Breaking The Strong Grip Of Loss And Fear In Love

August 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

At some point in our lives we become aware of some inevitable big themes; loss and death.  Even the lucky ones, who will only experience the loss of others from old age, will have to come face to face with grief.

I don’t want to talk about the pain loss causes but do want to talk about fear.

Once we have experienced our first life changing loss, how do we continue to live life with courage and commitment, fully knowing that more loss will take place including that of our own selves?

Read more

Share

Life Sometimes Can Be Truly Strange

June 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

I received an animation file from a director I’m working with and after playing it on my computer another file came up that I clicked to play.  It was of my late husband in a trip he had taken to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  He was by beach being taught how to prepare a Caipirinha (our national drink).  I saw his face, I heard his voice and I again wondered “what happened?”

Most of us go on after losing someone who was very close and who we loved very much.   We make new friends, have new experiences, and maybe even fall in love again, but the space within us that a picture, or a recording can bring us back to, I believe never gets filled up with something else.

We are a thinking species and we want to understand life.  We write books, we research, we dialogue, but certain questions continue to go answered.   Death? Soul? Spirit? Consciousness?  Religion and science try to come up with explanations but so far nothing has really quenched our thirst for an absolute certainty.

Read more

Share

Getting On With Life After A Partner Dies

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

lov1fetA friend of mine sent me a NY Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/health/15brod.html?scp=1&sq=Jane%20E.%20Brody%20Personal%20Health&st=cse) “Getting on With Life After a Partner Dies” written by Jane Brody.

The article describes how she and other widows and widowers have coped with the loss of a partner by filling up their days and trying to turn their loss into something positive.  She goes on to site examples of different people whose energy and attention turned to concrete accomplishments after the loss.  She writes experts call this phenomenon “psychological resilience”.

Read more

Share

Love And Relationships

May 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

heart on the beach

heart on the beach

I had dinner with my sister in law last night and we talked about relationships.  She said she’s been watching a number of documentaries and the question that was being discussed in them was, are humans really meant to be monogamous.

I told her I didn’t know the answer to that but what I did know is that in relationships you are always making choices and decisions.

I talked about Chris.  When I got together with him I knew we would be together until one of us died.  I didn’t know it was going to happen so fast. Both Chris and I had had enough relationships to know we had something special.  Does that mean in the years we were together he didn’t feel attracted to another woman?

Read more

Share

“A Buddhist Perspective on Grieving”

May 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

The below is an excerpt from a book by Roshi Joan Halifax.  It is one of the most insightful and delicate pieces on death and dying I’ve ever read.  So I wanted to share with you.

—————————————

by Roshi Joan Halifax

The ultimate relationship we can have is with someone who is dying. Here we are often brought to grief, whether we know it or not. Grief can seem like an unbearable experience. But for those of us who have entered the broken world of loss and sorrow, we realize that in the fractured landscape of grief we can find the pieces of our life that we ourselves have forgotten.

Grief may push us into the hard question of Why? Why do I have to suffer like this? Why can’t I get over it? Why did this one have to die? Why… . In the tangled web of “Why,” we cannot find the reasons or words to make sense of our sadness.

Dying people also can grieve before they die. They can grieve in anticipation of their death for all they will seem to lose and what they have lost by being ill. Caregivers will grieve before those they care for have died. They are often saddened by the loss of freedom and options of those that are ill and the knowledge that death will rob them of one more relationship. Those that have been left behind by the dying are often broken apart by the knowledge that they cannot bring back that which has been lost. The irrevocability of it all often leaves them helpless and sad. And then there is the taste of grief in Western culture which is conditioned to possess and not let go.

We all face loss, and perhaps can accept it as a gift, albeit for most us, a terrible one. Maybe we can let loss work us. To deny grief is to rob ourselves of the heavy stones that will eventually be the ballast for the two great accumulations of wisdom and compassion. Grief is often not addressed in contemporary Buddhism. Perhaps it is looked on as a weakness of character or as a failure of practice. But from the point of view of this practitioner, it is a vital part of our very human life, an experience that can open compassion, and an important phase of maturation, giving our lives and practice depth and humility.

To begin, it is important for us to remember that the experience of being with dying for many does not stop at the moment of death. As a caregiver of a dying person or family member who has been at the death of a relative, we may attend the body after death and offer our presence to the community as they and we grieve. When the details of dying and death are settled, then what arises from the depths of the human heart is the many expressions of sorrow when the presence of loss is finally give the room to be seen and felt.

Sometimes grieving lasts not for weeks or months but for years. Frequently the reason why grief is not resolved is that it has not been sufficiently attended to just after the loss of a loved one. Family and friends of the deceased can become consumed by the busyness of the business that happens right after someone dies.

