Clarissa Pinkola Estes “Refuse to fall down…”

Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven–
only you.
It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Go gently, dear one

Go gently, dear one.

There is no need to push, push, push.

Treat yourself with exquisite tenderness.

You have endured more than imagined possible.

You have swum in unimaginable depths and shadows

Breathe out fear and worry, rage and guilt.

Slowly open the knots in your heart.

Take small sips of breath and

Breathe in hope and possibility.

Pull in equanimity and calm.

Allow your heart to be soothed.

You have been through so much, so very much.

Go gently, dear one.

 

This is what grief looks like

Loss hammered you incessantly. Grief hollowed you out until you were gasping for breath, empty and fully spent. Your heart was broken and battered into a heap of crumbled bits and pieces. And still, you stood.

Anguish carved you open in unexpected and totally disorienting ways. You lost your footing; you lost your way. Nothing made sense anymore. There were moments when thoughts of your own death seemed like a cool pillow on a sleepless night, blessed relief for the heated pain that endlessly coursed through you. And still, you stood.

You stayed alternating between almost-catatonic numbness and torturous, cycling agony.

Please click here for the full article.

 

A blessing for times of crisis and chaos

During these days when the planetary movement is a rock-‘n-roll ride and many a wild card is being tossed in the air, may you feel the depth of your soul, the strength of your spirit, and the tenderness of your heart.  You are needed during these tumultuous times.

When the balance in your life has been shattered and you have been punched in the gut by loss and devastation, may you feel your angels and guides, ancestors and allies holding you closer.  You are not alone during these tumultuous times.

When you are exhausted, empty, and bone weary, may you give yourself permission to rest and to be.  You can surrender during these tumultuous times.

When you feel that hope belongs to the past, may you open yourself to possibility and allow yourself to breathe, breathe, breathe. You can connect to your life during these tumultuous times.

When you feel defenseless and vulnerable, may you feel the unseen arms of God around you. You are never alone during these tumultuous times.

When you are filled with terror and fear and your ears echo with an inner howling, may you find the deeply hidden and belonging-only-to-you, safe, inviolate sanctuary within your being where no one can hurt you. You can have a safe place during these tumultuous times.

When you are knee-deep in pain and rolling in crazy-making grief, may you honor the profound experience of your being and become like the water that flows in a myriad of forms of contraction and expansion. You can, when the moment is right, find hard-won acceptance during these tumultuous times.

When you are lost and adrift with no anchor to call home, may you remember who you are and the multitudinous gifts, graces, hard knocks, and experiences that make you the one-of-a-kind, kick-ass human being that you are. You can be survivor during these tumultuous times.

 

© Adele Ryan McDowell

 

Collateral damage

The 50 year-old American Association of Suicidology’s  (AAS) mission is, in brief, developing strategies to prevent suicide,  advancing education and scholarly work around suicide and, promoting research about and training in suicide. Edwin Schneidman, Ph.D., the founding President of AAS, said:

Survivors of suicide represent the largest mental health casualties related to suicide.

Of course, this is heartbreakingly true. Suicide leaves a wake of complicated grief and trauma. It is a hero’s journey to work through the emotional undertow and dig out of the dark hole to rebuild a shattered live.

The taboo has been broken. You are knee-deep in loss, shock and whirling feelings. It seems insurmountable. Your grief is debilitating; your pain is off-the-charts. It’s hard to breathe. You hold the thought of the very thing that has broken you as a possible way to end your own pain.

For your consideration, here is a link that you might find helpful about being a of a suicidal loss and another link about understanding the grief of suicide.

Go gently. It takes time. There will be a day when you can take a deep breath.

 

Loss and grief

Loss is universal. It is also idiosyncratic and unique. We each handle loss in our own way. There is no right or wrong way to come to terms with death.

It is hard, exhausting, and excruciating work to make sense of the un-sensible and to unpack and repack a life that you have held with such love and affection. You will need time and space to work through all the layers of feelings as you remember and revisit all that you experienced and shared with the one you lost.

