Monday, September 24, 2012

The Second Time


It’s our anniversary today.  This morning I didn’t know if I would be able to get out of bed.  It wasn’t until 10am that I was able to throw the covers off and put my feet onto the floor.  I checked my school email and completed one of my homework assignments.  Google helped me find some local public gardens so I could see where I might like to end up today.  Brookside Gardens in Wheaton won out.  TJ and I had been there before for a friend’s wedding but hadn’t had time to fully enjoy the area.  I spent over an hour just walking around when I first arrived.  The plants, the views… I couldn’t stop taking pictures.  Once I’d taken everything in I found a nice shady spot to set up my blanket.  I ate the snack I’d prepared and got out my school books.  Studying anatomy outside has been really productive.  I find I have no distractions if I’m out of the house.  It’s going to be a good way to continue this learning process...

All day long I kept waiting to feel crushed.  I felt strange emotions while I was out today.  A mixture of gratitude that I am alive and sadness that TJ isn’t.  I’m not sure if he’d ever have indulged me as I indulged myself today.  It was so hard for him to be outside with his allergies and asthma.  It’s not that he didn’t appreciate nature, but that it was more trouble for him that it was worth.  A friend in my classes said that he came to her.  He told her that he wanted to meet me in a garden.  That’s why I went out today.  I didn’t go because I thought I would see him or feel him.  I went because it’s my turn to tend to myself.  Maybe he needed me to appreciate the beauty of nature for him.  I miss him so much.  I was preoccupied today; in awe of everything around me as well as the intensity of my studies.  This moment is the first I have had today where I am able to process the feeling of loss.  It hovered at the surface all day long.  I couldn’t seem to let myself go there.  I’ve cried today.  Cried in the gardens.  Cried on my blanket while I studied.  Cried in the car on the way home.  Cried over dinner.  Crying now as I write.  Even still, the day has not felt like a total loss.  I am still amazed that I was able to study and actually comprehend what I was working on.  That I was able to appreciate life in the growth all around me.  There is no greater reminder that I should be here on this earth than spending the day in such a luscious garden.  Maybe that's what he meant when he spoke to my friend.  He wanted me to be reminded of how amazing life is.  To that I say "I hear you, baby".  I experienced life today in everything I saw, touched, smelled, tasted, and heard.  I am here for me.  I am here for you.  I carry you with me always in my heart.  Thank you for showing me the way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Beginning

I haven't written in a while now.  This week marks the third week into my Master's program.  I've already decided to switch tracks; I can't seem to get enough, I want it all.  I'll be getting a Master's in Oriental Medicine.  This will allow me to be a licensed acupuncturist as well as a licensed Chinese herbalist.  It's a lot to take in.  This is a whole new way of being and I am practicing diligently.  The first two week intensive was like group therapy.  Learning to process and move through life as it is.  Life is movement, after all.  It doesn't stop.  Not for anyone or any thing.  I've been practicing being present, living in the moment.  Using my senses to observe my surroundings and to be more in touch with my body.  Practicing Qi Gong has been an amazing way to tap into that.  Noticing what's going on inside me, where I feel pain, how I can relax it.  I haven't skipped a day of practice since I first experienced it two and a half weeks ago.  Feeling the heat of the qi as it moves with my forms.  Allowing myself to touch all the parts of my body that make me me.  I am starting to reacquaint myself with my belly.  I never really touched my stomach.  I wanted to pretend that it wasn't there.  TJ always loved my body.  I remember he'd rest his hand right on my belly.  It was the only time I can remember really focusing on the sensation of touch in that area.  Now I find myself touching, appreciating the feel of it.  My professors say that we are all perfect exactly how we are.  Right in this moment I am perfect.  I am me.

I'm totally a beginner at practicing the concept of "upset is optional".  Our wedding anniversary is Monday.  I find it difficult to remain objective about this source of upset.  I am working at not expecting anything.  Whether it be good or bad, it merely is.  There is no changing it.  These new exercises are hard work.  And I crave peace.  Old habits bubble up and when they do, I hear my professor's voice murmur in my head "just kiss them and scoot them over".

My regularly scheduled classes start up on Thursday.  It almost feels like I'm starting over with the first day of school.  I got so used to the routine of the daily intensives and now it's changing again.  Our first class, though, is with the professors that taught during the first two weeks and that is comforting.  Starting with them is what I know.  It will be good.

My new life has begun.  I am living it right here and now.  I "peaced out" my room with positive notes, Buddhist prayer flags, and a chime that hangs from my ceiling.  I've had good dreams ever since I put a string of the prayer flags over my bed.  Dreams of self awareness, of feeling desirable and coveted.  It's a new experience for me to believe that I am perfect exactly as I am.  I know I'm working towards a healthier life in all ways.  I can not discount the progress I have made.  No more "if I had this, then I'd be that".  I hope this budding self awareness allows me to be unconcerned with small minded things.  To eventually be rid of the labels I have given myself and been given by others.  I am me, and you are you.  We are all living the best way we know how.  We are all beginners.  There is no right or wrong way to be.  I have felt separate for a long time.  I can feel that changing ever so slightly each day I practice in observance.  This knowledge is freeing.  I will continue to open myself up to new ways of being.  The process will be long and arduous, and progressing is key.  It doesn't matter how long it takes for me to learn.  What matters is that I keep it moving.  I know now that there is no arrival to any one point.  Life is constant movement.  Diane Connelly says "The object of the dance is not to get to the other side of the room.  It is to remain in the circle and continue to dance."  I can never stop moving.  This is something that I always knew.  Having context to practice this in creates new meaning to what I am doing.  For the sake of TJ, I will practice.  I will savor the awe of life for him.  And through him I will be nourished.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Countdown


I find myself trying to empty my mind of all thought.  I'm afraid that I will get too carried away with fear and loss if I don’t.  Knowing school is starting in just two days from now, and starting the day after the year and a half mark for TJ… it’s too much.  I focused on TJ hard last night while lying in bed.  Just before I fell asleep I burst into tears.  Covering my face and moaning in pain.  I never thought I’d live this long.  That life would get this far after his death.  I am shocked by it.  Shocked that I have gotten out of bed for the last 546 days.  And to have not only gotten out of bed but experienced so much change, so much growth.  Yet I feel no where, still.
During this holiday weekend, I have envied people who are normal.  Who are thankful for the break from their 9-5, taking short trips to the beach for one last summer getaway.  Envious of those that are seeing these three days as nothing but relaxation and a break from the daily grind.  For me it is a countdown.  A dreadful explosion which is imminent, but I have no idea how to disarm.  I really don’t know if I can do this.  How will I live through this one?  I’m not excited in the least.  This is just another thing to get through.  Another chore to take care of.  It doesn’t matter if I find joy in it because there is no other choice.  This is something that I have to do, and I do so reluctantly.  All of the positive decisions bringing me to this point have lost their luster.    I am a robot following pre-programmed instructions.  There is no abort code to implement.  I do not wish to feel so lifeless at a time like this.  But that is exactly what I am.  I pray it doesn’t last.  I don’t want to be numb to the future ahead.  I don’t want to feel indifference in every thought.  I want passion to come into me.  I want to feel good again.  I want to be normal again.  I am “other” trying to blend in.  Why do I feel like this is the end?