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Yoga can be a wonderful personal practice–body, mind, and spirit.  Through asanas we can bend our body, stretch our muscles, and flex our physicality.  Internally we can learn to quiet the mind, decrease anxiety, and find inner calm and centeredness.  In the intangibles of spiritual connection we can find through space to breathe we find connection to something larger than the self, something part of a collective whole and a union that persists inside ourselves and out.  From this we can, if we choose, extend that unity further.  If we choose.

I am coming to the close of my teacher training, beginning my “Yoga for Trauma Survivors” class and planning forward working and preparing for a variety of upcoming talks on mind/body wellness, yoga for mental health, and complementary therapies at the NASW Conference in Florida, at hOMe yoga in Mahwah, New Jersey, and in a graduate elective at a university here in Southern Florida.  As I prepare to move out of this phase of my life, an intensive training phase, and into an intensive action phase I think of the extension and arms of yoga.  How far can yoga reach?  As far as your mind and metaphors can reach–and much further forward than I can stretch in forward bend.

Karma yoga, selfless service, and yoga as action is becoming more and more synonymous as yoga communities are taking the internal calm of mind that comes from meditation and a quiet graceful posture and using that clarity to effect change in the world around them.  Such figures as Seane Corn and her “Off the Mat and Into the World” campaign highlight the ways in which yoga and a well-known voice can be channeled to create change both on the mat and in the world at large.  But we also don’t need to have a voice that is known to say something of value.  Yoga can imbue us with a sense of strength, empowerment, grounding, and centering and these essential tools of being can be taken by any yogi or yogini and be tailored for wherever your heart and passions might lead you.

I wrote earlier this month about Swami Padma, of the Sivananda Center in San Francisco, and his work to bring yoga to inmates in the California Prison System.  This is just another example of one person’s passion creating a ripple effect, a focus on a cause that might otherwise be ignored, and monies and services put in place as a result.  Imagine what you could do taking a combination of your passions, creativity, yogic centeredness, and spirit for action and creating change in the world.  Whatever your passion is, wherever your voice takes you, you have the potential to effect change for a population or a cause that otherwise could have been ignored.  What you believe in matters.  What you fight for can make a difference.  Lending your voice, even if it is just the voice of one, can change the hearts and minds of many.  We all have the potential to create ripples of change in this world; even ripples that could extend farther and wider than your imagination can imagine.

Lately, as I extend and deepen my own yoga practice, center inward more in meditative moments, follow my passion and lend my voice to what I believe in the more it seems that voice and these words of mine seem to blossom and grow branches upon branches.  I am still not sure how far this will take me or how much I will be able to do but I am setting my sights on infinity and anything along the way, on my pursuit, amazing and beautiful things are happening.  Connections are being made, changes are happening almost organically, and the contagion that is my own passion seems to spread as I open my mouth, write my words, and purvey my dreams for what could be.

My aspirations reach as far as creating a nonprofit and learning institute that could bring complementary therapies and yoga for mental health to a variety of populations at low to no cost as well as train persons in the field of yoga, mental health, and complementary therapies how to integrate the two and be sensitive to the needs and issues of mental health populations.  I believe healing and the capacity to heal can emanate from all manner of creative and holistic approaches and in my own trauma healing yoga, contemplative practices, and animal-bond/relational experiences have been profound.  I want to extend these tools to anyone I can.  So for now I will speak anywhere I can on the matter, create programs wherever I have the option to, and hope for a future where I can reach past the branches of my own dreams into something even more profound than I could imagine.

What do you dream about?  What do your passions lie?  What would you do to effect change in the world you are in, the life you have, and using whatever skills or knowledge you have at your disposal?  It is amazing the well of talent and internal resources we all have.  Every person is the authority on something or passionate for something that might be ignored by everyone else.  Every voice matters!  How are you going to use yours?

