Tag Archives: letting go

on the hook

I don’t expect to get profound life advice from How I Met Your Mother reruns, but life advice can come from anywhere I suppose.

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Me. Totally On The Hook.

The Urban Dictionary has the following listed under “On The Hook”

A person who is “on the hook” will be overly infatuated with another person. The person who is the desired generally takes little notice (and often complete advantage) of the person who is on the hook.

Often times the person who is on the hook is a back-up.

Signs that you are on the hook:
1) giving foot rubs
2) making mixed tapes/cds/play lists
3) making chocolate cake
4) dropping everything at a moments notice to be with the other person.

Ted: “Lisa came over last night and I gave her a foot rub as we watched a move.”
Marshall: “Are you guys dating now?”
Ted: “No, she is still with her boyfriend, she is just looking for the right time to break the news.”
Marshall: “Dude, you are so on the hook.”
My own signs:
1) being overly infatuated with him
2) he took little notice (and often complete advantage)
3) was his backup / strung along /rebound person
4) giving foot rubs
2) trying to learn Spanish
3) obsessive checking of WhatsApp
4) dropping everything at a moment’s notice to accommodate his whims
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Well damn.
Dammit.
Dammit.
And Dammit All.

ghost

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I love you

I got a call from a ghost today.

The call display said Montana, and  I almost didn’t answer, I don’t know anyone from Montana. The call was from a father that I didn’t know. A father that I will never meet. He told me his son was dead, and for a moment I had to think which dead son is this, which dead child is this about.

Then I understood.

This was Kevin’s father. Kevin who was dead. Kevin, the young man who made a small party my son’s first birthday in Arizona, far away from home. Kevin, who arranged for a decorated ice cream cake and twenty candles. Kevin who ordered pizzas with everything that Graham liked on them. Kevin who took pictures of Graham blowing out the candles and sent them to me because he knew how sad I was about not being there for his birthday. That Kevin who took care of my son when I could not. That Kevin who within six months of the party had relapsed, and shortly after had died.

I had sent his phone a text after he died. More of a prayer in text form. It read something like I’m so very sorry, and thank you. I was so sorry he had died, and still so grateful to him for taking care of my son. I sent it, and like a prayer, I never thought anyone would ever know about it.

I do understand that to his father when he finally got his dead son’s phone that my message would be a mystery. I imagine how many times he must of read it before he worked up the nerve to call me and ask just what I meant texting a dead person.

Today he called and we found out about each other, although we never even exchanged names. I told him that I was so sorry, that his son had been kind to mine, and kind to me, and how much that meant to me. I told him that my son was still alive and still clean and sober. I don’t know that was comforting or painful for him. I think it could be both. Maybe I should  have said in October my brother, John, and many years ago my father, Alan died of the same disease his son did. Maybe, but that’s not the same as a child. Nothing could be that.

He seemed content enough to have his mystery solved and we said goodbye, and then I sat there and cried for all of us, for those who have died, and for those of us who loved them. I cried, because there is nothing else I can do for Kevin, for John, for Alan, for any of the dead ones.

For the families and loved ones left behind, sorry is not ever going to be enough. Sorry can’t heal the kind of pain this is, but is all we can do. We say sorry and we then hold space for someone’s pain. We say sorry and we hold space in our words, in our actions, in our lives, and in our hearts for them. We let them feel their pain without judgement. We surround them in as much love as we can. This is what we do for the living,

because there is nothing more we can do for our dead.

275 days

wp-1468187743004.jpg275 days of saying goodbye. 275 days so far.

We’ve made it through the first month, first Christmas, first Easter, first birthday, the first 9 months.

275 days since they found you lying on your floor. 275 days of imagining you lying there alone.

It started with a phone call, an email and a long drive home to police tape and a stain on your carpet. Days of cleaning and loading parts of you I wanted into my trunk, an obituary and another long drive back. Later a eulogy, a service with your family, your daughters, my daughters, poems, songs, readings, prayers, food, friends family and a goodbye. Another drive.

