Grief, noticing, and hope

I’ve been feeling the grief I mentioned in the last post I wrote, so deeply lately. And it feels very much to do with not telling my mum how I’m doing, what I’m doing, all that I’m achieving, all that I’m healing. It feels a grief so painful that I usually end up lost and unable to sit with it. I end up scared and feeling too vulnerable. I need someone there to guide me through it. To help me grieve.

I just want to reach out to someone, to a mum, and tell them how I’m doing. The funny thing is, I don’t actually want to do it with my mum. I want to do it with a mum. It feels like a pain in my chest that hurts every time I realise I don’t do this. It’s there because I want to do it with my mum, but I think the grief has come – and is something I am able to hold – because part of me is realising I’m not going to be. This distance is essential and I think the more I realise that, the more the grief can come. And the more I realise how much this distance is bringing me – the way it’s enabling me to shape my identity and ultimately, to heal – I think the grief can come for this reason too.

I feel lost and abandoned, and hurting and open.

I feel full of grief but I feel full of love. I feel lost but I feel like I’m continually coming home, to the person I was always meant to – and going to – be.

I do feel a despite ache for things to be different. With my mum and my dad. With my

Witting about it feels safe. Thinking about it feels safe, because now I don’t over-think. I drop into the feeling and where it is lying in my body. I allow the grief to have a voice, and move. I think this is why it feels safe. I don’t get flashbacks because I am with the feeling, with my body, rather than with my mind. My mind is where the graphics, the images, are stored. My body is where the gold lies. Where the memories are stored in the place they can release from.

The place that love belongs, and the place that love and compassion can be found.

This has broken open a door in my healing process, I’m sure of it. Just what I’ve noticed in the last month, is something to go on. And so I hope that continues. I’m pretty sure it will, because I remember my therapist once telling me that mindfulness – mindfully feeling feelings – is like riding a horse (or a bike, i can’t remember which). Once you get the hang of it, you wondered how you ever lived without it or how you ever couldn’t do it before.

Mindfulness as a practise – meditation – has defo come in waves and ebbs and flows. But the practise of being mindful is different. That’s just been growing and growing the last year or so. And this way of feeling feelings in my body has been the theme of therapy for the last two years, but something that I’ve found hard to coin for myself out of therapy.

But it’s coming. Defo coming. In fact, I think it’s actually come. It’s here. It’s happening. I’m doing it, and I’m succeeding with it.

That’s pretty rad.

20140226-074741 pm.jpg

The thing about this grief that’s here, is that I feel able to share it with others. I feel able to feel it when I’m with others and not always say something about it. Or I just need to say ‘I feel sad’ or ‘I feel alone’ or ‘I’m feeling a lot grief at the moment’, and that is often enough. I really notice my communication has become a lot clearer and from the heart.

I don’t need as many words as I had to, to say what I need to say, or to feel connected and supported. That’s beautiful and so so healing due to how lonely I have been feeling lately. That loneliness can be soothed with just one heartfelt connection rather than a few connections in which I’ve tried and tried to speak from a place I can be heard, but never ending my feeling really heard and seen, and ending up feeling more pain and more loneliness and isolation.

The trick is I also notice who I pick to connect with, to talk to, to open my heart to. This has been coming for a while, and still is growing – my ability to notice and nourish myself with people that notice and nourish me. And picking the people to talk to about whatever topic – knowing my crew, knowing my resource, and sticking with the guidelines, the boundaries, of each friendship. That used to always piss the stubborn part of me off, because I want someone to be there for the whole of me, and so I would step over these boundaries and into the limitless love area…but would rarely feel met and would generally feel raw and open for hours afterwards. And lost, too.

I think it’s the art of noticing. That’s the puppy in healing, it seems. Noticing, not attaching. Noticing, not describing. Noticing, not telling. Noticing not rejecting. Noticing, not missing. And noticing it all – the bits that piss me off, the bits that make me rage inside that are part of me or feelings I’m feeling, the parts of me that I just fucking wish weren’t there sometimes. The parts of me that hold so much pain it’s seemingly uncontrollable.

The parts of me that pretend to not need me, but so do.

It’s noticing it all with an open heart and a compassionate warmth towards myself and the world around me.

