Dating a Double Amputee

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He will always have prosthetic legs.

That will never change.

 

He’s chosen to embrace it, he’s chosen to embrace the thing that’s made him different. He uses the story of his injury, and his positive outlook on life to inspire and motivate others. He wears shorts without giving it a second thought. It’s been seven years so he’s had time to work through any self-consciousness he’s felt. He’s made peace with himself just exactly as he is. And if you ask him, he’ll say that he wouldn’t change a thing about the accident or his injury, because it’s made him into the person he is today. And he really is amazing.

 

But I’ve had my own process to work through in dating this man, this double amputee that I’ve fallen in love with...

~Seeing him without his legs on- Everyday he takes his legs off before he goes to sleep at night, and puts them on again when he wakes up in the morning.

~Worrying about whether or not he'd fall in yoga class, and worrying about him feeling embarrassed if he did.

~Getting comfortable with the attention he receives, because everywhere he goes, people look and people ask.

~And wondering, would the kids feel embarrassed at the attention he receives, at the playground or at school?

 

The worries and the self-consciousness made me feel guilty. I felt like I was being shallow.

 

And then I wrote about it. I finally moved through the writer's block I'd been having and wrote about what had been just underneath the surface. I took my feelings out of hiding. Surely he had had his own process of embracing his legs, embracing the attention, embracing the falls, and I would have mine too. Instead of feeling ashamed of my feelings, I met them with compassion and understanding. And I was honest with him about my feelings. I spoke from the heart and I was met with love.

 

And now instead of feeling self-conscious, I feel proud, thanks to a friend’s loving advice. His legs are a symbol of all he has been through, of all he has overcome.

 

Ultimately it’s about accepting him for ALL of who he is, and isn’t that the magic ingredient for unconditional love, and isn’t that the challenge in so many relationships? Accepting the ones we love just exactly as they are? And isn’t that what we’re all here to do- support, love, and lift each other up?

 

Yes, I believe it is. And a part of the process of accepting ALL of him has come from accepting ALL of me, and meeting my real feelings with compassion and understanding, instead of judgment. 

 

Inspired, challenged, and filled with gratitude for this path that I’m on, and in love. I am in love with a man that is teaching me how to love better.

 

The Pre-Dating World

Styling and Photography:  Peter Lin Carrillo.

Styling and Photography: Peter Lin Carrillo.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling what I’ve been doing dating, but more like talking, entertaining possibilities… I was married, happily married, (don’t get me wrong, we had our share of downs too), but the point is that I liked being married, and I never chose to get unmarried, but life had different plans… So, it’s easy for me to be married, feel married, act married, even though I am so not married, and at this point just getting my feet wet, merely entertaining the ideas of what it might mean to start a new relationship.  So, needless to say, it hasn’t been the cleanest, easiest transition. In fact, I feel like I’m quite bad at the whole thing! Oh, and so easy to fall into playing the roles you used to play, and project onto others the roles played by past lovers… So, how to be present, and actually tune into whoever it is that is standing right in front of you? Be present, be compassionate with yourself and give yourself lots and lots of grace through it all. And the only reason I can say that with any sort of confidence is because that is precisely what I was not doing… So, I think so far, this particular season for me is all about loving myself even when I have imperfect deliverance with my communication, even when I am triggered by my past and freak out, even when I feel totally unlovable, even when I’m convinced I’m in love at “hello,” even when I stumble and fall along the way and make an ass out of myself… cause if I can stick around and love me long enough to help me up, dust off the dirt, give me a hug, a pep talk,  a dose of humility, and lots and lots of patience, well then, that is just a beautiful start to this whole new world of pre-dating for me. And so yesterday, my friend, photographer, and stylist, Peter Lin Carrillo took my photo. Lots of them actually, to help me with the re-branding of my business, provide photo content for my new online courses and workshop series, and little did I know, help me step into feeling beautiful again after the busyness of grieving and mothering. And so, perhaps this pre-dating world will also get easier as I step into owning who it is that I am and loving that woman, and feeling beautiful and on top of my game, as it relates to all aspects of life. Ready to own it! Wish me luck :)

Love looks a little different now...

