An Open Letter – Embrace the Suck

On the heels of recent discussions, I feel compelled to share that in order to live fully, one must totally and wholly:

Embrace the Suck.

Let’s be real. Life can fucking suck. It can be terrible. There is always a new tragedy. If it is not something tragic that derails you, there are then disappointments creep up. But that’s okay, Dear Reader. It truly is because let’s face it:

Life’s just not all sunshine and rainbows.

One of my homies from college, Miguelito, used to start our staff meetings by asking for each person to share “Sunshine and Bombs.” The Sunshines were always easy because they had to do with something cool. The Bombs for early 20 somethings were mostly easy too in hindsight. Regardless how soon(er than I’d like) to be late 30 something me now sees that time of my life, the point is a challenging circumstance in any given moment, is a challenging circumstance.

And that’s okay.  Life is a mixed bag.  Each morning we wake, whether it’s a struggle, or there’s a bounce in our step, is a blessing.  So enjoy each one for the single gift it is.

And with that, a partial poem that I jotted down while contemplating a recent suicide:

Was it a step?

Or a leap?

Was it faith

That set you free?

What’s the answer Doc?

Is there more,

Can you tell me?

An Open Letter – Beyond This Life

Death is my most powerful meditation.

When it manifests in some shape in my life, I am gifted a telling reminder that this physical shell, which we momentarily occupy, is but small next to the vastness of Creation.

I recently had two very different conversations, with two very different men, who were reflecting on deaths of important men in their lives.

“I like to think he’s saving me a seat up there.”

On January 3, of this year, I learned that my Dentist, Dr. Scott, had passed away.  I was very shaken by this because I saw him about once a week for over three years.  No, my grill isn’t in constant disrepair, our offices are located right across from one another and we would talk pretty often as a result.

Dr. Scott was always a positive light in the lives of many and is quite missed.

In my case, we’d chat about spirituality, surfing, traveling, food, and all sorts of things in the few minutes we shared each week. Though just an acquaintance, I valued the relationship and he always showed up during times of high stress for me.  His ever present smile and positive attitude were gentle reminders that there was more to live than the stress of work and to enjoy the journey.

His death bothered me all month and on January 31, I was told that Dr. Scott took his own life.  Dentists have one of the highest suicide rates and when I first heard that he had passed at just 57, my heart sunk because I had a feeling that might be the case.  I hoped it wasn’t but it was and it is still shocking.  His friend who shared the information with me had this advice on processing the news:

“You cannot think too deeply about it.  These kind of situations, no one sees coming.”

And it’s true.

Last person on Earth you’d expect because he was so uplifting.  No one saw it coming.  Not Dr. Scott’s dental practice partner of three decades, Dr. Kent, or their colleagues, every one who knew him, is in absolute shock that such a positive, loving, and encouraging being would leave that way.

When Dr. Kent and I talked, I shared my own appreciation for his friend, and I thought openly how each person can live on through all who encountered them.  We spoke of reading scripture and Dr. Kent had shared that after it first happened, he felt like God was really speaking to him, but as the pain starts to become more manageable, he wasn’t hearing the same.

I thought for a moment on those words.  I’ve been experiencing a very “dry season” in life for some time and each day I struggle to open my eyes.  Most days, I sleep beyond my alarm, and I have to force myself to give thanks even though I know life can be so much worse.  Living isn’t the easiest of circumstances no matter what your experience may be and the pain we encounter can be crippling.  But it is in times like these where we feel like God’s voice is not speaking that we have to open up, look, and listen because it is not that God has stopped communicating, we have.

I told Dr. Kent that these times were the times where we had to pray more, meditate further, and just trust that God sees more than we.  He smiled and shared that Dr. Scott always got to the conventions early, and no matter what, would always save a seat the table for Dr. Kent. He said he likes to think that Dr. Scott is saving him a seat at the table up there, and said he was going to read from scripture that night.

We shook hands, said our goodbyes, and I like to think Dr. Scott was there in those moments with us.

“It still saddens me that he is gone and I try to find answers as to where he might be.”

 

My night was a bit different than reading scripture.  After checking out a Maui Brewing Company limited release, I received a message asking about an article I had shared via social media about there being more to life than this singular plane of experience.  A friend, O., reached out because he still feels challenged that he struggles with the passing of his father this past year.

A different experience, a different man, but the questions and subsequent emotions surrounding each death still very relevant to both men.

