Thursday, October 25, 2012

Moving from "Late" to "First" - losing the need to tell everyone I'm a widow

Lately I have noticed a change in myself. Something shifted. I no longer automatically refer to Mike as "my late husband". There are a lot of people who don't even know that I was once married. When he comes up in anticdote I sometimes refer to him as "my first husband". But always with a smile.

A year ago, I couldn't imagine not speaking about Mike. Not making sure that EVERYONE knew that I was once married, he had left and now I was a widow. Doctors, grocers who inquired about my crying over the produce, mechanics who questioned my inability to make a decision without staring at my phone - wanting to call Mike but not knowing the number to heaven: all of them heard that I USED to have my act together, and death ripped it apart.

Maybe its because I'm less "apart" these days. I don't feel conflicted, or even guilty about living. I don't feel mad at Mike the way I used to. And I don't feel like I need to justify his absence with the shock word "widowed".

This doesn't mean that I feel any less widowed, I guess I don't feel just widowed anymore. I've been married to Mike in death longer than I was in life. We spent 8 (mostly) happy years of our lives intertwined. That may be a lie. We probably spent 6 1/2 (mostly) happy years and 1 1/2 insanely hellish (with blotches of joy) years.

I believe that being with Mike was the most revolutionary force in my life to date. But that doesn't mean he, or even his death, has been the only force. The sands of the desert are scarred by wind, sun and water. Etching deep samskara or scars/grooves that show the next rounds of breath and tears the paths that have already been carved.


There will be more pain, there will be more loss. There are more arguments, more relationships. Though each is affected by the existing scars, the new experiences shape the scenery and are constantly changing it into something new.

My landscape has now been shaped by so much since the loss of Mike, that though the chasms of his death remain, the lines are no longer sharp and the edges not so steep. They have been weathered and worn with time and patience.

Here's a song that I heard that completely expresses how I feel about Mike and our marriage. It brings happy, contented tears to my eyes every time. No Regrets.

 Darling, no regrets
I'm so glad we met
Even though we made a mess
I'm glad we said yes
Darling, no regrets

You know I love you still
and I always will.
Love is not a test,
I know we did our best.
darling, no regrets

oh darling,
no regrets
oh darling,
no regrets

Darling, no regrets
Here's to your success
may all you do be blessed
i wish you every happiness
darling, no regrets

oh darling,
no regrets
oh darling,
no regrets

- "No Regrets"  Forest Sun

With Love and Light,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Are you enough for YOU

Are you enough for you?
When was the last time you validated yourself?

You can live life looking for someone else to validate you, prove your worth:
the pat on the head for a job done well,
a hug of appreciation for helping out a friend,
warm fuzzies of doing "the right thing".

But when was the last time you told yourself
that you are enough,
that you are doing the right thing,
that you are the best you can be?
Right now. As you are!

Are you enough- for you?

I am not advocating indiscriminate selfishness.
But you should be selfish with validating yourself.
You don't need to be enough for someone else,
in fact its really hard to be enough for anyone else,
if you aren't enough for you.

Sad is ok.
Happy is ok.
Grumpy is ok.
In Love is ok.

All of it is ok if it is what you are feeling.

You aren't going to be able to pass THROUGH sad,
and onto whatever is next,
if you don't sit in sad-land and accept it.

Listen to yourself.
Why are you sad?
It is probably pretty logical to be sad
Can you tell yourself its ok to be sad?

On the other end of the emotional spectrum,
Why should you hide when you are happy?
Even if others are struggling.
You may feel like you should hide your "glow"
because it will make them more sad.

Truth is, they are already sad,
hiding happiness is no way to reinforce that happiness exists
that there is something more worth hoping for.

I see this often in widows who are moving forward,
when they find happiness they try to hide it, so others don't feel bad.
Its the silliest thing!
What could be better for a grieving soul,
than to see one that was once just as pained as our own
flourishing with life and happiness.

My favorite quote is by Marianne Williamson.
It is so awesome that it is even mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela's 1994 inaugural speech.

