Two years on, but it feels like this morning.

Welcome Back

Thursday 10 November 2016, will be the second anniversary of my husbands funeral. I am not OK, my body is here but I am just a ghost. ‘I’ am still at the hospital; replaying it all every which way, to make it end differently. I am not ready to ‘move on‘ to ‘get on with this ‘new’ life’ like its some shiny new wonderful thing I asked for. No one asks for this. Today’s post is going to discuss things NOT to say to me or others like me who are bereaved, especially those of us who lost someone to sudden or unexpected death. But I’ll also share some things I’ve found helpful in my journey, so I hope you’ll keep reading till the end.

Please grab a brew and a biscuit, its a long post today 😉

How Are You?

WRONG never, never ask me this question and here’s why.

  1. Do you actually want to know?
  2. Are you actually interested?
  3. Are you actually listening or is this just filling air and a reflex question for you?
  4. Even if you feel you can honestly say ‘yes’ to the first three, if you will feel compelled to offer advice from a place of non experience then please, as Megan Devine would say ‘Just stop right there.’

Are we are sitting down together? Do you have a little time? Do you care and actually want to know, without judgement, or suggestions and please know, I can see this in your eyes coz post bereavement, believe me the BS detector gets the mother of all upgrades and I can detect BS from a mile away. If you can see the pain, exhaustion and fear in my eyes and can offer to be witness to all this, let me talk about what I need to, hold my hand. Maybe make me tea, wrap me in a blanket and hold me. Or just pass me tissues and let me be with this. Go ahead….ask.

This ‘How are you?’ might be a throw away question for you but for me it is like a minefield. I panic like a cat caught in headlights, how should I answer? I check your eyes, are you looking at me? Do you look like you might listen, might care? Or have you noticed the pause, while I’m  trying to decide if I need to lie to make you feel OK  and the fear is now in your eyes, that I might actually tell you. But I am super sensitive to emotions and signals and your panicked expression triggers the only response I can manage without either outright lying which I don’t want to do or have the energy to do, so I go with ‘Oh you know, breathing in and out’. At best you dismiss this quickly enough without noticing the energy or effort this took.

If all this was too much for you, then please just go with; ‘Has your day been kind?’ That way I don’t have to lie and you don’t have to hear my pain, and since I can’t hack it, with 2 years into my most recent experience of it, I guess it would be a stretch to expect you to have a try at it too. Megan Devine sums it up very well in this video

 

I am not OK

Year One

So, here I am, not coping with my grief, what now? Well I got through the first year in shock n shut down. This second year has been a mixture of reality checks, disbelief, anger, a lot of confusion, did I mention anger? When the blessed numb wears off a whole raft of other stuff washes in. I’ve been on the floor crying my soul out a lot, there has not been a lot of sleep, there has been a lot of primal noises; there are plenty of times when sounds are the only way to express what you cannot in words. I had a few months counseling with a lovely lady from Cruse Bereavement care in 2015 and here I am on the second anniversary and I’m still trying desperately to find a gentle way to process all that happened. Evolution takes time, not your time, ITS time.

When I could actually focus enough to read I have read me a library of books not just on grief but also on Buddhism, Mindfulness etc. Some have helped, some have been useful companions, but what I learnt sadly was as I reached the end of each of them, they didn’t have THE answer, the holy grail, the fix, the phrase that would make all this feel better, make it OK, make it softer. Back to the floor n the tissue box.

Year Two

Along with more books, this year I’ve been getting a bit more metaphysical with things and have found GREAT comfort in crystals, firstly their beautiful colours but they do all have unique energy and holding them does make me feel different. So I have a growing crystal habit collection which is shifting the energy around.

Meditation is helping, just finding ways to be still. The whole tuning into a quiet space within me, this wouldn’t have worked in the early days, everything was a turmoil so I guess the fact that now and then there is a still space within me is progress right?

Journalling has been a healing companion, confidant and helps me let out some of the pain, I cannot put into words out-loud. When my time with Cruse ended, I was still having a lot of flashbacks to the events of the night my husband passed. It’s your brain trying to process it all, but I found writing about it, what happened, in the journal, allowed my head to gradually settle, like I didn’t have to keep going over it to remember it all, because it was written down. I used to write more than I do now. but these things evolve, no rules, just what I need when I need it.

