Archive for November, 2013

It’s Not You, It’s Me…The Rub and Fitting Into Your Old Life After Loss

November 13th, 2013 | no comments

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We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

~E. M. Forester~

Recently, I found myself in a social situation, feeling quite uncomfortable with both the people and the conversation.  I wanted to absolutely scream at the small group, talking about the trivial, making mountains out of mole hills, and choosing a passive aggressive negative path instead of one based on the premise that our time here is limited.

I tell you this, knowing I am far from perfect, freely admitting that I too talk about the trivial, and make a few mountains from time to time, and tell someone else how I feel instead of the person who needs to hear it.  I am working on it, but I am flawed, and that is okay.

So, why in the heck did this particular conversation bother me so much?

It was something about children. And, like a huge slap, I felt it all over again.  The dull ache in my chest, the uncomfortable gurgling within my stomach.  The feeling of loss. I was physically warm, my sweaty palms revealing my anxiety.  I felt “The Rub,” something I wrote about after losing  my son Stephen in 2009.  My view of the world has been forever changed, and I just don’t fit in the same way I used to before.

Not that I think that is a bad thing.  The internal work I’ve done in the last 4 years, 4 months, and 9 days has allowed me to grow.  I wish I did not have to learn the lessons of life in quite this way, but I feel proud of how I have walked this path of grief, how I have opened my heart and my life to others, and devoted my life to telling people “you’re going to be okay.”

But, to my surprise, the rub was still there, waiting for the moment to present itself, letting me feel the abrasive hurt of loss and loneliness.  The Rub wanted to make sure I did not forget that life will never be the same.

It’s not like I didn’t know it.  It was not a surprise; I’ve been living it.  And, although I have realized that life will never be the same, I have found a way back to happiness with gratitude.

So, I thought I would share this post I wrote in January, 2010 about “The Rub.”  Maybe there are some of you, like me, who are still figuring out the ebbs and flows of loss. I share it to remind both myself and my readers that even during times like this, when the rub hurts, when we feel so different, we are never alone.  We walk together.

I share it to let you know that you are feeling the rub because you have grown as a person.  And unlike the rub of your pants after a few extra pounds, this growth is a good thing.

Sending love…

Kelly

The Rub

I’ve always been a girl who marched to my own drummer. Even when I was younger, and wanted desperately to fit into whatever group I thought would prove my worthiness, I knew my internal song was somewhat different. Marching to my own drummer does not describe it adequately. It felt more like I had my very own band. In my youth, I used to feel uncomfortable with my uniqueness. I looked at my differences as a negative rather than a positive. I lamented about those differences, changed the differences, and masked the differences. Essentially, for a long time, I swam against the current of my own life.

As the years passed, and I had safely made the passage from youth to adulthood (fortunately, I’ve yet to grow up), I let go of most of these hang ups. I created my own life, made peace with some things within it, and once I started to make the right choices, I began to hear the beauty in the music of my own drummer. So, imagine my surprise as I found myself, after all this self-work, questioning where I belong in life these days, in the big picture. It has been seven months since Stephen died. For much of this time, I have quietly lived a life of reflection, trying to simply inhale and exhale without the crushing pain of my broken heart hurting too badly. It is a life focused on my husband and son, and for the first time ever, I feel like it is a life on purpose. I write, I work, I do laundry, I reflect on where I came from and where I sit right now. It is life stripped bare, and it is simple to understand. I like it that way. But, with the passage of each month on the calendar, I step back a little further into “real life”, whatever that means. This is where “The Rub” comes in. This weekend, we were out and about, with hockey and life. As the weekend wore on, I could feel the fatigue from socialization. I was talking to people, and I could feel myself feeling, well, a little bitter, maybe even a touch angry. I was a little overwhelmed with the “regular” conversations, talking about the games, or wins or losses, or the petty annoyances of life. This has nothing to do with the other parents or what they were saying to me. More than that, it is what I found myself saying, in an effort to be social and make conversation, rather than be the grieving woman sitting quietly in the corner reading my Pema Chodron book. I was pissing myself off. And ladies and gentlemen, that takes talent. It was as if I was watching myself step back into the minutia of life, the regular. The life where we complain and moan just for something to do, where we talk about the easy things, what’s on TV, who you’re cheering for in the Super bowl, upcoming travel, play time. The life where we take the silly stuff too seriously and the real stuff too lightly. The life where we will lament for weeks about a coworker who gave us a “look” one day at a meeting, but we will not allow ourselves five minutes to contemplate why we have this underlying feeling of sadness, or anger, or fear. I was upset with myself because I felt myself falling back into it. And that felt awful. I was having this whole internal struggle about who I am now versus who I was seven months ago.  Brady took me outside and we talk for a bit about how I am feeling. I was lamenting about why I was so different, why I couldn’t be just comfortable to step back into my regular life. And, as he began to speak to me, I realized I had married a guru. He called it “The Rub.” As he explained it to me, we have been living this very stripped down life. Every day, to survive, I focus on what is good and the love in our world, and the positive that surrounds us. This is not optional for me. This is not a gratitude journal I purchased after watching a self-help DVD on how to transform your life in thirty days. This is gratitude that I aggressively search for, much like Indiana Jones searched for treasure in one too many sequels. My gratitude is not found easily some days; it is discovered with faith and determination. It is found with choice. The Rub happens because I could feel the old life rub up against me, but I’m not that person anymore. And, I can never go back to the way it was before. Now that time has passed, and we are back into the routine of life, the rub is more pronounced. Regular life rubs up against us with more frequency and intensity, and we feel compelled to respond to it. It is much like oil and water trying to mix. What I felt was not anger or bitterness; it was the rub, reminding me that the person I have become since losing Stephen is different. And, as much as I thought so in high school, different is not a bad thing. The Rub is telling me, ” Don’t forget nor deny all that you’ve learned, the knowledge is too important. Don’t fall back into the same thought patterns. Figure out how to make the lessons part of your new life.” Today I am thankful for The Rub.