I wrote back to O. to encourage him to look, listen, and feel his Father living through him and others who were touched by him.  He said it felt as though his friends were tired of hearing it and people have told him to just get over it.  To that, I shared it was okay to feel however he felt.

I don’t think pain really leaves.  It heals, it changes, but the memories certainly live on.

O. thanked me for taking the time to share my “opinions” and I laughed.  If energy cannot be created or destroyed.  Where does it, or we go?  Physically, we return to the Earth, but what about the Ether?

What becomes of that?

In order to cope with the loss of someone, I think it helpful to recall that when we pass from the Flesh, we merely change form, and our Soul, which really is the essence of who we are, lives on in Spirit.  To be one there means our work on this plane of existence is done and that we’re ready for the next adventure.

As haunting as Death can be, it is also a celebration, a wonderful guide, and something we all share.

An Open Letter – That’s Terrible / That’s Beautiful

I found myself saying “that’s terrible” or the word “terrible” in some form a few times throughout the day yesterday.  In striving to live a more mindful, compassionate, and positive existence, isn’t that terrible?

Jokes aside, as the tears streamed in recollection of witnessing such suffering in a very sad passing from this past year, it hit me where I heard the phrase “that’s terrible” from.

My Grandmother.  I touched briefly on her being put in a home but  I didn’t expand too deeply on it, because the writing took me elsewhere in the last open letter.  So let’s explore the origins of “that’s terrible” here and now.

My Grandmother, Grandma, or Gran’ma as she signed cards, would often empathize with different folks and has always been nice, kind, caring to any and all.  I remember once while growing up during a conflict between my Dad and Grandfather, Old, that she expressed with tears in her eyes that she wanted them to just work it out.

Old, bless his Soul, and I had a great relationship.  But he was a pretty intense man and former alcoholic so the dynamic I experienced was much different than what my Dad went through growing up.

Sometimes it’s just hard to shake the ash off from fires of the past.

I was still pretty young and it would take many more years to see more elements to the conflict, but it was a powerful reminder at the time of how much love my Grandma shared.

Old was a pretty epic orator and the man always had a story to tell.  He passed when I was 30 and in those three decades, I only once heard him repeat a story.  LOL, for Grandma, my Dad, my Mom, perhaps heard a few stories more than once, but I imagine it wasn’t very many because up until he passed, he was sharp.

If something ever happened, such as a hardship, or challenge that was taxing for someone Old could be quite vocal about it.  It could be a story on the news, something they heard of from a family member or friend, and many times, it had to do with people passing painfully or experiencing poor health. As his telling of those stories came to an end, Grandma would close with:

“That’s terrible!”

By the age of 31, I’d completed my first manuscript for publication.  Within it, I wrote about many of the different takeaways that age 30 gifted me with that I wished I’d known while navigating my 20s.  Much of it had to do with living and loving more fully on this journey where we’re all dying.  Now on the cusp of 37, the words of a teacher weigh heavy on my shoulders:

“You are only in your 30s, my Dear, your best yet will be surpassed.”

That is true, it has and will continue.  But the flip-side to that, or the balance, is that so will the worst yet.

And that is terrible.

It’s also Life.  Life was not promised to be easy and that which is terrible is a sobering reminder how special and precious Life truly is.  That makes each day a blessing no matter who the political talking heads or celebrities are that live the lives of the rich, the famous, the powerful.  Because the terrible elements of life find us all.  Death awaits each and every one.

And that’s beautiful.

An Open Letter – It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

Your Grandma is in a home.  

My Dad’s words written to me, felt like they were hitting me, as I am reminded that the march to the death of those I hold most dear continues.

Over the past few years, her mind has deteriorated and it was determined this was the best for her own well-being.  It’s the hardest closing chapter of Grandparent’s life, that is my own, to watch yet.  I watched another closing this past year and I don’t think I’m quite past that yet either.  So much suffering.  Leaving quite the wake as it passed.

Valentine’s Day also passed.

I’ve been single for Valentine’s before but it’s funny how perception shapes reality. Despite it being Valentine’s and in light of a relationship having changed form months ago, I chose to make dinner and get something for her the night before. I debated what to do beforehand yet chose the simplicity because when I looked back at times where I put forth “grand gestures,” it still led to some conflict or dissatisfaction, which then led me to feel taken for granted, exhausted.

So I went small, instead of grand, and in some ways, that feels unnoticed and it makes the ego within me question, wonder if she or anyone will ever see me, the real me, not through the lens of hurt or other men or projections or expectations.

