Tag Archives: hope

Life Goes On

fullsizerender-28It’s been nine months since Gary died and as I woke up early yesterday to get ready for the Women’s March in Los Angeles, I thought about how much has changed in these nine months. The 21st day of each month is a reminder that life can change in a moment, with a phone call in the middle of the night, with a doctor’s diagnosis, when a loved one is suddenly gone. Life can change in a day, with the unexpected results of an election, with the division of friends or family, with the looming uncertainty of the future.

Life goes on for me in a much different way than I could have ever imagined just over nine months ago. I’ve learned to live alone and when asked yesterday if I have plans for today I am reminded by my daughters that my tasks for today of doing laundry, writing progress reports, preparing for the upcoming week ahead and if the rain lets up, having coffee with a friend constitute “plans.” I had always thought plans were plans with others, with Gary or with friends, but now plans with myself are the new normal.

Life goes on in our country too, but in a much different way than I ever imagined it would be nine months ago when we were filled with excitement and enthusiasm about the possibility of the first woman president, with the hope for a different future for my daughters and future granddaughter. The realities of today are fearful monitoring of the news, trying to figure out what is real, and slightly terrified that some of what I hear could actually be real. Nine months ago hope was an electrifying force, today we have to muster up our own hope and courage to embody the change we want to see, that we need to see, that our country needs to survive.

Life goes on for me, with small changes at a slow pace. Learning to cook healthy food for myself instead of making do with a frozen waffle for dinner. Learning to go to sleep and to wake up alone and learning to live in the present instead of planning and hoping for a future. The future is an unknown commodity. My friend said to look for one bit of happiness each day and to gather those as flowers in a vase. My sister gave me a “happiness jar” to fill with little notes written when something good happened so I can reflect back at the end of the year, but I remember when the days had more than one happy moment and I didn’t have to keep count because I knew that more would come the next day.

Life goes on for our country because we, the people, are our country. We gathered together yesterday by the hundreds of thousands, in Los Angeles, the count at 750,000. We stood in massive crowds, peacefully, smiling at each other and chanting together, holding amazing signs with heartfelt messages. We walked through crowded downtown streets, on a sunny day, a break between rainstorms, warmed by comradery and basking in hope. We took a break from feeling alone, from watching depressing news, and made our own news, together.

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      photo credit Nicole Weisberg

Life goes on for me, for my daughters and my family. We made it through the holidays and move towards the last few landmarks to come before reaching the year anniversary. We find some moments of togetherness, some happiness and are adapting to this different life. New things now seem important, the new responsibility of maintaining the rights that were not in jeopardy nine months ago. We have created some new habits, checking in on each other more often, letting each other know we are home safely at night and saying goodnight. It’s good to have a close connection and to feel cared about in a world that can feel isolating.

Life goes on for our country and today as storms pound through Los Angeles, I smile thinking about yesterday, when we were smiled upon by the first sunny day in a week as we marched. The weather paused and gave us hope on a hopeful day. Today everything is washed clean and I hope our momentum continues and elevates. Today we must continue our search for truth in the midst of “alternative facts,” for hope on the other side of this despair and for unity to emerge through the tactics of divisiveness. The Women’s March gave evidence that we are not divided by religion, race, gender or politics but united in our belief that our desire for democracy, for a free country and for love to win as the power to heal us.

Life goes on for me as I crave real talk, the kind of talk that is deep below the surface. Through the connection to others, to those caring people in my life, I have avenues for my raw feelings, my bubbling emotions and worries. For those brave enough to jump in the deep waters of connection, I am grateful. A friend said that these nine months are beginning to be enough time to give birth to a new and active movement within me. Just as with bringing my daughters into this world, nine months seemed to fly by, but nine months also seems like forever.

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Filed under change, death, Election, Family, Life thoughts

Getting Through

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2016 was a year of getting through things.

Radiation, surgery, death, a memorial and the scattering of ashes

It was a year of new financial responsibilities and for letting go of things.

It was a year filled with loneliness.

 

There has been the first anniversary, birthdays and holidays without Gary.

2016 was a year of disappointments and lost elections, the loss of hopes and fear for the future. This was a year when so many left the planet.

2016 was a year of new things, new babies, weddings, new experiences, new responsibilities, and new goals.

This was a year that started with hope and ended with uncertainty, with many people afraid to look forward.

We must move forward, so for 2017, I will look forward to good health, success, more writing, learning to play the ukulele, growing friendships and savoring my family. I look forward to finding a landing-place, with hopes of creating a life that feels full.

In 2017 I hope for a better world that resonates with peace, with compassion, with humanity.

