Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thank You, 2013

As I sat and created a list of my intentions for the year 2014, I realized that 2013 has been one of my best years yet.  I am amazed at the growth that I have experienced in one short year.  I am following my dream of being a healer, I am more grounded and peaceful than I have ever been, and I am constantly learning more about myself.  I have learned to be assertive, to be clear.  I have learned that I always have a choice, and that choosing peace and gratitude serves me every time.  I not only survived my first year of grad school, I thrived.  I experienced the 2nd anniversary of TJ's death and felt more at ease with my grief than the year before.  I experienced our 8th wedding anniversary with more smiles and more gratitude for the time we had together.  I experienced my first few dates, which taught me so much about what I want and don't want (and provided some pretty hilarious stories, in hindsight).  I experienced my promise in being ceremony.  I experienced my needling ceremony.  I experienced treating patients, which is one of the greatest gifts of all.  So many more events have shaped the last year of my life; some big, some small.  And I know deep down in my bones that each one of those experiences have shaped who I am in this moment. 

I recently got around to watching the finale of  The Office.  Andy says something along the lines "I wish someone would tell you that you are in the good old days before you've left them".  And so I am grateful for the gift of reflection on this New Years Eve.  Before you leave, 2013, I close my eyes and pause to appreciate how beautiful you have been.  I am so grateful for my experiences; no matter "good" or "bad".  Everything in this life is my teacher.  I welcome 2014 with an open heart and await the joys, the sorrows, and everything in between.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Solstice

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a writing exercise on how to open up your chakras through certain questions and journaling about them.  I tend to seize upon any excuse to write, so I spent two and a half hours to answer these questions presented in the most authentic way possible.  If you're interested in trying it, the link is here.  The link also includes the questions and more details about each chakra.  My intention of sharing of my experience through this exercise is to root it more deeply within myself, and hopefully inspire you to contemplate these questions that will help bring clarity and oneness within your self.

"Winter solstice is today- the light is returning!  I read an online article about how to open my chakras and it's a journal exercise.  How fitting.  So here goes:

1) Muladhara Chakra: in balance= security, calm, connection to earth.  My relationship with my family is incredible.  I am so grateful that there is so much love and connection present.  Sometimes I feel bad for the disconnect with my aunt and uncle, yet not bad enough to do something about it.  Perhaps I should ask my Dad how he feels- really have a private chat.  That may help me know more in order to take action or not.  My relationship with money is tumultuous.  I hate money when I don't have it and I love money when I do.  I am usually broke however I am very good at budgeting my money.  I always balance my checkbook so I know how much I have.  I make lists of things I want to buy so that when there is enough money I don't spend it on things I don't need.  I would love to get to a place where I neither love nor hate money; a place where I have enough for things I need and want.

2) Svadhisthana Chakra: in balance= creativity, blossoming of love.  I express my creativity mostly through writing.  I love to write.  Self expression is so important to me.  Writing means I don't have to have any one's immediate attention to feel heard.  Writing just for myself- as I am now- is healing for me.  I also love to make jewelry.  I have to be in the mood for this creative outlet to fully embrace it, yet when I do I make so much stuff!  Another creative outlet is drawing my pictures for point location.  It's so fun to see the acupuncture point names and come up with what image will help me remember them. I crack myself up doing it and it is so helpful in my studying.  It's nice to make it fun.  I feel creatively blocked when I'm feeling upset and I know if I wrote I'd feel better- yet when I sit down to write I don't know what to say.  I guess I feel blocked because there's so much going on in my head that I can't nail down what the root of my upset is about.  Or maybe it's because I know what's upsetting me and I'm afraid to write it down (ah-hah!) (**I drew a picture next to my 'ah-hah' of a light bulb lighting up)  I feel creatively open when my heart light is shining on what needs to be spoken and I am anxious to sit down and speak my truth.  I allow it to flow from me freely and let it teach me about what I need.

3) Manipura Chakra: in balance= strong sense of trust, self-esteem, responsibility, and strength/power.  I consider myself an extrovert, definitely.  I love people.  Talking to them, connecting with them.  I love people watching and listening to others talk and connect.  I am fascinated by life and how different we all are, and how we are a part of the same whole.  It's so amazing that my true feelings about it are unspeakable.  I may need to stoke my fire (power) in my self love and self worth.  I come down hard on myself and it really doesn't serve me.  I don't think it ever has.  It's a very old practice that I am ready to let go of right now.  The second part of this question is "how do you need to contain the flames?"  I choose not to answer this question because, for me, I have been dormant for far too long.  I say it is time for my fires to be stoked and brought back to life.

4) Anahata Chakra: in balance= at peace with self, others, and environment.  The injustices in society that break my heart are all surrounded in the subject of inequality.  Whether sex, race, sexual orientation, or age.  All humans are precious.  All of us are one!  How can we possibly assign worth to a life, a person, merely because of their skin color, their gender, their age, their choice of who they love?  It turns my stomach- I feel tightness there as I write.  We are all one.  We are.  The second part of this exercise is to write a forgiveness letter to someone.  I'll do that on separate paper.  (WOW- THAT FELT INCREDIBLE!!  And instead of being afraid and tearing it up, I taped it up in my window next to my letter to God.  Facing out, for the Universe to see.)