Loss requires time, time to accept the unacceptable and time to feel the undulations and reverberations of your loss. There is no time limit—grief takes as long as it takes. Grief opens you up in ways you never thought possible. Unexpectedly, you will find yourself remembering other losses in your life as well. Grief builds upon grief; like pearls strung on a necklace, every loss becomes connected close to your heart.

Trauma is also a cumulative experience. We hold traumatic events in our cellular memories. They are not forgotten. And like grief, a new trauma can trigger feelings from a prior trauma. This is important to consider, as suicide is both a traumatic and grief-filled experience. The double whammy of grief and trauma can sometimes be so overwhelming that it is hard for you to stand or eat or sleep or even make simple conversation. Dealing with a suicidal loss requires extreme gentleness as you wade through the minefields of emotional residue.

Understand that grief can be crazy-making. Your world is upside down and nothing makes sense. You have lost the terra firma upon which you have grounded yourself. Now, everything is up in the air. There are no more givens or constants; everything seems like a variable. One ER nurse told a grieving mom, “Do not be surprised if you hear the voice of your daughter. It is not abnormal to hear voices of the deceased, especially at the beginning.”

There is no one way to grieve and deal with loss. It is such a difficult process of both accepting the unacceptable and letting go of your most cherished. It takes time to deal with the layers and work your way back to solid ground.

Be gentle and take precious care. You are not alone.

Jan Richardson’s Blessing the House of the Heart

Blessing the House of the Heart

pinkheart
If you could see
the way this blessing
has inscribed itself
on every wall
of your heart,
writing its shining line
across every doorway,
tracing the edge
of every window
and table
and hall—
if you could see this,
you would never question
where home is
or whether it has
a welcome for you.
This blessing wishes
to give you
a glimpse.
It will not tell you
it has been waiting.
It will not tell you
it has been keeping watch.
It would not
want you to know
just how long
it has been holding
this quiet vigil
for you.
It simply wants you
to see what it sees,
wants you to know
what it knows—
how this blessing
already blazes in you,
illuminating every corner
of your broken
and beautiful heart.
—Jan Richardson
from The Cure for Sorrow

“A blessing meets us in the place of our deepest loss. In that place, it gives us a glimpse of wholeness and claims that wholeness here and now.”

—from the Introduction of The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

Jan’s much-anticipated new book enters with heartbreaking honesty into the rending that loss brings. It moves, too, into the unexpected shelters of solace and hope, inviting us to recognize the presence of love that, as she writes, is “sorrow’s most lasting cure.”

This is no ordinary goodbye

Suicide leaves you in a complicated place.

Grief and trauma are intertwined.

This is no ordinary goodbye.

Go gently.

Be kind to yourself.

Take as much time as you need.

Remember.

Cry some more.

Rant and rage.

Love some more.

It’s all ok.

In fact, it’s perfect.

Your heart will lead you

into a place of shelter.

Take precious care.

This is no ordinary goodbye.

 

Odd Thomas on grief

Grief can destroy you – or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of the each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it.

But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it.

The answer to the mystery of existence is the loved you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”

character Odd Thomas, from Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

 

Odd Thomas is a wonderfully unique character created by novelist Dean Koontz in a series of seven unusual mysteries. These words are from the fourth book in the series, Odd Hours. I resonated with Odd’s words on loving imperfectly, the deeper beauty of loss, and the sacredness of love. Perhaps, you will as well.

Go in peace. 

The five reminders from loss

The hard-flint beauty of loss is that it serves as a teacher. Loss reminds us what has become “back-burnered” in the daily press of life.

1. Life is short.

2. Life is precious.

3. What matters most is love … who we love, how we love, what we love and when we choose to open ourselves with courage and vulnerability to love.

4. Loss precipitates change.

5. Loss reminds us that we still have time to fine-tune the focus our lives, re-arrange our priorities, revitalize connections and be the love we want to be.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see the gifts of sorrow, but they are present and, equally, patient until we are ready to claim them.

May you be held in peace.