This is one of the great problems that we face in the Western way of dying, that business is so much a part of the experience of dying and death. Survivors often face a complex situation on the material level in the after-death phase. They find themselves looking for a funeral home, letting friends and family know that a death has happened, and creating a funeral service. Unraveling health insurance, taxes, and the last will and testament also take time and energy at this stage. Later there is cleaning up, dividing and giving away the deceased’s property, and other seemingly endless chores of closure. Resorting to the business of death can be a way for survivors to avoid the depth of their own loss.

Like dying, grieving has its phases, and it is important to pass through them.
Similar to the phases of dying, grief can be characterized by numbness and denial, anger, great sorrow, depression, despair and confusion. Finally, there can be acceptance and even transcendence as sorrow has opened the door of appreciation and compassion. These phases are similar to those experienced in a rite of passage: separation, transition, return.

Grief can also arise as a person is dying. Family and friends as well as the one who is dying can experience what is called “anticipatory grief,” the bones of loss already showing. Working with that grief is an important part of what one can do in the care of the dying. In fact, most caregivers have to cross and recross this territory of grief in being with living and dying many times in the course of just one person dying…Continued

Share

Just One Day Without Expectations

April 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

When my husband passed away I felt myself withdrawn from normal everyday conversations. My life felt like anything but normal. His last year on this earth had been filled with doctors and hospitals. Our world had been switched to living on hospital time. Time stood still. My entire focus had been taking care of my husband, anticipating his every need. It was like living in a bubble with one topic of conversation; mortality.

Accepting that no matter how much you try to live a healthy lifestyle, it may not be enough. Accepting that some chapters in our life end no matter how much we fight to keep them open. Paralyzing fear challenges our faith. Confidence can get replaced by insecurity.

To search for meaning while fighting the emotions that you don’t fit in anymore are mentally and physically exhausting. Continually faced with new situations, where and how do we find the courage to stand strong? It seems that one minute we are full of confidence. Then in the blink of an eye, insecurity overcomes your person. Thoughts go flat line. Words escape you. Why?

As an educator and mentor I advocate being kind to yourself. To self reflect asking “Did you do the best you could?” when goals fall short. That’s truly all we can ask of ourselves. A basic principle. Why am I having such difficulty in applying that to me?

Can you make it through a day without expectations of the day, of people, of yourself, of life? twitter @ zen_habits (Leo Babauta)

Share

Embrace All Parts Of Life – Video Blog 7

April 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Share

Sometimes It Takes Commitment

April 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

love-sick1My husband died five years after we met, but I think if he were alive we would have stayed together until we both looked like old prunes.

The reason I say this, is because Chris and I truly loved each other and were each, were each other’ best friend and most importantly made a commitment to invest in our relationship and to trust each other.

We both had been married before and knew how lucky we were to have found each other for a second chance.  We were aware that in the course of our lives we would meet other people and that sometimes we would get tired or upset at each other.  We knew that before committing to a relationship, so when we did, we knew we were going to deal with things as they came up and would always remember the love and friendship that had brought us together in the first place.

So although Chris is no longer here, in the five years we had together we got to experience an entire lifetime.  We also stuck together through it all.

There is nothing like truly sharing your heart and trust with someone else.  It changes you in many ways.  And if, like in my case, the relationship comes to an abrupt end, the love doesn’t;  it lives on.

Share

Making Friends With Aging And Dying

April 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose

Yesterday, I was talking to my dad on the phone about my upcoming visit to Brazil.  We discussed all the things we were planning in doing together and right before I said goodbye my dad said: “I so look forward to seeing you.  I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to see you.”  I felt sad about his remark because it is true.  My dad is 86 years old and we are coming to the end of our path together.

After we hung up the phone I thought about death and aging.  I’m not a morbid person at all but after losing my husband, I’ve become more acquainted with what it actually means to see someone die and to be the one left behind.

Death and aging are part of life and both happen to us every second, or whatever tiniest measure of time there is.  Not being aware of their power is like standing on the shore watching a tsunami approach and doing nothing.

I’m not advocating thinking about aging all the time.  But I’m suggesting being aware of time and not putting all of our eggs in the basket of youth and appearance.  I’m suggesting creating a basket for wisdom, understanding and growth.

I’m also not advocating thinking about dying all the time.  But I’m suggesting being aware of the preciousness of life by relating to others, doing what’s important and not squandering our energy in things that truly don’t matter.

As hard as it may seem, being aware of aging and dying has the power to enrich the life we have today.

Share

Believing In Miracles

April 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

There are days when I’m reminded of a moment in time that I’d not thought of for a long time. My heart smiles. My soul dances. My tears fall. I am trying so hard to stand strong and trust. The path that leads you to a place where your prayers and dreams come true is there, trust and believe in miracles…

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone;

wear no false air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play… smile… think of me… pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

… I am but waiting for you, for an interval,

somewhere very near just around the corner.

All is well.

Canon Henry Scott Holland, English Clergyman and Theologian

[1847-1918]

Share

« Previous PageNext Page »