Letters help too, I write myself letters for the following year, when I discover something that worked so I can tell myself about it for when the pain hits at the most difficult times. I have letters for birthdays, his and mine, anniversary’s, and also the dreaded December 25th. I have not made peace with December the 25th, it is referred to by date or in the American version, ‘the holidays’.

Given the help I have found in journalling, in the summer I took; ‘The Sacred Alone’ e-course by Susanna Conway. It was amazing, it really helped shift some energy around my fear of being alone and I now have a daily practice of meditation, the crystals and I’m enjoying her Daily Guidance e-course on Oracle and Tarot.

I adore my Oracle cards, picked carefully after watching a flip through of the decks on You Tube to be sure I liked the images. The cards are like best friends might be, each brings their own personality of art and words. I can pick cards any time of day and night and find encouraging words to uplift me, hold me and guide me in ways I need. I’ve put Susannah’s details in at the end of this post, see links below.

Whats next?

October to January are the worst for me, so many birthdays of those I’ve lost and anniversary’s relating to them.Self love September, has continued a bit and I’ve stockpiled some books, decks and treats to help me have things to look forward too. Yes I know shadow comforts, but its the page I’m on! Rebecca Campbell’s books are holding me together right now, she is AMAZING do check her out in the links at the end of this post.

I have just signed up for Megan Devine’s e-course ‘Writing your Grief’, a daily email prompt to help me journal how it all feels, it is time to speak my truth about grief, if only to a journal. You can find out about this course on her website Refuge In Grief. See links at end of this blog post. Heads up, the next class starts 21st November 2016 places are limited so sign up now if you can.

I already have a grief journal where I write to my husband, telling him stuff, how it feels but for the class above I have treated myself to a Peter Pauper Press Journal, a real stunner, look.

This journal I intend to write to me, for me. Since my letters have been so helpful perhaps this will be too. Do I think I’ll want to read back all my pain, I don’t know, maybe it might help one day maybe not, I will be writing this whilst honoring my journey, speaking my truth in a way I cannot to those around me. Society does not want to discuss death, it wants to pretend it doesn’t happen, you may talk about sex but not death. Well this is the journal where I can tell it how it is, how it feels, what works to soothe my grief and what doesn’t. Since I’m likely to be in the depths of my pain as I do this, a beautiful journal to honor my words seemed right.

Did you make it to the end of the page? I am really grateful if you did, either you care, you are trying to find ways of supporting someone else through the pain of grief or you too have found yourself on Planet Grief as Helen Bailey calls it. And it sure as heck feels like a different planet. I am changed, at a molecular level by my loss, nothing feels the same, I am not the same person I was before this happened. I still feel like a pile of ash, not ready to do the phoenix thing, but at least I’m starting  to try to gather what I can from the scattered shattered pieces surrounding me. Time does strange things when you are in grief, so maybe you are reading this at silly o’clock at night coz sleep is a distant memory. I get that, I hear you. If you are on that page, please do check out the tab at the top of the blog called Healing, as I have a tab for bereavement and lots of links to books or websites to save you having to search the whole internet for more support in your own journey.

This is the point in the post where in the past I apologize for its length. Not today, this is what my soul needed to say. I hope it will find those who need to hear it and help them in their own journeys. The road is hard enough, we all need someone to pass us a torch, offer a little food, or point us at a few options for a path they tried. This is me ignoring my advice on not offering advice, what can I say, I have an over active helping gene. But in my early days of grief any offers of a path worth trying from those who are on the same page as me, was welcome.

Links

Here are some links to places that may be of interest to you. Each of these people has made a big difference to my grief journey, they are bright lights of hope in the darkness.

  • Bereavement. This is where I have gathered things I found helpful, save you a big search.
  • Refuge in Grief This is Megan Devine’s home page, you can find her e-course here too, Writing Your Grief
  • Susannah Conway A wonderful lady who has been through this too and has some really great e-courses. Her newsletters called ‘Love letters’ are really kind too. Do Sign up
  • Rebecca Campbell Author of Light is the New Black and Rise Sister Rise.
  • Helen Bailey, Helen was my total mentor in my early days, her blog tells it how it is. Sadly she too has now passed. but her blog is wonderful and has a lot of helpful links there too.

 

Sending you all peace, love, light, hope, gratitude and compassion

Billie x

 

 

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Corvid Calls.

Welcome Back

Here is today’s poem for the Writers Digest Poem A Day Challenge November 2016. Today’s prompt was Spirit Animals. Mine are Corvids right now.