Noticing. Noticing. Noticing.

20140226-075807 pm.jpg

Advertisements

The healing of an open heart

It feels like a weird old time at the moment. I feel like my life’s exploded – in a good way but I also feel exhausted and overwhelmed and worried…and incredibly excited. I keep getting these bursts of natural highs as I’m being published on a site – a very cool and very popular online journal/magazine – that I recently got an apprenticeship for, as an editor.

That feels bonkersly cool. Like so cool. It’s the first time I’ve felt this excited in freakin’ ages. And happy – actually warm and happy when I’m working and editing.

The other thing I’m feeling loads of at the moment, is grief. So much grief. Like a loss, a hole, that’s in my chest. Like a well of sorrow open wide and sitting deep. I feel able to hold it, though. My heart feels so open at the moment. Like, so open. It feels beautiful. Within the pain, I have so much warmth and tenderness for myself and others. And an openness too. But an openness with protection, with boundaries. That’s not like before.

My openness I think used to feel wide open without limits, or protection. I used to shower love and really believe I meant it – which I did – but now I see that I was also hurting like a motherfucker, and the openness was raw and too painful. It was excruciating, and the love I gave, and could give, from this place, was without boundaries or protection of myself. It never went inwards first.

But now it does. I feel like I’m continuing to master the art of loving number one, and then loving someone else.

And this last year or so, I feel like my hearts been somewhat out of protection for myself. I’ve needed to go inwards, because I was afraid of over giving, of over loving, and getting depleted. So I tried to limit my giving and my openness, my love and my warmth, because I was afraid. And, I needed all I could get.

I totes think this is fair enough, and incredibly healthy. And, even within that, I know I still gave. And loved. A lot.

But something’s changing. My heart feels open and it feels safe. It feels safe to love again, and love from a place of depth and protection, of boundaries and compassion.

It feels safe to tell someone I love them, from a place I really really mean it. It feels safe to hold protection and fierce care for those I hold close to my heart.

It feels safe to hold my power by the hand, and walk with it by my side. It feels safe to step into it and allow it to help me shine.

20140226-071351 pm.jpg

Natures Medicine

Natures medicine

Nature has always been one of my closest friends. The relationship is based on a sacred sense of trust, companionship, understanding, unconditional love, respect, admiration, awe, and adventure. She’s been there my entire life. She’s witnessed all I’ve been through and all I continue to experience, and I have witnessed areas of her unfold around me, and experience all she continues to experience.

As someone who isn’t in touch with their family, and was never properly mothered, nature nourishes the parent within me and offers me a safe place to take my grief and allow parts of myself to heal. She reminds me I am part of the Earth’s family, and helps me feel a valid member of it too. When I don’t feel able to connect with anyone outside of me, I know I can with her. And at times of loneliness, when I feel like I am the only person in the world without a family or intimate relationship, my heart can still open to her. My heart knows the Earth is always with me, offering unconditional support and the opportunity to have my experience witnessed, without judgement.

The last five months I’ve spent the majority of my days tucked inside my bedroom because I’ve been – and still am – recovering from two slipped discs in my back. Fuck, it has SUCKED. This whole time, nature has been at the forefront of my mind. But she’s been there because she’s been missing. I think of her with an aching heart and feel a desperate grief. But also a crippling guilt. I have felt like I have abandoned my oldest friend, because – for the first time in my life – I haven’t been out, truly enjoying, her. And I haven’t been able to proactively support her. Instead, I have become addicted to screens. Nature always provided me with inspiration, comfort, reassurance and connection, but because I haven’t been able to be with her intimately and completely, this has temporarily been being provided through holding my i-phone…not the place I wanna try and get it all from. And not the place I CAN get it all from.

I have still connected with the Earth regularly throughout each day – through my window or in mindfulness meditations; lying on the grass outside in the garden; ritualistically; watching wild films; or simply from the birds, the stillness, the rustling trees, and the life, I can hear from my room. But this doesn’t cut it. Parts of me have felt neglected and almost forgotten. And I have noticed that a sense of being un-parented and totally alone has felt deeper than ever – I need my sacred time in, and with, the Earth. I need my relationship.