20160130_122314-01.jpegThen a flight, a Sedona hike with your nephew, a candle and a prayer in The Chapel of the Holy Cross. Another hike, an offering with the same prayer, “I love you Johnny”. I left part of you in Arizona in one of the most sacred places I know. I left your ring, our father’s ring in The 20160130_143710-01.jpegAmitabha Stupa and Peace Park, a place full of love and peace. I left it there wearing your shirt, the sleeves rolled up in the heat.

And this week a drive, a sacred fire, prayers and songs, an offering to the creator in the tradition of the Lakȟóta people. And last night a bamboo leaf, the same prayer, and a candle floating away into the sunset.

 

 

 

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I love you Johnny

too busy

20151019_152813-01screenshot_2016-03-06-22-58-25-01.jpegGoogle has been good enough to remind me that your birthday is coming up. There’s a bright red rectangle, with a little picture of birthday cake on my calendar on the top of Tuesday, an “All Day Event”, “John Day’s birthday”. Facebook too doesn’t want me to forget your 48th birthday is coming up this week.

I don’t know how to get rid of either notification. I can’t wait until about 10 am on Tuesday when my phone will send me the notice that I should wish you a Happy Birthday. There doesn’t seem a way to turn these things off.

Thanks, Google! Facebook, you’re awesome, the  absolute best, I mean I might have forgotten to call you and sing happy birthday with the kids like we always do. Except you won’t have a 48th birthday. You won’t have cake, terrible singing (that would be from me and my kids), me making fun of you, your daughters, you won’t have any of this again.

And what do I do? I sit here in wrapped up in your clothes punching the keyboard of my laptop in some vain attempt to find some meaning, some comfort, some anything in this. I’ve got nothing. Absolutely nothing. I want to write something profound and beautiful, but all I have is this huge empty place that is absolutely silent.

“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” – Pablo Neurda

or as he orginally wrote it “Es tan corto al amor, y es tan largo el olvido”  translated “It is so short to love, and oblivion so long”

It is so short to love, and oblivion so long.

I wish I had loved you better. I wish we had had more time. There is nothing now, no more time. I rethink and replay entire years and the individual seconds that I had you as my brother and know I could have loved you better. I should have done something more to save you. I knew better than anyone what was happening to you. I can never say I didn’t fully understand what was happening. I understood. I felt many of the same things you felt.  We were the same in so many ways, I knew your demons, I shared so many of them, and I still did not save you. I stood still and watch you leave.

The truth is I was too busy saving my own life, too busy with my own demons, too busy trying to save my son. I knew you were leaving, and I watched you go. I should have done more, I should have done something. I just didn’t have anything left in me to save you too, and now it’s too late.

I’m so sorry Johnny.

odd bits with an occasional rhyme

me with quote

Excerpt from Sonnet XXVII by William Shakespeare

I used to think I’d organize my writing into a little book or some such thing, but that seems way too left-brained for today, so here are some scatterings in no particular order, some recent, some older (the sonnet, that one’s old, and I’m still not up to writing another).

August

As a lover, August is patient with her passions
she has none of April’s insecurity or
February’s forged sentimentality
nor will she endure
June’s vanity and boasting.

August bestows her heady scent
in velvet touches –
trailing from her finger tips, you can sense
the summit of summer’s heat
the promise of glorious autumn breezes
all at once upon on your flesh.

Her rudbeckia hued hair feels like a mane of
soft thick silk as lays across
your chest and navel.

You may think she is tamable, she is not.
she is proud and loyal
and most of all – passionate
she might be tamed, but
only by one who suits her.

Within her radiates a heart with the sun’s intensity
once embraced within its fire
you can always know its touch
even during December’s cold indecency.

She would never leave you, but
every year she is abandoned
for brightly coloured leaves
so she has learned to live alone
and hold her passions
deep inside her earth,
till it is her time to briefly love

wpid-20150910_203228.jpgbones

far away
I am this night
as blackness swallows day

sweet, my grief
rests in the folding
black from bloodless red
lay my bones
my lonely love
lay my bones
and heart of clay

coals

softly walking,
the white coals
my falling cloak
aflame

myself, behind me now
in shadow’s
yesterday

swirled by wind,
my ashes
sail away.

FB_IMG_1446961570015wordless

no words drift
between us,
our air
speechless,
embraced in single
blended breath.

breath not for
spoken thoughts; a
tongue moves within
my mouth –
all my poetry is inhaled
then released –
floating down, tangling
my hair,
spilling into your eyes,
where I watch myself,
exposed.

words without voice
caress us
in this space.