5) Vishudha Chakra: in balance= purity of speech, expression, and of choice.  "List 10 adjectives that describe you".  Here goes:
*note to self- I got to 5 and was stumped on how to continue. **note to self- I say "determined" is worth saying twice.  It is my passion and determination that keeps me going.
I tend to be the talker, however it depends on who I am with.  I have become a better listener through my studies at school.  I used to listen to respond.  I am learning to listen to listen.  To be still and simply receive.  This, too, is a gift to others.  Sometimes I talk more because I have a lot to say on the subject.  Sometimes I talk more because they seem quiet and I want to engage them, to connect with them.  I find that, with my ongoing practice, I am able to let go of this desire and simply be with those who aren't feeling the need to fill the silence.  It's quite beautiful.

6) Anja Chakra: the 3rd eye chakra: in balance= allows us to answer our own questions, unites self and spirit to access our inner resources and light.  "If you had one question to ask a psychic, what would you ask?"  I would ask if/when I would find true romantic love again.  It is all I can think of to ask.  Everything else is going so well.  Finding love and partnership again seem like the last piece of the puzzle for me.  A time when I listened to my intuition and it worked was when I decided to apply to Tai Sophia.  It almost felt impulsive and yet I know it's what I needed to do.  I didn't research other schools.  I wouldn't let myself over think it.  I applied and waited.  Best decision ever.  A time when I ignored my intuition was my first wedding anniversary after TJ had died.  I was terribly sad and I chose to go out to lunch with some friends that I knew I had to pretend to be happier around, for their comfort.  Before I even ordered food, I had to run to the bathroom to vomit.  My body knew what it needed and wasn't going to let me ignore it.

7) Sahasrara Chakra: in balance= spiritually alive and connected.  The word God resonates with me in a new way all the time.  Now, at this moment, God is merging with the idea of Universe for me.  It was since TJ died that I shied away from the idea of God.  It has been only recently that I have allowed God into being with the Universe.  They work together.  I've begun to pray again and it feels good, natural.  The recognition of God in my life, the reintegration of God into my spirituality, is very organic.  The times when I feel the most connected to my spirituality is anywhere out in nature, when I look into another humans eyes, when I experience love and the gift of touch, when I hold a baby.  When I am in awe and filled with inspiration, I know God.  Those are the times I am reminded of the oneness, times that I am reminded of my part in this great cosmic mystery."

Monday, December 9, 2013

He Can Still Make Me Laugh

 I was reading through my online dream journal.  I have recorded my dreams of TJ since he died.  In reading them again I was transported right back into my head, into the visual of the dreams.  As I begin reading each entry, I start off being surprised that I don't recall "this one".  And then, all of a sudden, I know what happens next before I read my story about it.  I'm so glad I've documented them.  They're incredible and fantastical and completely ordinary.

After I read through my dreams, I went to a folder labeled "C Luck Emails".  I wasn't quite sure I remembered what I had put there, having created it so long ago.  All of them just say "FWD" in the subject.  I quickly realized, upon opening the folder, that they were emails from my work account that I had sent to myself before I resigned in August of 2011.  The very first email I opened was dated March 3rd 2011.  It was from the COO of my company, Jon Nash.  It was the most heart wrenching email filled with his shock and sadness.  He spoke about how I was so sweet and positive and couldn't fathom everything that was going on; how horrific it was, how confusing it was.  Re-reading it was jarring, especially because I wasn't expecting it when I opened the folder.  As I read, I had to pause.  All I could do was drop my head into my hands, squeeze my eyelids shut, and cry.  With one email, I was transported back to the days after his death.  There were more emails that I read.  Emails from my vendors, from my office mates.  All filled with shock and concern, with offerings of help and of condolences.

Halfway through the list of emails in this folder from BDL, I clicked on the next one down; wondering who it might be from and what the content would hold this time.  Instead, to my surprise, it was an email from TJ.  There was no text, only a photo and the subject line "no-no".  Through my tears I laughed.  I tilted my head back and chuckled at the absurdity.  I think the last time I laughed and cried at the same time was at his funeral, during the eulogies.  I am so grateful for his humor and that I kept so much that he'd sent me.  He always knew how to cheer me up.  And he still knows, apparently.  Enjoy the content of this amazing email, my beloveds.  I know I needed this.  You probably do, too...


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sweet Dreams

Last night I had two very separate, very similar dreams.  In both, it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a man I connected to deeply.  The men were very different in each dream.

The first was set at my Gammy's house in her living and dining room.  It seemed like a military type gathering and he was part of the group of men that were there.  I get the feeling this was the first time meeting him.  His baby girl was there as well and I had spent most of the dinner event talking with him, his friends, and holding his daughter.  She was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and I couldn't stop kissing her little cheeks and nose.  At one point, as we were staying behind to help clean, he came up to me as I was holding his little girl.  He looked at me so adoringly and lovingly.  He paused in front of me and we stared into each others eyes.  In that moment, I took him in.  He was very tall and broad.  A solid yet soft man.  Cropped hair- maybe even bald because it looked blonde or even flesh colored.  He had dark blue eyes.  As I looked up at him I knew that we would be together.  He slid in closer to me and slipped an arm around my waist, pulling me close.  As I held his daughter on my left hip, he embraced us.  I rested my head on his chest and he rested his head on the top of my head.  And that was the end of that dream. 

