Akhilandeshwari

Akhilandeshwari is a South Asian Goddess who is known as ‘She Who Is Never Not Broken’. Akhilan-“ means, “never-not-broken” and “deshvari” is a Sanskrit term for goddess.

As human beings, we are broken over and over during our lifetime. Broken from grief, from heartbreak, from loss and traumas, both physical and mental.

A question I am frequently asked is how I have endured and survived some of the times I have been broken- both literally and figuratively.

The truth is that it was at those times in my life when I was most broken that I have made deep acquaintance with my pain and suffering. Mostly in silence, frequently with hot tears running down my face, but always with an open soul and inquisitive mind.

I learned at a very young age that I was going to be the only one to save myself.

For many years, I ran and ran and then ran some more. I managed to keep my life busy and full. I kept the lessons and the learning and the inevitable time for reflection at bay until I was forced to face all the broken pieces of me.

As a dear friend calls it- the time was coming for excavation, a time that would be forced upon me for digging deep inside.

To remember. To reflect. To open doors leading to places I had been trying to avoid going for years. And I had a whole lot of places I had been avoiding.

Emotional pain was always something to be avoided at all costs, and if I had to hurt in that way, it was best to stuff it deep and forget it if I could.

Maybe i could find someone else in even more pain than me and try to help them. That sounded better than having to look at my own. Find someone even more broken than myself and try to love them back together again. I have had whole relationships that started from that very criteria.

Distractions. Deflections. Denial.

I am indeed like Akhilandeshvari, she of “never not broken”.

I like to think that I finally stopped running and invited my pain in for tea.

But it didn’t really work that way.

One day a few months following the death of my brother, I found myself crying and quite honestly couldn’t stop. I sat on my couch, totally alone, and for the first time in my life, I allowed it all to wash over me. All that sticky, hot, aching pain.

I invited it in and let it wash all over me. I sat with it, my home growing dark as the hours slipped by around me.

The losses, the abuses, the neglect, the regrets – everything I had kept behind those doors for years. I felt at times like I was psychically shattering. My heart ached and my lungs felt full. Every part of my body was like a sponge, taking in more and more pain as every one of those doors opened, one at a time.

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Look at it. Deal with it. Look at your part in this.

Call it a Come to Jesus moment, or a transformation, or even a nervous breakdown if you will. All I know is that once I allowed it to happen and really spent the time picking through all the broken pieces, I began to see the prisms of light within me and within my broken pieces.

I believe that people are drawn to me because of my brokenness.

I think they must sense that if they share their own stories of suffering with me, I will listen and be with them in their pain.

I am not fearful of pain anymore, mine or anyone else’s.

Pain has provided me with the lessons I most needed to learn and has been the best tool for growth I could ever ask for.

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Indomitable Spirit

The Sandbox Writing Challenge this week asks what keeps us going.
I had to ponder on this for a bit as I’m always slightly bewildered when asked where my strength comes from or what contributes to my not just falling down and giving up.
Hope obviously springs eternal.
That’s a given.
But there have been times in my life when hope took a short walk on me, and I was left alone and searching internally to find a shred of anything to hold on for.
My sons have always tethered my heart here, since their arrivals into my life, but I know that is too easy and and pat of an answer from me for this particular query.

I have (am) an indomitable spirit.

I didn’t have to work for this spirit at all.
It has fortunately always been within me and has stayed burning brightly during the darkest times of my life.
The flame has sputtered many times but never ceased to provide me with the fire and persistence to just keep going.
Sometimes crawling,  and holding on in incredibly weakened states, but always, always there.
That spirit has an intrinsic awareness that it IS always darkest before the dawn.
It knows that holding on for me when I’m weak or scared or tired is what its purpose is,  as important as my lungs are to sustaining my breathing.

I am such a lucky girl who has experienced so many golden moments thus far and met so many incredible humans along my path.

There’s more around the next corner, for everyone.

Keep to the road and don’t falter, fellow travelers.

This life is amazing.

“You say that your sky has been changing lately. That you’re tired and broken. That the answers you thought you’d found don’t seem to work right anymore. 
We’ve been down these sad roads a thousand times before, sat quietly on lonely hillsides, cried with forgotten songs on the radio.
Always, it was our belief in other days that got us through.  I remember planting dreams with you, chasing wishes, watching flowers. But what I remember best is how you always made me laugh, even when the world around us was falling apart. 
All these years, walking the solitary paths where I found and lost myself a thousand times, I never felt alone because you were in my memory.
You were there and I will always stand by you. 
Go outside now, and walk away. Find one of those roads again somewhere in the quiet shade of gentle trees.
Take this thought and hug your shadow and love yourself and remember these things: There is nothing in this world worth giving up for what you’ve already achieved.
You will always be a fighter and a dreamer.
Now, more than ever, you’ve got to look deep within your heart and believe.

