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Archive for the ‘Visible Love’ Category

Today was a day where words are so inadequate, where one can’t hold all that it contains into a sentence, a post, my hands or my heart.

I was blessed to have spent the day with family and friends near and dear to me honoring life, grieving loss and holding hope. I was reminded of how powerful ritual is, how love can weave together broken hearts, how vital community is and how important we are to one another.  Looking at the people that surrounded me with all of our lives flashing before us, from the picture above, to the moments now so many years later with so much love, light and loss woven within each year, each milestone, each step taken together.  Weaving in and out of each others lives, creating a safety net of community, of connection I was overwhelmed with so many emotions.  With the angelic voice of Heatherlyn lifting our hearts, a moving message about the power of marking the time and the acknowledgement of the difficulty of the firsts of a year after loss an ordinary Sunday afternoon where time was suspended and love was made visible.

Last night I was blessed to hear beautiful music from the talented Leslie Ball whose beautiful stories, sharing and music broke open the hearts of the audience and drew them in from the very first strum of her guitar.  Followed by a reading/talk by Matthew Sanford about his memoir: Waking- A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence. 

When Matthew Sanford was just thirteen, his family’s car skidded off an overpass on an icy Iowa road — killing his father and sister, paralyzing him from the chest down, and changing his life forever. Years later, yoga would dramatically change it again. In WAKING: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence (Rodale, June 2006), Matthew chronicles his journey from the intensive care unit to becoming a paralyzed yoga teacher and founder of a nonprofit organization. Along the way, Matthew gains a deeper understanding of the connection between mind and body, and formulates an entirely new view of existence as a “whole” person.

For years after the devastating accident, Matthew felt a schism, or “silence,” between his mind and his body. As he grew into adulthood, he began studying philosophy in an increasingly frustrating search for answers. Then he discovered yoga. At first, he didn’t even know if a paraplegic could do yoga, but he was willing to try. Guided by his teacher, Matthew began to explore what it truly means to live in a body, and discovered new meaning and purpose in the “distance” between mind and body.

Then while standing in line to get my book signed meeting Joe Stone and learning more about his amazing story.  And being reminded this weekend at every turn, about how people every day experience trauma and transcendence, how people experience love and loss, how we move forwards, backwards and everywhere in-between.  And sometimes it is our own volition that keeps us moving, sometimes it is friends, family, others that share their hope and healing with us, and sometimes it is a moment from a book, a blog, a movie, a stranger that offers what we need at that moment if we are willing to receive the gift.

At the service today, to honor a young life taken much to soon, on what would have been his first birthday, last night hearing Matthew speak, and the stories and songs that Leslie shared, my own experience- they all have common threads… the love of friends and family that sustained us through difficult times, the power of using your experience to guide and help others through, reminders of how dependent we are on one another, reminders that we are all vulnerable to loss as long as we love, that life can change in an instant, that we are all so fragile and yet, so much stronger than we ever knew.

And reading the words from my journal after the funeral one year ago…

It is always the things that you can’t prepare for that hit you the most about grief. Today it was watching as S. and another man went in for the man hug and his suitcoat revealed the hospital band still on his wrist. The dead look in their eyes as shock, grief, fatigue and overwhelm numbed their souls and weighed heavy on their hearts.

It is a wonder we can literally still stand, when grief knocks you to the ground it amazes me that we continue to breathe, that we continue to function in any significant way when you just want to curl up and stop breathing.

And that is the hard part… walking away from the moment where you feel so held, where others feed you, where others tell you when to sit, when to stand, where to go, what to do next… and it is the moments when you have to figure out how to rebuild a life after… what to do next, how to keep going when you feel dead inside.

And somehow it happens. One moment at a time the rebuilding begins. The new castle in the sand. And that is the hard part, with no control over the ebb and flow of the tide, no timeline for how often, when or if the sea will give or it will take away… moments of pure joy and ecstacy in the building of a new castle and then the sweeping in of grief once again and you are left with a mound of wet sand and the decision yet again… to rebuild, to enjoy the process, to sit and let the waves wash over you again and again, to move your castle, to pout, to cry, or to find a new opportunity. Because as long as you love you will be vulnerable to loss, and the deeper your love the deeper your pain, but I have decided there is truly no choice, that my desire to live in love is too strong, even though it is a risk, but the rewards are great. The deeper my love the stronger my support, even when the waves are crashing in and in that moment of being knocked off center there is an underpinning of certainty that I will build again. I will believe in the power of creating another castle, of sharing brief moments of joy, of moments of dancing and honoring all that has been created, all that I have loved and lost. But retaining the little snapshots of joy, little moments of my love being so full and complete that it drowns out any darkness that tries to seep through to color the moment or the memory. It is better to be here… this place where I know that they will be okay… but then the pain of knowing how hard the journey is… how long and how difficult… but also knowing the treasures found along the way…

I was trying to think of how to pull this blog “together” to weave the threads together, to have a striking ending of some sort… but then remembered- that is how life is.  It isn’t packaged neatly, there isn’t always a clear beginning, middle and an end.  Once again I am brought back to the In-Between and how so much of life is lived in the mess where there are no guidebooks and no simple answers.

And sometimes it is all we can do to hold on to one another in love and trust that one step at a time the way will unfold.

We live into the healing, into the meaning of events, sometimes not realizing their full power until many years later.

I can already tell that this was one of those times.

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Light

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~ Mary Oliver ~

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Something to remember for the New Year!!

It is the New Year… time for many to take stock of where they are, where they want to be and make resolutions.  I have a love hate relationship with resolutions and so I don’t do them in the traditional way… but of course I love the opportunity to be able to think about what I want the next year to look like, how I want to shape my part of it, what I want to leave open to God/the Universe/Mystery/Chance, and what I just don’t even know is possible yet.