I began this blog, once upon a warmish New Jersey summer, in aspirations of great daily feats and defeats being regailed on the page during an arduous but manageable 8 weeks in yoga school.  I am rounding the end of week four, reaching the halfway point of the program, and find that my prolific nature has been more than somewhat stunted by no sleep, 5am wake ups, less sleep, more 5 am wakeups, work, yoga homework, work, more homework, even less sleep, and always, always 5am wakeups!

I have learned an immense amount in a short period of time, about self, perspective, and as my yoga teacher says: “Attitude, attitude, attitude.”  And I cannot wait to relay and give full account of it in detail.  Every inspiring moment, and flickering insight–I want to share in it, revel in it, learn more in the writing of it.  I find, however, that most of my reflection time lately is done in the 20 minutes of silence during morning meditation, before chants, and when my mind is supposed to be silent but instead clamoring with thoughts and inspirations that never make it to the page because by 630am my brain has begun to switch into “Survive through the day” mode and all whimsy and revelling is lost in exhaustion. 

So, here I sit, at 8:20 EST, feeling like it’s 1am.  And feeling a bit like a marathoner that accidentally sprinted the first leg of the race, cramped, and is way behind the others…huffing and puffing and searching for the finish line but not quite seeing it yet.  I have nothing particularly insightful buzzing in my groggy mind and only the thoughts of all the “should haves” put off till tomorrow and “wish I coulds” temporarily on hold. 

This experience is certainly once in a lifetime and quite blissful even in the painful moments (which are a’plenty!).  But I fear, for today, I have little in the way of clarity and great inspiration and much in the way of sheep counting and daydreaming of nightdreaming. 

I am excited to say that my newly revamped website will be online at www.embodymentalhealth.com probably by week’s end!  It is in limbo while it is being renovated and made lovely by my wonderful graphic artist miss Sandra Busta of Pole to Pole Consulting.

I am also excited to preliminarily announce a new collaboration with the lovely Mindy and the gang over at Wish Studio who is also launching a revamped site this spring complete with virtual studio space!  I will be presenting an e-course over there; more info to come soon! 

ALL MY BEST TO EVERYONE OUT THERE STRUGGLING THROUGH THE POSSIBILITIES IN THE IMPOSSIBLE & REACHING FOR DREAMS AND WISHES (both conscious ones and slumbering ones)!

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.

Thomas Merton

 

Thomas Merton, who also wrote the book of essays entitled No Man Is An Island, wrote with such clarity and certitude it is hard to argue with the above statement or the one in the title of his short stories.  I have often had a problem trying to defy both of his certainties in my life–living life in intensity rather than balance and in solitary defiance rather than union with all.  I have gotten better as I age, and learn, and read more of the wisdom of people like Merton, but somehow the roots of my old patterns seem to rear their ugly heads just when I think I am dissolving them.  Like in HEADSTANDS. 

Headstands are the symbolic and literal depiction of balance.  If you are out of balance you may be able to hide it in a shoulder stand or even a tree pose but somehow the headstand always knows.  And I am a flunkie of the headstand barometer of balance.  I fall, I flop, I roll out, and crumple up.  Fear, indecision, uncertainty, and lack of personal balance all come falling onto the floor with me and leave me feeling bare.  I am brutally aware of my faltering points in headstand, or rather not-in-headstand, in a way that somehow I can ignore in the world off the mat. 

But the headstand knows–and it towers over me in mockery of what I cannot yet do.  Let go enough to just give over to the unknown.  Find centeredness at my inner core unshakable even when the world topples on its head and flips upside down.  But I am working on it and I breathe and release and try again, lifting off the mat for a moment before crumbling down again. 

I may be floppy and fumbling and anything but graceful but I persist.  And one day, hopefully sooner than later, I will lift off with confidence and equilibrium–proving that even when the world flips 180 degrees I can stand firmly on my head and face it.