I consider myself the luckiest man on earth.
I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for!”— Lou Gehrig

While We Were Sleeping

I really live a blessed life.

I am as entitled and privileged as any other female of my age living outside of a third world country can be.

The worst slights I have encountered in the last few years from society as a whole has been a very subtle ageism that is perhaps only a flavour of the month in my workplace, and may just settle itself in time.

This past week I have suffered greatly with the news of young black men being shot like dogs in the streets.

I cried on and off for days this past month while reflecting upon all the lives stolen away in Orlando.

In my own country, I cannot go an entire eight hour period without seeing an ignorant post about Muslims, or refugees.

Keyboard warriors posting disgusting words in relation to female politicians whose party lines they are in opposition to.

Where did our humanity go ?

When did we begin turning blind eyes to racist, misogynistic or homophobic behaviour?

To intolerance and hate for those that don’t look like us or live by our beliefs?

When did it become OK for us to shame and blame victims for crimes committed upon them?

Has it been insidiously creeping forward, under cover of darkness while we all slept soundly in our beds? Slithering into our shared consciousness like a virus?

Have we just seen so much brutality and intolerance that we have become frozen inside and simply pick up the remote control and make it go away without feeling or fully processing it?

How can it be that a gorilla receives more sympathy and concern than actual living breathing human beings murdered in the streets by those that we teach our children will protect them?

Racism is not even covert any more; it is loud and proud and very much alive on social media and in the comments sections of local newspapers.

Chants of ” I’m just telling it like it IS” ring out to cheers and “likes”.

“Go home to where you come from if you don’t want to live OUR way”, “stealing all our JOBS”, ” that bitch needs someone to take her head off with an AXE!”,” they were fags in a queer club; God hates fags.”

I have read all those and many more these past few weeks and I am so sick inside at where this world is headed to.

My challenge was to find who I look down upon and it didn’t take me long at all this time.

Those that tear down instead of giving a hand up.

Those that see colour rather than the soul inside.

Those that think some lives are worth less than other lives.

Those that feel offended by different belief systems and religions.

We were all once someone’s child, someone’s baby.

We all have to share this space and planet.

There needs to be a shift in thinking moving forward or we are most certainly doomed.

I know in my very being that there are more of us than there are of them but they are louder and angrier, more violent and vocal.

It is time for the rest of us to stand up and say, “enough”.

This will not be tolerated any more by our society.

No more.

Please.

 

 

Whole

Witnessing

that which was once unbreakable

breaking  into pieces.

Disintegrating like dust

scattered into the universe

to haphazardly blow soft warnings

within the paths of those who have no inkling

of how quickly and without warning

the storms can come.

Venerating the pain for the lessons

which would have never been learned

in a lifetime spent chasing pleasure

without bearing witness to the

hidden side of the coin.

Gathering the slivers of light and benevolence

manifesting on the long road back.

Savouring the beauty and love

found in a child’s laughter or

the rhythmic crashing of the waves.

Renewal hiding in plain sight

for the lost ones blinded by the pain

with eyes closed in suffering.

Limitless room within

for the replenishing of what once was lost.

A wholeness of self.

Hope springs eternal.

 

Behind Closed Doors

What is behind this door that you want?

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Imagine having the key.

What is stopping you from opening the door?

This week’s sandbox writing challenge asks us to picture a door and imagine what is behind it that we want. Also, to think on what may stop us from opening that door.

I always seem to go off on another path with these challenges than I think the intention is but I will trust that I should be following my instincts rather than the rational mind, as my artist son tells me constantly, when we are viewing art. “Mom, it doesn’t matter WHY you like it, you just DO; it is speaking to you for a reason. That is the beauty of art.”

The sight of this door reminded me of William Blake’s quote on the Doors of Perception from The Marriage of Heaven & Hell and how profoundly that impacted me as a teenage girl. It opened my mind to so many ideologies and religions and incredible free-thought. I have always been a voracious reader and can lose myself in books, not even looking up when someone is snapping fingers under my nose.

Reading and dreaming and imagining have been such a huge part of my life since childhood and that moment…remember THAT moment? The first time you read or hear something that makes your spidey-senses tingle. Something that your Catholic parents would never agree with or your teachers would never share with you? Something that perhaps is speaking directly to your own soul and your need to begin organizing your very own belief system? Cataloguing it, if you will? For use at later dates and ages, when life will reign blows down on you and you can pluck it out of your memory and feel it cool the sting as you let it flow through you?

I believe I am infinitely intertwined with all energies around me. I believe that everyone I have had contact with, even in the smallest way, over my entire lifetime up to now, has little pieces of my energy field and matter mingling with their own, as I have theirs.