I think I always have, which has probably hurt the most.  And there’s truth in it with others AND my own being self-critical.

I wonder if she or anyone will ever hear me.  If she ever did, if others really have.  In this case, I tried to show that I loved her from the start, wanting to stand up for her, protect her, take care of her, change myself to go with her on adventures, misadventures, whatever because she asked me to trust her.

I told her that I loved her many times in word and in other ways.  In intense moments since the relationship changed shape, I still share those sentiments because I can’t help how my heart feels.

But LOL, it seems as though, or perhaps the ego tells me that I’ll always be remembered for my failings.

“Not reliable.”

“Don’t communicate.”

“So difficult and complex.”

“Do you ever wonder if you should be in a relationship?”

Despite those words, none of that mattered.  What mattered was the laughter.  But for so long the laughter disappeared and it wasn’t just because of a long march to the death of a loved one.  It was because of professional aspirations, battles with leadership, and an inability to see me, hear me, as a human.

But it’s beyond words you know, it’s a feeling.

And life and love are meant to be experienced and present for 365 days a year, not just special occasions.  It’s meant to be captured fully in the moment, not in a phone but the status’ and the social media, the likes, that’s what matters theses days right?

A friend of mine from college, who is 32 weeks pregnant, wrote how grateful she was that her boyfriend cleaned the bathroom and how she didn’t need the romance.  I wondered as I read that and all the other Single Awareness Days,  the So in Love posts, the Love All, the Bleh, is it just a few that appreciate the simple parts?  Does it take a life-changing experience in birth and death to appreciate what’s there?  What does it take?

And that’s not to say that I don’t think romance is important.  It is and believe it or not, I think men want to experience it, the gift and the receipt of it.

But it takes two on so many levels.  How can I do it, if I’m exhausted, if I’m not inspired?

How can it be balanced when sometimes the levels don’t mesh, don’t mix, don’t add up.

That’s life, but that doesn’t erase the pain in my heart.  It never has and I am not sure if it ever does because the experiences are but salt to this physical wound.

Sometimes, I really hate life.  I hate that external things like holidays or work or whatever creep in and erase the effort that existed.  I am mad as hell that it took a big push on my part and death for the other person to see or hear or remember or whatever.

I’m not perfect, never was, have so many flaws that I’m working on each day but the truth is that I tried, and I tried, and I tried.  I may have also put alot into work because I want to be of service but I have also made these choices to take care of my small family in the pursuit of it becoming one and creating a union that could stand the test of time.

Sometimes the obvious isn’t so.  And it’s obvious, life can’t be done alone, even if at times it is lived alone.  And at times, it never felt lonelier than feeling alone in a relationship.

Brah, the past few years have been rough.  I’m recovering from a very hard 18 months and counting with the relationship evolving the way it did and the subsequent aftermath.

Recovery is an interesting concept but the truth is I struggle.  I am struggling every single day and I feel lost.

I struggle so much that people ask me how I’m doing because I can’t mask the disillusion or the sadness I’m feeling. So I try to hold it together, deflect, find ways to act along and build while I’m trying to find my way out of a taxing situation at work, that isn’t as simple as just burn the house and arise from the ashes like a Phoenix.

I look to hope but I struggle with disconnect from family, with its own burdens and sadness in watching one we love dissolve physically, and return to the cycle of the pain I’m feeling over this love, that I can’t explain it, hasn’t really been felt seen or heard.  And maybe I have to accept, never will.

It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

I can’t even really find respite in the world at large.

The world is quickly becoming the view of 45, dark, messy, turbulent, fake, SAD.  There are many folks expressing such emotions and that’s cool.  It’s a reminder we aren’t alone amidst chaos.  But sometimes, it’d be nice to feel there is harmony and not chaos.

It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

Well, I can fight back tears for so long, right? Besides, she probably can say and feel the same. Therein lies the rub.

It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

A Poetic 45 – Week 03

Merely week three, and already so, so much to see, how could this, how could this be? Click, click, click, just too many darn stories of tales, even for a reader and writer of words just like me!

I feel for 45, yes, I really do. Now I don’t always agree with things he has said or done, that is certainly true.  But there is so much opposition to each and every one of his positions, that it seems as though no one is really even ready to listen.

And that is concerning, especially for those yearning, for the sun to shine over a new connected and collective morning.

They say this post is one you learn and grow into.  I hope Mr. 45 that some day you find a brand new, a brand new,

a brand new…