escalation, I went to my friend and said I need help getting under control!  She responded with,

“Well honey, that’s what the back yard is for—you go on out there and stay as long as it takes and I’ll make you some tea!”

8 or 9 weeks after the B.E. I was heading into a meeting with 2 executives and 7 trainers of a global organ harvesting and transplant organization.  The meeting was taking place because—well, that’s another story!  This meeting was a big deal for me and I was still quite emotional but in the “let’s get’er done” frame of mind and knew I needed bucking up before entering the meeting.  Like every southern girl would—I phoned a friend—with a vagina!  She told me,

“Tighten up that corset, put on your lip gloss, lift up your chest and speak slow and syrupy sweet—you got this.”

Scarlett Tightening up!

Scarlett Tightening-up!

Southern comfort no –alcohol required!

Here’s to the strong, proud and direct women in my circle—southern or otherwise!  Thank you for the perfect and timely wisdom and powerful support!

With warmest aloha,

Kim

Challenge:

Pause.  Practice pausing and taking a breath while you mindfully consider an intentional response.  Perhaps nod your head while you pause so the person you’re with will know you’ve heard them—if on the phone, during your pause make a sound like, “hmmm” so the other knows they’ve been heard.!  This technique can create connection, deepen relationships and communication and allows you to learn to listen from a place of desiring to hear rather than from the place of desiring to be heard.  Pausing often times allows the other to hear themselves, as well!

 

 

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

Communication [or a lack there of] & Unrealistic Expectations

Communicate Clearly or Leave it up to Chance?

No Jay Walking on Kauai!

The 2010 holiday season is almost over which leaves us with only a couple of more opportunities this year to interact cleanly with family and friends.  For me, CLEANLY  means responsibly, with no hidden agenda, no undelivered or unspoken communications, no assumptions or assigned meaning, no story making, no pretending, embellishing, misleading, or withholding information, and no subjugating my true nature, peacefulness and desires for the good of anyone else.  This means allowing them—the family and friends I’m interacting with, the same courtesies, without judgment while maintaining healthy boundaries.

Hhmmmmm—my first response is, “Fat Chance with my crowd”!   Translated, I clearly have not mastered the above list.  When mastered, this will be a life of the highest integrity, the most loving allowance of self and others and a profoundly uplifting model of authenticity.  So how do you eat this elephant of uncovering your authentic self and letting go of expectations?  Like any big project, one bite at a time!

Recognizing  Hidden Expectations

   A good first step is to recognize where you harbor expectations that you’ve conveniently forgotten to mention to the person(s) you have expectations of!  Next time you feel let down in a situation, ask yourself if you clearly communicated to the other person just what you wanted.  I know for myself, if I’m disappointed or let down by a situation or person, it’s because I didn’t fill them in on what I wanted.  It sets up our friends and loved ones for failure when we expect them to magically or intuitively know what we want in any situation.  I’ve heard so many girl friends complain, “If he/she really loved me, they’d just know what to do”.   As romantic as that sounds, and as much as I’m sure I would enjoy it, it’s unrealistic, selfish and irresponsible to expect.

Unrealistic—Self-explanatory unless you date on psychic network for singles.

Selfish to expect anyone else to care more about what you want when you’re too lazy to be bothered with asking.

Irresponsible because it’s your job and no one else’s to meet your own needs or make the requests necessary to have them met.

So these last 2 days of the year, intention to be conscious and aware of what you’re seeking, what would be nice to experience, what your preferences might be.  Then, as you interact with your loved ones, coworkers, clients, etc. rather than risk being disappointed, BE BOLD and simply, clearly and concisely ASK for what you want!  (coming soon—What to do when you Ask and DON”T receive!!!)

Happy New Year, Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

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

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