(please read with intention):
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let your own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Will you re-read that quote one more time? Please

"We are all meant to shine, as children do"
What imagery!
Children do not hide their happy, or their sad.
They exist as perfect expressions of themselves.


Please accept the happy, the sad, the bitchy, the glamorous
They are all essential, they are all you.

I know that I can live a more fulfilling life:
one with more direction, worth and purpose.
When I live for ME
not you
not my partner.
Just live every day knowing that whatever I do
I am enough
for me.

Are you enough for you?

With Love and Light,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Malala's Dreams

Free Like Butterflies

"My life is like a movie, full of dreams. I used to dream of becoming famous, to see my valley freed from the clutches of Taliban, to see girls flying like butterflies, free from any restrictions. It is becoming as a reality so I am happy, happy, and very happy," she said. "I want to change the political system so there is social justice and equality and change in the status of girls and women. I plan to set up my own academy for girls." Malala Yousafzai

I haven't written on a current event yet. I have always left that to the journalists. In fact, I haven't felt like I had much to offer the writing world lately, so I have been much quieter.

But today I feel I need to speak up.

Today I will speak, purely because I can.

And that is why I must.

Because today, someone else can't.

Three days ago the young woman who wrote the quote above was critically shot in the head and neck. She was shot because she spoke out against the Taliban.
She wanted to be allowed to go to school. She didn't want to weigh life against education. But that is what she did.

"She was fearless. Whenever we spoke about it she would tell me how the Taliban is still alive and well, they can do anything, but of course that would never stop her," said filmmaker Adam Ellick.

She refused to be quiet about the war that was tearing her home of the Swat Valley apart. She continued her education at every chance and wasn't afraid to talk to the rest of the world about the injustice she saw. On Tuesday full grown men, members of the Pakistani Taliban, boarded a van packed with children and declared that she must be punished as they shot her at point blank range. She now lies in critical condition after several surgeries. Malala Yousafzai is 14 years old.
Malala Yousafzai - age 14

I don't know which shocks me more. The strength of this 14 year old girl to stand up, blog on BBC, meet with top government officials and plead for government intervention to the closure and destruction of schools.  Or the fact that any organized group would have the heart to be proud of shooting a child? A child. They have made public that they shot a child. And will continue to target her until they succeed in killing her. Again I ask - you shot a child?

But they were wrong. They thought that by shooting Malala they would silence her voice - but now her voice has been taken up by so many others. Women, men, school children and politicians all over the world are reading her story and becoming more informed. I have read comments by Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. She did exactly what she set out to do. I knew that it was difficult to gain higher education in other parts of the world and that I was blessed for having my Masters degree. I did not realize the depth of the fear and fighting denying elementary aged children from school. I thought ignorance, or inadequate facilities and poverty impeded education - not savage hatred.

As I look at the opportunities I take for granted. This week I watched my aunt making cloth letters for her daughters at the table while they slumber peacefully. The stories that I watch being read to my little sister. The books that I already have sitting on a shelf for children that have yet to be conceived. I take all of these things for granted. I know my children will be educated. I can say this with certainty. I didn't realize it needed to be a conviction.

When did this become worth killing for? When did someone decide they would kill to prevent a girl from sitting in a desk and learning?

When I write I usually have a point, a challenge, a goal. But today, I don't know what the point is.
I'm dumbfounded and shellshocked. Wondering how to make a difference and wondering how much else I don't know about.
I hope that the evil in this world will be met with the Malala's of this world. I hope, and I pray, and I commit that when the decision to sit down or stand up comes - I will stand up. Even when fear is around the corner with guns. Because speaking up is the whole reason we can think, and I would argue the whole reason we are here.

Malala's voice will not be silenced. Neither will mine. Will yours?

Other articles regarding Malala:
New York Times: Taliban Gun Down Girl Who Spoke Up for Rights
BBC: Malala Yousafzai: Portrait of the girl blogger

With Love and Light,