Oh the topic of love… I have spent many months praying for the moment when I feel ready for love again… setting my intentions around letting go of my marriage, letting go of my sadness, to open to the prospect of falling in love, the head-over-heels dizzying kind. And then I reconnected with an old friend from childhood, and my gosh, it felt so good to share in the friendship, it was so comfortable, felt so safe, so much laughter and easiness, so much flow in our conversation. And then all of a sudden, my ideas about love shifted... Yes, I still wanted the head-over-heels dizzying romance part, but I also wanted the friendship, the trust, the laughter, the easiness, the fun, the playfulness, the emotional sharing and deep conversations long into the night… My husband, Mitch, and I had the head-over-heels dizzying part of love, but the friendship took much longer to cultivate, in fact we were still cultivating that part up until he died… Reconnecting with my friend from childhood helped transform the concept of love for me. Unfortunately, this friend of mine lives a five hour plane ride away, and even if it blossoms into nothing more than a rekindled friendship, I will be forever grateful for the shift in my definition of love that our relationship provided.

Helping Kids Move Through Painful Feelings

I noticed my three year old daughter, Ava, acting out her anger, her frustration, her sadness, unable to fully articulate or perhaps even understand what is was she was feeling. I first noticed this acting out as we started spending more time with her friend and her friend's family... As Ava began taking a liking to her friend's father, she began to talk about her own missing physical daddy more often, and then began to get angry with her friend. It didn't seem fair that her friend had a daddy, and she didn't (what I observed and helped her articulate)... And so my job, to take notice, to create space where she could be free to feel without fear of being “too much,” create healthy and creative outlets (art, dance, play) for her feelings, to create an open dialogue with her to help her understand her feelings without shame, and with a lot of love. The only boundary was to be kind toward others, so that even though she was processing painful feelings, she was not hurting her friends in the process. And interestingly, for the longest time, she was afraid of all darkness in her kid movies, all of the bad guys in the Disney movies became a source of anxiety, and she preferred to simply not watch at all. And I noticed as she started acting out some of her own darkness, her own painful, “scary” feelings such as anger and frustration, and as I allowed her the safe space to do so, without telling her all the time to “be nice,” and that everything was “ok” if it wasn't, I noticed her fears and tolerance for the darker aspects of the characters in movies begin to shift. Perhaps as she was beginning to understand, embrace her own darker parts, she didn't have to feel so afraid or rejecting of the darker parts in others. All of a sudden she was drawing giants (previously feared) in her chalk pictures on the patio, and she wanted to watch, “How to Train Your Dragon,” a movie I cannot imagine her having chosen in the past (and by the way, is an awesome movie!). As we begin to illuminate, shine the light onto our darkness, we will be less likely to hate them or fear them when we see them show up in others.... And we can understand ourselves, infuse compassion into our struggle, and loosen the ropes we find ourselves entangled in. And as we find healthy ways to express these, move through these, we will keep growing and expanding beyond the limitations of our former shell, and begin to allow the shedding of a skin that no longer fits...

Green-eyed-monster as teacher...

So I noticed I was starting to feel envious and irritated with my friend because her facebook posts were always expressing how joyful, successful, and beautiful she felt. After sitting with these feelings and not liking them very much, I decided to refocus on myself, to see what these feelings of envy and irritation were trying to communicate to me. It seemed everything I read that my friend wrote began illuminating my own gnawing self-doubts and challenges to feeling joyful, successful, and beautiful. This was about my own self-imposed limits, and not about her. Thankfully she was the catalyst that begged me to look deeper within myself. I could have dwelled on my irritation and envy, and come up with a whole host of justifications for feeling that way, continuing to blame her for being her, and neglecting an issue within myself that clearly needed my loving attention. And instead of using this as an excuse to feel bad about myself, by judging myself for having those feelings of envy and irritation, as we all tend to do sometimes, I used it as intel that I needed to give myself more love and more faith. I needed to embrace my own own joy, success, and beauty. We can go deeper into our darker feelings that often lurk in the shadows of our awareness to illuminate areas within ourselves that are in need of our caring attention, and let go of trying to be anyone other than ourselves.