New Brunswickalive for one week

I am small

I wonder
hear my pulse
see broken glass
want only sleep

I am alive

pretend happiness
feel pain
touch deformity
worry in dreams

I cry in verse

curling within
understanding little
say less
I dream in reds

I try
I hope

I am alive

and just in case, you thought maybe I only wrote free verse or horribly depressing poetry I present one of my very few, mostly acceptable sonnets

IMG_0010and now for sonnet completely different

Oh damn! I scram, eat ham, spread jam, but Am
Incredibly not in love with Spam.
Nor can I abide a sorry sonnet;
Rather would I suck a festered garget
Then expel an iambic shoe deform’d,
My tongue fen-suck’d to a verse airiform’d.
Cinquain, senyru, haiku – will do, strained brain
Arcane, insane – I shall feign migraine,
Eat a tub a wrathful rotted puttucks,
Or have a flounder damp flog my buttocks;
Instead, may I up fill my toque with puke,
Then spew last two caked lines gobbledygook?
I could pretend, I meant not these words to offend,
And love the form, but tis too late – The End.

game face

images-4“There will be bad days, Times when the world weighs on you for so long it leaves you looking for an easy way out. There will be moments when the drought of joy seems unending. Instances spent pretending that everything is alright when it clearly is not….” Shane Koyczan, excerpt from “Instructions for a Bad Day

21451861There will be days where your best is not crying, at least in front of everyone, at least not for extended periods, at least not to the point of boogers running down your face (save that for the car where you have tissues), that your best is not crying, and not curling into a ball wishing the world away. Some days that’s all you’ve got.

When I quit drinking 10 years ago someone said to me that I would feel better, that I would feel everything better, pain, joy, happiness, anger, sadness, you know everything. She also told me not to believe everything you think. Solid advice that still applies.

houseToday I am feeling all of the things, emotionally, mentally, physically, metaphorically…. (note: I feel most things metaphorically, writer thing… maybe, not sure… actually I have no bloody idea and am freestyling this bit). Medically, things have been a bit rough. So much so that I have four new prescriptions and more doctor appointments than I would prefer (I would prefer zero appointments, but still). Everything hurts, well not everything, just the things I’m focusing my attention on. I feel a bit like a House episode, minus the curmudgeonly doctor. My doctor is very nice, and quite firm, which is why I’m sitting here looking a gaggle* of pill bottles. *a herd? a cluster?  a bevy? what do you call a collection of medication bottles? I even googled it, apparently it’s not a thing.

And then, because I’m me, and I swear this stuff just finds me  when I’m sitting innocently being responsible (you know, and not crying, and not assuming the fetal position, and doing all the grown-up things that I don’t feel like doing) I find this little bit of music, this tiny lyric.

Vair me o, ro van o
Vair me o ro ven ee,
Vair me o ru o ho
Sad am I without thee

1008012I find this little bit of music, and there are no oatmeal raisin cookies in my house, no lightly frosted lemon scones, no dark chocolate truffles with caramel and sea salt, none of these things, so I have to sit here and feel all the feelings, which is still not my favourite. I’m even out of lemons for my tea.

Shane also says in his poem “There will be bad days. Be calm. Loosen your grip, opening each palm slowly now. Let go….”

Okay. Okay. I’m on it. Letting go. (for extended thoughts on letting go, with lots of pictures and convoluted thinking click here ), putting on my game face (the one that says “I ain’t bovvered”), and making tea without lemons, but with lots of honey.

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put that shit down

letting-go-300x276You know those gauzy, flowered, rainbowy memes with inspirational words about letting go? They show you the beautiful moment when you “Let Go”, and then you grow wings, start floating, have the sun shine out of your arse, and you dance off to the ‘happily ever part‘ of your life where there are soft focus wildflowers, pristine beaches with sunsets and unicorns. You know, those memes.

Yeah, I hate those.