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Filed under change, death, Life thoughts, New Year's

Dodging Acorns

img_2689If life imitates art, then I guess it can also imitate fables like Chicken Little. My life is a lot like that lately and I find myself dodging acorns. On many days it feels like the sky is falling and I’m looking for someone to tell so that I can be reassured that it isn’t really falling, it is just life. Life with it’s suddenly appearing hurdles and inconvenient inconveniences. As my sister reminded me, there is never a good time for an inconvenience.

These minor annoyances aren’t the real acorns, the real acorns are the larger life hurdles that pop up suddenly when I realize there is yet another new situation to navigate such as negotiating a car repair, or taking the trash out every week. These things aren’t huge, but they are new to me because I always had a partner to share the responsibilities of keeping a home.

Then there are the larger acorns looming ahead, things I will encounter soon, negotiating a car deal, going through every item in my house in an effort to “downsize,” finding a home, packing everything in my home and moving. I thought many of these decisions would be things Gary and I would be deciding together, like where we would go on our next vacation, but in this new life, the one where I am alone, it’s a new, unfamiliar game.

I try to remember to take one day at a time, or sometimes an hour at a time. I navigate running into well-meaning friends and acquaintances that hug me and ask how I am doing when my only answer is a slight smile and tear-filled eyes. I get through each day, but I don’t see a future yet. I get through each day but the days without plans are hard. I get through each day, but I don’t have a lot to look forward to at this point. I’m working on those positive affirmations. I’m making lists.

Things I am grateful for:

A comfortable place to live

Food to eat

My friends and family

A rewarding job

My health.

 

Things I am learning:

To change heater filters

To add washer fluid to my car

To handle car repairs and maintenance

To make a fire and enjoy it alone

To eat dinner alone

 

Things I want:

A home.

A life with purpose.

A life filled with friends and family.

A clear sky, or at least one with very little chance of acorns.

 

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Filed under change, death, hurdles, Life thoughts

Looking Beyond

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Sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the moment.

Everyone says, “Take it one day at a time.”

Everyone says, “It’s only been six months.”

Everyone says, “You don’t have to make any changes right away.”

 

Sometimes it’s hard to see the future.

I wonder what it will look like.

I wonder what home will look like.

I wonder if I will always feel this lonely.

 

Sometimes it’s tiring creating a new life.

Thinking of ways to fill time.

Thinking of ways to stay active.

Thinking of what to eat for dinner.

 

Sometimes it is easy to imagine possibilities.

The possibility of home of my own filled with the things and memories I love.

The possibility of a new routine of exercise and healthy, home-cooked meals.

The possibility of sharing time with others and having fun.

 

Sometimes the clouds hover above creating a ceiling.

I look up and I can see the fluff overhead.

I look up and can see a break in the clouds.

I look up and know that through the crack, a mysterious future awaits me.

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Filed under change, Life thoughts

One Dove

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There he is again, the mourning dove, sitting on the wire outside my window alone, looking in while I work at my desk, as he does just about every morning. You know the sound of the mourning dove, the sad cooing as he calls for his mate. Mourning doves coo and preen each other, hunt seeds on the ground, the female dove builds a nest of pine needles; they are most always seen together.

This dove gives me comfort when he visits each morning, as if he is looking out for me, or checking in on me and I feel like Gary is visiting. These thoughts seem illogical and I feel a little silly as I go out on the balcony to get a closer look, say hello and ask Gary how he is, if he is OK, wishing for a sure sign, so I will know he is alright. I know some would think I am crazy but I don’t know how to shake this feeling that I should be able to communicate with the dove somehow.

I coax myself to sleep with wishes for peace. I wish Gary peace and hope he is finding it somewhere that’s now out of my sight, somewhere I don’t know, a place I am not completely sure exists. I wish him peace from illness, his spirit free from his ailing body. I wish him peace from the struggles of life, the days filled with work. I hope he has reunited with those he loved who went before him and that his spirit is surrounded with music. I wish myself peace and an easy sleep, through the night. I wish for the ability to let some things go, to savor good memories and to forgive those that are painful memories. I wish for a release from the almost constant anxiety I feel and for a place to feel peaceful with the ability to see a future.

The dove waits for me to step outside. I glance up, breathe slowly and make a connection. As he flies off, his wings whine and my heart sinks. Departures are always difficult.

 

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Filed under change, death, Life thoughts

Looking for What I Want

IMG_2108Two years ago I read the book E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality by Pam Grout. I became enthusiastic about conducting the experiments and convinced Gary to join me. I remember the first experiment we tried was to look for a specific color (we choose green), as we went about our day we noticed so many green things, beyond the obvious trees, shrubs and other green in nature, we saw green cars, houses, people’s clothing, street signs and traffic lights. Once we had planted the idea of “green” in our minds it seemed that everything was green. It was a fun game to play and we could substitute other colors, or objects, such as butterflies.