The second was set in my parents old house on Market Street.  We were in the living room and foyer, yet it opened up into a dimly lit restaurant/bar.  I had been at the restaurant and was walking towards the foyer when someone asked if I could watch this little baby girl.  She was so beautiful and sweet.  And so smiley.  I accepted, of course.  The person passing her to me told me her father would be coming for her shortly as he was in the restaurant section settling up and she would let him know that I had her.  As I held her and spoke to her softly, I kissed her cheeks and her nose.  As we walked the front foyer, I bounced her gently and told her stories.  As we came towards the restaurant opening portion of the front hall a man ducked into the foyer.  I stopped dead in my tracks, completely stunned by his handsome looks.  He was a little bit taller than me.  He had olivey skin and jet black hair.  It curled loosely atop his head and he had a black mustache.  He was wearing worn jeans, a button down shirt, and a leather jacket.  When he looked up at me, he smiled and his green eyes sparkled.  He walked toward us, greeting me as her father and talking to his little one in my arms.  I introduced myself and told him how beautiful and sweet his daughter was.  He let me hold her as we began to chat.  Suddenly, I realized that her diaper must be leaking because I could tell she was peeing on me as I held her.  I looked up at him so surprised and stifled a laugh as I quickly told him what was happening.  We sprung into action; I rushed to the bathroom down the hall with her father on my heels.  I held her over the sink and let her drip until he could rustle up a fresh diaper.  As he began to apologize to me and offer to clean her up, I insisted he let me because I was already messy.  We laughed and spoke to her together as we leaned over the changing table.  After she was freshened up, I handed her over to him so I could freshen up.  I noticed through the reflection of the mirror that he was watching me intently as I stood at the sink with a wet towel, dabbing at my clothes and smiling.  I turned to tell him not to worry and we locked eyes.  There was fire in his, a dim smouldering fire and what I interpreted as curiosity and awe.  I was ignited in the presence of this exchange.  I felt so connected to him in that moment and I knew this would not be the last time we were together.  This was just the beginning. 

I find it so incredibly interesting that both men had baby daughters.  What happened to their mothers?  They were totally different men and I experienced two totally different connections with them.  Every dream I have ever had that involves me and babies, those babies are always girls.  I'm also not surprised to feel so deeply connected with the baby girls in each of these dreams.  I feel that way about all of my friends children already, so it would not be difficult for me to slip into that role of adoration and complete love for a sweet little one that just so happened to be born from another's womb.  The idea of finding love and an instant family was so beautiful to me.  And yet I woke up feeling so much loss.  My only thought upon waking was that I want a man in my life.  I want to feel all of the things that having a male partner brings.  The feelings of love, of safety, of preciousness.  I wish either one of those dreams could be my reality.  I really do.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Made It

I've officially made it to 33.  Being a year older than TJ is definitely bittersweet.  All my life I've been two years younger than him.  Because of this I decided to really celebrate this year by drawing it out over three days.  It's the first big celebration of my birthday since he died.  That first year I didn't want to do anything.  I didn't even want a cake.  I had a few friends over, we ordered Chinese and watched a movie.  Last year I eased myself into the spirit more by actually going out to dinner with those same friends from the year before.  So, the other night I had a party and 16 friends came, which is a pretty big group.  We went to dinner and came back home for drinks, cake, and games.  I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard.  I was surrounded by people that I love and hold dearly.  The next day was spent with my family, my sister-in-laws family, and my in-laws.  It was so relaxing and lovely.  I felt abundant joy.

And then that night a feeling of dread came over me.  As I lay in bed, wishing to fall asleep, all I could think of was how afraid I was that I wouldn't wake up the next day- my birthday.  I'm not sure where this came from and yet the thought was penetrating my body and mind.  I realize now that this happens often when things get really good.  When I am truly happy this dread has a way of enveloping me.  In speaking with my sister in law on the phone this evening I was able to pinpoint the exact reason that this happens; everything was completely perfect the night before TJ died.  It was a regular old day and it was absolutely perfect.  I was in the best mood.  I was positively humming with joy while doing the most average things; I was so lighthearted... nothing could get me down.  And then, in less than 12 hrs, TJ died.  I had always assumed this fear of mine came out of enjoying life without TJ and missing him, or fearing to move forward without him.  I know now that at times of pure love and joy I am subconsciously and then consciously waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It's fucking horrible.  I want to relish the enjoyment of life again without this fear.  I am going to practice peace surrounding this.  And as for last night, I spoke to TJ about my fear.  I asked him to send me love and peace.  I asked him to be with me.  I feel asleep imagining him lying at my back with his arms around me, keeping me safe and warm. 

Today, my "for real birthday" as a friend said this morning, has been filled with moments of sadness and moments of peace and joy.  I treated myself to a pedicure, I had lunch with some of my best friends and their beautiful new baby girl.  Two other best friends announced their engagement to each other this morning and I am so so happy.  So happy I cried when I called to congratulate him.  When I hung up the phone I wept and wept.  Love is so beautiful and so powerful.  TJ and I adore this couple and have spent many years routing for them and their love for one another.  I wept because it breaks my heart that he won't be around to see them get married. 

Everyone always tells me "he IS here" or "he DOES see"...  I hate it when people say that shit to me.  It's insulting.  I do feel his presence.  I believe that he is capable of being with us.  And it's just not the same.  It's not the same as having him with us in the flesh, experiencing all that life has to offer.  Please, just let me have my moment.  Let me mourn his presence when I need to and stop trying to fix it by adding that lame consolation.  Because hearing those words doesn't console me at all.  Let me be in my deep unknowing.  Going there allows me to find my power in order to make beautiful progress in my life.  TJ is not here on this earth; breathing air and walking by our sides.  It plain sucks.  So let it suck.

