Rising Heart, Beat and Song | A Personal Journey from Grief to Gift
I am a writer, I suck at spelling, and I almost flunked English in high school. I AM a writer, of love and dreams, of words that speak to me out of my dreams and meditations. I write experientially and try to say things that will be helpful. Sometimes I hear messages — so I try to convey them. People will tell you that you have nothing to say. The truth is, you have much to say and it matters.
I grew up on an island, in a working class coastal town in Rhode Island. My family is still there, probably always will be. Music, dance, art, and spiritual things were what I pursued mostly in life until I fell asleep. Back where I came from, being an empath was what everyone called “he’s too sensitive”, but I was a good boy — and the sea became my therapist.
We use words so brutally against each other, as weapons, with which the ego batters humanity with to get to higher ground. Many words and sayings were initially written with the notion of hope in mind, but our culture has changed them into swords to wound the heart. Words can hurt and words can heal.
Poetry, prose and song are how I express what I see, sense and feel in this small crazy world. The words I voice or place on paper, I hope will make some sense to someone, they always do, just not always in the way that comes back to you to tell you that you did it right or good.
On this path, I’ve met great healers, poets, and teachers. On this path — I’ve lost many friends. Some because I made choices that shattered their image of me, some because I said no, others just left our planet, dying way too early deaths, from what I can tell, were lost battles beyond their control. The bottom line is we must follow our heart.
Once You Enter You Cannot Un-enter
Somewhere around December of 2009, I woke in a sweat from a dream premonition that my partner was leaving me. I’ll call it a kind of nightmare because it terrified me. The pre-dream years had held the beautiful illusion — my American dream; a romance, nice home, good job, two cats and a dog, that seemed pretty damn close to perfect, I thought.
Six months later. The dream came true, we split up, I moved out that hot July, emotion-filled day, out from the pre-dream luxury. I found my new dwelling space just a few miles down the road, one way too big for what I needed, but, I called it home nevertheless. I fell silent, alone, and at best, lonely for the life I thought was mine.
I lived the way I knew best at the time, not paying much attention to the signs the Universe was showing me, or had already shown me. Not slowing down, stepping back, or taking time to rediscover myself or what I’d become.
My intrinsic beliefs, that we are one, that we are spirit, that we are connected, one with nature, belief in possibility were all alive within me…all very much alive, just not in alignment. Not being in alignment simply means that things are not working properly — certainly not in our favor and most likely because we are ignoring something.
In 2011, my Mom passed away. I got the call that August morning while at work. I was shocked — I was not surprised, it was coming at some point, I had watched it over the years, her decline, the wrapping up of business. It was finally real. I was both relieved and sad. Feeling helpless for the sadness my Dad felt, after having been with her for nearly 70 years.
The following year I spent a rather disagreeable vacation in Puerto Rico. I say disagreeable because it was telling me the whole time that my life was about to change, and, I didn’t want to hear it. The grievances I had on that trip were the road signs of life asking me to wake up. All the small shit, unscrupulous cab drivers, loud neighbors, or the sea stealing my prescription Maui Jim sunglasses became a checklist to justify my anger and fade the pain of waking.
One week later, back in New England, I returned to work, getting another very clear message from the Universe. You’re fired. Effective immediately, reasons later disclosed publicly as “departmental changes”. The rest doesn’t matter; the details do not matter. I drove in a fog of white linen for 30 minutes that day to the place I called home, not recalling much that afternoon other than opening a bottle of tequila.
Within a couple of days, I had determined that getting back on my feet was the next best move on the chessboard of life. Certain I would be landing my next dream-numbing job within 3 to 6 months. Why? Because I had figured out all the variables, calculated national averages, got my new suit tailored, and plugged myself into the equation.
Isn’t this what “normal” people do? Yeah, my plan was in action! Armed and dangerous, I was ready to set sail. The Cosmos, on the other hand, had something else in mind. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer one month later.
Call it What You Will
I guess you can call it whatever you like, the perfect storm, the culmination, a cosmic intervention. It was the crossroads where loss of my Mother, the relationship, the job, and cancer reached critical mass. Thing is, it began. Life the way I knew it stopped. It stopped and restarted me — from scratch.