I’ve thought about this a lot since Gary died and I have noticed certain things, considered spiritual signs such as seeing the time on a clock, 11:11 and especially seeing birds.

I live in the hills so seeing birds is not unusual, but what is unusual is the sheer quantity and variety of birds sitting on the telephone wires outside my windows. There are woodpeckers, blue jays, robins, sparrows, finches, hawks, owls, hummingbirds and especially the lone mourning dove that visits daily. Some days I wake up and there is a little bird on the wire looking at me, or I notice a bird sitting on the wire looking in as I walk by the window. The funny thing is that I am compelled to stop what I am doing and go out on the balcony to make “eye contact” with the birds. I feel Gary’s presence.

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Two weeks ago, as I was driving, a blue Honda Pilot pulled up next to me. We had a blue Honda Pilot many years back. It was my favorite car and one I drove for quite a while during one of the happiest periods of my life, of our lives together. It was a time when my daughters were at home, my mom lived with us and we needed a car to seat six so that when we went places together as a family, we could all ride together. I loved that Honda Pilot. Eventually we had to replace it but it remains my favorite car. When the blue Honda Pilot pulled up next to me, I felt Gary’s presence, as if he was riding along with me for just a minute. Now I see Honda Pilots everywhere. Driving up to Monterey two weeks ago they were on the road and this morning as I ran errands between 10:00 and 12:00, I saw 5 Honda Pilots within a 2-mile radius.

Does this mean Gary is watching over me, or trying to communicate through birds and cars? I don’t know, though I feel that he is somehow close. I ask him for signs that he is still near and I ask him to help me move forward, make good choices and be strong enough to deal with this new way of living.

I think the message is “look for what you want to see.” We can travel through life thinking that life is random, and it certainly has random moments and crazy, sucky, horrible things that happen, but we can also start looking for opportunities, opportunities to see beauty, to see people who are kind and leaders who care about creating a positive, hopeful world. We can look for friends who genuinely care about us and for family that wants to stay connected, close and to support each other. We look for what we want to see, and maybe, if we are lucky, we will see our thoughts materialize.

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Filed under change, death, Life thoughts, opportunities

Back on the Mat

 

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This was the week. My Hay House calendar for Tuesday said “Today is the beginning of a positive turning point for me.” I decided to take that seriously and get up and go out into the world of my former life. I went for a 2 mile walk and felt pretty accomplished, a little out of shape, but happier. I considered it a meditation walk, contemplating the houses, trees, birds, dogs out for their morning walks and listening to the sounds in the neighborhood and in my head.

Wednesday I decided to take the big step and return to yoga. I haven’t been since early March, unable to face the introspection and solitude on my yoga mat, but my body craved the stretch, the familiar asanas and the quiet reward of the savasana at the end of class. I walked into the studio and was asked if I had cancelled my membership. No, I’ve just been gone for a while. I’ve had some stuff going on. I have seen the payment going out of my account each month. No problem. Walking into the room I run into a teacher I know who is a member of my community. She knows everything and gives me a hug and encouragement, “It will be good, just what you need, really.” I hope so.

Laying out my mat, I assemble the familiar props, foam blocks, blankets and a strap; I lay down, breathing in the calm. The teacher is smiling and positive, speaking slowly and demonstrating every new posture and walking around the room helping to make small adjustments. The bamboo floor is smooth and lovely, the blue walls are tranquil and the view out the windows is of children playing on a leafy climbing structure. I breathe, arms circling up and folding forward, then fingertips to shins stretching out and folding down again. Stepping back into plank, the most difficult for me, I breathe into the rigidity of the pose and then down, chaturanga dandasana, pushing slightly up to a low cobra and elevating into downward facing dog. Stepping forward on my mat, arms circling, reaching up, I look up at my hands and then bring them to my heart center. There is nowhere else to look, except in my heart.

Today I went to yoga, the second day back was not as dramatic, no questions, just smiles and hellos by name. I settled in and welcomed the calm, the warmth of the room and the returning familiarity of sun salutations. Today we work on balance. Triangle pose and preparation for half-moon, standing on one leg, lifting the other straight out and up using the foam block for support. I need practice on balancing, my leg wobbles and I am glad for the support of the block but it still doesn’t guarantee an easy balance. It still takes work, repositioning and focusing on the breathing through it all.

 

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Filed under Life thoughts, Walking, yoga