I was driving to Michaels craft store early yesterday to be there the moment they opened, when I really noticed the sky and leaves. After an extended period of feeling sad and a lot of grief, I smiled... in the car by myself.
I smiled, grateful to be alive.
As I've gotten older, I've experienced more anxiety around my body and my health. Likely, this body/health over-awareness has been a stress for me since childhood. And instead of getting better, it's gotten harder. It's been a struggle to trust my body and to trust life.
So when in recent months, multiple people have passed away it's brought up death even more in my mind. It was already there, but could fade to the background thankfully. With these losses, thoughts of death became more demanding.
First, my beloved spiritual guide Aila Accad left our earthly realm. "Safe people" isn't just an idea for children. As adults it can help to have safe people too - especially if you are a sensitive person or experienced childhood trauma. Aila was a safe person to me, and I'm sure to many. She was always a calm port I could talk to in a storm. I would always end up leaving her presence calmer inside - even if the storm was still raging outside. Now a safe person was gone from my life.
Then a few people (I didn't directly know, but close to others I know) passed away randomly and it felt so needlessly. Why? If you've already experienced this kind of loss, then you'll know what I mean. Why would someone young with their whole life ahead die? Why would someone in the wrong place at the wrong time die - when if anything changed by a moment maybe they would be alive?
This brought up an awareness of vulnerability. Of course we are always vulnerable, right? And yet sometimes life reminds us things can change at anytime. I thought of nature too, where life can be cruel for animals as well.
What these life events did was gradually, and then quickly, ramp up anxiety for me. Over the past several weeks, these losses amplified fears about myself and those I love. These losses also reminded me of other, and sometimes unrelated, griefs I had experienced even in childhood.
Once the mind gets set on its track, it can be hard to re-route it. But I remember Aila once strongly telling me that it was up to me to change my mind, and only I could do that.
I'm very committed to my own personal work because unless I can work through things, or be well along in process, I'm not much help to others. I strive to be genuine in this way. Always a student, before a teacher! So I've been journaling about the different griefs I've experienced and remembered. I've been a painting my inner wounded child, receiving prayers and going to somatic therapy. If you relate to any of the struggles I'm sharing, I encourage you to try these things also.
Then on the way to get a canvas for painting, a blessing fell into my head > it was a feeling and then a reminder. Instead of letting these losses turn into crippling anxiety and fear >> I could let them remind me what a joy it is to be alive every moment!
I could enjoy living more, and do a lot of fearing less.
Even in the midst of distress in this bigger world also - forest fires, climate-related flooding, too many animals in shelters, the horrors of factory farming, Covid illnesses and deaths > there is joy. Sometimes it is quiet.
A butterfly lands on the sidewalk. The birds chirp. The water rolls in and out at the lake. A friend or family member calls. So many many blessings, really.
It is important to feel our grief and loss. Wanda Petunia and her stories have taught me this as well. Feel your feelings truly, and aspire to more is one of the most important messages Wanda shares with me.
If we don't feel our feelings fully, then we end up sticking our heads in the sand and living a half life. But if we don't aspire to more, we stay stuck in our feelings and live a half life too. To live a full life, we need both.
Feel your feelings and aspire to more!
The more is joy. Aspire to love and fully live every day the best you can from wherever you are. Some days it will be easier and some days harder. But you can do it. I can do it. We can do it together.
Living in joy as fully emotional beings is our calling. I am answering the call. I hope you will too!
Much love, Amy