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Corvid Calls

Each morning I am greeted

By a cawing sound

The corvids have returned again

And gather all around.

 

Sitting on the rooftops

Bashing on the metal

Tapping and a calling

To everyone around.

 

Standing up so tall and proud

Calling out so Loud!

Calling up a welcome friend,

Calling up a crowd.

 

Looking out for danger

Looking out for friends

Looking out for mischief

As the darkness ends.

 

But after calling loudly

And bowing so polite,

A couple rest contentedly

To be in in each others site.

 

After reading Denise Lin’s book, Kindling the Native Spirit I’ve wondered what my spirit animal might be. When I asked to be shown what animal might be mine, I began to see a lot of crows around. Each day there are at least two on the roof of the house behind mine. Watching out for me, its comforting to think of them in this way.

There will be new poetry prompts each day in November on Writers Digest, look at their What’s New area of the site and for PAD Challenge Novemer 2016.

Writers Digest

Day 2 PAD Challenge November 2016

Much respect and gratitude to Magpies of Edmonton for their kind permission to use their photo of the crow.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. Namaste

Winter Survival Plan: November 2016

Welcome Back

For a number of reasons I find the winter months very difficult, so for all those whose hearts also sink as the light levels drop here are a few sites n projects that I would like to share to help us through the long winter evenings. These are just a few ways I’m going to use to distract from the anxiety and depression and hopefully add to my mindfulness options as a gentler way to deal with difficult times. Enjoy

Poem A Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge over on Writers Digest

This is a twice yearly event one in April and another in NOvember, where the lovely people post daily prompts for you to write poetry too. You can post your finished pieces to the site, or submit them to the competition itself, but for me I just like to write down all the prompts and write as the muse grabs me. If you would like to join in, I’ll add a link at the end of the post. All you need is a journal and a pencil so its free to play at this level.

Susannah Conway e-course Daily Guidance

As those of you who read this regularly may know, I have taken Susannah’s The Sacred Alone course earlier in the year and it was AMAZING!!!!! I adore Oracle cards and it was mention of this course that got me into them when I first visited her website earlier in the year. Daily Guidance is going to cover using Oracle cards and Tarot cards in an intuative way, for personal growth and journalling. I adore journalling, when my hands allow. I have to admit that until recently I have had no interest in Tarot and if I’m really honest viewed it in a bad light. BUT being open minded I wanted to learn more and although when I signed up for this course was going to focus on the Oracle deck side of things, I am now the proud owner of two lovely Tarot decks, and am eager to learn to use them for healing and spiritual growth. Link to the class at the end of the post. My two Tarot decks are The Dreaming Way and also The Gaian Tarot, I could continue of my love for these decks but that is for another post. I’m trying to sit on my hands and NOT fall into the collector of Tarot decks like I have become with the Oracle decks but perhaps different Tarot decks also share different energies like the Oracle decks do so more may well happen in time.

There are other e-courses on different subjects on Susannah’s website too.

Joanna Powell Colbert e-courses

One of the Tarot decks I purchased was Joanna Powell Colbert’s The Gaian Tarot, there will be a very gushy post at another time as to how wonderful this is but on visiting her site and following her on Twitter I found out about an E-course called 30 Days of Hecate –  A Daily Sacred Pause of Welcoming Hallowmas. Link at the end of the post. I admit to knowing nothing about Hecate but I am expolring my spiritual options this year, I adored Denise Linn’s book Kindling the Native Spirit and my body is certainly very in tune with the weather and seasons as pain levels and more are also very effected by them so I am interested in learning more about earth based practices. Join up quick on this one as it starts 24th October.

When my hands allow I have also been batch making soup n such for the freezer so when I feel exhausted or my hands don’t work there will still be another option to a ready meal as an option in the freezer. Yes food does make a big difference to mood, so eat as well as your health allows. May the weather be kind, may you find hope courage and comfort in what ever you do to plan a coping strategy through the long dark evenings. Let me know what your strategies are, would love to hear about them, and your fave Oracle and Tarot decks too. #Confession I’ve also started a collection of Tarot books, but not all have arrived yet and I will hold off reading them till AFTER Susannah’s class.

Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell

This is my book of the month, need to swap the copy I have as it arrived damaged but she is an amazing empowering writer and since I loved her Light is the New Black book so much I HAD to get this too.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, look forward to hearing your strategies for winter.

Namaste

B x

National Poetry Day 2016: Canary Song

Today is National Poetry Day, so here is a poem dedicated to my canary L’uccello, who has the sweetest song.

