Gaining Perspective

9 09 2012

I’ve been feeling fragmented lately.  Things just don’t seem to fit together well anymore.  2012 has been a year of change and reassessment of priorities and relationships.  Grief does that.  It brings a new perspective on life.  It also makes time pass slowly – days seem like weeks, hours seem like days, and minutes seem like hours.  Grief forces you to live in the ‘now’ because the past is painful and doesn’t exist anymore, and it is all too apparent that the future may never come.  I’ve been reflecting on my life. Less than a year ago, Beth died suddenly, aged 64.  I’m faithfully putting money into my superannuation scheme so that when I finally retire at 65, I’ll have enough money to eke out a living and do some things that I’d LIKE to do instead of what I HAVE to do.

I’ve got twenty years of my working life ahead of me.  I started to think…  Do I want to be spending  my life this way?  Is this really what I want to do?  Could I really do this kind of work for another twenty years?  Can I really tolerate ‘cublicle land’ for that long?  Do I want to spend two hours a day commuting through traffic?  Could I be doing something else?  What do I want to do?  What if I don’t make it to 65 either?  Would I be content that I’d spent all this time doing something I don’t really care about?  

Sure, I’ll be able to take a trip when I retire but why am I working so hard now for something that might never happen?   Urgghhh.

When those BIG questions in life start rolling around inside, they gather momentum and before you know it, everything is being questioned.  Nothing remains safe – every rock will be looked under, every cobweb blown out in the quest to rearrange, restructure, revitalise.

I needed a new perspective.  I felt like I was looking too closely at things and needed a bigger picture.  About a month ago, just before midday on a Friday I heard a helicopter zoom over my city office and knew instantly that a flight in a chopper was something I needed to do.  I don’t like flying and have been trying to work through the reasons why, so that I can take trips without being totally anxious.  I decided a helicopter flight would help me gain some perspective on life, conquer my fears or just scare some sense into me!!!  I booked for us to go for a Saturday morning flight over the city to the coast and back.  

It was fantastic.  I’ve lived in this city for over 30 years and could pick out roads, parks, sporting fields, buildings.  It was all so familiar but looked so different. It was just what I needed.  Sweeping views of the Swan River, the city foreshore, the port and coastline.  I loved being high above it all looking down and caught in a perspex bubble.  It was a perfect day and I didn’t know it then, but it started the ball rolling.  I flew without issue and realised I needed to make some big changes.  Life would be different from now on.  Life would be for living, for enjoying.  Now and in the future.

Perth city | Langley Park Foreshore | heading east





Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

4 08 2012

Growth – even in a hole in the granite.

This week’s challenge is to portray Growth – a part of life.  This plant makes the most of what is available – a one inch hole left in the granite which it found by a miracle.  It shelters in the cleft of the rock; not complaining that it doesn’t have enough, not lamenting that it doesn’t get much chance, not wondering how long it will be there.  Just growing.  Basking in the sunshine, enjoying the warmth and collecting rain as it falls. Growing. Surviving. Flourishing.  Maybe I need to get back to basics too.

 

 

 





12 07 2012

A great blog post (above) from Karl Duffy over at Mindfulbalance.  I’m so grateful for those in my life who walk with me and hold space rather than rush to fix.  A loving silence and courage not to fix is a wonderful gift. The quote is from Mark Nepo and you can find out more about him HERE.

Mindfulbalance

We have been battered by modern times into obsessive problem solvers, but as life pares us down into only what is essential, it becomes clear that the deepest sufferings of heart and spirit cannot be solved, only witnessed and held. I have struggled with this constantly. Just recently, after being away for two weeks, I returned to a tender partner who loving uttered, “I really missed you.” Instantly, I reacted by scanning for ways to solve the feeling – to limit my travel or call more often. I instantly tried to change my patterns of being away from the relationship, rather than just feel the poignancy of being loved enough to be missed.

Frequently, this reflex to solve, rescue, and fix removes us from the tenderness at hand. For often, intimacy arises not from any attempt to take the pain away, but from a living through together; not from a…

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Feeling fragmented

10 07 2012

I haven’t written much lately. I’ve been feeling fragmented for a couple of weeks. I’m not overly emotional, not shattered, not broken – just not.quite.together. My energies are not consolidated, my body mind and spirit are at odds, I’m not cohesive or tuned. I can feel it. It comes when I take on too many things and my mind, heart, soul and body get out of synch. I need a break – time to unwind, slow down, de-clutter my mind and relax my body.

Feeling fragmented

A couple of weeks ago, I changed my name. It was a big decision and it was (and is) great, but it brought with it some grief I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve said goodbye to part of myself, part of my history and part of my old identity. My old name had a certain power to it and has not died easily.

Amongst the name change there was also the grief at not sharing that good news with Beth – it has been nearly seven months since she suddenly passed away and each month a deeper layer and level of grief washes through me. Unannounced. I like to think I’m an intelligent adult but when grief barges in uninvited, it brings great wracking sobs and I lose all sense of adulthood and feel lost and small and naked.

