Seems like no matter what I do/how hard I try I'm still hanging on to some old stuff that comes out in the form of grief. My fears of the unknown and resistance to change is, for reasons I still haven't figured, is stronger than my desire for something new. It makes me feel silly, stupid and even a bit "less than." That kind of thinking only adds fuel to the negativty fire.
Don't get me wrong, I know I've come a long way, but the road ahead still looks like Rt. 66 through Arizona and New Mexico where you don't see much except the expanse of land and sky. Good thing I wasn't a pioneer woman trying to get somewhere in a covered wagon. I might have been left on the side of the trail to howl at the moon with the coyotes.
Over the summer, in an attempt to rid myself of grief, I've scattered my parent's ashes, traveled the roads they traveled as a kind of goodbye gesture. I've cried and rejoiced over old memories and new discoveries. I've cut up fabric and made a quilt. I've written some stories and submitted them for publication. I've re-visited my therapist. And while I admit that I've slept more than I should, and not moved my body enough to get the juices flowing, I've made an effort to stay in touch with people (real and virtual), be creative and seek gratitude.
My latest venture is to sign up for a five week "tele-retreat" with Alana Sheeren, grief coach. When I first talked to Alana, she explained the differences between a therapist and a coach. In the simplest of terms, a therapist helps you by looking back, the coach helps you look forward. I don't deny I've still got "back" stuff piled up higher than Mt. McKinley. And I'm sure that while I move forward, I'll have to look back at some things. What I want to be able to do is set that baggage down and move ahead without the weight on my shoulders. Will 5 weeks re-write a life-time of "self-defeating, self-minimizing, self-deprecating" stories I've told myself? I doubt it. But I believe it will be another step in the right direction. To use that covered wagon metaphor again (which I seem to like these days), the retreat will be like seeing a clear, cool lake after trudging through the prairie grass and dusty fields. I may not be at my final destination yet, but I'll be able to stop, rest, jump in, wash off the dirt (sadness/anger/fear), float on my back and look at the broad blue sky, and baptize myself in the Divine One's healing/renewing elixir. And when I've had my fill, I'll sit on the banks of the lake with sisters who share my path, let the song of my soul be heard, discover beat of my own dance, and play with the child of my heart.
When the 5-weeks are over, I hope I can look East toward a life that no longer works and say a grateful goodbye. Then I'll tie on my calico bonnet, button up my shoes (buckle up my Birkenstocks) hitch up my skirt and petticoat, climb back on the wagon and say to myself, my inner child, my silly brown dog, and my Sweetie, "come on, let's see what new adventures await us." I don't expect my Chicken Little persona to be forever gone. I'll still worry about the smoke signals rising above the mountains. Hell, I'll probably worry about the snakes and bears too. But I'll have the tools to deal with that fear ... my knowledge my truth, and my hope. Not to mention a big, snake-whacking shovel.
It is said when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I've followed Alana's blog for a couple of years, as she wrote about the grief of losing her son Benjamin. After two nudges toward a fund raising site for a man with cancer and no insurance*, I felt obliged to donate. Through that donation I was given a free phone session with Alana. Two short conversations but I'm drawn to the soft, gentle voice of a woman who has lost in the prairie grass and found her way to the lake of recovery. Interested? Check out this video.
Today I wish for you new places to go and new eyes to see it clearly,
* There are a lot of good places to donate to, and fewer dollars left over at the end of the pay period to donate, but it won't hurt to go see what this is all about. Every little bit helps. http://www.indiegogo.com/johnfptak