I hate them. I hate them because they promote the idea that all you have to do Sweetie, is just Let Go and then your life, relationships, pets, kids, will be forever wonderful and well behaved, your skin will clear up, your stomach will flatten, and daisies will sprout wherever you place your perfectly pedicured bare foot as you stroll in your whispy white dress, with your long fabulous hair flowing behind you in the perfect breeze. It is also rumored that once you Let Go, you will find true love, probably on said 1f45b7b5129b1fecda9b3bf6d732dbb4daisy sprouting beach with the beautiful sunset and dancing unicorns. Puppies will love you. Friends and family  will finally realize your true worth, how you’ve always been right, and how your version of every story was the one true version, and they are overjoyed to morph themselves to your new enlightened view of the world.  I may be exaggerating ever so slightly, or maybe not.

Right. Except all of that is bullshit.

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We really (really, really) like to hang on to stuff

For more on the Social Mammoth read here, it’s awesome.

 

First off, Letting Go is really fucking hard. Letting go is not a one time activity that precedes  you getting everything you want in life, you being happy all the time, and finally figuring out just what you are meant to do here. Nope, letting go is something you have to do over and over, (and over and over, and over… you get the idea).

 

Then, just when you’ve finally let go of the rock, the thing/comment/relationship/thought process and you’re standing there thinking, well this is great, now what the hell am I going to do? And then, as if by magic,  something else pops up and you decide to pick that up and cling/carry/lug it around instead, or you look back down at the thing/comment/relationship/thought process or whatever it was that you put down and decide, well … really, it wasn’t so very bad, and you pick it up again and drag it around some more. Later, sometimes years later (and sometimes never) you realize that you’ve been carrying that thing (etc) again and you had no idea, and that was why it has been so darn difficult to get around, to do anything because you got this rock that you’ve dug your finger nails into and cortorted your body, mind, heart, and/or soul around to hold on to. Then you have to go through the process of unclawing your fingers, uncontorting your body/mind/heart/soul to put it down again – and that’s a scary thing to do. After you put it down, what then?

edward teller quote with butterfly

oh look, a quote on a butterfly

I love this quote. I use it often in my yoga classes, but the thing I like to add is that you have to keep right on walking into that darkness, that unknown, one step after another, and sometimes you find solid ground, sometimes you fly, and sometimes, more often than not, you fall on your face, get up and step again.

 

 

 

I love this scene from Indiana Jones, his Leap of Faith. There’s this terrifying moment when he steps out into nothing, and then finds the invisible bridge. Here’s the thing about life, Indiana Jone’s bridge appeared after that first step, for those of us not in a movie we have to keep taking the next step out into nothing, over and over again. It’s not a one and done kind of thing, you have to keep stepping out into the unknown, into the very thing that terrifies you. This is the letting go and moving on is part of growing up. He could have just clung to the cave wall because it was safe, and never even attempted to step out. He didn’t because this is a movie, and Sean Connery was going to die, and well, he’s Indiana Jones, and that’s what he does, but those of us walking in more ordinary shoes, in less dramatic lives will cling to the wall and not step out, even to save ourselves (or even Sean Connery), even if the place we are clinging to is awful, and painful. We cling because the known, even if the known is awful, is more attractive than the unknown, and that’s were we get stuck.

 

36547543Letting go is not being apathetic, it is not weakness, it takes tremendous strength to let go. Holding on to resentments, justifying bad behaviours because of things you cling to, THAT is what’s easy, and also what’s childish. Withdrawing, running away, hiding, manipulating, sulking THAT is what children do. Letting go, and being right here, not rewriting the past, or scripting the future, but being right here, right now, being fully present whereever you are now is hard, really hard. Replaying the past or fantasizing about the future is so much easier. Having those conversations in your head with people, you know the ones where you sound really clever, and you ‘win’ whatever winning the conversation looks like to you. Those conversations where you get to say that really clever thing you’d wish you’d said, or unsay that nasty thing, or where the imaginary version of the person you’re fantasy talking to, starts doing and saying all the things we wish they would, and you know that all you need is for that to happen, and then you can be happy.

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okay, it’s got a pretty tree, shoot me

The times when we are uncomfortable are the times that we need to stay right HERE, as Pema Chödrön says to lean into the sharp points, be fully present with the discomfort. What we generally do when faced with being uncomfortable is dash for the nearest and easiest distraction, our phone, the tv remote, the car radio (see video and lyrics below), food, drinking, pouting, withdrawing, lashing out at someone. Again a child’s method of coping, the equivalent of putting our fingers in our ears and saying la la la la I can’t hear you.  Grow up will ya?