L’ucello

Yellow bird, so soft and round,

Never known to cause a frown,

How tall he sits, when he does sing,

Brings Joy and light to everything.

 

A bird so small and yet so bold

Never one to make you scold,

He loves to fly, to perch, to sing,

Brings joy and light to everything.

 

My darling Bird, your song so pure,

An angel’s voice, I am sure,

Come sit a while and hear his song,

And in your heart, he does belong.

 

Such joyous notes, brings tears to eyes,

Pure pleasure at his warbling cries,

Of such delight and without measure,

This darling bird, he brings such pleasure.

 

Here is a video of L’ucello singing, for those wondering about his name, its Italian for Bird.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, will you be joining in with National Poetry Day 2016? I’m hoping Writers Digest will post another Poem a Day Challenge in November like they did last year. I don’t try to post to a schedule with the prompts but I like to save them for when inspirations strikes.

 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

B x

Wellness Wednesday 4: Affirmation cards and Oracle Decks

Welcome Back

Its the time of the week when we check in with ourselves and ask; ‘How’s it going?’ today I’d like to share my daily practice, what led to it and how it helps, when the answer to the question above isn’t a positive one.

Daily Practice

This started after taking Susannah Conway’s e-course The Sacred Alone. My day currently starts with. Meditation, before my head has a chance to get too busy on me. This is followed by picking a card or more from one of my decks, if the cards really ‘speak to me’ as in I really connect or react to an image, then I journal about that for a little while. Then I finish with a daily reading from Kyle Gray’s book Raise Your Vibration to give me a positive start to the day.

Breakfast with gentle music not blaring TV n doom n gloom news. I know this doesn’t sound achievable for a lot of people but for those of us who are shun ins (agoraphobia means I can’t go out) then it can have a massive difference to the way your head starts the day. It can in time also help you want to preserve that softer, gentler head space and for me that means, I’m less likely to put tv on unless there is something I really want to see and instead invest the time in a book I really want to read or a magazine that inspires me too.

When you start to achieve softer spaces in your day, they can make a really big difference to all areas of your life. I hope you are finding your own ways to create this with this project we have been doing this month, with Self Love September.

My journey with these kinds of cards began after my husband died. Am I trying to contact him with them NO, its not about that, its about tuning into my own heart n soul. Listening to the heart whispers, the soul whispers. We all have them and they don’t always just whisper, still a skeptic? Think of the last time you saw an amazing pair of shoes, or car and your heart skipped a beat or did that happy squeal of delight at even the thought it you could one day own them, that’s a soul whisper 😉

The thing is, for me when I lost someone who was my soul mate, it made me feel like I had been blown in to a million pieces, it takes time to find all the pieces, and they sure as heck don’t always go back where they came from and you don’t always find them all.

There is some massive rewiring that goes on when you loose all that made sense to you in the past as well as the person you loved so deeply. You look at this ‘new world’ that you don’t feel part of anymore and feel like you are in free-fall. Someone once said ‘When you have your heart broken, or become that broken, it leaves you open to  new things’ and that’s how its been for me.

Since nothing made sense, the rules have gone, lets see what else is out there. Do what you always do get what you always got, so what happens if I try different things. That is the page I’m on now, trying new things, seeing what feels nice n what doesn’t its square one day one for me. Sometimes only through complete surrender to a situation, does it make shifting into new patterns possible.

Affirmation decks

Before you take to the hills at this title, lets start slow. Are you one of those people who has a board on Pinterest for all those amazing quotes that really touch your heart? Yep hands up me too. I went on to make my own affirmation cards from my favorites and have a little note book with some that were really special as a go too book for hopeful messages, when I feel low. Its good to step away from technology, have something tactile in your hands.

If all that sounds a bit hard work, did you know you can buy beautifully made decks of cards with these healing words on? Well ya can! The two I have gone for are The Four Agreements and also Miracles now. I love the concept of The Four Agreements and hope to buy the book later in the year, the images on the cards seem quite art journal style which also attracted me too them.

Walk through on You Tube by Madam LaVey

The other set that I have on order and I hope by the time this goes live, will be in my hands is; Miracles Now. Rebecca Campbell speaks highly of the author Gabrielle Bernstein and I saw a video of them by New Age Hipster on You Tube. If you are enjoying Light is the New Black, these are along similar uplifting, motivational lines.

