mining gold in hell

December 31, 2010

Finding purpose, finding meaning in my loss has been my lifeline. It is the only thing that has kept me going and organized me up from being a puddle of pain lying at the bottom of the abyss and into a functioning, spirited, driven, human being. I urge you to find your own meaning and purpose in your loss and begin to tell a new story, over and over again, about your life and the reasons you’ve had to endure what you are experiencing. There is a real purpose for your being here at this time, this place. Your heartache, your loss, your grief, your pain is molding you into a new version of yourself. Whether you feel it or not. Try to uncover the gold, your gifts and strengths that have been hiding in the shadows for so long. You are so close to them now. What are they? How can you use them? What can you do with them? What can you do with them to make your life a better one, an exalted version of the one you used to live?

How can you live up to the highest designs of your being? How can you use what you’re experiencing to be of service to others? How can you make the pain you are going through or have gone through worthwhile and echo out through the annals of history? You may not know the answers now, the pain might be too deep and the darkness too blinding, but keep fumbling one foot forward, one step at a time, and more will be revealed in time. I promise. Don’t let your loss be in vain.

 

 

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imbalance

October 16, 2010

I would do anything for you.

I’d give up my life to be with you.

 

You wouldn’t do the same for me.

 

2nd Year Anniversary Blues

October 11, 2010

To those of you who have survived past a second, third, or fourth anniversary of the loss of your loved one to suicide — what was it like for you? How did get through it?

This is new territory for me. I had thought that I had moved through a lot of grief, but some things are bubbling up to the surface and SOMETHING is rearing its ugly head. This time it feels different. It’s new. I’ve changed and so my way of seeing and feeling this loss has changed. I’m noticing anger and irritability at John. For the way he treated me in many respects. Bothered and almost disgusted by the way he abandoned me without consideration for our relationship or me. Resentful that he wasn’t able to appreciate me as I want to be appreciated. A lot of issues that I have/had with men in general are now being projected onto him because of his ultimate abandonment and betrayal. He shattered my trust in men. Though these feelings and thoughts are not new – they are coming up now in different ways. Lot’s of stress, chaos, and anger.

And yet, I still idealize him. I still love him. I still feel compassion and sorrow for his struggles and his life. I find myself flooded with grief and tears at the oddest moments. Having a hard time speaking about it and about him to others without tearing up. Having a hard time speaking about it to myself in my head without feeling sad and teary. So many conflicting, complicated, and complex emotions and ideas are vying to be seen and heard and are intersecting with one another in new ways. It’s hard to describe or explain, but it feels like a new perspective is molding – beyond my control.

John’s birthday was November 1st (All Saint’s Day).

He died six days later on November 7, 2008.

This is the season.

Anyone know what I’m going through or have you had any experiences with grief or acceptance around the second anniversary you would feel comfortable sharing? I’d love to hear them.

letting go….or not…..

September 28, 2010

Since I posed the question about letting go in my last blog entry, the universe has answered me in many different ways — through email messages, sets of songs on the radio, news updates on Facebook, and through John….

And the message that I am getting is that while I can let go of my past, the trauma of John’s suicide, and my grief, I can’t actually fully let go of loving John; it’s just not possible and there is no need to. I will love John forever and he is a vital part of my life and my journey here on Earth. Whew. What a relief! I was very saddened by the idea that I need to let go of him entirely in order to move forward into a new relationship.

I want to share a lovely and eloquently written email I received from a reader and friend in response to my last post. The message holds much wisdom and really rang true for me so I thought you sisters out there experiencing any kind of loss or heartbreak might appreciate it, so with her permission of course — I’m sharing it below.

The response comes from Iva out there in Croatia!

Just read your last entry…. felt compelled to reply for some reason.

Truth is, I have no answer for letting go. I get overwhelmed just trying to grasp the notion. For me personally (and I by no means am comparing the end of my love affair to your loss), letting go has not been willing through any stage of my journey of healing. It just…sort of… happens. In tiny ways and catches you off guard when you least expect it, basically when you have already given up on it ever happening and start to make peace with the fact that a part of you will always be pulling backwards.