 HAVE A WONDEFUL, BALANCED , & CENTERED WEEKEND!

some day i'll bring you flowers, frozen flowers of death by e3000 on flickr

“Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality”
Emily Dickinson

 

 

This past week I have been exhausted by things as simple as walking, sitting, and just plain healing.  It has been a frustrating process segwaying back into work only to come home every night too tired to even think let alone write.   I find myself daily contemplating my own fragility, the tender care I have to give to this soft human soul casing.  I have been eating as healthfully as I ever have, trying to give my body the rest it requests from me, and becoming a regular acupuncture patient at a local Doctor of Oriental Medicine’s office who specializes in endometriosis.  With each day I feel more solid, more complete, more functionally human by all those standards we judge ourselves–mobility, brain function ability, and functionality in the workplace. 

 

And then the other day I find my thoughts meandering, after a particularly vivid and grotesque depiction by a client of experiencing the death of a loved one, how I have never seen death.  I have heard it in the therapy room in story after vivid story but I had never seen it, watched life leaving another human being and staring that moment of mortality in the eye. Figuratively that is what I do all day, stare life and death and morbid recollections of others in the eye, but literally, palpably, I had never had to experience it.  I wondered what that was like and how I would react given that confrontation.

 

Last night I was given my chance to see–morbidly, grotesquely, painfully, and in a shock inducing way by the side of a road in a small town on a quiet Saturday night. 

 

I saw life leave a human being in a haze of squealing tires, smoking brakes, mangled bicycle, limbs flying, life leaving, wife screaming.  I will not talk any further about the incident itself,  but I will say it was more than I ever could have imagined in death and more than I would ever have wanted to be a part of. 

 

I found myself last night unable to sleep, unable to process, unable to eat, unable to both think about it and think about anything else.  The shrill screams of a soon to be grieving widow echoing in my ear and the sight of ground pooled with blood and brokeness repeating in my mind. 

 

I found myself waking today with those same thoughts reverberating through my conciousness and aching in my soul in mourning for so many lives that were touched by one moment in time and one small blip on the timeline of human existence that I will never forget.  In a minute a woman lost her husband, a man lost his life, another faced with charges of vehicular homicide in front of them, and a crowd of people–“witnesses” both in legal and philosophical senses–who will carry the memory and fragmented moments with them forever of the sight and sound and brutality of watching such a death occur.

 

I also found myself reevaluating my own reality.  Life, such a fleeting and fragile experience, that gives us no promise of tomorrow or no foresight to know how many tomorrows we have to live.  Living for today, loving like now is forever, and making choices as if they really matter has really become alive in me in a way like never before.  That woman who lost her husband was my age, could have been me, and that thought makes me rethink my whole world view in a way I never could have imagined–reframing what is important and what is urgent in my own life. 

 

All the clients and the years of hearing about the carnage of life and death in an instant of pain and screaming and blood is something I have heard often, heard daily, and my empathy was something I thought covered the weight and circumference of such an experience.  Now knowing what it means to be witness to that moment when a life goes out in this world in such a graphic fury of motion and gruesomeness I find myself knowing my client’s experience in a new and personal way.  It is something I never wished for but an element of human experience I now share with them.

 

I feel life today in a different way–both tainted with pain and sadness and simultaneously made furiously bright and real and scorching with urgency like never before.  I love my husband more profoundly.  I feel the sunlight on my face with more appreciation.  I want to do the things I feared for no valid reason at all because I should–because it’s time and there is no guarantee of time to come.  I want to care for my body in the ways I know how because all we can control is our actions in this world and try to have reverence and preservation of the life we live, the body we have, the good things we do in the world, and the things that we can do for others today. 

 

Live in the now.  Love the ones you love as much as you can.  Be sincere in your endeavors and only endeavor in those things that are sincere.  Be your best you today and be grateful for every today that you have. 

 

cemetary angel 002 by AdamSelwood on flickr

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”

James Dean

Pain by Michelle Brea on flickr 

“What is truer than truth? Answer: The story.”

Old Jewish Saying and repeated by Isabelle Allende in her TED talk.