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Oracle Cards

Still with me, YEY high five! Don’t be worried these aren’t all woo woo, not all scary images (not the deck’s I’ll share with you) and certainly NOT about calling up those who have gone before, well not to me in how I use them. I’ll tell you the story if you grab a brew n settle in for a long post 😉 Well the nights are drawing in and maybe you like a story 🙂

After a visit to Susannah Conway’s website where she wrote a post about Oracle decks I was curious. Followed a link and ended up on Blue Angel Publishing’s website n found Kuan Yin deck. Went to the author’s website Alana Fairchild where she has an online oracle version of the deck for you to try out. Go for the one with the lady with her arms above her head. The writing next to the deck image is a cut down version of the books description but you will get the idea. You can also buy these decks on Amazon.

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Still being a cautions soul, I next went to You Tube to see a walk through of the deck, this is controversial and dubious copyright but I don’t see it that way and although it has put me off buying some decks, it has encouraged me to buy way more than I otherwise would habe bought. (They are addictive, because the art is so nice and each deck has different vibe n different focus on things). I ordered Kuan Yin from Amazon and its AMAZING, so kind, so gentle so healing. My late husband used to say ‘listen to your heart’ but I am indecisive n any decision I would bat too and fro for ages so I struggled to do that. For me I meditate to slow my busy head, shuffle the cards and see what comes up. Sometimes and particularly with the Kuan Yin deck I just let one card fall out and read the book. It has such kind healing words, I needed to hear that. I don’t see or talk to people enough to hear kind words as often as I need to hear them and this deck fills that gap for me.

I also have Gaia Oracle with art work by Toni Salerno, I love this deck as there is so much in the images that I often don’t read the book but see what they say to me. Before you scoff, we all do it, look at the cover of a book and feel a reaction to the image, this is no different to that. As for interpreting the image, think English Literature class at school you all read the same book and all had your own view on it. That’s how the card reading goes for me.

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Being drawn to nature I adore the Denise Linn Native Spirit oracle. Personally although I have no known connection to Native American culture, I have always loved and respected it, for the way it honors everything around it in nature. These cards have stunning images which I wanted to meditate on and again this deck I mostly just feel how i feel about the image n don’t read the book

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You Tube walk through of the Native Spirit Deck by Lavender Moon Witch

Well this post got way longer than I expected, and way more personal than I’d intended. But these cards can be really useful for healing old wounds and I just wanted to share some options for healing and therapy when you can’t access or don’t feel comfortable with other routes.

Thank you so much for reading, most of these come up on Amazon as and when available or you can get them through the publishers especially if you are outside the UK.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. Namaste.

 

 

Meditation Monday 4: Sleep meditation

Welcome Back

Today’s unguided meditation is from  You Tube channel; Sleep Music Relaxation zone. Please do not play this video while you are driving or operating machinery of any kind since as the title suggests its designed to deeply relax you and may well send you to restful sleep.

I hope you enjoy this meditation music and find it soothing. For more meditations, check out You Tube and type in the kind of meditation you would like. Guided or unguided and then energizing or relaxing, there are so many to choose from.

Meditation can be a really good way to explore your emotions on new levels and find the quiet peaceful places that are within us but we cannot see/feel when we are rushing around in our daily lives.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. Namaste

Feel Good Friday 4. The Sacred Alone

Welcome Back

We made it through another week, phew, how was it for you? Its that time in the week where we treat ourselves to a little something special to celebrate making it though. As we near the end of this course with me, I want to share details of the most wonderful e-course which I took earlier in the year and would highly recommend to everyone. Its called The Sacred Alone by Susannah Conway.

The Sacred Alone

the sacred alone title

Like me Susannah was widowed young and has had to find new ways to find her way in the world. This course isn’t just for the bereaved, its for anyone who is or feels alone and really isn’t that cool with it…YET. This course is so amazing, kind, nurturing, healing. Becoming used to being alone is a process and evolution takes time but with this course she helps you find ways that make it feel different, kinder, softer, less intimidating.

This course was a life changer to me, and using the practices from it I hope will help me through another long winter. During the course you will receive a daily email, Monday to Friday with such healing words of hope n comfort and at the end a pdf to download and keep of the entire course, which I love! There is mindfulness, meditation and visualizations. Let’s let Susannah explain more about it on her website

You deserve to treat yourself to this, if you read the description and like I did, cry because it sounded so perfect, then listen to your heart and go for it.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon, Namaste.