I know that death is final. I understand that she’s not coming back. I know there are no deals I can do or promises I can make that will change things. I know I’ll adjust and in time, her loss won’t seem as painful even though she’ll always be missed. It seems that only now am I beginning to start to realise it, only now, after seven months is that ‘knowledge’ starting to sink in. My heart betrays my logical mind though and continues to long to see her again, no matter how much I ‘know’. I know this feeling is temporary and I know there’s still a long way to go.

I think I need to sit in the ocean air for a while, gather my pieces together and breathe them back to life. To watch and listen to the rhythm of the waves, remember the pull of the deep, and how the shore line always adapts by continually changing, growing, reshaping, replenishing. It was there before me and will be there after me. There’s a comfort in sitting with an old soul and I’m overdue a visit.





Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

30 06 2012

In a fleeting moment, your life can change with the diagnosis of an illness.  When we hear the news, about ourselves or a loved one, we know life will never be the same.  A couple of years ago I decided to support the Leukaemia Foundation by raising funds through the “Be Brave and Shave” challenge.  My hair was there one minute and shaved off the next!!  “Fleeting Moments” is this week’s WordPress Challenge.

Buzz cut: all in a good cause

Apart from the fundraising and support for those in need, I found it was an interesting and emotional experience and one I’ll never forget.  It was quite confronting to have such a short crop and although I loved the feeling of a velvet head I did get some strange looks, particularly when I was shopping.  It was also really liberating – you would be amazed at how many layers a buzz cut can peel from you.  I urge everyone to do it at least once in their lifetime.

Shave in progress – my hair was gone in a flash!

Brave to shave my head??  No, not really.  I think it is braver to live with an illness, the treatment and the fight for life – that’s bravery.  Thanks to the generous support of family, friends and colleagues, we raised over $2000.  To find out more about Leukaemia, Myeloma and Lymphoma check out the resources and links here.

 





A new name – A new identity

27 06 2012

I’ve changed my name.  After nearly twelve years together, I decided to adopt my partner’s family name and it feels really, really good.  In Western Australia, we are not able to marry or celebrate a ‘civil partnership’ or ‘registered relationship’ so changing my name is a visible sign of our commitment as well as the love and rings we share.

I’m quite surprised actually because I’ve never had any inclination to change my name but I’ve never really liked it either.  I have always been called “Louise” even though it is my middle name.  It has been awkward and annoying to continually explain that it’s not that I don’t like my first name, I’ve just never been called by it.  People insist I tell them what my “real” name is.  So, my “real” first name is now Louise and I’ve taken my partner’s family name.

Despite not really liking my original full name, I have been quite possessive and fought to protect it.   Some time ago I worked for a company which changed its corporate logo and lettering format so everything appeared in lower case.  everything.   It became the standard format for all stationery including business cards and name badges.  Apart from the fact that I think proper nouns should have a capital letter, it irritated me to think that they could ‘brand’ my name to match theirs.  (I now work at a company that uses all capitals – hahaha!!)

2012 has been a tumultuous year.  We’ve muddled through a year of grief with the family after the sudden loss of Beth last year.  It affects all we do.  Six months later, we still have ‘crying’ days which is only natural as we miss her presence every day and it is only really starting to sink in.  During the time we’ve spent with the family, they have drawn me in and brought me close which has been beautiful.  Beth was always the one to ease me into the circle, to create opportunities for me to be included.  When she died, I wondered where I’d be without her and where I’d stand when the very close family drew in even closer.  As it turns out, I was right in the middle there with them.

A name for the rest of the journey

So it seemed only fitting that I change my name to reflect who I am and how I feel.  Names really do hold so much of our identity.   I feel like I can let go of a lot of things now, a lot of stuff from the past that belongs with that me.  I won’t forget or banish them, but they’re just not me anymore.  This is a new threshold, a new name for the rest of my journey, and I like it.

Even in Beth’s passing she has helped me to feel included in the family and proud to stand with them so I’m glad to make that official.  I know Beth would be proud that another has joined her clan and I’m glad I’ve finally taken the plunge (even though the paperwork is a nightmare!!).  We saw Dad on the weekend and he’d prepared a sign for ‘The Newest Member’ which was stuck on a six pack of beer.  I was so glad to see him although he did say:   “Now you’re one of us, you’ll have to drink beer you know“.

Oh dear, if only I’d known…  🙂

 





Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

9 06 2012

Our gang on a spring scooter ride. Taken overlooking Perth city, Western Australia.

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Friendship and it got me thinking about my closest friends – “The 2am crew”.  They’re the people you know you can ring at 2am and they’d be right there for you if you needed them.

It’s hard sometimes to tell your friends just what they mean to you. It’s often just difficult to articulate it or express it in a way that doesn’t sound or feel uncomfortable.

A couple of years ago I started to tell my closest friends that I would be their 2am Crew and they could ring me at any time, get me out of bed and I’d be there for them without question. It was a great way to affirm my friendship and let them know how much they meant to me in a practical way.

They’re precious and my life would be so much poorer without them.  x x








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