It has felt so easy to forget that my spirit is wild, too. So easy that I seemingly almost have. There have been creative ways I have made sure that I haven’t lost this wild spark completely, but it’s been fucking hard – my heart and soul needs nature’s wild spirit in order to keep it alive in me. I need the chance to be in nature’s magic and beauty, every day. I need the playfulness, the vibrancy, the aliveness she offers, as well as the stillness and the beauty that I can connect with when just lying in bed.

My body, as well as my psyche, has been aching for more. It’s ached for physical contact with her. Without my body moving with the Earth, in the way I have always known, I feel painfully lost. My compassionate mind-body connection that I was beginning to cultivate, has felt cut-off and replaced with one of frustration, hate and distance – my body has felt foreign. In nature, it feels like mine. I remember my body again. I feel like I’ve come home – within me and around me.

Image

The times my back has begun to mend and I have managed to get out into nature, even if to just cuddle a tree in the nearby park or lie on the grass and gaze at the sky or a quick swim in the icy sea, my pain has dissolved. Or I have been able to sit with it and offer it my compassion and my breath. The health that has felt a million miles away during my time in bed begins to come back immediately – my strength starts to flood my system, my body feels held, and my mind feels vibrant and open again. Parts that were seemingly forgotten, greet me like an old friend. They just needed nourishment.

I remember someone telling me that in times of struggle, we get insights into what we need…it couldn’t feel truer. I have always known I need my time with nature like I need my food, but this experience of being so confined to my bed and unable to move with her in the ways I have always known, has given me a deeper and more intimate insight into this need – I now know what happens when I don’t get it. I get depressed, anxious, and so lost. I feel ungrounded and out-of-my-self, and my imagination and inspiration wilts. And as for screens – they have been nourishing but they have also been incredibly draining and disconnecting. I know excessive time with them, just ain’t me.

To have had this experience and to have been feeling all these feelings has been incredibly hard, but it has also shown me I am human. A wild human. And by being human, wherever I am and whatever I am doing, I am part of the rest of the Earth’s family. The family in which we all, unconditionally, belong.

Image

My heart aches wide open

My heart aches wide open, it’s soul laid bare. My heart sings a rhythm of something I really need. Of something I didn’t receive. My heart sings a tune to the beat of my own taut drum. My heart sings the song that reminds me I’m not my mum. My heart opens wide-spread, across the midnight sky, glancing at stars sideways and watching the ones shooting, pass by.

My heart is inside me, it musters up strength. My heart is inside me, raw and at times, clenched. But right now it’s open, open as can be. It’s wide spread loving arms, all encompassing me. Its grief spread totally sideways, its grief spread out to me. It’s grief spread so it shows me, nothing can really hurt me completely.

My heart remains wide open, despite the sorrow that greets it. My heart spread wide open, determined for something to meet it.
My heart fills a meaning that I sometimes lose inside – my heart feels all meaning and all nothing-to-hide.

My heart feels hidden in shadow, yet always by my side. My heart is a rainbow, coloured greatly from within, my heart is a cushion, in which I stick a pin – of hatred and of suffering, but never from within. Always from my chatter and always from my head. Never from my heart, because my hearts hatred is dead. My hearts hatred, was never really born.

My heart remains wide open, despite all that it can see.
My heart remains wide open, determined to protect me.
My heart remains wide open, hoping for the best.
My heart remains wide open, reminding I deserve the best.

20140129-021728 AM.jpg

Provided I have what I need, darkness is safe to feel.

Provided I have what I need, darkness is safe to feel.

When I don’t,
I feel lost and unsafe.
Without a home
And without a case,
To shut myself up in
And let myself roar.

When I don’t,
I feel abandoned.
I feel distraught,
I feel forgotten,
And I feel totally undeserving.

To not be alive,
Feels like a dream.
A desire.
A want.
A longing I seemingly don’t want to deny
But one I fear
And try to hide.

When I find, hear, discover, work out,
And listen to my needs
– no matter how ‘small’ –
I feel safe.
I feel heard and held
And able to heal.

I connect to the earth
And the feeling of support.
I take comfort in the contact
With the wild living force.
I rub my legs
And offer myself
The comfort I deserve.
I text a friend
And tell myself:
I deserve to be heard.