Your Wednesday Affirmation…

November 6th, 2013 | 1 comment

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Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday.  Here’s a quick affirmation for you for the day.  Is there something you need to let go?  Make room for the good stuff.

Love and kisses,

Kelly

 

75 years later…How we are still like the listeners of Orson Welles

November 6th, 2013 | no comments

bigstock-aliens-are-near-7345091Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in. ~Alan Alda~

This post is a week late, but I wanted to share with you nonetheless.  It seems that the hours are getting away from me these days.  Do you find that too?

Anyhoo, last week I was listening to a local morning show on my drive to the gym, and the hosts were talking about a memorable moment in history.  On October 30th in 1938, Orson Welles caused panic across a nation  with his broadcast of “War of the Worlds“—a realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion of Earth.

According to History.com, the show proceeded, as if breaking news just came in from one of their field reporters.  Here’s a snippet of how the show played out:

“Soon, an announcer was at the crash site describing a Martian emerging from a large metallic cylinder. “Good heavens,” he declared, “something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me … I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… it … ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”

The Martians mounted walking war machines and fired “heat-ray” weapons at the puny humans gathered around the crash site. They annihilated a force of 7,000 National Guardsman, and after being attacked by artillery and bombers the Martians released a poisonous gas into the air. Soon “Martian cylinders” landed in Chicago and St. Louis. The radio play was extremely realistic, with Welles employing sophisticated sound effects and his actors doing an excellent job portraying terrified announcers and other characters. An announcer reported that widespread panic had broken out in the vicinity of the landing sites, with thousands desperately trying to flee. In fact, that was not far from the truth.

Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!” “

Seventy Five Years later, we smile as we listen to how gullible and naïve people were back in the day. But truly, how much have we changed?

Sure, we are so connected globally. We can search for anything happening around the world with our phones. We can follow events as they happen via Twitter, and text from the bathroom, though I am not sure how hygienic that practice really is and would not recommend it.  And technology keeps advancing by the minute.

But truly, are we any different?

We believe that we can lose twenty pounds and eleven inches in thirty days by using this never before discovered secret formula from a plant in the Amazon.  No exercise required.

We click on a link in the hopes of becoming millionaires because someone photo shopped a picture of Bill Gates indicating he wants to give you money..  We “click here” to win a free iPad, and we pass along a scripted message about Facebook privacy settings without ever actually going to the help section of Facebook to read about their actual privacy rules for our accounts.

We, depending on our political affiliation, listen to one news channel or another, so we are spoon fed what we want to hear. We dismiss the “others” as spin, instead of digging deeper and finding that the truth usually lies somewhere right in the middle.

And, if we look a little deeper, what other assumptions are we making?  What are we taking at face value without really taking the time to find out the truth?  Are we making assumptions about people because they look different, speak a new language, believe different things, practice different religions, live in different neighborhoods or decide to live outside the lines?  Do we assume that all inhabitants of a particular geographical location are painted with the same brush because they live in relative proximity to one another?

I guess this anniversary got me thinking and wondering about just how much we’ve changed, or how much we’ve stayed the same.

So, this week, I am choosing to dig deeper for the truth, to seek knowledge about the things I do not understand.  And, if I must assume, I am going to assume the best about something or someone until I have all the facts.

We use fear of the unknown to divide ourselves, and we will never attain the peace we all talk about until we learn that those fears are not always accurate.  Are there bad people in this world?  Absolutely and unfortunately….there is indeed.  But do we need to blanket the world with fear until we all stand alone?  No. We need to have the courage to dig deeper and find the truth, even if it scares us. Even if it means we feel exposed and vulnerable, stepping outside of our comfort zones to seek the truth.

Radio listeners in 1938 made the mistake of assuming.

75 years later, shouldn’t we make the effort to advance as much as our technology?

Let me know if you see any little green men,

Kelly