This morning I walked around our yard, stopping now and then to stare up at the clouds and listen to the birds as they had their morning conversations. As I strolled across the lawn, I heard the whirring sound of hummingbirds overhead and noticed the delight that filled my body.
Something is shifting, I told myself. There may be light at the end of the dim tunnel I’ve been in after all.
The night I lost my father, I changed. And I changed again when I lost my best friend and then my sweet cat, Poupon.
The first months of grief were unsettling, to say the least. Everything felt askew as if my vision were slightly off-center in the strangest way, and I couldn’t see clearly or find comfort anywhere. As hard as it was, I made a decision to be with the rawness, the truth of the experience, rather than distract myself with work or some other vice.
I didn’t know it then, but I understand now that a decision to take on grief consciously and deliberately is an invitation to get to know ourselves as souls rather than the personalities that have been crafted to keep us safe and in line.
At first, it’s a tough invitation to accept. It’s hard to find your way through the world of loss. There’s the resistance to reality. So much anger and confusion. The guilt and regret. But eventually, you give in and accept the ride. That’s when the healing begins.
I’ve spent the last eight months becoming a good friend to myself as part of my healing process. It’s funny. When I think back to the relationships I had with men before I was married, I laugh at how challenging I thought they were, so fraught with drama and frustration. Who knew that building a deep and abiding relationship with oneself would be even harder.
But I’m coming around .
I’m learning to be good company for myself. I spend more time alone. I stop and notice where my body is, how I feel, and what I need. I’m kinder and gentler. When I think about tough memories like the night my dad died or the difficult process of putting Poupon to rest, I tell myself: Come back, sweetheart. There’s nothing helpful about reliving that pain. It’s okay. You’re okay. Come back here. Let’s stay in the moment together.
So much of life is designed to distract us from ourselves. The crazy news, social media, email, texts, you name it. It seems that from the day we’re born, we’re encouraged to engage, interact, please, perform, and in some way, show up for everyone else but ourselves.
No wonder the idea of being alone is terrifying for most people.
So many times over this past year I’ve recalled the wise words Louise Hay said to me while on the road having dinner together one night. “You will be with you longer than anyone else on the planet, sweetheart. Why not make it a good relationship?”
That’s the plan and this morning’s moment of delight and lightness confirmed that I’m on the right path.
I hope you’ll join me .
P.P.S. – The large print copies of The Unmistakable Touch of Grace have all been given away and I still have cassette tapes of other workshops/books that are being sent out. I also found a box of videotapes of my two PBS specials – Stand Up for Your Life and Create an Abundant Life. If you still have a VCR, please email email@example.com with VIDEO in the subject line, and give her your address. We’ll send you a copy (on a first-come, first-served basis).
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