Just say something

It's strange because as time goes on in the grieving process, I start to feel like I “shouldn't” talk about it, like, enough time has gone by, and I "should" be moving on, I don't want to burden others with my sadness, nobody wants to hold space for that kind of pain... That voice inside that we all have sometimes that keeps us separate from one another... So, I write. But it ends up making me feel sort of alienated from people when I don't talk about it, because even though the pain has lessened, it is still a process that is very much a part of my everyday reality. I feel my husband's physical absence everyday. It's been nine months. It is getting easier, I cry less now, I express my emotions as they arise and let them move through me, but why do I feel like I have to apologize for my sadness when it arises? I think it is difficult for people to hold space for the kind of sadness I have experienced. Right after my husband passed away, even good friends weren't quite sure how to approach me, worried about what to say and what not to say... I will tell you what I told them, there is no “right” thing to say to someone who is grieving the loss of their husband, just stop worrying about what the “right” thing to say is and just say something, anything. If someone asks about what happened, or asks about my husband, or asks how I'm doing, I welcome sharing, I need to share, and if I cry, don't worry, it means I needed to cry, but I don't always cry now. So, if you know someone who has experienced a loss, don't worry about saying the right thing or the wrong thing, and just say something, from the heart is always a good option, it's not like it's not on their mind anyway, trust me.

Moments to start anew

Yesterday, I nearly got carried away on waves of bitterness, resentment, and in general feeling low and very sorry for myself. It is very easy to get over-identified with one particular emotion or thought, especially if it is a very potent one. Yes, yesterday by the end of the day, my back hurt from carrying around my newborn, my toddler had two accidents on the floor (very uncharacteristic of her), it was three days into a brand new routine of my toddler returning to school, and nearly marked two weeks of adjusting to caring for the girls without the help of my family, and oh yes, without the help of my husband that passed away nine months ago. Yes, I began to completely identify with my negative feelings... And then I remembered my meditation practice. I am experimenting with a chanting mantra meditation right now, and so I did that. It reminded me that I am also experiencing many other thoughts and feelings besides those that threaten to take me down a not-so-nice rabbit hole, and that helped dilute the potency of the bitterness, resentment, and victim-mentality that was starting to build. I began moving my body into yoga stretches to ease the pain of my back and hips, I washed the dishes from dinner, and then I called a friend with whom I could vent with, cry with, and then finally laugh with. Yes right now is a challenging time in my life, but is also providing me with an opportunity to grow and evolve through it. And now today is a new day, filled to the brim with moments to start anew and see the silver lining...

Wings to fly

In my dream I jump off a high mountain peak, at first I am free falling, my stomach drops, I feel fear. And then all of a sudden I realize that I can fly... I begin to do somersaults through the air, I spread my arms wide, I float along freely and after a while, I land safely on the Earth. This feels like a visual metaphor of my life right now, I must simply spread my wings and trust I will fly, and for me spreading my wings means sending letters to editors to publish my writings, it means creating more therapeutic workshops, and it means fully embracing my life as it is right now with my two little girls knowing full and well that I will triumph above adversity and fully realize all of my dreams. Yes, we all must jump off that mountain peak, or we'll always wonder what it would have been like to feel the wind beneath our wings and step outside of our fears. My dream also reminded me that I am already being carried, even if I am afraid to fall. I'm being carried by my loving family that came in rotation to help me with the girls for the first five weeks. I'm being carried by my friends who are taking turns cooking me dinner this week while I transition into flying solo without the help of family. I am being carried by the faith that others have in me, which gives me strength to have faith in myself even when life seems a challenge. Yes, I will rise to meet the challenges that we all face during this life, and I will spread my wings and fly.