So instead of New Year’s Resolutions I decided to make a list of what I want more of and what I want less of:

Less:

Comparing- myself or my life (which is in process) to a static idea of what I “should” be, to my own projection or anyone else’s

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
~ Steve Jobs

Judgment

Saying yes from obligation

Saying no from fear

Guilt

Feeling responsible for others

Being anyone but me

More:

Live Music

Being around people doing what they love

Lightness of being

Reading

Grace

Relaxation

Looking through the eyes of love

Letting go

Joy

Working out

Laughing so hard my stomach and cheeks hurt the next day

Warrior Dash Days

Love

Light

Laughter

Lattes

Enjoying the moment- and being there with no guilt, simply joy and an acute awareness of the blessings that surround me

Letters- sending and receiving

Writing the Brave Letters- (more soon on that :))

Writing- books, poetry, letters, prayers, journal entries- JUST WRITE

Losing myself in beauty

Being outdoors

Remembering the truth of this statement and choosing the company of joy-

There’s only one address anyone lives at and it’s always a duplex: Joy and pain always co-habit every season of life.

Accept them both and keep company with the joy while the pain does it’s necessary renovations. 

~ Ann Voskamp

Prayer/Meditation

Making space

Radiance

Tea

Sun

Sweat- loving the feeling at the end of a workout of muscles that have been pushed to their limit

Pride in the life that I have created

Letting love in

Capturing beauty

Taking time to celebrate all that I have done

Taking time to think about all that I want to do

Investing in myself, in my dreams, in my own life

Clearing out

Asking for help when needed- giving help when the opportunity presents itself

Glowing- with health, with love, with peace and contentment

Creating- being in the flow

Feeling good in my own skin

Deepening into me

Wisdom

Continuing to be a part of something bigger

Moments where I am so entranced by what I am doing that I forget where I am, what time it is, or what I “need” to do

Creating community

Helping bring out the light in others

Letting my own light shine

Celebrating all of the gifts that surround me every day

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Christmas Cactus from my Grandmother

I have been reminded time and time again that it is a gift to be used in the Service of Love.

May you bloom into your gifts, be of service and seek out love today and always.

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Christmas Light

A friend of mine wrote this prayer when she was looking for the words to soothe an aching heart and couldn’t find them.

Sometimes that is how the In-Between is… we may find what we need in other people, other’s words, and sometimes we need to write it ourselves, to seek our own healing, to seek our own inner wisdom, to take time to search for the hope held deep within ourselves.

Wherever you are in your In-Between may you find peace, may you find rest for the restless nights, may you find light in the midst of darkness, may you hold yourself gently as you navigate your journey.

May the God of unconditional love surround those that are hurting this Advent season. Loss of jobs, loss of loved ones, and loss of relationships can lead into a loss of hope. Help us to nurture the traditions that heal while creating new ways to honor those not physically present this year. As we fill our hearts with the songs of the season, fill our hearts with gentle compassion for the ones finding it hard to prepare for a Silent Night.

Amen.

~ Alison Feigh

 

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A few of my loyal fans

Hard at work signing away!

This weekend was my first book signing at The Coffee Shop in my hometown and so many of  my loyal fans stopped by to share their love and support.  It was so much fun to have so many of my friends and family making a long journey (even through our first snowstorm of the winter!) to share the day with me.  There were people from all parts of my life and as far away as Colorado!  The journey to this day has been an amazing one, full of the depths of pain and loss and the heights of love overflowing and grace- and to be able to spend the day in celebration, sharing good coffee, good food, good conversation and lots of hugs was such a gift.

People kept streaming in, showing up with hugs, smiles and well wishes and it was such a reminder to me that there are so many people that are willing to celebrate with us, to share success, to support and to guide us through our lives.  More often than not it is just a matter of extending the invitation.  These are the same people who gathered me in love and held me as my life shattered and now they are coming to celebrate the weaving together of the broken pieces, sharing the journey in large and small ways.

I have gotten letters in the mail, phone calls, prayers, messages on my Facebook, on my blog, and special gifts that are constant reminders that we are held in so much love, even when we can’t see it or feel it.  I have made it a practice to collect these magical moments to help me remember when the sadness creeps in, or when the love and support feel further away.  Cards on my fridge, moments captured in my journal to read over when I need that reminder of all the support that surrounds me, a list of gifts that I add to every day to remind myself to stop and be thankful for all the gifts that surround me.  All of these things have enabled me to be strong in the broken places, to remind myself of who I am when I have forgotten and to share the same support with others who need it.  And that is really what the book was created to do, to be that gift, to be that voice, to share what I have been given.

After the official festivities were over I had invited everyone over to my house for food, conversation and fun.  When I was in the other room getting the leaf to put in the table I stopped for just a minute and I heard the comingling of voices, the intermittent bursts of laughter, the voices I could instantly recognize and I just sat there for a minute taking it all in… this is my home that they are filling with love, this is my book signing party surrounded by all of my favorite people and what just kept on rolling over and over in my head was the phrase- “This is what love sounds like.”

Indeed this is what love sounds like.

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I was saddened to hear of the passing of Steve Jobs today… but I have also been moved as Facebook has lit up with people sharing quotes, pictures and memories.  And it just solidifies what I already knew, but needed to be reminded of.  People respond to passion, they respond to integrity, to quality, to leadership, to intellect, to kindness, to hope, to love.

People who have found their passion and live it out on a day to day basis shine- and his light shines brightly, even now in the midst of a dark night.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

~ Steve Jobs

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~ Steve Jobs

Mr. Jobs- Thank you for changing the world.

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