“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” ― Barbara Kingsolver
Today is cold, but sunny. It is early morning. I am sitting with my coffee and Lupe, my elderly cat (she’s 19 years old). This morning she is relentless in her quest to have me pet her. She is sitting almost on top of the keyboard and keeps nudging her wet nose on my hands as I try to type. Crows are calling out to each other in the maples that finally have small red buds at the tips of each branch. If I listen carefully, I can hear tender tweets from small song birds too.
We have turned towards spring. Another year has passed. Almost all of the snow has melted (some piles still survive in the shade). The seeds, not only in the cold damp soil outside but in my heart, that germinated deep in the winter can begin to sprout in the warming days. Growth is a matter of priority now, it can not be stopped.
As I wrote about last week, my son’s father, D., passed away on the first day of spring three years ago now. This time of year will always be tangled with the memory of him laying in hospital bed, his body becoming an empty yellow bag of bones as his spirit left us. Spring is difficult now. It is getting easier but I still need extra self kindness and compassion. I am getting better at this.
While watching my best friend die was one of the hardest things I have had to go through, I did gain many gifts to help me grow from the experience. I learned how not to hide my pain. I spent those final days in the hospital crying hard with nowhere to hide. My grief, fear and complete bewilderment evident on my blotchy red tear-stained face. There were no private rooms for me to run to and be alone.
I cried walking down the hallway, riding the elevator, standing in line for a cup of coffee. Everyone saw my pain—my family, my son, the nurses and doctors, strangers and even people out in the community. My heart soften, I let my pain be seen and I didn’t break. As a matter of fact I grew stronger. Today when I feel like hiding when I am in pain, I remember the power of being seen when I am mess and I let myself be as I am. This is not always easy but always empowering.
Another way I grew from losing D is I became acutely aware of my own time here on earth. I can not take it for granted anymore. D. was close to my age and I had known him since I was 18 years old. I am not going to live forever. This awareness has given me courage to open my heart and share my writing, at least begin to do so. It has given me the courage to finally take action on allowing myself to embrace being a writer and to share my passion for writing as tool to help others open their hearts. This is no longer a dream or idea I will get to one day when I am ready. D’s death gave me to courage to leap even if I don’t feel ready. Most days I don’t feel ready but I leap anyways.
So today I am going to let the seeds planted a long time ago sprout and grow this year. I am going to finish putting the final details together for my How to Develop an Open Hearted Writing Practice course (I only have 5 spots left). I am going to draft a list a places I want to submit my writing for publication.
I am going to write and allow others to see me. Thank you loss for teaching me to grow.
Here is this week’s Inspiration to Open Your Heart.
Can’t Meditate? Here’s Why You Should Try Art By Maia Gambis- Many times in my life it was creating art that saved my life for all the reasons described in the this post. When D. died, I found it almost impossible to sit on my meditation cushion. It was taking photographs and writing that gave me a way out of myself and back into the world.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the Sunny Side of Surviving by Lenika Curz – Not sure if you have watched the new Netflix original, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, yet. If you haven’t I highly suggest you do and if you have, I would love to hear what your thoughts. I loved it myself. I needed the lightheartedness but more than that something transfixed about this show. Each night after an episode, I felt lighter and hopeful. This article helps me understand why. Yes we can survive trauma and not roll up in a ball.
Moments of Being by Dani Shapiro- I need lessons on energy management. A great post about knowing our own minds. I so grapple with this issue.
Meaning Changes as Life Unfolds by Parker Palmer- This is a beautiful post about how our perceptions of the past, including all those difficult times and so called mistakes. For those times when we did not show up fully as we wanted or even could, here is a thought, like a simple drop of water, to turn it around, to offer hope for the future and the past.
Thoughts on the Meditative Essay by Robert Vivian- Robert Vivian is a brilliant writer. His words are fluid, lyrical. He captures moments with such precision. Read his work and you will be amazed.
10 Personal Writing Ideas via New York Times- Looking to start writing personal essays or are you stuck with what to write for your next blog post? Here is a list of ten ideas to get you started.
May you have moments to notice to the unfolding spring. ~ Kira Elliott