We can be happy, live in joy, and mourn our loss simultaneously.  Trust me, I do it every single day.  It is truly the great mystery and I continue to be in awe.

Thank you for continuing to join me on this journey.  I am so grateful for your listening.  It is such a gift.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Beginning

Tonight I treated my first out-of-classroom patient.  Two actually.  It felt like second nature to hold the needles and place them with the intention of healing the women who sat in our treatment room.  Before I turned off of the street of the partnership site I sat at the stop sign, closed my eyes, and screamed at the top of my lungs "YAAAAHOOOO"!  Within seconds of my outburst, I clasped my hand over my mouth and let myself sob.  Partly because I was unable to share that moment with TJ, and mostly because I can hardly believe how far I've come in the past almost three years.  I never could have imagined that my life could be so fulfilling after TJ had died.  Let alone have such amazing things happening this soon.

I don't think I have ever been more proud of myself as I am tonight.  I have worked tirelessly to create a life that I find joy in and to create a life that impacts the lives of others in the most positive way.  Tonight marks a huge milestone in my healing.

Half way home Katy Perry's "Firework" came up on my mix.  I went from belting out the words at the top of my lungs to having them get stuck in my throat as tears poured from my eyes and down over my cheeks.  I am so grateful for this life, for this breath, for this knowledge that I work so hard to integrate into my being so that I can make a difference in the world.

I am in awe.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

8 Years

Who am I if not for the pain?  Some days it doesn't even feel real that we were married.  Like it's some imagining of mine, and yet I can still feel his face beneath my palms.  I can still feel his arms around my body.

Today was particularly average.  Which is alarming in it's own way.  Both times that I cried today was because of the strangeness of not feeling crushed.  It's like a suspense thriller; where you know, at any minute, something is going to happen on screen to make you gasp and jump in your seat.  The anticipation of pain is always there on days like today.  And then a sort of guilt for actually feeling okay.  Today, the pain didn't really come.  I didn't even feel totally heavy.  And yet, last Friday in school, I was near hysterics just after our needling ceremony.  We had to share something, a memory of our own hands.  All I could think about was how I used my hands to comfort and hold TJ as he died; how I held his face and hands after he had turned cold, how my hands warmed his to my body temperature.

I have no idea what I'm doing.  I have no clue how to handle this newest development of normalcy.  One of my teachers told me, around TJ's death anniversary, not to get too hung up on the date; that TJ isn't here in breath every day.  It's on our 8th wedding anniversary that I actually understand what she means.  I felt more loss, more deep sadness four days ago than I do today.  It's fucking weird.  I don't understand it.  Everything I know is changing again.  At the cemetery I asked TJ to help me be at peace with this new unknowning, to help me to stop trying to figure everything out.  To let coincidences be coincidences.  To stop looking for signs.  A wise friend told me tonight that I need to trust that I have everything that I need already inside of myself.  She said "don't let your mind kidnap your heart".

Fall is the season for letting go. So long did I have TJ to help me decide.  I've continued to ask him for guidance and for signs on how I should live.  It's so hard to let that go.  It's so hard to trust myself... I don't know why I want to hang on.  I've been doing an incredible job over the past few years.  So why is it that I can't stand up and proclaim that I am the designer of my life?  That it's not up to signs and coincidences that call to me to be interpreted?  Why can't I take responsibility for my choices?  I can't even decide if it's a good or a bad thing to want to hold on to the idea that TJ can help me.

My head hurts and I am tired.  I just don't know if I'm ready.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Growing Old Is A Luxury

It never ceases to amaze me how my mind works.  The things that I think about.  The things that I wonder about.  Tonight I found myself trying to remember a time when TJ kissed me and him having bad breath.  I can't think of one single kiss, out of what has to be hundreds of thousands, when his breath was bad.  I'm sure it must be so and yet I can't remember him tasting anything other than sweet.

I broke down and cried while making myself a salad this afternoon.  I was playing music, singing along, dancing, and doing the dishes just prior.  The last time I can remember doing all of three of those things at once was the night before TJ died.  How incredibly ordinary that Wednesday was.  I probably would have never recalled the evening at all if he hadn't died the next day.  It was so average.  I worked, I debated staying late and decided to go home at a reasonable hour to get in some alone time while TJ was at school.  I came home, did a really fun bhangra workout in the living room- twice.  I showered and turned on a DVR TJ had recorded of actual music videos on MTV.  I turned the volume up so high and was dancing around in the kitchen in my nightgown.  I was singing so loudly, holding up a pan like it was a mirror and fluffing my hair like a movie star; singing into a wooden spoon I was washing by hand.  The front of my nightgown was wet from leaning over the sink.  I was having an incredible time.  So much more than one could ever expect out of a Wednesday night alone.  I heard the garage door open and rushed, half soapy hands not rinsed, to the top of the stairs.  I watched him come around the corner on the landing with his hands full of things.  I'm positive I flashed him the best of my best smiles.  And then he kissed me.  Oh, did he kiss me.  I can't remember what he tasted like that night and it doesn't matter.  I couldn't have been more in love with him if I tried.  I felt dizzy on my feet after he disconnected from my lips.  I actually said "wow" out loud.  I think that was our last kiss.  We always kissed before bed and yet that's not the one I remember from the day before my life changed.  I remember the one that nearly knocked me over with passion and love.  I apologized to him for not having dinner ready.  Said I was a bad wife and thanked him for putting up with me.  He laughed and shrugged his shoulder, tilted his head.  I can still see it.  He started cooking instead and talked all about his day.  I could have listened to him talk for hours.  I remember thinking that.  I didn't understand what he was saying to me- his IRB lingo- and it was the best conversation.