I’ll tell you a story. Since the first day that Lee crushed me and walked away I have been waiting for the magical day that I no longer think of him in. I was not being realistic and it was my first and remains the only major break up; I expected it to be literally in a matter of weeks. Of course it wasn’t. I’d wake up in agony over having dreamed him, or having imagined he’d be in bed next to me when I awoke and the horrid reality would hit. The love I felt (and continue to feel) would constipate me at those moments, I had no release for it but the occasional light bolts of poetry or even writing him – letter upon letter which I knew I’d never send. Then close to a year later I went on a holiday with some dear friends. It was just 3 days away but I really love these girls and don’t get to see them often as one lives in England. So the second day I woke up and realized that a whole 24 hours had gone by without me giving Lee a thought. I truly marked the calender as it was the first minuscule step in my goal to let go.

To be honest Sarah, I don’t think it is consciously possible to accomplish. Not with that type of love. I’m not saying this to depress you, quite the opposite: I’m saying so to comfort you and reassure you that you’re not doing anything wrong, aren’t stuck nor going backwards. It is just something we cannot have control over (and this coming from a control freak so trust me, I know how frustrating that is). And on top of all this, letting go is not something that makes me very happy even when I DO make progress. In some ways, to me it equals forgetting. And that is NOT a good thing in my book. I need to remember, for my own selfish reasons and for the sake of my very identity which my former lover has shaped tremendously. So I fight it, at the cost of my own sanity. I reread emails, I make myself cry by still writing about him in my most intimate poetry, I look at pictures from vacations so long ago I can barely recognize who I was in those pictures.

And yet. Oblivion comes. Slowly and sneakily, it clouds first the small (yet oh so relevant) details, then bigger and more important aspects of the past. It pushes them aside more and more, as you experience and grow and love in the present. Until one day you find the thought of him only a painful jerk in your gut every once in a while. And then even that stops and you learn that maybe you have let go somewhere along the way.

Only you cannot for the life of you explain how this happened.

Thanks so much Iva!! Much love to you!!

What are your experiences, thoughts, or wisdom about letting go?

Right now I should be working on my dissertation and writing a scholarly section on the Jungian significance of Synchronicities and irrational causality in the mate selecting courtship process, but after hours of dragging through the material, I just can’t bring myself to write the write-up. It’s a magnificently gorgeous day here in Los Angeles as I sit in a glass library atop a hill overlooking the City of Angels I’m having a hard time focusing on academics.

Instead of dissertating, I’ve been recollecting about how far I’ve come in the last two years and the ways in which I’ve gotten to the place to which I’ve gotten. In my mind I’m outlining a process that I would like to eventually formalize into an integrative grieving process that guides and navigates people through the stark and hellish bereaved landscape. As is consistent with the title of the blog and my point of view, this process integrates the dark and the light: a full descent into the abyss and embodiment of the pain and the darkness while also allowing for a newfound awareness of Spirit, the other side, and the miraculous overlap between the worlds that manifests in a variety of signs, symbols, and synchronicities. It is a massive overhaul of the old way of viewing death and a doorway into a new understanding of what we consider to be death. Like I have written before, it is a healing journey of faith and of opening up to new ways of perception and a six sensory type of reality.

So allow me to start mapping my process and join me as I see what happened to me and was has helped.

Three days after John passed, I happened to have had a chiropractor appointment scheduled from weeks before. Rather than cancel, I went because I knew my body was a mess, I hadn’t eaten or slept in any real capacity. I don’t remember much except that the chiropractor said that my body was barely breathing, my chest and lungs were hardly moving, and while I had been lying face down he had even wondered if I was even alive at all. I barely was. He was helpful in reminding me to breathe, and shifted some things around to help me breathe a bit more easily.

I looked for some grief support groups…and crazily enough there was a wait list for the Suicide Survivors group. In Palo Alto there’s a fantastic organisation called Kara that deals exclusively with grief and so I had an appointment with the intake director. At the end of our session (she was very empathic and supportive) she told me that she thought what I was struggling with was of course my own grief and loss but also issue relating to my own mortality and she thought that I would perhaps be best helped by working one on one with a therapist and she recommended some names.