 

… I hate this car that I’m driving
There’s no hiding for me
I’m forced to deal with what I feel
There is no distraction to mask what is real

I could pull the steering wheel

I have these thoughts
So often I ought
To replace that slot
With what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole
My car radio
And now I just sit in silence

I ponder of something terrifying
‘Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind
I find over the course of our human existence
One thing consists of consistence
And it’s that we’re all battling fear
Oh dear, I don’t know if we know why we’re here
Oh my,
Too deep
Please stop thinking
I liked it better when my car had sound

There are things we can do
But from the things that work there are only two
And from the two that we choose to do
Peace will win
And fear will lose
There’s faith and there’s sleep

We need to pick one please because
Faith is to be awake
And to be awake is for us to think
And for us to think is to be alive a
And I will try with every rhyme
To come across like I am dying
To let you know you need to try to think

 

Of course the idea of behaving like an adult is associated with being no fun, stifling, stunted, repressed, we are encouraged to ‘not grow up’ ‘find our inner child’ and while the innocence and the creative openness of childhood are great sources to draw from, the pitching a tantrum, sulking, pouting, lashing out parts of normal childhood delevelopement are not.  Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, and am often  accused of being one myself  – “what are you, like, Twelve mom?!” But childish ways of dealing with frustration are not okay.

So put it down. Whatever that thing is that you are carrying,  put it, the fuck, down. Tell yourself you can always pick it up later and see if you want to carry its weight again, that you don’t have to put it down forever.

7928c2215a5c2b0e1b48f01c937737454a5998342737ff1182af9bb4a35bfb45Imagine you’re swimming, and your beloved  thing to cling to is a large rock – it’s a metaphor, stay with me here. You can absolutely keep swimming and carry that rock of yours, but it’s hard work, and you don’t get anywhere fast, and if you really look you’ll see that all your managing to do is to tread water furiously enough keep your face far enough out of the water to breath. Fun, right? But that’s what we do, and we wonder why we’re not moving, we wonder why life is so fucking hard, why no one is behaving in the way we want them to, why nobody has even noticed our awesomeness. You’re treading water with a rock pal, that’s why. DROP THE DAMN ROCK, really, really. Let go. See what it feels like to swim without it. You can always dive back down into the muck at the bottom and wrap your arms around that rock again, sometimes you won’t even notice you’ve done it till you notice how hard it is to swim again, and then you have to let go all over again, but maybe this time it’s a little easier

1ae781ac1baa850aff41885b6e08b489The thing about letting go, getting back to my irritation with those sunset, wildflower, ocean memes, the thing about letting go is that is not a one time life event, credits roll, couple walk off into  to sunset holding hands, life solved, and Boom you done. Don’t confuse your life with a movie, or worse yet and butterfly/unicorn meme. Letting go is something you have to do over and over again. You have to keep stepping out into darkness, into nothingness, with nothing but a little faith and a shitload of courage. Indiana Jones on that bridge. Life is movement, life is growth, standing still is stagnation and death.

Keep taking the next step, yes, I know it’s terrifying sometimes, Do. It. Anyway.
I know you don’t want to move, that want to stay where it’s safe and comfortable, , Do. It. Anyway.
I know you have absolutely NO idea where you will end up – Do. It. Anyway.

Put that shit down and walk  (or swim, or step on invisible bridges depending on your metaphor of choice) dammit, keep going.  It won’t always be this hard, sometimes, but not always, and the more you let go, the more you step out into nothing and see that the world does not actually stop spinning, that everything does not completely fall apart, that the rewards of moving forward far outweigh the risks of staying still. The more you do this the easier it will be to trust that things will work out, and it’s okay if you don’t know what that will even look like, it’s okay, really.

So while your embracing the openness and creativity and the possibilities of being child-like, be sure you’re wearing your big girl/boy pants and not also indulging in child-like tantrums, sulking and seeing yourself as the centre of the goddamn universe, and while you’re there, put that shit down, with love of course.