Tears, Joy and Homecoming

While out of town last week I received this beautiful email from Andrea, one of Ian’s (my 12-year-old son) extraordinary companions. She’s been with our family for about a year and is moving to San Francisco to attend graduate school at USF and receive her masters in marriage and family therapy. What a gift it was to read Andrea’s words expressing how Ian has influenced her life.I asked how she would feel if I shared her story on my blog and her jaw fell open and eyes opened wide with surprise and joy. Her expression said it all.

At the end I also share a video from a talk I gave in March at the Martha Beck Coach’s Conference in San Diego about what Ian teaches me every day about love and presence.

He’s one powerful teacher.

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Andrea's Story

Ian and I were relaxing on the couch in the living room after dinner. He sat on the couch, smiled and looked at me so sweetly and continually asked me to give him squeezes, noses, hugs and kisses. We just laughed and laughed together.

Then all of a sudden out of nowhere, I started crying.

In this moment it dawned on me how next week is my last week. I became unbelievably sad and thought about how much I'm going to miss Ian.

I told him that I can't even imagine him not being in my life and how I really want to keep him and your family in it. I sat there holding his hand while I cried and laughed all at the same time. I reflected on the things that I've learned from Ian and everything I have loved and appreciated about meeting him. He gazed into my eyes and sweetly touched my face while tears streamed down my cheeks.

It was the most raw and beautiful moment I've experienced in a long time. He slowly and gently fell asleep while we sat there clinging our arms together and I continued expressing and releasing every emotion through my body. It felt really good to let this out and share with Ian.

I am excited and ready to move on and pursue my dream of living in San Francisco, but admittedly, I'm also incredibly scared. I occasionally experience self doubts and insecurities about whether or not I can really do it. Then I remind myself that I can! And it's especially moments like this when I'm sitting here with Ian, crying and laughing, overfilled with sadness and joy, that I remember how much I love and feel a sense of purpose in creating, developing and maintaining these extraordinary relationships, such as the connection that I have been so fortunate to build and share with Ian this past year.

It's really made me think about what makes us who we are - how it's not just the tool of verbal communication that makes us human beings. It's our ability to sense and understand each other's bodies, energies, and souls that allows us to experience the deepest trust, love, and intimacy, completely transcending the power of words, you know? That has been a powerful realization for not only my relationships with my family, friends, boyfriend, and even complete strangers... but very importantly, with myself.

The last two years have been a long ride for me including the loss of my grandmother, a really ugly breakup and the transition from college it became an important time of self-exploration and soul searching. Up until these last few months I felt like utterly lost and disconnected. But it's moments like these that remind me that at the end of every long, busy, stressful, sometimes pain-in-the-ass day, it's just about being present with yourself, and being genuine with yourself.

To just breathe, let all of that go, and keep trucking through because of all thetiny, little beautiful things in life that make all of that B.S. worth it. That's how I feel with small moments with Ian - every time we just sit and laugh and play and he's smiling and we're looking into each other's eyes, it genuinely feels like the world stops spinning, and for that small moment, all of the other "big," not fun, ugly, scary stuff in life doesn't matter.

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And it's so funny because those are the moments that you live for and that you make the conscious effort to notice and appreciate with every person that you love and encounter especially with yourself! It's small moments like this that I want to remember and embrace every day.

I believe I was meant to meet you, Ian, and your family because there are so many things I've learned here that I am taking and carrying with me wherever I go. :)

Ian taught me to be here.

Love, Andrea

Listening...

Blue as blue Birds soaring, freedom

Laughter, conversations, exploration

Embodying the whole

Immersion in the moment of blissful play

Lion’s pose releases the foam

Obsession with the ocean

The fall into the dark, cold sea of unconsciousness

Forgetting

The call for help

Confusion

Mind-numbing panic arises and spreads like a tidal wave

Pain

Bodies move into action as a current of emotion swirls and rages

The seal appears as witness

Feel emotion flowing through

Fear, surrender, courage, despair, support, loneliness, strength, isolation, release, shame, compassion, love

Come pass on

Choice, always choice

Experience at the expense of innocence?

Step away, provide direction and comfort

Embrace, notice, wonder, embody, take it all in

Remembering

Beauty is always present

The rich colors of the sunset sky

Two little girls waving, inviting to return to innocence

Prayer and gratitude

Breathing

Hundreds of birds flying in chaos returning to patterns of grace

Choosing we over me

Connected

Being

Always and forever

Return Home After The Fall

A couple weeks ago, I watched the movie, “As It Is In Heaven” with a gathering of friends. It is full of rich symbolism and powerful insights about relationships, community, and sharing your unique "note" with the world.

THE FALL

You meet the main character as young boy practicing his violin in a wheat field when the local bullies track him down and beat him up. All he wants is to open people’s hearts with music and this act of violence breaks his heart. To protect him, his mother moves them to another town where he practices and practices and grows up to become a world-renowned conductor in high demand.

As an adult, he falls further and further from his dream and suffers for quite some time. One evening, during a performance, he walks off the stage and collapses and the doctor tells him his heart is failing.

In the next scene his agent refers to a concert scheduled seven years out and in that moment something shifts for the conductor. He listens to the invitation to return home to love and takes the leap that changes everything.

THE LEAP

He quits his life as a conductor and returns to his hometown and leads the church choir. He shows them how to each find their own unique note and sing together in harmony. He lives out his mission to open hearts with music and in the process opens his own heart and returns to a state of harmony.

