OK people, things are about to get real up in here. (Hope you're ready to get to know me a little bit better!)
This is a scene from my morning. Today is the 10th anniversary of the day my dad died. I wrote about it a little bit here last year
I wasn't close with my dad when he died. He was an alcoholic, and it created a lot of chaos, pain, and shame in my family. We didn't talk about it; we were taught to pretend that everything was fine. Don't let anybody find out. (Why does anyone ever think this is a good solution for hard stuff?)
I remember being so shocked, sad, angry, and confused when he died, and I cried and cried and wrote something heartfelt to share at his funeral (I can't remember what I said), and then: that was that. No more tears. No emotion whatsoever, actually; at least none that I let surface.
Until recently. As you may know from reading my posts here, I've been on a shamanic path this past year, studying at the Four Winds Society
and with Pixie Campbell
. While at a training in Joshua Tree in October, we were working in the West direction on the Medicine Wheel. The direction of honoring ancestors. Of stepping into their lives and receiving the gifts that they intended to give you. To set them free, and at the same time set yourself free. To forgive and have compassion. To discover the stories you've inherited from your lineage that no longer serve you. To start writing your own story. In a nutshell: it's some hard, work and heavy stuff!
So, naturally, my dad came up in the work of the West. And I've been thinking about him ever since. I began to feel some emotion around him again. When I was home visiting my family last month I looked through so many old photos and brought home some precious photos of me and my dad from my childhood. I put them on an altar that I made in a little alcove on a shelf in my living room. I've been looking at them a lot. I lit a candle for my dad last night, thinking about how 10 years ago it was the last night that he would be alive. I lit some candles and burned some white sage this morning for him, sending a message to him on the wisp of the smoke that I am thinking about him. That I'm not angry. That I imagined stepping into his shoes and began to understand in the tiniest way how hard his life must have been and how sad he must have felt. It makes my heart hurt to think about that. I wanted to tell him that I'm ok.
The emotion is bubbling up lately. While driving from Denver to Boulder last month, I was all of a sudden overcome with a wave of emotion and started sobbing. It was completely unlike me! I don't cry much, but when I do, it can't be stopped. So I cried for about 5 minutes, and then.... I stopped. And I felt better. Ohhhhhhhh, so this is what they mean when they say that a good cry is therapeutic. ;)
Apparently I'm allllll about crying lately, though -- I was a crying mess for 4 days, when Ryan found out where he matched for his fellowship.
Here's the big reveal, friends: he matched in Los Angeles. Like, in Beverly Hills. Yeah.
There are reasons that moving to LA would not be bad -- my wonderful (wonderful!) in-laws are there. My wonderful brother and his girlfriend are there. The weather is usually lovely. The ocean is close by.
There are reasons why it feels oh-so-wrong -- it's so dang expensive, having to start over in a new place (again), LA doesn't resonate in a lot of ways with who Ryan and I both are and the things we're interested in, I love my life and house and friends in Portland so much....
Now that I've gotten over the initial shock a bit and have stopped crying every time I think about it, I'm trying to get creative. How can I live in both places? Any ideas, send them my way. ;)
So, this holiday season is tinged with all sorts of funky emotions over here so far. But WOW, what a weird gift it all is, because I'm just letting myself feel it all, whatever it is I need to feel, not shoving my emotions down and just powering through, and I'm really feeling the grief. I'm also paying attention, trying to discern the messages I'm supposed to hear, the lessons I'm supposed to learn, and to listen to Spirit instead of trying to control everything. To trust that my way is being prepared for me. This is not really the way I've operated in the past. (The not controlling part is not going so well so far, haha.)
Anyway. I'm not really sure what the point of this post is. Just to honor my dad and to honor myself, I guess. We're all doing the best that we can in these precious human lives -- it's easy to forget that. But it sure does help me to forgive (myself and others) and to open my heart little by little when I remember it.
Happy December 8th, friends. May you feel what you need to feel today, and not apologize for it.