I honestly can't imagine ever being so in love with anyone else.  I'm sure that I will find love again and yet I can't help but wonder if it'll come close to how indescribable my relationship was with TJ.  When I die, will he be the one I'm thinking of?  Who will be by my side then?  I wish it could be TJ.  I hope that my presence was some comfort for him through the horror that was his last moments.  I wonder about a future moment where I tell my children, where I tell my grandchildren about the first man I was ever in love with.  Will they look up at me with wonder and awe as I try to explain the depth and breadth of our time together?  Will it blow their minds to know that their father, their grandfather wasn't the first?  I'll show them a picture.  A picture of the man who died so that they could be born.  My God.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Troubled Mind

Today started so wonderfully.  I woke up on my own, got dressed in my favorite blue cotton sundress, let my hair dry naturally wavy and wild...  I had all of the best intentions of going to the market and then studying all day for my finals coming up.  I really did.  However, as I drove through town on my way to the store I landed on the highway heading North instead.  It's really been far too long since I'd laid down on the earth.  My car wound it's way along my favorite route to my beloved hiking spot in Cunningham State Park.  (The weather is nice and mild today so of course I rode with the windows down and the music up.)  When I arrived at my favorite spot I walked through the brush in my flip flops.  The air was moist in the forest and so clean in my lungs.  As I made my way to the clearing my feet sunk into the soft ground which provided the most luxurious cushion.  When I feel the call to be in nature, I go deep.  I want to be sure I can't hear or see anything man made.  As I laid my blanket down (the one I always keep in my trunk for occasions such as this) all I could hear were the birds singing, the bugs chirping, and the constant hush of the leaves blowing in the breeze; as if they were "shhhhh"ing me, calling me to be present.

When I close my eyes the sounds are intensified.  I found myself wishing that I had someone to share this moment with.  It was far too peaceful and joyful to experience it alone.  Yet I am alone.  I found myself wishing for someone I could hold hands with, someone to lay next to and breathe this delicious air with as we lay together on my blanket.  That person can never be TJ.  Who could he be, then?  As much as I think I'm ready for him to come into my life the more fearful I find myself.  I'm so tired of being alone.  I decide to lay still and focus on my breath so I can let this worry dissolve and it does.

On my way back to the city I came across two different farms that were selling their produce.  Gorgeous corn, plump and decadent nectarines, gleaming tomatoes abound.  One of my stops was Pryor's Orchard.  The road winds through the picturesque scene of mountains, clouds, and rows upon rows of fruit trees.  I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this place that I had to pull over and wander.  I walked through the trees, awakening my senses.  The smell of the overly ripe fruits that had already fallen was thick in the air.  I ducked beneath a peach tree, being careful not to step on any bees.  The sweet smells, the humid mountain air, and the vibrant colors of the fruit is a heavenly combination...

I wondered if TJ could see me at that moment, sitting under the tree I'd chosen as mine.  Was he watching me?  Did I look beautiful to him?  I feel beautiful.  It's finally coming back.  And yet I can't create the same feeling of beauty that I had in the presence of TJ.  I feel beautiful and look beautiful to myself.  How do I appear in the eyes of others?  Why do I care if I am noticed?  There was something so intoxicating about the way TJ would look at me when I was feeling particularly pretty.  He told me once that I was always beautiful and yet when I truly felt it within myself those were the days that I was radiant.  I'll have to take his word on that.  All of these new feelings are so confusing.

My last stop was the store to pick up some fresh fish for my dinner tonight.  The gentleman who helped me was so kind, so handsome, and there was something about the look in his eyes that made me feel incredible; like there was no one else in the store but me.  His name tag said "Eddie".  I was polite to Eddie; I made eye contact, smiled and thanked him.  I was trying to hide my exploration of his face; dark eyes, peach skin, handsome bones.  When I got into my car I had the wildest notion to give him my phone number.  I dismissed it as a crazy whim and began my drive home.  As I unloaded my farmers haul, I began to think more about Eddie.  Why couldn't I give him my phone number?  I'm feeling beautiful today, after all.  The more I regretted not acting on my impulse the more fearful I became.  Where did this idea come from?  Is it worth the risk?  I called one of my best friends.  We spoke for an hour on the phone and she was able to help me understand where the fear was coming from.  My fear stems not from the notion that he might not be single or interested, but from the notion that he will accept me and take me up on my offer.  I realized while talking to my friend that I am terrified of being the aggressor.  What if I pursue someone and then freak out and change my mind?  How cold would it be to be coveted and then rejected by the pretty girl in the blue cotton dress?  I explained to her that I was much more open to being approached.  If I'm asked out for a drink or coffee by a handsome man I'd probably say yes.  And if I go out with this man and I realize I'm not ready for dating after all, it would feel easier to explain that and spare his feelings.  My logic seems sound, yet I can hear my acupuncturist telling me what she's told me before: I can't control what other people think.  Sometimes I wish I knew how to get out of my own head.