 

There is a lot of my life from 18 to 20 years of age that I just don’t remember.  Most of it in fact.  In retrospect and following therapeutic training I know that to be a form of trauma related repression.  I just hit overload and shut down.  I remained on autopilot for two very self-destructive years during which my rampant PTSD symptomotology took a front seat and my conscious self was somewhere locked in the trunk. 

 

I built a shell around myself so I could block out anything hurtful or scary at a moment’s notice by shutting down, but in truth the shell was a mirage of my own making–because instead of feeling nothing I felt everything–I was so sensitive I was raw.  I shut down constantly and in that I lost a lot of my current day perception of what happened when and many details are lost altogether. 

 

I would block out and black out (technically known as dissociation) and not really be sure what happened after: it was like watching a blurry movie of myself from a short distance–sound was dulled, images were faded, it was often like living a half life.  It helped me survive but not live.  I was nothing but shell with nerves exposed underneath. 

 

I was raped for the first time somewhere between 18 and 19 (again time is not so clear during that period).  The second time, by another perpetrator, was somewhere between 19 and 20.  I no longer blame myself for the second rape, but I know professionally that my downward slide following the first incident made me more vulnerable to another assault and my autopilot living added to that vulnerability.  Following the second assault I could no longer regulate any part of myself: I was up and then down, I was isolative and then explosive, I was spiraling and dizzy and petrified of the world. 

 

Escape, escape, escape.  That was all I did.  Long before I fled New Jersey I had fled myself–the Teresa from before my assaults was somewhere deep inside and the shell grew so thick and heavy that I could no longer remember what came before it.  I was hiding inside myself and from myself.  I was locking my memories so far down that I choked on them. 

 

My trauma clients often reference the visual of a “box” or a “closet” where everything painful and traumatic is crammed in and locked away and when it accidentally opens you push it back in with all the strength you have–that is definitely an apt description. 

 

When you are stuck inside your trauma all that seeps out is your traumatized symptoms and all the unhealthy and unpleasant behaviors that follow, all you can see is survival.  You want to make it to tomorrow without snapping and that is the only goal.  You cannot live.  You cannot love.  You cannot think about moving forward.  You are locked in the “box” you created living under the illusion that you have somehow contained the collateral damage. 

 

From 18 to 20 I was in the thick of it all.  When I moved to Colorado at twenty I thought I was making a big step and a change that would change my brain and free my body.  The only thing that really changed was scenery. 

 

I loved the mountains that rose as if heaven bound.  I loved the clear, crisp air and views of horses running wildly in fields, but inside my mind–when I paused too long or closed my eyes–there I was, still in my box, still petrified, still clinging to my shell. 

 

I woke one day. 

 

I woke in a loud clap of thunder and a moment full of sound and fury and everything I had been avoiding.  I was sitting in a class on Front Range Community College Campus in Fort Collins.  I had decided to go back to school and finish up that bachelors degree I had abandoned during the period of my first rape—part of me thought, since nothing else had worked, if I could just pick up where I left off I could erase the past that had taken me so far from anything resembling a future.  I was sitting in some Sex Ed type class and tapping out my boredom with my pen.  It was one of those banal required courses in the degree curriculum and my anticipation was learning something akin to high school health class.  Then it happened.   

 

The teacher began discussing sexual assault and sex crime “victims” (can I mention I still hate the word victim and all the implied vulnerability and helplessness it imbued in it).  He spoke about acquaintance rape and the incidence of sexual assaults in college aged women. 

 

After that I don’t know what he said because all I knew was that I felt dizzy and nauseous and my extremities went numb.  I couldn’t breathe.  It was only by the time I reached the bathroom, leaning over the toilet bowl with my knees on the floor and my hands shaking and pale, that I realized I had, had a panic attack. 

 

That was the moment I woke up. 