This wash of terrifying darkness
– this wash of immutable
Aching, blinding, and seemingly neverending
Sorrow –
Seems ancient and forgiven.
It feels like an old friend
That is back here visiting.

But a friend that doesn’t suit me –
That doesn’t serve,
That doesn’t heal.
That doesn’t nourish.
It’s a friend that has grown
Away from me
Not beside me.

When I ask for my needs to be met
– by others, the world, myself –
I know I am deserving.
I know I can – and it is safe – to feel.

When I get my needs met,
By asking and reaching
And seeking support,
In all the many ways I can
– no matter how seemingly small:
A breath, a connection, an asking, a sharing, a reassurance, a hug, a tea, a favour from the shop –
I am able to create a haven,
A safe space,
In myself and in the world.
I am able to know I am supported,
I know I deserve to be.
In all my glory
And all my pain.
In all my darkness
And in all my fear:
I am whole.

No matter how seemingly small,
No matter how seemingly kick ass firey and large,
Darkness is safe to feel…
But only when my needs don’t go forgotten.
Only when my breath and connection doesn’t go forgotten.
Only when my need for resources don’t go forgotten.
Only when I don’t go forgotten.

Because when I do,
It swamps and cradles.
Why I withdraw into a refuge
I seemingly know is safe,
The darkness
Blinds and masquerades,
Drowns and disables,
Any sense of capability
Towards this task of living,
For which
My heart knows,
I am strong and able.

The darkness tells me I am not able,
It tells me I don’t deserve.
It tells me I am not capable,
It tells me I don’t serve.
I don’t serve the world –
And I don’t serve myself.

But when I am feeling safe and held
– when I am deeply listening –
I know this darkness is here
To tell me something.
It is here to take me home.

It is not here to lose me
Or send me swimming.
It is here to remind me of my fucking beauty
– of my core. fucking. strength.
And of my presence
And essence
In the world
And in myself.

And it reminds me,
Of my need to feel safe.
My need for gentleness and calm,
Not my desire to bombard and disarm
This darkness.
Instead it reminds me to be here
– just with whatever is –
and to look after me.

Because I am the most important
And I am the most connected
And I am the most present,
When I am living in my body.
Breathing in my body.
Not breathing in
– or living in –
The voices,
The criticisms,
The fears…
In my body lies the undiluted,
Purely free,
And trusting,
Me

And I am here
And I will always deserve to be.

That will never fade,
My deservability.

20131213-105706.jpg

To nod

To grieve, is to sob.

To grieve is to nod
At all the heartache
And the faith
That live together sideways
In a chest that holds my space.

To grieve is to nod
At all the hidden pathways
I never got –
Pathways to a love
I’d only ever heard whispers of.

To grieve is to nod
At all the unborn feelings
Deep inside.

To grieve is to nod
At the life I deserve
To have by my side
And to truly learn.

To grieve is to glisten
A hope I once knew,
Of a future where I’m christened
With a torture
And a you.

To grieve is to listen
To all the words I have to say.

To grieve is to take
My child out to play –
To give her all the love
And affection
She never even had,
To be then taken away.

To grieve is to borrow
All the strength I have inside,
To protect and to love her
And to keep support by my side.

To grieve is to honour
The heartbreak and the pride.
The rollercoasting pathway
To a life I want to try.
To a life where I play centre
To a life I didn’t hide.
To a life I once played stranger
But to a life I now know’s mine.

And to grieve is to help me get there
And to remind me:
I do shine.

20131203-032322 PM.jpg

My relationship to Safe

trustprocess

So the last couple of weeks, something has happened. Something has shifted and changed, or exploded and is out in the open…I’m not sure which. But it is fucking painful. And it involves a shed load of grief.

The phrase ‘trust the process’ is something a friend emailed me last night and since then, I realise that it is something I just so need to hold onto. I get lost in the instability, the inconsistency, the infrequency…I just want it to make sense. I just want it to feel like it makes sense. I just want to know what is happening is safe. I just want to know that the road I am on is safe. I just want to know that I am safe. Something I never knew and never had even a glimpse of knowing that this could be my truth, as a kid. But it is something I am beginning to know now, and the more I get it, the more I want it. The more I learn what it is, the more I want it. The more I hear about it, the more I want it. The more I see it and feel it, the more I want it.