The human factor of being a parent

I was tired, feeling slightly overwhelmed, and I lost my temper with my toddler... As usual (recently), Ava was fighting me tooth and nail about getting into the shower, and finally after much coaxing, I got her into the bathroom. Since we shower together, I was already in and adjusting the water temperature, urging her to hurry up and take off her undies and rain boots (her outfit of choice that afternoon). She was sitting on the floor, fumbling with taking off her second rain boot, which I mistook as her trying to be difficult and postpone showering. So finally, I stepped halfway out of the shower, and took her remaining boot off with a yank. Well, her boot came off, but she also fell backward from her seated position and hit her head on the floor. I felt terrible; terrible she hit her head, and extra terrible because had I not lost my patience with her, I probably would have pulled her boot off more gently, thus preventing the unpleasant experience altogether... She began bawling immediately, I scooped her up in my arms, and for the next few hours felt like the most terrible mother ever. How often do we give our children time-outs, when perhaps we are the ones who may need time-outs from time to time... How often are we reacting rather than patiently and thoughtfully responding to our children... This experience reminded me to slow down, breathe, and practice loving patience with my daughter and myself as a spiritual practice, especially now as we are both adjusting to the new addition to our family, baby Amelie, who is just one week old. I was also reminded to listen more intently to, and honor both of our needs more fully. Ava was clearly feeling extra tired that evening, and probably could have forgone her shower for a little wipe down/sponge bath, and seeing as I was feeling extra tired and short-tempered, that would have been a good compromise for both of us. And when I began to feel very reactive rather than responsive, ie. Feeling frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, I could have and will try my best in the future to take a time-out for myself to breathe, release tension in my body, and go into my heart space. And realize that sometimes it's better for both parent and child to deviate from the routine a bit to cue into what is needed in the moment, which sometimes means forgoing the shower to keep the peace...

Embracing birth-days, our own and our children's

Why is it that so many of us dread our birth-days? Have anxiety about our birth-days? When in reality, we ought to be celebrating the fact that we are alive? I wonder if it has something to do with how we felt leading up to our actual births... Perhaps our mother was frightened of labor and delivery, and passed her pre-birth-day anxiety onto us in the womb? Or perhaps, our mother feared how she would care for us, and there was some feelings of apprehension about our birth-day, thus leading us to feel apprehensive, perhaps a little dreadful of our annual day of which should be a celebration of our life....?

The reason I am pondering these questions is because as Amelie is preparing to enter into this world from her nine month incubation in her watery womb, I too am preparing and becoming aware of some fears and apprehensions I have about starting this new chapter of our lives. This process of fear examination of the labor or post-labor experience was encouraged by a hypno-birthing book I have been reading, which explains that these fears cause unnecessary restriction in the uterus during labor, thus causing more pain. So, upon examination, I realize I have been fearing how different our (Ava and I's) lives will be after Amelie is born, and wondering, will it all be okay? I have been fearing my ability to raise two young daughters without their father, and there has been a part of me that has been fearing the labor process, as I am planning on birthing in the birthing house we are currently residing in, without the use of an epidural (which I used for Ava's birth). Upon becoming aware of these fears, and understanding how they could make birthing more painful, and possibly affect how Amelie feels about her Birthday every year, I decided it was time to let them go. So, that is what I have been sitting with these past few days, trusting that all will be well during the laboring and birthing process, that Ava and I will have more than enough love to give Amelie, and that I will have the energy, creativity, and  support of family and friends to help make the transition of caring for two as smooth and as beautiful as possible. So, now I encourage us all to embrace our Birthdays (if you don't already do) with gratitude for our lives, and compassion for our mothers who birthed us, with or without fear . :)

Celebrating our love

Five years ago today marks the day when Mitch and I said “I do.” We would have also been celebrating nearly ten years of being together. He used to say that we had been together for multiple lifetimes, each life, finding each other once again, loving and fighting, loving and fighting, loving and fighting. I am grateful for this lifetime we've spent together, as I can't remember the others, and we certainly did live a lifetime together, although it still doesn't quite feel like long enough... I miss him like crazy, and am blessed to have wonderful friends and family in my life that make this time without him a little less painful. So, as I sit and look out into the miles and miles of rainforest stretched out before me, I am reminded that a whole new lifetime awaits me, filled with mystery, beauty, and love. I send prayers of thanks to Mitch for the love we've shared together, and know in my heart he is here with me now softening the ache in my heart. I love you Mitch always and forever!

