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

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!

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

Procrastination

Waiting to Transform

Procrastination is not an option!

As I sit to write my first blog post in over 2 months, it occurred to me that procrastination might be the perfect topic!  I’ve been INTENDING to post a blog for several weeks, but we all know where that paved road leads. 

Marianne Williamson in “THE SHADOW EFFECT” says that we give intention much more weight and credit than it deserves, and that intention isn’t enough when a change in behavior is warranted.  (www.marrianne.com )

This realization—which I seem to experience over and over—is a tad embarrassing as this is a huge part of the daily work I do with others.  In looking at where I need to make a behavioral change in this arena, I realize that it’s the same, tired old excuse that has been played out in so many areas of my life, and that is putting others and their agenda as a priority over my own or what’s in my own best interest.  For me, this seems to be an easy cop-out, and a fall-back M.O. that I comfortably allow. 

The trouble with realizations like this, of course, is that once it’s made, it will occur over and over as a call from our higher-self to create necessary change.   We show ourselves and others what we are committed to through our actions. 

So- I heed the call from my higher-self to show, through my actions exactly what I am committed to.  Procrastination loses today, and intention with behavioral change wins- beginning with today’s blog post!

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