I just fucking want ALL OF IT. And ALL OF ME wants it. Actually no, that’s a lie. Not all of me wants it. A big chunk of me is still very much wounded, and the idea of being and feeling safe is like the most scary thing ever. The LAST thing they want, or need. They need healing. Then safe, can feel safe. It’s my little girl that desperately needs to feel, be, and know she’s safe…that’s why it feels like the whole of me, because she is so mega here at the moment. She feels like the whole of me, but she isn’t. My inner healer is here too, and all the rest, they just seemingly go for a fag break sometimes.

The grief that’s here is monumental, and it is aching. It is breaking. But maybe it is breaking my open. I just don’t actually know how you can feel this much pain and not actually die. Last night I gripped my phone as I lay there, grief stricken and bare. Grief stricken and in agony. It is like nothing I have ever felt before. It is like a trip to hell and back, and then I accidentally get back on the same train and head there again. It’s like I’ve got a multiple return ticket to Pain. But this pain brings me a real predicament. It brings me a real feeling that I am not okay, that I am not loved, that I can’t turn for support.

This pain is so deep that only I can meet it, yet only others is what I crave. When it’s happening and when it’s here, I long long long for someone here, but the minute I pick up my phone to text or perhaps call or read a message of love from time before, I can’t feel it. It is triggering…? Effing triggering. It’s a fucking nightmare. And it makes me feel like I can’t cope with the constant battle inside of needs and of hopes… And when I do try to share, or to lean on someone, or to allow them in and allow myself to feel cared for, the grief only feels even bigger – HUGE in fact. And my symptoms start flooding and I am blinding from within…the grief, and my heart, opens wide swallowing any sense of sanity with it.

It’s a fucking nightmare… but maybe it isn’t…maybe this is healing.

And maybe nobody else can really meet it. Maybe it has to come from myself.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Opening it

Today and tonight, I’ve felt paralysed. Paralysed with pain – physical and emotional. Pain like I want to say I’ve never felt before, but that’s not true. It’s a pain I’ve become so familiar with this last year, increasing in intensity as I see the months through. It’s a pain that ends pain, but it’s a fucking horrible one. It’s like my body contorts, and the demons strike out, trying to stop me breaking free. It’s like all the misty regrets, beaten into me by my mum, get the chance to nestle out and break free from what once was their home inside of me. In these paralysed moments, right before I break down, I

In these paralysed moments all I can do is either sit and think, or sit and sob. My body cannot move, my brain can’t do rational. If I’m sitting and thinking, what happens is a jarring, a pre-crash. Thoughts flood, fears take control. My body begins to fester with the emotions circling inside. I’m left searching for some control, but it’s nowhere to be found. I avoid the tears and instead am paralysed by fears. But despite the pain that comes from the former, it’s WAY nicer than the latter. Finally, it happens. I fall. When i let myself do this, when I let this happen – as i have done tonight – through the sobs and the pain, there’s a clarity again. There’s a reminder that I’m in a process. There’s a reminder that I’m still me.

The paralysis feels permanent when I’m in the middle of these feelings. The paralysis feels like I’ve been baked in concrete, leaving movement impossible. All I can do is hope, and feel, and hope, and feel. It’s fucking scary and it’s fucking horrible. Sometimes the clarity comes quick, other times my brains too flooded to find it so. But it’s still there, even if just in little bits. Love, a sense of connection, and a knowing I belong, is what gets me through these moments. I hold a stone and feel sheltered by the earth. I hear the desperate cry for love and text a friend. I hold tight to my phone and feel the connection to those I love. I let myself feel not alone. I wrap myself up in a duvet and stroke my arms, cuddle my body, and rub my feet. Other times I can only cry, but always when I feel safe. All I want is love in these moments. All I want is to know I’m safe. All I want is someone there to hold me, and so I’m continuing to learn how to be creative with my space when paralysis and grief hits, to make me know I am – I am loved, connected and safe. And I most certainly belong.

The paralysis feels never ending, and sometimes I’m pretty sure it is. Yet somehow, from somewhere, from some place deep within, comes an ability to get up again. To find my feet and get a drink or go downstairs for food. It feels like I need to or will do or have to do this forever, but I’m pretty sure I don’t, and I won’t. It just feels like it.

