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.

Unsolicited Advice in the Social Media Age and Just Because ya Can, Doesn’t Mean ya Should!

I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough….!

AL FRANKEN, Oh, the Things I Know!

My parents are of an age and from a region where the axioms of, “don’t speak unless you’re spoken to”, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything”, and “never talk about money or who you vote for” were unquestioned codes of conduct”.   These are the kinds of beliefs that have formed a large part of my personality regardless of my percentage of adherence to them!

These implanted concepts as well as many of my life experiences have brought me time and again to the belief that unless profoundly and intuitively inspired to do otherwise, you NEVER offer unsolicited advice.  To do so is really just butting in, asserting one’s own opinion and singular take on a subject or situation that most times doesn’t involve the advisor.  Giving unsolicited advice is more often than not, an opportunity for said giver to feel important or superior or to interject their personal agenda.  While not pretty—I admit to all of the above!

I am someone who makes a living giving people advice. I am solicited and paid for my knowledge, abilities and skill sets.  While most of my work centers on leading others into their own power, passions and purpose so they no longer need look outside themselves for advice, approval or validation, initially, I give a lot of input.   I obviously like being in this position of advisor!

 

Influence or Interference?

INFULENCE OR INTERFERENCE?  

When you speak to others for their good, it’s influence. When others speak to you for your good it’s interference!   CROFT M. PENTZ

Social media has made it hard for people like me (those who like asserting their opinion!) to draw the line between unsolicited and solicited advice. This evokes the age old query of, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”!

I participate in social media via Face Book and LinkedIn.  I am a minimalist with my postings and certainly refrain from subjecting others to the mundane details of what I ate for breakfast, how bored I am or the depth and level of profanity I’m capable of!  When I see these types of postings on my newsfeed  I REALLY want to “ADVISE”…… 

3 WISE MONKEYS

 With tool bars under every post offering the options to LIKE+ COMMENT+ SHARE, it seems I am being solicited, almost begged to comment.  In so many instances, especially with the young people in my network, that is exactly what I would LOVE to do!  But I don’t.  I don’t’ because,  “If you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all”!  AND—I know that if I do offer my comment and offend, it may be the last with that person!  The potential consequences when weighed against my moment of “comment self-gratification” simply aren’t worth it.  (There are many spiritual reasons for not commenting as well,but that’s another post!)

While I truly enjoy the connection and visibility social media offers, I am eternally grateful that the misdeeds, thoughts and embarrassing growth of my youth are not immortalized forever on the Internet!  This thought alone keeps me from “commenting”!

What do you think?  In reference to Social Media, is to comment considered Solicited or Unsolicited advice?  Has social media become a tool for unrestricted self-expression or one for heartfelt interaction?

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim

4th Annual Kauai Marathon, Sore Legs and lots of Aloha!

www.thekauaimarathon.com/   

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76Tp1p5I5gk

Kauai is a small island by most standards.  We have roughly 67,000 full time residents, a speed limit that tops out at 50mph, upwards of a dozen one lane bridges and most roads are one lane each direction.  I’m not complaining—I love it.  There are certainly some drawbacks to small island living, but there are most definitely more perks.      

Into the Tree Tunnel

                                                  

 Today was the 4th Annual Kauai Marathon, and it’s the most amazing event to participate in.  The organizers do a spectacular job, but it’s the volunteers and general public who make it the most fun and unique event I’ve experienced anywhere.

The race begins with flaming Tiki torches and Conch blowers in the predawn tropical light.  At the start of the race there is no hint of the potential fatigue that climbing and descending the hills ahead might bring.

Excited On-Lookers

The course for both the ½ and full marathons runs through varying terrain and elevation changes, from ocean front, pasture land and forest to neighborhoods.  People come out en mass to cheer on the runners.  Families, couples and singles with their dogs set up tents on the side of the road to joyfully offer encouragement.   Homemade signs are displayed with advice like, “FASTER” and “You can do it” on cardboard while on-lookers ring cow bells, shake noise makers and wave big foam fingers.  Some kind people even set up their own drink stands between the official race-aid stations—because they can!

Hula Dancers in Koloa!

Hula Halaus bring out their dancers to hula on the side of the course and at aid stations.  Musicians set up their own generators to power amplifiers and play slack key guitar and sing, and kids and adults alike gather along the way playing ukulele.  Even the local group “Taiko Kauai” sets up camp at the bottom of a valley to drum the runners past the 10 mile marker.  The deep resonate sound of the synchronized drums calling you forward and sending you on somehow makes you feel lighter.                                                                                                                       

Taiko Kauai

This is the Kauai I love.  Where people simply show up for each other!  My deep appreciation and heart-felt gratitude go out to everyone who showed up today to make my race perfect—even though I didn’t win!  Much Mahalo!!!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,  Kim

Last of the hills!

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

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

Fill the cup—Add Toppings, Weigh and Pay

Screw in Tire=agenda changer!

Screw in Tire=agenda changer!

Delicious Metaphor for life or instructions at the frozen yogurt store?

Sunday afternoon, having picked up a screw in one tire, we found ourselves in the food court at the Lihue Mall on Kauai waiting for Sears to call us when the repair was complete.  My husband was standing by the door of the Frozen Yogurt eatery reading the instructions for self-serve enjoyment of said yogurt;

 Fill the cup with Yogurt.  Add Toppings.  Weigh and pay. 

 We immediately launched into the “what if” game deciding that the only time to buy yogurt is if the line to pay is long so you can eat half of it before weighing, or maybe they should weigh the patrons upon entry to the store and again at the cash register –like they do your truck at the dump! 

We had a good laugh, making up scenarios featuring yogurt, sneaky patrons and potential topping “Cams” to thwart sneaky patrons and then went about our business of running errands, shopping and coffee. 

Home again with 4 good tires and a sense of accomplishment, it occurred to me how our outing together was much like the yogurt instructions.  We were faced with the unexpected—screw in tire; we filled our cup—made the responsible choice to take care of our stuff.  Add Toppings—we made the best of the unexpected diversion and had fun, shopped, assisted the local economy with our consumer dollars, laughed, enjoyed the day and each other.  Weigh—we had gratitude for finding the screw before things went horribly wrong or became horribly inconvenient and uplifted each other by offering no resistance to the situation we found ourselves having to handle.  Pay—we made the best of the day and the day gave us the best!  Or we paid for the tire at Sears—it’s all good! 

While life may be more “screws in tires” some days, it’s more “sprinkle toppings” on others!  It’s certainly nice when the day just “is” and flows with grace in spite of getting “screwed”!

Toppings on Yogurt!!!!

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,

Kim

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