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!

The Year of the Agenda-less Voice –I just said what??? Perhaps silence is golden.

At the turn of the year a mere 6 weeks ago my husband and I were joking about resolutions. In general, it’s not a practice either of us participates in but he laughed heartily when I seriously informed him that 2014 for me was to be the year of the AGENDA-LESS voice.
Not much else has been said since then, primarily because I don’t like to arm him with my apparent failures!! While I can’t truly classify this 6 weeks as a catastrophic failure, nor can I shine it up and call it a success.

vintage-romance

vintage-romance

Agenda, as defined in Webster’s is; an underlying personal viewpoint or bias. The true spirit of my year of the Agenda-less voice was to not use my language in any way to convince, manipulate, guilt, shame, nudge, sway, influence, win over or induce others with my wording. As these weeks have passed, I’ve become uncomfortably aware of how difficult it is to be 100% transparent and direct. Not because of intent to manipulate, but because of pure un-examined habit in communication. Not to mention the addictions to particular dramas and role adaptations we’ve adopted as defense and/or coping mechanisms. Yet, these too, are still simply unexamined habitual responses.
In our relationship this more often plays out in seemingly innocent ways which sound like statements inflected as questions, half sentences, open-ended statements or questions. For example;
B: “Where would you like to go for dinner?”
K: “I really don’t have a preference—you pick!”
B: “Okay—let’s try that new Swedish place.”
K: “Do you really want Swedish?” (Note the agenda being I didn’t want Swedish)

 
Options here could include laughing and acknowledging I did, after all, have a preference, or conceding that I had given up choice for that meal. Instead, I gave the power to my husband and then just as quickly took it away in a somewhat passive aggressive fashion!

Other innocent forms come out as statements meant to evoke a response like;
My computer is broken; You know my birthday is coming up; The dogs haven’t been fed. With no agenda, theses are simply statements, but if they are agenda filled and the transmitter’s expectation doesn’t get met, the receiver better look out!  

 
Some of the most soul-crushing displays of agenda in relationship include using any current hurt as an excuse to drag up the tattered laundry list of all past hurts. Using language that shames like, disappointed, should, really?, or comparing to other people or situations. A devastating use of agenda in relationship is the withholding of our words, our good opinion, our smiles and our love, just because we might not like something or agree.
So the old adage of “Say what you mean, mean what you say” applies to this year of the agenda-less voice as I mindfully learn to communicate just that succinctly.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I seem to be keeping my mouth shut when in doubt of my intention and clarity of response. A silence I believe my husband is grateful for.

In mindful silence for a good cause,                                                                 

Active Listening!

Active Listening!

Kim

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

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

Pure Presence

Me with Dogs

"Pooh and Piglet"
Present with friends!

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.   “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.  “MY FAVORITE DAY.” said Pooh.

As I sit this early rainy morning in the home I love on Kauai, I am overwhelmed by my gratitude and contentment to be exactly where I AM, how I AM and who I AM.    I’ve been home for 3 weeks now after a long 6 months of being more gone than home, (physically and mentally) and I finally feel like I’m here—now. 

This feeling of pure presence is weighty and light all at once.  It’s comforting and familiar and foreign all at the same time.  I realize sitting here how much I’ve lived this presence and neglected allowing it over these last months.

Like so many of us, life kept happening at a break-neck pace and while I showed up, not all of my engagement was conscious or intentional.  Not all of my engagement was reflective of the woman I think/say I am or of the woman I am becoming.  Interesting, because I am becoming said woman in part because of my awareness of this lack of intention and presence. 

I was blessed and fortunate to be with my parents on the east coast for much of my mother’s dying process and to be her caretaker the last few weeks of her life.  Her process kept me focused on her and my birth family and the ever present needs of what was happening there.  I can see, now, how I neglected my Kauai life, family and friends, my work, goals, health and well-being. 

Today is my favorite day because of this feeling and this allowing of me to just sit—to simply be and to enjoy the sound of the rain and feel the contentment, grounding and peace of being here, now. 

The awareness and ability, in action, which I trust to more deeply cultivate is pure presence to whatever is happening in the moment, without gauging its presumed level of importance compared to other concurrent events.

So, may today be YOUR favorite day and if today happens to become tomorrow—may it be our favorite day, too!!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,  Kim

10 traits for Deep Listening! Truly Listening vs.Hearing

Huh?

Huh?

Listening Despite Differences
Listening Despite Differences

Most of us can hear.  Hearing is an involuntary act.   But how many of us truly engage in listening to another?  Listening means we have to actually take in the auditory information that the other is parleying and then interpret that information.  Best case scenario, the listener receives the information in the way that the speaker intends for it to be heard.

Unfortunately, this is where most communication breaks down as there is no Universal Meaning to anything.  It is here where most of us, as listeners, will interpret the incoming information through the filter of our experiences and assign meaning to it.  Then we make the assumption that the meaning we’ve given is agreed upon rather than seeking clarity about the speakers intended meaning.

We’ve all done it, so we all know the type of person who assumes they know what’s coming next.  They’re the sentence finishers—the interrupters—the conversation dominators.  The assumers are the ones who are formulating what they want to say while you’re still conveying your information. 

When this happens, it simply means that the listener has stopped truly listening.  The trouble with this is that there is a basic human need to feel heard, seen and understood. 

So, how can we listen as an ACT OF SERVICE to meet another’s basic need? 

Active, deep heart-centered listening is an art form that must be cultivated.  We hear roughly 4x faster than we speak so listening must be patient, focused, present and attentive—on purpose.  The best listeners reflect back what they’ve heard for clarification.   This guarantees that they will not make assumptions.  It is common courtesy to listen attentively; it builds your empathy muscles and cultivates compassion for others.  It shows that you are committed to more than yourself—your story—and you being heard. 

10 Traits for Deep Listening!

1.      Keep the conversation on what the speaker is saying not on your response.

2.      Let others speak.  Don’t dominate conversations.

3.      Don’t finish sentences for others.

4.      Cultivate a deep desire to understand and experience what the speaker is conveying rather than assuming it is the same as your similar experience.

5.      Provide feedback so the speaker knows you’re engaged, but do not interrupt with your stories, opinion or preferences.  Smile and make eye contact.

6.      Do not offer unsolicited advice or try to solution find unless you are specifically asked!

7.      Intentionally enter conversations with no agenda of seeking their agreement or to change them, their mind or their perceptions.

8.      Give up assuming you know what anything means!

9.      Reflect what you’ve heard.  Ask questions clarifying not only what the speaker has said, but how it felt for them, what they think/feel now, and how it’s changed them if they’re relating a story.

10.  Be very present.  Square your shoulders/heart to the speaker and listen with not only your ears, but your heart—your entire body.  Listen as an act of service!

Remember, feeling heard is a basic human need.  Truly, deeply listening to another is an act of kindness that uplifts the speaker, forges a deep connection between speaker and listener, one of unity that allows us to focus on our commonalities rather than our differences.  Active, heart-centered listening creates space for differences to exist without judgment.

Joyfully and with warmest aloha from Kauai,

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