And in these moments of paralysis, I’m doing the opposite to my heart – I’m opening it.

20131112-103706 PM.jpg

Earth grief and the protective shell

I’ve always been sensitive. When I say sensitive, I mean it in the all encompassing sensitive sense. Not just sensitive to emotions, or people, but sensitive to the world, animals, nature, the spirit. I know my upbringing and all the education about the world, the sense of responsibility and care I was taught, definitely has played a part in this, but I do also believe that some are just born sensitive. Born with a connection to the universal responsibility we all have. Born with the ability to connect with the universal pain, the universal grief…

Born with a certain fragility to the world (people, animals, nature) around you. I feel a pain in my chest, have a breath taken away, and feel raged with anger like I could punch the tree surgeon in the face, when I see a tree being cut down. I tear up when I walk past someone drunk and sat in dirt covered clothes. The sorrow and grief, and anger for the way life works, stays with me for a while afterwards. As does the guilt I live my life as full as I do, and the feeling of responsibility. I can’t breathe and feel I’ll crumble when I begin to even think of the destruction we’re doing to this planet…the injustice, the utterly fucked-up and twisted way things work. This is a grief, a pain, that I am not able to tap fully into. I shut down. And I know I have been shut down for a long while about this, out of fear and out of a feeling of being unable to emotionally cope with just how giant this feeling is. But I’m learning to manage it, slowly…slowly seeing that this anger, this feeling of injustice, this pain, this sorrow, and this feeling of responsibility and protection for the planet and everyone, everything, in it, can be oh-so powerful and beautiful, and productive.

photo-20

Something I’ve noticed though, as I am on the therapy wagon, I feel as though my protective shell – the shell of shut down, perhaps – is not feeling so strong and able to protect anymore. It’s as though all this digging deep into myself and expanding of my consciousness, and softening of my emotional numbness that I’d created to protect myself from childhood and adult trauma, is beginning to open up this sensitivity like never before. What’s beneath this shell that I’ve had for so many years, is a vulnerability and a sensitivity that runs deeper than I ever knew.

Sometimes I’m feeling so much hurt and pain for the world, leaving the house feels a challenge. Today is one of those days. I feel like I’ll crumble and crack if I step foot out of the protection of my room, yet in twenty minutes I need to. The room takes on the protective shell that I no longer feel like I have in myself. It’s as though the weight of the world lies within my heart…and in this weight is a mixture of grief – Ecopsychologists call this Earth Grief – sorrow, pain, guilt, worry, anger, rage, panic. All mixed into a weight no words can describe.

It’s so somatic. As though my body is red raw to the injustice in the world. As though my heart is cracked open to the destruction. As though my back carries the weight of the responsibility I have for the Earth. As though my blood is full of pumping rage and a desire to protect those – people, animals, nature – that are being abused.

395564_10150485514414440_1934765766_n

I have to resource myself, bring myself back to my breath, focus on little daily things, to ground myself when I get too swept up in these feelings, write from the body, from the heart, rather than from my racing mind. Just like I do when I’m grieving for my mom or something else that’s happened in my life. It’s the same feeling, just a larger vessel I’m grieving for. This muscle is only just developing – the grief muscle. As my protective shell is cracking, crumbling, I notice my own protective muscle inside myself is growing. Rather than being shut off from the world, with my protection lying on the outside in the form of a shell of numbness, shut down, and disconnection, I am open and truly feeling. And the protection that lies within – the self protection – instead brings self nurturance, care, love, and a sense of connection to the world. It’s healthy. The protective shell isn’t so much, although I know I need this defence mechanism still. If this shell completely crumbled and cracked away, I’d be so open I’d probably decompose.

Perhaps I need this middle ground of swinging between feeling like I can’t cope, like my protective shell is dissolving and leaving me red raw open, to then shutting down and shutting off from these feelings because they are too much, in order to then find the middle ground of sensitivity. The ground where sensitivity lives wholeheartedly. And wholeheartedly means having boundaries, developing self protection from the inside out, saying no to the feelings sometimes, putting yourself first in moments of overwhelm. Maybe I’m learning how to nourish myself from the inside out.