Walk in faith

As the due date for baby Amelie approaches, I am finding that there is still a big part of me that is like, holy shit, I am having Mitch's baby in a matter of days or weeks, and he is not here and will not be here to start this new journey with me, with us. I know he is here spiritually, I know this, but at the same time, he is not here physically at a time where I feel like I really need him. So, now is when I need to have a lot of faith in myself, and trust in all that is good to guide and support me as I enter into this new phase of my life. Two little ones, two little ones all my own, all on my own. Sometimes it's easy to slip into a mentality where I feel like a victim, a victim of fate, I know it's easy for all of us to do when things in our lives feel like they've gone terribly “wrong.” But we all know where that gets us, not too far... I've been taking special measures to thoroughly enjoy and love Ava up before my attention is redirected to two babies... We've been going on special “dates” together, getting in extra snuggles during nap time, and in general I've been more mindful of really loving on her and noticing what a special time this is in our lives. I hear Mitch through the playlists on his i-phone, I see him in the birds that congregate around our house, I feel him in the peace in my heart when I trust in life, and of course I have a lifetime of memories and Mitch-isms that help guide me when I feel a little lost. To share a few Mitch-isms; make it happen, figure it out!, get it together!, it's all coming together... He was full of faith, and always “made it happen,” so I know I can too... :) Sometimes it's the little reminders of faith that can lift up our spirits and reassure us that we have the strength and fortitude to go on. So, in the spirit of Mitch, I encourage us all to “make it happen,” and be reassured that it will all come together in a beautiful way.

Sex for the first time after my husband passed away

 So, down to the getting real bit. There has been a huge shift for me in the course of the last couple of weeks in my grieving process...A few weeks ago, I listened to a series of seminar lectures from a variety of mediums, and after listening to hours of interviews with these different people and being guided through a variety of simple meditations designed to help others connect to deceased loved ones, it became very clear to me just how close the spirit world is to this physical world we are in now... And that in fact, we are really just a veil away... I was able to experience my husband, Mitch, quickly and it opened me to receiving signs of his presence in all kinds of ways.

So, as another layer of my grief lifted and I began to feel lighter and happier, a funny thing happened... Me, a widow at eight months pregnant began receiving loving and sexual attention and solicitation from several men! It all began with a man whom I will refer to as a “community helper,” to keep his identity private. So, I was sick with the flu and crying my eyes out because my fears of not being supported were being triggered, so I called this man with whom I had had limited interaction with for some feel better support. I arrived at his house after his invitation, where his deep concern for my pain was endearing and the foot and hand massage he gave me led to my eventual response of sure, why not? There was a moment during the hand massage that he was giving me where I could feel where our encounter was headed if I allowed it, and knew at that moment I could decide to politely leave, or stay and have sex... Now, previously the idea of having sex with someone with whom I had no feelings for was completely foreign to me, and I must admit I was a bit judgmental about others doing it. I just assumed that, as a woman, if you had sex with someone, you would automatically develop feelings. Anyway, in that moment, I made the conscious decision to say yes to his sexual advances, simply for the experience of sex without feelings. So, how was it? Physically it felt great, but there were no fireworks when we kissed, like when two people who are in love or at least in strong like experience. I thanked him for the feel good medicine after our encounter and we parted ways. Did I develop feelings for him simply because we had sex? No I didn't, did I feel slightly freaked out at my atypical behavior? Yes, but I also felt proud of myself for living in the moment and becoming more open-minded in the process. Would I have sex again with someone without feelings? My first inclination is to say no but as we all know, life can take some surprising turns...So, I'll just say that I'll cross that bridge when I get to it... But, one thing is for certain, nothing compares to sex with love, and I'll end on that note. My story to be continued...Please pass this story on to anyone who you think might benefit...