Over the course of 9 months I worked with two different therapist. One was a transpersonally oriented one and we utilized modalities such as Authentic Movement, Art Therapy, and gestalt work in addition to the usual talk therapy. I really loved the Authentic Movement (but I’m partial to movement) She also held a lot of space for me to just cry. I think she was excellent and if anyone in the Silicon Valley area would like her name, feel free to contact me through this site.

The second therapist was a Jungian expert specializing in symbols. I saw her on an occasional basis and we mostly worked on understanding my dreams. During the first 6 months after John passed, I had a very active dream life, a lot of dreams about John, and a lot of dreams about New York City. I kept a dream journal and recorded them every day. I could tell that something major was happening in my dream life and in my unconscious and I wanted to learn the language my dreams were speaking and also have a trusty translator. It really was like starting to learn a new language. I’d be happy to pass along this therapist’s contact info as well, so just email me.

In addition to keeping a dream journal I also kept two other journals: one for the regular journaling I did every night, and the other was to log all of the signs and synchronicities and messages I was receiving from John on the other side. I felt I had to write them down so I didn’t lose them or forget them, especially for the years to come. Writing has been enormously therapeutic and eight months after John’s passing I started writing my book.

In the first few months I went to acupuncture because my energy levels were so low. This was helpful.

I saw a spiritual guide on a few occasions, but eventually he wasn’t helpful because it was obvious he just didn’t get what my pain or grief was like. He encouraged me to really “surrender” and know that the pain I was feeling was God feeling separate from himself and me and that my missing John was just the separation I was feeling from God, and that in the depths of my pain I should be aware of this and when I truly became aware of this truth then I would “wake up” and no longer feel separation and despair. I’m rolling my eyes as I write this. There may be some kernels of truth in certain things about what he was saying but this was just b.s to me and minimized my loss and my excruciating pain. I then stopped seeing him.

The other practitioners I saw included a shaman- Liv – whose website I listed on the Healing Resources Page. She was powerfully helpful. She channeled John and communicated with my ancestors and others on the other side and we were able to make some sense out of what was going on. She was very instrumental in helping me learn and grow through the grief. She also opened up a doorway into a magical way of being in the world that is not just airy fairy and “delusional” side effects of grieving but rather rooted and grounded in the ancient, indigenous, shamanistic cultural heritage that is intrinsically more connected to nature and has a more interconnected relationship to the realm of Spirit. I learned these new ways and they inspired me into cultivated a new relationship with the invisible, one that is manifest through objects, nature, and ritual. Liv also did a variety of healing practices on me- soul retrieval – that is – scouting out lost parts of my soul that had broken off over the years since I have been born, as a result of trauma or fear. She said she found a lost soul part that had left when I was 29 – right after John passed. She also found and reintegrated other parts that had left at earlier ages. Whether you believe in this or not, all I can say was that regardless of the objective truth of what was or wasn’t happening, I certainly felt lighter and more in tact, and once again inspired by the possibility of the infinite and of miracles. Liv often had me do “homework” where she would give me an assignment or a ritual to do. For instance, she told me to take wine, chocolate, and flowers to the beach and sit and have a picnic with John and make offerings of flowers and a picture of John to the ocean. Another assignment was to gather with my friends and ask each of them to tell me how they saw me. Ack! That one was hard- terrifying and embarrassing, but ultimately well worth while for everyone who shared. Liv taught me several practices and rituals to do every morning during my daily morning practice, which I did for a while and I will surely share in the next installment of this post.

For now, I hope that those reading are garnering some ideas about how to begin a healing journey. I know some of my ways may be too out there or alternative, and I know in some cases resources may be an issue. Whatever the case, I hope you find some way of taking care of and befriending yourself. Maybe it’s just writing out dreams, or starting a daily journal. Maybe you’ll seek out a therapist (I hope you do– a good reputable one who has personal and professional experiences dealing with death and grief).

I will write about the other important things I did to pull myself up out of the abyss, as soon as I can.

Sending strength,