I realized this trauma thing I had tried to avoid was real.  The rape was real.  My state of frozen-in-symptoms-rampant-PTSD was real (although I could not identify it diagnostically at the time I knew it was trauma).   And most of all I realized with a great oomph of panic attack finality that I could not avoid any of this thing inside of me anymore—not even in a benign antiseptic classroom environment.  I realized I didn’t want to spend my life wondering when I would have to fall onto a bathroom floor again.  So I went home that day, looked up a Sex Trauma Therapist, and, still somewhat skeptical and grudgingly, I went to the appointment. 

 

The night after my first session with that therapist I had the worst nightmare I have ever had.  

 

It is for that reason that even before I knew much about the therapeutic process, early in my graduate school internships, I would forewarn my trauma clients about a potential “outbreak” of sorts in their PTSD following their first session.  Opening the box held tight and controlled for so long can create a sort of allergic initial response.  Your mind is a clever thing that often has a mind of its own when it comes to trauma—it has been protecting you for so long from your own memories and emotions it becomes startled by an opening up of all that was hidden.  Before I knew enough as the trauma therapist, the trauma survivor in me knew to warn my clients of this occurrence.  Since then, the trauma therapist in me learned and now understands the many onion-like layers of “why”.  

 

I woke from my nightmare shaking with the vision of a shadowy figure moving in front of me through my bedroom.

 

All I could feel was the moment following my first rape.  I was lying in the wet grass on the earthen floor of a park in New Jersey, afraid to breathe.  I was nauseous and numb and my hair was wet with dew.  My insides were shaking but my body was frozen and my fists were clenched.  I could hear the frogs and the crickets and see the dirt path that led out but I couldn’t get there.  I could smell his breath and see his smirk and hear his mocking voice saying words I’ll never forget, “You’re not going to tell people I raped you or something, right?”

 

I closed and opened my eyes and I was back in my apartment, in Colorado, 4 years after that night in the grass.  Tears were on my cheeks and sweat was covering my body.  I began to tremble and cry as if I were purging all the memories of those nights I had held from my conscious memory for so long.  My eyes adjusted to the dark and the shadow faded from view.  I steadied myself against the large oak posts of my bed. 

 

I jolted up, turned all the lights on in my apartment, and spent the rest of that night on my bathroom floor. 

 

I knew something cataclysmic had occurred.  I felt like these ghosts that had been following me had to be exorcised out of my mind and out of my internal closet before I could start fresh.  Something about the palpable nature of that nightmare made me believe that was the door to my locked closet swinging open and something new opening up inside of me–something alive.   

 

 Ego is not a dirty word by Michelle Brea on flickr

 

I have had nightmares since that night, but never one like that again.  I have never had to sleep on the bathroom floor or see shadows that weren’t there hovering over my bed.  I never went back to that park distilled in my mind or had to find myself lying in the grass without warning. 

 

I never had to go back to that park, until I wanted to, and then I did. 

 

I was in graduate school when I went back.  I had come so far and I felt so unburdened from so much of my traumatic past.  My life was no longer governed by rampant symptoms, but rather by the course of my chosen path: A life path that had taken me through an undergraduate degree in English with a Minor in Women’s Studies.  I had explored all my man-rage via feminist courses, empowered myself in my womanhood, and come out a very healthful, non-raging feminist at the end. 

 

I had written out my story, written both my stories actually, and realized after I finished that much of the details didn’t matter.  I realized that I was the story—the testament to my own survival and I didn’t have to write every painful minute of rape I could recall to prove that to myself.

 

I had found my way into graduate school for a Masters in Clinical Social Work.  I fully immersed in the coursework and quickly found my focus and passion—traumatology and trauma therapy. 

 

I had found a way to master my pain and give my experience a meaningful purpose.  I had found that my empathy and understanding of trauma as a survivor, without all my own symptoms to bleed all over myself and others, brought me to a place of usefulness in the field.  I understood trauma from the inside, from the belly of the beast. 