 

More life after life: Spiritual and physical worlds interconnected

 I have been practicing meditation for the past four years, but began practicing with a clear, strong intention six months ago, which was to connect with my deceased husband. I realized that this was a possibility when days after my husband's passing, he communicated to my brother and to his mother. I began practicing with a fervor within the structure of a group through the Self Realization Fellowship. I somehow felt safer opening myself to connecting with my husband within a group setting, as I had never attempted to or had ever experienced any type of communication or connection with someone who had passed away, and while I was desperate for it, I was also a little afraid (I'd been exposed to all of the scary “ghost” stories most of us have been exposed to). Within months of intensive two hour meditations, and many subtle and sometimes obvious signs that Mitch was sending me, I heard his voice calling my name during one of my meditations, and then he began communicating to me through my own thoughts, which I have come to understand now as 'channeling.' I was ecstatic to have my questions answered and to feel so close to him. And so for the past several months I have been learning that he will not always communicate to me in such obvious ways, and that when I ask, sometimes consciously or unconsciously, he will always show me that his presence is with me in one way or another, just as he will show anyone who is close to him who asks. I find that when I clear my mind of my own thoughts and tap into the quiet space of my soul through meditation, I can fully open to feeling inner-peace and pure well-being, and am more open to feeling connected to his spirit through felt sensations, thoughts, or feelings. Through my explorations, I am beginning to understand that the physical and spiritual worlds are much more connected than I ever could have imagined. A great quote I heard from the collective consciousness called Abraham speaks to this, “there is not death, just more life after life.”

Very human feelings after a loved one passes on...

After a friend shared that she felt Mitch's presence last week and that it filled her with peace, faith, and strength, I became aware of feelings of jealousy that surfaced within myself... For a few moments, I simply allowed myself to “react” with these feelings. I decided to take a step back and revisit them and the core of what was truly bothering me about what she had shared later on that day, after Ava went down for her nap. After Ava went down for her nap, I began to “write it out.” I realized the jealousy came from my small scope of understanding about what happens to our souls after we pass on. After he passed, while my brother was in a meditative state, he told my brother that he would not leave mine, Ava, nor the baby's side. My fear that perhaps he wasn't with us spiritually surfaced when my friend shared her experience, because I don't always feel as connected with him spiritually as I would like. When I am not aware of signs or communication from him, I just have to trust and have faith in his presence. And then beyond that faith and trust, I have to realize that perhaps he can be in multiple places at once, or perhaps part of his spirit lives within each of us that he has touched. Part of me wanted to hold on to him as “mine,” even though in his physical form, he was never really “mine” to have. It's a difficult lesson to be able to love someone while also letting them be as free as they are born to be. And when you lose someone, they are experiencing the ultimate freedom as we know it, and those who love them are left to learn how to let go, sometimes over and over again as we go through the inevitable grieving process that happens in its own time.

Fulfilling our children's need for love when a parent is absent

This morning as a slideshow of our family photos and past memories played as my computer screen saver, Ava said, “I want to see daddy's friends today.” I watch as she lights up and is drawn to younger men, men similar to Mitch in one way or another, some that share similar physical attributes and some that share his young, free-spirited nature. I see clearly that we are both grieving his absence in varying ways. I too find that when I see people in love, I long for him, or when I see a man that looks similar to him, I long for Mitch. I too am drawn to that masculine energy, that Ava at two years old is drawn to. And this is when there is a choice to fear not falling in love again, not finding a loving dad for my daughters, or to have faith and to trust that the perfect man will come and join our family at the right time. We all long to be loved, to have a companion to journey with in this life, but it is during the times we find ourselves without that we must look within to love ourselves more wholly, to allow our sadness, our pains, and our fears to refine us into more loving fulfilled human beings. It is then that we open to receiving more love that can come in its many forms. I cannot ease Ava's pain of loss for her dad, but for now I can make sure our home is filled to the brim with love and expose her to positive and trusting male energy as a positive reminder of her dad in some way. I can also help her connect to his spirit through daily prayers and conversations with him, and pray for his guidance in how I parent her. And perhaps as I become more whole and healed, and find more peace and fulfillment, that this too will ease some of the longing that Ava feels. And this is one of the challenges for anyone raising a child without a partner, finding ways to fulfill our children's need for love in ways that are nurturing to the soul. And in this process we too will learn to love ourselves in ways that nurture our souls.

