Grief Season

I have been feeling the Fall the last couple days. The grief puddle welling up in my chest, asking me to slow down, turn inward, release the pains of loss, and the toxins of long held beliefs around aloneness. Yes- we are in grief season. Where the upward, outward energy of the Spring and Summer has turned into the downward pull of letting go, of leaves falling to the ground. With Day of the Dead approaching, I am thinking of those I have lost, of ancestors past- of relationships which have ended or changed in ways that are painful, and leave me missing, feeling an ache inside. I also feel the individual and collective pain collecting and metabolizing from the chaos and harm being felt in our world - harm we do to each other and to the earth and her beings. It is especially during this season that I find myself needing to reach for the practices, routines, and relationships that support and nourish me in deep, heart-felt ways. Today, I sat down and listed the practices that I know resource and center me- and connect me to my heart: music, art, meditation, moving my body, ritual, time with close friends, time outside. I took my list and started mapping out my next couple weeks, outlining how I am going to use the spaces in my day to walk or sing or journal- or just stretch and breathe. My hope is that I will spend more time connecting to and encouraging my vision, and going outside to watch the light change, and finding warm, cozy gathering time with loved ones. I am hoping these next couple weeks, including the New Moon next week, will also support me in setting intentions for the upcoming cocoon time of Winter, which will call me further inward, even closer to myself.

So- Happy Grief Season my friends. We are all woven in these cycles together- and I wish you tender and intimate time with yourself and your body, comforting and supportive time with your loving community, and connected time with your creativity, mother nature, and forces unseen.

with much gratitude- xo.

This one is for the tough cookies

I want to give a shout out to the tough cookies- you know who you are. You are smart, adaptable, able to bounce back, and 'get over' things quickly. You are good at going with the flow, taking care of others, being the rock when stuff gets hard.  You have a big heart, and are skilled in tending to the needs of others.  And chances are, it feels easier to talk about other people than to really talk about yourself - most of the time when others ask how you are, you reply with 'good' or 'fine-' because there are others who are going through greater hardships, right?

I see your courage tough cookie- and your strength....and I also see the other parts of you. The parts that often go unrecognized or unexpressed, the parts that get buried. I see the tenderness, the anxiety, the fear. The parts of you that can feel drained by constantly tending to the needs of others, and can also feel lost and alone when it comes to finding and expressing your own needs. I see the part of you that requires space, and time, and attention- but also struggles to accept or acknowledge that these are things you need or want.  I see the part of you that is deeply affected, impacted- that feels sadness, grief, anger, hopelessness.

The things is, at some point, you may need to be allowed to be more than just a tough cookie. You may experience unexpected loss, or realize you are craving more intimacy with others- and that you also need to be allowed to be sad, dependent, soft, or scared. So, I want to invite you to take a moment with yourself- to sit, to close your eyes, and breathe into your belly- to check in with your body to see what else is going on. Yes, you feel the 'always ok' part of you- but is there also something else? Even if it is small or subtle, is there a part of you that is feeling something more? Spend time with these parts of you, if even just for a minute or two, to acknowledge, to feel, to tend. Because these feelings are also a part of you- and by being with them, you can move closer to yourself and can let those around you be closer to you.

Where are the wild places in your life?

I was walking out of my office this morning, and a flier from the Zen Center we share the building with caught my eye. The flier asked:

"Where are the wild places in your life?"

"What if those places which feel 'wild' are opportunities to be free? Free from the barriers we place in the way of our access to being present to what is arising in the moment. The Chinese character for 'chaos' is a compound character. The two elements of the character mean 'dangerous' and 'opportunity.' Wild places feel dangerous, out of our control, and very alive."

I started thinking about the places that feel 'wild' within me- and how exhilarating that wild edge can be. I also started thinking about the places in myself, and my life, that feel dangerous. Like speaking up in front of a group, or singing on stage. These places of showing ourselves can feel so scary, so out of control! Yet they carry with them such opportunity to feel alive, to feel free.

So- Where are the wild places in your life?

The path of the Gardener

I am sitting here on this sunny afternoon reading through a wonderful article written by my friend and colleague, Yulia Livingston MFT, entitled "The Path of the Gardner." She has me feeling moved and inspired by her insight and depth of understanding:

"Tending to anything- especially to what is important to us- takes energy, time, attention, determination and patience. Tending is HARD WORK and sometimes this work is unnervingly slow and tedious. There is no fanfare and no prizes given. On the journey there is often despair, doubts and fear.

It takes HEART to keep at it. It takes DEVOTION to keep showing up.

Nurturing is a VULNERABLE experience. When we give our attention and our time to anything or anyone, we communicate to them, YOU MATTER TO ME.

Gardener, whatever you are growing in your life right now, I SEE YOU! I see how hard you are working to nurture what's most precious to you!  This journey WILL try you!

Sometimes you might feel like walking away, but I think you and I both know that some work is truly SACRED. Like raising kids or deepening into true intimacy with your Beloved or clearing the path that will bring you closer to yourself- this work will take you to the depths of your fear and it will also take you right into the temple of YOUR HEART."

Yulia's wise words have me thinking about the path which leads us closer to ourselves, to our dreams, to our hearts- and how that path can often feel confusing, scary, foggy, overwhelming, and daunting. She also has me thinking about how much having a trusted companion on that journey can help us to keep going, to keep moving toward ourselves, even in those times when we feel like giving up, running away, and hiding.

Therapy can provide that companionship- the space for nurturing, tending, and growing that we all need to bring our dreams into fruition.

Feel free to check out Yulia's blog and her other amazing offerings at: www.yulialivingston.com -- or contact me if you think it may be time for you to reach out for support in your journey.