 

This combined with my intellectual and academic capacity to absorb all the psychology, biology, and behavioral aspects of the disorder made me both trained and intuitive, simultaneously, when it came to working with traumatized persons.  I was passionate about the work and I knew it was going to form my life’s professional pursuits.

 

I had begun to live.  I had begun to love life.  But I had not yet begun to love anyone else, at least not a man.  And every time I was in South Orange, New Jersey I always drove every way I could to avoid going past that park.  The park where so many things began and so many more things ended. 

 

And I had one of those moments of epiphany where I knew I had to go back.  I didn’t want to remain afraid of anything—not even one solitary park in a small town in New Jersey. 

 

Of all the things that had gone from my memory in a blaze of anguish, like what time of year it was when the assault happened—was it Spring or was it Fall?  Or what year was it—was I 18 or 19 when it happened?–I remembered the park. 

 

I remember how he parked his car on the slight slope on the side of the hill.  I remember walking on the dirt trail that wove through the brush into the open field.  I remember the tall grasses tickling my ankles and the sounds of night turning into early morning. 

 

So I went back. 

 

I walked down the dirt path and felt the grass on my legs.  I walked into the clearing to see not a dark early dawn, but a bright sunny afternoon.  The sun hit my face and grass tickled between my sandals.  I walked into the field to approximately the spot where he had put his blanket down for us to sit on. 

 

I sat in the grass and then I lay down.  I looked up into the sun and heard the sound of cars pulling up.  I heard a child and her mother laughing.  I smiled and I breathed in the grass scented air.  My hands touched the earthen floor and I felt the soft tickle of wildflowers under my fingertips.  I made a fist and pulled a few up from the soil.  I pulled them to my nose and breathed in and then breathed in deeper.  The air and scent of flowers filled my lungs and I smiled.  I could breathe again.  In that grass where I lost my breath years before, I could breathe again. 

 

I may not have returned to who I was before that night, we are always changed by our experiences, but I found something there in the grass that I had lost.  A piece of softness and bliss that I thought I could never retrieve. 

 

I felt a freedom in my own breath as I let go of one last strand of that petrified fear—I opened the box and let it all go.  I let the park go and I walked out the way I came—into the sunlight and into my future. 

  

(Below) Photo of me as a child, breathing in the scent of park grasses and enjoying the bliss of wildflowers.

distilled

 

Although the world is full of suffering,
it is also full of the overcoming of it.

 
Helen Keller

 

 

RED RAIN by Helah Al Helal on flickr

 

Metaphorically–Singing in the rain, metaphorically.  No one, trust me no one wants to see me sing, not even in the rain.  I save that glorious pleasure for solo car rides and loud showers. 

 

The intent of this post is to talk about, from a very personal perspective, trying to find the silver lining, see the bright side, look at the glass half full, and any other kitschy association to taking our unexpected roadblocks as opportunities to carve out new trails.  I am trying very hard to keep that mindset and, surprisingly, I find the more I search for the better the more “better” appears. 

 

 

Forget It by Helal Al Helals flickr

 

 

In the 48 plus hours since writing my bright and spirited “The Year of the Dog” post many things have happened and many subsequent decisions have been made–the initiator to all being that my husband and I found out that his guarantee transfer that had lingered in “on hold” for a month had fallen through due to beurocratic blah blah blah.  That left us wondering, “What next?”  This is what we came up with:

 

1)  My husband is going to continue working in New Jersey through November 6th and try to get a few more checks worth of money in before we, potentially, become a house no longer divided in half but one with a household income divided in half.  He will then move to Florida and actively look for whatever job possible, hopefully in his area of passion which is substance abuse counseling, but anything to bring some income in to supplement my salary.  He will also be returning, to my great pleasure, to school to obtain his Masters in Social Work starting next Fall 2010. 

 

2)  I will, to my great displeasure, have to postpone my Yoga Teacher Training by two months and begin the next series of trainings in mid January.  I will be a single doggie mama with three pups at home and cannot in good conscience (without ending up on Animal Planet Cops or feeling like I should) leave them home from dawn till past dusk so I can pursue my holistic dreams. 