My fears can sometimes turn into anger.  Anger that I have to deal with these thoughts and realities at all.  I should still be married to TJ.  I should be able to hold his hand, share his air, make this beautiful harvest into a meal for our family.  Living this reality is still a mystery to me.  And my desire for partnership is screaming loudly from deep within my gut.  I am feeling more confident than ever before; I am aware of my power and my beauty.  Am I ready to share my life again?  Even in a casual, easy way?  I won't know until I try.  Maybe it's time to listen to my gut and see where it takes me (Back to the fish counter next week)...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Can You See Me?

So, I got my hair cut today.  I'm growing it out and I needed her to clean it up so as it grows it looks alright.  I know I always say that and then it never gets past my chin before I chop it all off again.  I'm serious this time... though I can't make any promises.  I'm wearing your robe.  Even though I've washed it a handful of times it still smells like your office at the old house.

I'm looking lovelier each day.  My eyes have been brighter, my cheeks rosier.  I've lost 40lbs over the past year.  When you died I wore a size 24/26 and I'm into 18's now.  You'd be so happy to know that I've started to wear clothes that fit me.  Covering everything up in big, baggy clothes has been a hard habit to break.  I'm even rocking really form fitting clothes I would never have been caught dead in.  Finally, I am beginning to see myself as perfect exactly as I am.  I still have my struggles and yet I'm more at home in myself than I have ever been in my life.

It is so incredibly sad to be in this head-space without you here to see me grow.  You wanted this for me so badly.  You encouraged me and pushed me towards a greatness that I couldn't comprehend when you were alive.  Another big shift in my consciousness is dawning.  I am embracing what is so.  What is so is that I have fat rolls.  What is so is that I can work those fat rolls like nobody's business.  What is so is that I love myself enough to take care of this body; to nurture it and feed it with goodness.  What is so is that I am strong and capable of handling anything that comes my way.

Tears are filling my eyes and streaming down my cheeks.  You would be so proud of me.  It kills me that I can't hear you say it.  I want you to know this new woman.  I want you to enjoy the harvest of all of the seeds that you planted.  I want you to enjoy this new body; to see it, to touch it, to savor it.  Every time I feel stronger I thank you for believing in me.  Help me feel your love again.  There is so much of it inside of me that is for you and you alone.  I do not believe it can ever leave me (nor do I want it to) though I hope, in time, that this love for you can be transformed into the brightest, purest light to shine forth from my heart out into the whole world.

I love you.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Music, You're My Constant Companion

I can't place the feeling I've been experiencing for the past week.  It feels like it may be somewhere between sadness and loneliness, though I'm not sure.  Maybe it's all the new music I've been listening to?  Not that the songs are particularly sad or depressing, just that they're new.  I miss listening to music with TJ on breezy summer nights like the ones we've been having.  I go through these periods quite often, though they seem to go away with the next sunrise.  This week, that's not the case.  Perhaps another shift is coming on.  These feelings of sadness and loneliness, almost hopelessness, usually precede another big evolution.

I haven't had much homework this week because one of my midterms was last week.  Maybe it's just that I've had more time to think about other things?  School work is so consuming I don't have much time to let my mind wander.  I've enjoyed this tiny break from the grind.  I've been able to go outside every day and lie under trees.  That's my favorite thing to do in summer; find a shady spot under a luscious, green tree.  Spreading out a soft blanket, kicking off my shoes, drinking in everything my eyes can see and my ears can hear.  It renews me like nothing else.  I lie on my back and watch the clouds go by, daydreaming about anything and everything.  Yesterday I decided to sing to myself.  I sat right on the edge of the clearing I'd found.  I spread my skirt out like a fan and started to sing a new song I love to the trees and birds around me.  I can't remember the last time I heard my own voice that way.  I forgot how beautiful it can be.  I'm usually singing along with the radio so I can barely hear myself anyway.  In college during my senior year I sang every week at The Main Squeeze.  I didn't always have accompaniment so most nights I'd just wing it solo.  Someone recorded me singing once and I barely recognized my own voice when I heard it again.  I need to start singing more often.  It brings me so much joy.

Tears are filling my eyes.  Music was our deepest common bond.  Our relationship is steeped in it.  Infused by the melodies and notes that play like the soundtrack of our lives.  For me they still go hand in hand.  The night he told me he wanted to be with me we both played at a house party.  I'd opened for his band and that night they debuted their cover of INXS "Need You Tonight".  As he sang he stared deep into my eyes without breaking his gaze, without even blinking it seemed.  Later that night he told me he was enthralled by my performance and that every time he looked at me he wanted to hold me and never let me go.  That was it.  I was forever his.

One day, when I have more time, I'm going to do my best to make a soundtrack for our life.  For our love.  I feel so sad

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Longing For My Beloved

I crawled into bed and turned off the lights.  Such an average occurrence, yet tonight I am reminded of a time when I could crawl into bed and curl up next to my beloved; could nestle my head on his shoulder and wrap my arm across his chest.  The warmth of him was unlike anything I've ever felt.  Sometimes I'd look up at him and we would talk, and sneak kisses, in the dark.  Other times I'd lie with my ear pressed to his skin and listen to his heart beating.  I never thought I'd have to spend a single night without that blessed ritual.

There is no getting used to him being gone.  My arms, they are empty.  My ears, they hear only the sound of my own breath.  My body, warmed only by the blankets that surround me.  My longing for him breaks my heart and soul over and over again.  My love for him knows no time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Reflection for Connie

A dear family friend lost his second wife today.  My heart is breaking for him.  All I can think about is that he's had to do this twice in his lifetime.  And that it's a possibility that I may also have to bury another husband in my lifetime.  Poor Paul, it seems so unfair.