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I see it in my mind’s eye like dust appears in sunshine. Those fluttering silvery specks that dance in the sunlight. I do my utmost best to send out white light to all those I cherish the most and also to strangers who I sense need it/me. My years working in hospice were when I used it the most. So many different energies surrounding me daily. Some dark, but most light. I sat with the dying and held their hands and watched their organs and bodies stop, but the energy, the spirit, the soul. It never stops. It lingers, in fact, at times. One of the  informal and non- policy driven rules where I worked was that you would not put another patient into a room where someone had passed away for 24 hours, if possible. You must allow the spirit or energy time to move and transition without hurry. Peacefully. 

I have also visited places that made me feel physically ill from the energy swirling about. Not all of it was recent, I don’t believe. Ancient energy lingering in cracks in walls and drains of tubs. Walls that have heard cries for help and bars that have had fists clenched around them for so many years, the metal is worn.

A native elder once said to me ” You are the light. Look at how these people are drawn to you. You have never met them, and they come to you immediately. It isn’t your smile or your nature. It is what is within you. You radiate healing energy and they want that. You need to protect yourself from that, as well. But your purpose is to heal and shine.”

My purpose is to heal and shine.

The door I am afraid to open is the one that will show me that I have wasted time worrying and fussing about material matters, and the minutia of survival, when I should have been studying and planning and healing and sharing my light with others that needed it.

I am afraid of the infinite possibilities within me.

Once I open that door, I know in my soul there will be no turning back for me.

 

Sunday Musings

woman relaxing in a park with a book resting over her feet

I have been working so incredibly hard on myself to make the changes that have been long overdue in my life. For years, there was always someone else who needed my time and effort and love and caring ( and most of my money!)

I came by this naturally, having grown up in a dysfunctional home, and being the classic enabler. But I also selfishly took pride in always being the voice of reason, or the soft shoulder to cry on or the “go-to” in my family circle. I was the solid one, the responsible one and the one who was least liable to judge you for your sins, vices, or even criminal behaviour.

All I needed was the crown of thorns and some hardware for the cross, and I would have been picture perfect.

I have never lived alone in my entire life until this past year. My oldest son moved out last year for the third or fourth time, and seems to be doing very well on his own and eating and requiring little from me in the way of support. This does my heart good, because I was worried I had permanently ruined him with my enabling selflessness and need to “fix him”.  What would happen to him if I died? A friend pointed that out to me..how he would be a helpless starving mess. Unable to work out his budget and know enough that it was time to pay his cell phone bill or his student loans.

With him gone, this has left me with weird Sundays. For years and years and years, Sundays were family day. Nice roast beef supper days. The only day of the week where all of us came together from our different lives and schedules. I could always be counted on to have something in the oven and enough left over for sandwiches for work/school lunches for the next week.

The first month or two of Sundays were very hard for me emotionally. I was so used to having someone here that I honestly cried from a weird feeling of being lost and not sure what I was supposed to be doing.

Then one Sunday, I decided I should get up and out and just go do something for me. Imagine that. For me. I am  a wee bit ashamed to admit that I spent most of the day at a casino brimming with people and noise, as it is somewhere you can go alone, but not feel alone and just fit in. Plus, I am a lucky Sagittarius and love the slots!

The next Sunday, I rearranged all my kitchen cupboards and cleaned a closet out.

The next one, I stayed in my pyjamas, ordered in Vietnamese and binged on Bloodline on Netflix. I can honestly 100% tell you that it felt strange to have the remote in my hand for the whole day and to watch what I would like to be watching, rather than have the program changed every time I got up to pee or get a glass of water for myself!

Today, I took a little table-top Christmas tree that was my Mom’s over to my son’s apartment, as well as some home made turkey soup and his mail. I had the most delightful lazy visit with him and his room mate while we drank creamy sweet cups of coffee and I curled up snugly in their oversized chair. They were so happy I came and it was so nice to visit my son in his own space. I treasure our adult relationship so much. I feel so happy that they see me as an interesting person to spend time with and respect me as an equal, rather than as a mother who is to be put up with.

The holiday season is hard for me. I have lost so many loved ones and others have moved on, that I have secretly just endured it for the boys’ sake for a few years now. I actually put my tree up and decorated yesterday. I will be making my killer nuts and bolts next Saturday that I give out over the holidays to family and work pallies.

My son invited me to be his date at his Xmas party next weekend, which really makes me happy. He doesn’t know he is receiving a special award for exceptional work he has done with one of his young clients. So, what a hoot that he wants me there with him, unaware he will be honoured. When he asked me if I would like to go, I was so shocked as this son sees many girls right now, and is smack dab in his wild oats phase of life. He could have taken anyone but me, but wants me to go with him. For us to spend time together at a nice location, and a lovely extravagant meal.

How lucky am I?

I am going to be fifty one years old in a couple of weeks and I can do whatever I want, when I want, with who I want.

 

For the first time in a long long time, I believe I am going to be OK.

I am opening myself up for something wonderful to happen.