 

3)  On a completely different note I have decided it may be necessary to look into Doggie Ritalin.  I am beginning to wonder if there can be a genetic marker in a certain breed for ADHD–if so Jack Russell is that breed.  My little Gracie is an unstoppable, unflappable, unending spring (literally, she bounces straight in the air like a spring) of energy and, possibly, psychosis.  O.k., so I may not be feeding her handfuls of puppy prescriptions anytime soon, but I may have to invest in some kind of doggie treadmill–if there is such a thing.  I think the only thing my Jack Russell birthday puppy has taught me about thirty is that thirty may be too old for a Jack Russell puppy.  But we will forge forward, my family of dysfunctional fur-babies and I:  Guinness the Neurotic, Gaia the Narcissist, and Gracie the Psychotically Hyper. 

 

 

A 48 HOUR RETROSPECTIVE…

Going backwards in time to 48 hours ago I was not sure what to do or what to think about our sudden family perdicament.  Part of me wanted to cry, part wanted to scream, part wanted to just give up.  Fortunately none of those were a dominant enough part of me to reak unproductive havoc although each part of me had its moment in the last couple of days. 

 

I thought about a thirtieth birthday in a real limbo and spent alone 1200 miles away from my husband and in a state of uncertainty about more than the number 30.  I thought about the potential pressures of getting all the bills paid and the scary prospect of not succeeding.  I thought of aspirations of sitting in a dimly lit room, breathing, learning, and meditating daily falling away as were my plans and hopes for all things related to this October. 

 

Money & Meditation: two completely converse distractions.

 

So, I thought, how could I feel so hopeful Monday and in such desperation by Tuesday.  I realized the only piece I could affect between the two was not the money or the postponed meditation but my perspective, perception, and state of mind.  All these strengths I have been building on the past month or so on this blog finally came to an application head–I needed full forces aligned to find the light in the storm, the brighter side, the inspiration to sing even in the rain. 

 

I thought about how my husband’s job falling through had gave him the final push necessary to actively pursue his masters degree–a very good thing.  I thought about how having the next two months to get our lives in order, the household in order, and actually have some time with my husband when he gets down here in a month was perhaps a bit of a blessing.  I thought about how much all of these trials of reality have brought my marital relationship to its strongest place and taught my husband and I an immense amount about ourselves individually, the other partner, and us collectively.  I thought that while I don’t know how I feel about the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason,”  that I do believe more and more, “We can find reason and purpose in everything that happens.” 

 

The best way to start the week it is with a flower by FL4Y on flickr

 

So I find myself 48 hours later in somewhat of the same state of mind as I was originally.  It took me a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions to get here and an immense amount of support, some unexpectedly beautiful, from friends, family, and coworkers, old and new.  And most important, the mutual support of my husband and I, for each other as well look at each other partner’s respective difficulties within this predicament. 

 

And to give a little bit of melodic sound (if not actual singing) to the storm, my husband called last night saying that he was able to find a dirt cheap flight for Thursday, October 15.  So I guess I will not have to resort to party hats for the fur-kids and dogfood cake for my birthday after all–yes, I contemplated it. 

 

But more than that I realized how touched I was by my husband’s gesture towards me, our relationship, and to the importance of a birthday not spent alone.  I found myself, last night, on the other end of the phone crying tears not of self-pity or anger but of gratitude–no one was more surprised than I at how much it meant to me to have him give such a gift to me and to our relationship. 

 

Those tears were like an emotional prize I had won for getting to where I had without the pitying tears. 

 

Tonight I sit, while somewhat emotionally exhausted, quite bright again.  Not Jack Russell psychotically bright, but optimistic.  And looking forward without trepidation…and counting down the days until I have a two parent team for this dog-full household.

 

All depends on whether you see the glass half full or half empty by FL4Y on flickr`

The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Winston Churchill

January 2020
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