Hearing news like this comes at a strange time for me.  I've recently decided to get out into the dating world.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  I feel as though I am taking a cop out approach to it.  I want to just meet someone casually who turns out to be just what I want.  That's the only way I have ever done this; TJ was my best friend.  And at my age it's so different.  I realize I will have to take a more active roll in seeking out men to date.  There are less social situations to find myself in.  And when I do get out most of those men are married.  

It feels as though I am personally hard wired for partnership.  For the first time in my life I feel like I don't need it; I want it.  I have so much love to give and I finally know, deep down in my bones, that I deserve to receive that love in kind from my partner.  Even with this knowledge getting back out there seems so overwhelming.  I have always been willing to work hard.  Am I willing to work hard for a second chance at love?  I hope so.

Connie, Paul's wife who died this morning, came to talk to me a few months after TJ had died.  She told me to stay open to love.  That it can come again and I could be happy again, just like she was with Paul.  She told me that as much as it hurts to think about finding another love that it is all worth it when it is right and good.  I remember her standing on our deck as if it were yesterday.  She spoke to me so clearly, so plainly that there was no way to argue.  She and Paul were my proof.

Thank you, Connie. I won't ever forget what you told me that day and how you held me so dearly that first summer.  Watch over Paul and know that you matter to us.  Know that you are so loved and will be sorely missed.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Memory Lapse

I woke up in the middle of the night last night.  I rolled over to face TJ's side of the bed and when I didn't see him there it dawned on me that he is dead.  How is it possible that I'd forgotten, even momentarily?  I curled into a ball and cried myself back to sleep.  It's been a while since I've had an episode like that.  It's so terrible.  I miss everything about him.  I miss his laugh, his lips, his touch, his talking with his mouth full... I don't want to do this without him.  I want my partner back.  I want my lover back.  I want my best friend back.  We were so good together.

Today I took my final written exam for point location.  I passed and I was so happy.  I want to share things like this with him.  I want to celebrate these small victories with my husband.  Where am I gonna go?  The cemetery?  I want to talk to him just one more time.  I want to tell him how much I love him and hear him say that to me, too.  I want to know if he's proud of me.  I want to know if he's safe.  I want to know if he's happy.  I want to hear him tell me that I'll be alright; that I won't have to do this alone.  That I will find partnership again. 

He is so amazing.  I miss being in his presence.  Being with him made me feel invincible; like nothing could touch us.  Everything was always just fine as long as I had him.  Sometimes I don't know what to do anymore...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Last Kiss

This precise time two years ago I was saying goodbye to TJ. It was the last time I would look upon him with my own eyes. I kissed him on the lips, you know. I leaned down into his casket and pressed mine to his for the very last time. Over and over I kissed him; I couldn't stop myself. I cried onto his cold, waxen face. It took me more than thirty minutes to walk away. I gripped the edge of that casket until my fingers went numb. I leaned my body weight upon the edge when my legs could no longer support me. I never thought I could do it; walk away. I am weeping uncontrollably at the memory. I am in so much pain. I feel like this is some sick alternate reality. Hoping I can get back to the world where we are still together in blood and in breath. I miss TJ with every bone, every cell, every beat of my heart. He is everything to me. I love him.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Whenever I Want You All I Have To Do Is Dream

In the past few weeks I’ve been dreaming about TJ so often.  There were even three nights in a row that I dreamed of him.  Each dream seemed to be so telling; a progression of sorts leading me to what?  I don't know...  Like he was ok and it was time to stop worrying about him.  In one dream, I met him at our old home.  The one we lived in the day that he died.  I’d been invited by the new owners to have dinner there.  When I arrived, TJ met me in the foyer.  I knew instantly that he was dead and no one else could see him but me.  He took me by the hand and he lead me through each room in silence.  In my head I was saying goodbye to each room right along with him.  When we got to the top of the basement stairs I looked down.  The landing was filled with toys.  I looked up at him and began to weep uncontrollably.  He clutched me to his chest as I shook with tears.  All I could think of was that this is what our home would look like if he had lived; filled with toys for our babies to play with.  While he held me I felt his chin rest on the top of my head.  I noticed that my hair started to feel wet, wet with his tears.  He was mourning with me for the first time.  We held each other and cried for all we had lost.  

My life is so different from where I had expected it to be.  I never would have imagined this new journey.  Even with my positive growth,  sometimes I still can’t believe he’s not here.  I can’t believe we won’t have babies together.  I can’t believe we won’t get old and gray together.  I miss him so so much.  My love for him knows no time.  I ache for you, my dearest brightest love.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Challenge of Taking In and Letting Go

I've been floating between confidence and uneasiness all day.  My emotions seem to be at odds.  With TJ's anniversary coming up in under two weeks, coupled with all of the new feelings that have been awakening in me, I feel split in two.  However, I am not really split in two.  The feelings I am having are one me in two forms.  We ride parallel.  One road is grief.  The other, possibility.  I am completely unpracticed at navigating them both together, simultaneously.  I am confused.  Sad.  Excited.  I am feeling the tug of anticipation coming out from the center of my chest for what new and wonderful things lie ahead for me.  My heart is open for the first time in years.  And yet I am also feeling the tug of my past coming out from the pit of my gut to remind me where I've come from, of what I've been through.  I am a beginner at letting go.  Floating in the unknowing of this moment is unsettling.  I am unbalanced metal; open to receiving that life giving breath of new possibility, yet unable to let go of what no longer serves me.  I don't know what to let go of.  I can't let go of TJ.  Do I let go of my past life?  Do I give her a funeral and say goodbye to her?  I thought I already did that?  Didn't I?  I really don't know what to do.  Staying in this place of unknowing is a challenge and I must not rush this.  The answer will present itself in time.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Declaration

I am amazed by my evolution.  Life is showing up and I am more awake to it than ever!  I am where I am supposed to be right at this moment; I am in school, I am transforming emotionally at record speed.