Live a life that you can feel at home in

I am at the tail end of my long journey through graduate school, I’m in my fourth year. That is what happens when you have nearly enough credits for two Master’s programs (Transpersonal Psychology and Counseling Psychology), and you have a baby in the middle. My husband and I are living an unconventional life with our dreams and passions leading the way, of which I receive considerable criticism for doing. My reaction to the criticism and doubt is what I work on now. I am coming to grips with the reality that what ultimately matters most is how I think and feel about my life, and that I must let go of the frustration I feel from not meeting the expectations that others have for me and the anger I feel for not being truly seen and heard; and that I must let go of the fight, because as long as I fight, I lose. Who am I fighting against really? Myself in the end, because as long as I allow the opinions of others to rule my life and cause me distress, I will never reach my full potential as a human being and will hinder those I choose to journey with as well. So now I find myself stepping into my own shoes with my head held high with an embodied knowing that I am living my life as authentically as I can, how else can any of us truly live a life worth living? A quote I picked up along the way that has stayed with me is

“the reward for conformity is that everyone liked you except yourself.”

So, be yourself, love yourself, and live a life that you can feel at home in. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated...

Feel for ourselves to feel for another

Empathy is walking in someone else's shoes, it is letting go of the colors of our own judgements, if for only an instant, so that we may feel what someone else is feeling. Step into their world and carry some of their burden, and share in some of their joy in order to truly understand. Only when we truly understand with our hearts, do our judgements, criticisms, fears, and expectations fall away a bit. When we disentangle ourselves from each other to hear our own call, we allow each of us to be free to live our own lives. Let each one of us realize our own true nature and see the history of our own walk written on the soles of our feet and on the soles of our ancestors feet. Feel for ourselves. Then, and only then, will we be able to truly feel for another.

The power of reaching out to others

When we're feeling down, stressed, or anxious, the tendency for many of us is to isolate, to retreat into our shells, for fear of being rejected, condemned, or misunderstood... If only we could remember to reach out to a friend or family member, we would quickly realize that we are not alone, that we are never alone. Then would we remember that we are all connected through our common experience of being human, and that all of us at some point feel insecure, depressed, anxious, lonely, angry, frustrated, or stressed. And rather than judge and condemn ourselves for feeling a particular way, perhaps we can be a friend to ourselves, and treat ourselves with the kind, loving, compassion, and respect that we would treat a loved one in need of some tlc! So, reach out to a loved one, or open yourself to an honest encounter with someone new and expand your web of connection and be reminded of your humanness! Sometimes all we need to brighten our horizons and lift our spirits is connection with another human being, paired with a bit of honest and true dialogue.

Letting Go

I watch my mother carry my daughter down to the shoreline to take a walk, her motherly intuition must have told her of my unconscious need for time and space, or perhaps she knows me well enough to know that I am sad. I lay down on the warm sandy earth, and realize just how much I have needed to feel anchored. I no longer have to smile, and I let my jaw muscles relax and I am surprised how much tension I have been harboring in my face. I relax my abdominal muscles as well, and lay my hands by my side, palms facing up. I allow myself to drink in the salty sea air, and relish in the warmth of the sun on my skin. I listen to the rhythmic beating of the waves crashing on the shore, and suddenly I am overtaken by tears of sadness, I cover my face with my daughter's bathing suit and allow the sadness that comes in waves to move through me. I cry because I have chosen to let go of trying to live up to anyone else's expectations of me, I have chosen me first, and I have chosen to reclaim my life as my own. I cry because I have been wounded, I cry because I have finally drawn a line in the sand. I notice the waves of sadness roll through me, and I notice the stillness in between. I look to my left and a sea gull watches the surf, he flies away and I feel the wind beneath his wings. I close my eyes and I imagine my spirit leaving my body and flying out over the water, diving in and out of the ocean, soaring through the air, as free as a bird, I spiral upward toward the sky like a twirling ballerina as I remember the words of my friend- let go, and I do. Waves of sadness roll through me once more as I picture my daughter running, growing up fast. In the far distance I see her flying as free as a bird, and suddenly I feel the pain of inevitable loss that will come with her growing up and leaving the nest, and yet joy and pride in watching her soar. I settle back into my body and realize the sadness has moved through me for now, and I feel lighter, and a smile comes to my lips as I see my mother and daughter approaching, I am renewed.