If you haven't seen it, I invite you to watch and notice what you see and feel as his "note" ripples out and touches everyone around him. Oh, and it’s a Swedish movie with sub-titles. Have tissues nearby. Those Swedes know how to make a movie!

HARMONY

Before watching the movie, a wise woman shared a framework of understanding for the journey of life that resonated deeply with me. She showed us the movie to demonstrate it in action.

I invite you to open your heart to oneness and harmony and share through your unique note. If we all listen for the call and take the leap, imagine the possibilities of a world in a state of harmony. (Link to download the diagram document.)

Here's what I see. Each circle represents a state of being. The top circle represents oneness and harmony and I believe we are all born in this state. Then through challenge, heartbreak or trauma we fall into the bottom circle of separation and suffering and it is our thoughts about those experiences and resistance to feeling what wants to happen that keep us stuck spinning around and around.

The main character in the movie experienced several challenges and traumas in his life where he fell into the lower circle. He looped around and around for years suffering until that moment with his agent and he felt the pull to return home. The movie is a beautiful story of his journey home to love and harmony.

You may have recently fallen and feel stuck going around and around looping in the lower circle. As souls, we asked for this human experience and sometimes it gets really uncomfortable, especially when you you don't see a way out...yet! I've been there stuck many times saying, "Really, I asked for this?" Yep. You may think "I don't ever want to fall again." I hear you. As much as you in this moment may not want to ever fall again, I believe we will all continue to fall and that's okay. It's also completely okay to feel whatever emotion comes up for you when you do fall. Feeling is being human.

I see the separation as part of our maturation process and natural evolution of consciousness. Each fall provides the opportunity to practice taking the leap back to oneness through kindness, self-care and self-compassion. With practice and dropping the resistance, it becomes easier to move through the transition from separation to oneness.

My intention for sharing this framework is to bring light to the possibility and potential to find your way back home after a fall and show you that you always have the choice to lead your own experience. YAY! You've got this! I promise you, there is another way.

So, what is one act of self-care or self-compassion you can give yourself today?

SELF-CARE

If you’re coming up blank or don’t think you have time for self-care, here are some suggestions to get you started.

  1. Return to a sense of play in whatever form that looks like for you.
  2. Take a nap.
  3. Go for a walk.
  4. Call a friend you’ve wanted to connect with for a chat.
  5. Spend quality time with your beloved.
  6. Watch birds fly in patterns.
  7. Take a bath.
  8. Prepare a healthy, nourishing meal for yourself.
  9. Read a book you’ve wanted to read.
  10. Plan a personal retreat as simple as spending the afternoon in nature or as involved as spending a week trekking in a foreign land.

I would love the hear about you're favorite self-care ideas and invite you to share in the comments below.

SELF-COMPASSION

Self-compassion may be challenging if you have a loud self-critic, feel unworthy, or just haven’t practiced for a long time. To develop the practice of self-compassion and encourage new neural patterns, try this simple method I learned from one of my favorite people and neuropsychologist, Dr. Rick Hanson.

  1. Find the sense of being cared about by someone else, someone whom you have felt loved by in your life.
  2. Bring to mind someone you naturally feel compassion for like a child or loved one.
  3. Sink into the physical experience of compassion in your body, locate the sensation in your body and stay there for a while.
  4. Then shift the compassion to yourself, perhaps with phrases like: “May I not suffer. May the pain of this moment come pass on (compassion).”

The root of compassion is compassion for oneself. ~ Pema Chodron

I also highly recommend checking out Koelle Simpson's teleclass where she provides a beautiful explanation of the harmony of life.

May you find your way home after the fall.

 

 

The Time of Transition

If your last year was anything like mine, you may feel like you moved through some BIG transitions. Or you may be there right now feeling a bit stuck, confused and tired and like you want to crawl under the covers and stay there for a long time. I get that. I've been there.

At times, all I did was breathe in and out. My body let me know when I needed to slow down to listen and connect with my heart and soul. When I didn't listen, when I sped on, I lost traction and launched right off the track into the gravel. A few times it felt like I plowed straight into the concrete barrier wall. That was a sure way to get me to stop.

Sometimes the message needs to get loud to get your attention. What is your body saying to you?

Now I see that every breath, every veering off the track, each moment of confusion played an essential role in my personal integration.

It's all feedback.

When I slowed down and invited space in to all my relationships, I moved into the time of transition and began to see my way back home to my heart.

My mantra became, "Slow down to go faster." (And I'm open to smoother transitions too.)

I recently heard a story about a woman who walked down a dark road and fell into a pothole.  She got stuck for hours until that moment of transition when she figured out how to climb her way out. The next week she walked down the same dark street and fell into the pothole.  This time she remembered how to climb out and she reached the surface in minutes. The next week she walked down the same dark street and this time she noticed the pothole before falling in and walked around it completely. A week later, she walked down a different street.

I absolutely believe everyone can find their way through the transition and walk down another street. I've witnessed circumstances that would make any human being drop to their knees. I repeatedly stand in awe at the courage, vulnerability, self-compassion and strength my clients find within themselves to navigate their way through the raging seas of transition. The resilience and learning they integrate prepares them for the next street with a pot hole.

Where there is pain, there will be strength.  Where there is sadness, there will be wisdom.  Where there is fear, there will be renewal.

When you get curious and ask why you're stuck, you open the door for new awareness. When you explore your fears that hold you back from living in a state of flow, when you stop resisting, lean in and (taking a deep breath) embrace the stuckness, you discover your path to higher consciousness and freedom.

Let me know if you would like someone to walk beside you. I have my walking stick ready to go.