Admittedly, I have been fighting this reawakening for a few months now.  And for the first time since I’ve felt them stirring just under the surface I want to let them bloom.  I, Courtney Anne Luck, am ready for whatever comes my way.  I was always so quick to be open to feelings of grief.  I never allowed myself to be that way surrounding joy.  The joys like the ones happening now with the budding of my self and my desires.  No more will I fight against what feels right and good.  I am the designer of life.

I have post-it notes plastered around my computer and desk area; things that say “Trust in the Universe… Just go with it!” “Be in the Unknowing” “Allow yourself to be tended to” and “The Universe!  It Knows!!”  I am alive.  I am flesh and blood and air; that heavenly qi coming into my lungs, that which animates me.  I can only act on what is so in this moment.  I cannot know what the future holds.  And I cannot let my fears of the “what if”s control what I do now.  Lao Tzu said “If you are depressed you are living in the past.  If you are anxious you are living in the future.  If you are at peace you are living in the present.”  I CHOOSE PEACE.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More to Life

On Friday I heard some of the best news I've heard in ages.  I found out that my friend, who is also a widow, has a boyfriend.  She's overjoyed and filled with excitement.  I've been wrestling with my own thoughts on this subject and hearing her news gives me great hope.

I've noticed men since TJ has died.  Simply noticed if they were good looking.  It has only been in the past two months that I have contemplated relationship.  Last night, I was with some old friends of mine.  It felt so natural and fun.  When the heaviness crept in it was my teacher.  I realized that I don't want to be alone.  I feel more open to a well rounded life than ever.  I've talked so much about creating a full life.  I am doing what I am destined to do.  At this point in my personal healing process, I am reawakened.  There's more to life than this.  I am Fire.

The changes that have taken place in just the past 5 months are astounding.  I’m completely and totally fascinated how the passage of time has been exactly what it was supposed to be.  I don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t done the things I’ve done; rested when I needed rest, explored when I needed to explore.   Though going forward is still fearful, I believe the feeling comes more from the courage it takes for me to do all of these things in spite of my grief.  Looking back, the first year after TJ died was incredibly slow.  I listened to my inner voice and hibernated; retreating to my cave to lick my wounds and recover.  I know now that this time of the year is the tipping point where the hibernation of winter and the burst of life into spring overlap.

This time last year I was waiting for something; I didn’t know what.  Now I can sit back and reflect.  This is the natural order of things.  I was doing exactly what needed to be done in order to be here now.  I feel a tingling of excitement in my belly for what a year from now will look like.   

Spring is coming.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's True

I feel like shit.
I feel sad and tired.
I feel overwhelmed by my biology homework.
I feel bored.
I feel like crying... so I will.

Crying is getting so fucking old.  I'm making new oceans in the world.

I want some excitement.
I want to have pleasant dreams tonight.
I want to never have to worry about money again.
I want to buy my own house.
I want to be able to live in the present moment at all times. 
I want to do well in biology.
I want to be a healthy weight.
I want to feel like a grown up again.
I want to let go of old habits that no longer serve me.
I want to be a mom.
I want to be able to wholly accept myself exactly as I am.

               More than anything in the world

I want to hear TJ tell me everything is going to be just fine.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Questions With No Anwers

Something is changing.  I'm constantly experiencing small shifts in consciousness.  Seeing life differently and feeling the evolution of grief.  Over the past few months, during my first trimester in school, the changes were more swift and more severe.  It has definitely been a good experience. 

The newest development, however, is terrifying.  Over the past month I have caught myself, almost daily, imagining my life with a partner.  I don't have anyone in particular in mind; I'm daydreaming of what my life will look like as one of the two in a partnership.  I was folding my laundry and putting it away this afternoon.  As I gently smoothed out the beautiful white and lavender fabric of a night gown, I thought about what it would look like to be wearing that in a new home.  I imagined myself floating out of the bedroom I share with my partner to make the mornings meal.  The fantasy is so much safer than reality (though I am stunned that I'm actually thinking this way at all, and so often, as of late).  I so loved being a wife.  I don't want to be alone forever.

All of these musings are quite harmless now.  They don't leave me feeling devastated like they used to.  My uneasiness comes from one simple question: Is this ability to imagine a life with a new partner any indication of being capable of accepting even an innocent date over coffee?  I can't even begin to answer that.  The thought of actually having to accept or decline an invitation from a man causes me to feel similar to experiencing the first huge plunge of a tall roller coaster; my breath gets caught in my chest and all of my organs feel like they're levitating.

It's pointless to get so worked up over something that hasn't happened.  And yet, ever since TJ died, I'm attempting to prepare myself for the unknown.  I'm finally learning that this is an impossible expectation.  Writing all of this down feels helpful.  It makes my thoughts more tangible so I can move them over, allowing for more space.  For the first time I believe I am able to embrace uncertainty.  And I have to remind myself constantly to be easy with myself.  I've never done this before.  I cannot expect to know how to do any of this.  Everything is fine.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be now.