Rebooted. I could never be that same person again and honestly, I didn’t want to be. What I will say about the diagnosis of any life threatening disease is, from that first day on you are known to the world as a survivor. And that changes how you view the world, and how people view you. I guess we need the term but I really don’t like labels much. What did I do? I cried, I broke, I took the high road, and I fell in the ditch. I broke down — my body broke down and I was angry my body broke down.
I tried to fix it, tried to cope. I couldn’t. Significant losses bring significant complexities. For me, financial instability, a dwindling support system, cancer treatment and so on. It was too much. I couldn’t fix it and I couldn’t cope. So, in this confusion is where I found my denial, anger, depression, exhaustion, frazzle, and burn out, all in the typical places, and my walls ran high.
During the next two years, I fought dragons and I fought demons. Dragon comes at you from the outside, the demons from within. Life requires all of our focus, energy and humility if we are to survive trajectories like this, and a little bit more if we want to thrive. It required all of that, all of me, if I were to reclaim my lost spirit and rise up from my ashes with purpose and clarity.
I stepped into the mirror like Alice through the Looking Glass, showing up in dark places that challenged my beliefs and questioned my thoughts. I was scared. I did my best to face rational and irrational fears, living at times moment to moment. I had new choices to make, new thoughts, and eventually, needed to replace negative beliefs and habits with new positive healthy ones. The words echoed within me “if you can survive it”. You will be O.K., all will be well.
Six months via 2013. I recall the day, the place, the moment when I whole heartedly let go. With all my being — I did surrender. I surrendered to the Universe, to God, to me, to my journey. It was not giving up, it was not giving in. I was releasing my life to life itself — the real reason I came here in the first place.
It was in that moment of waking, cracking, and breaking, that I felt my real self dying to get out, dying to breathe, I needed to breath. I longed to be free — more than I needed to be fearful.
In all likelihood, I probably watched just about every show on OWN. Oprah, Dr. Phil, Iyanla, Lifeclass, Master Class, Super Soul Sunday, all of it. Pause, rewind, what? Oh, I got that! And so on. I watched, took notes, wrote in my journal, read and reread books I read 25 years ago. I read new books and sat to Deepak and Oprah’s meditations, all five, 21-days of them.
Since my journey’s reboot, I’d been on a mission to reclaim the remembered fragments of my soul — the ones that probably took off to rent space in some other vessel until I cleaned up this one. It started to change, I could feel it. That’s what it’s all about — growth. I was making a shift in consciousness. There is a lot of talk about the Shift these days. It just means we are raising our vibration, living conscious, awake and alive.
Slowly life began to change. I could see growth in myself, in my world — in our world. My perceptions were changing and my intention was set on living more fully, healthy and wholly. I wanted to be me, the child empath, and the nature child who talked to the trees, whose therapist was the sea.
I took classes, got certifications in wellness and reiki, practiced yoga, tweaked my food plan, and — started to write again. Words were pouring out of me into my journals and note pads, papers and into self addressed emails. The message became clear and important. Love matters.
The message is that love matters. All love, self love, your love, my love. And even though we must stand alone at times, we are never alone. There is always a message, there are no guarantees, and the small stuff just doesn’t matter. At all.
There are always unseen hands at work, and the synchronistic opportunity is present in each moment if we observe it. It is during the difficult times of deep reflection that we can hear the heartbeat of the Universe singing our song.
Love matters. Your soul’s mission matters, what you have to say matters and the impact you have on others matters. Life is about releasing, letting go, and loving each other, lifting one another up. Rising up from the ashes that are our own.
This is what I know. It is in loving ourselves that we create the highest vibration possible and in that vibration everything else is possible. It’s that big. Love matters.
This is a good place to interject a dream I had about a year ago. My Grandfather came to me, the image was only his face, but I really think it was God. No words were spoken. I felt only the most beautiful complete love I have ever felt before. In the dream, I thought how could my parents or siblings feel this great love and not express or share it with me? Later when I woke up and wrote about it, I realized that they couldn’t give it because they didn’t know it — they didn’t withhold it, they just couldn’t give what they didn’t have to give. And no one is to blame.
The dream gave me a glimpse, a taste of the love that we all are made of, all come from. I do not experience that love all the time, but I always remember the feeling.
I don’t have all the answers. I really don’t have any at all. I’m not sure what my journey has in store for me or what this road will bring. But I continue releasing, letting go, growing on toward greater, higher, and beautiful things. Our dreams are unfolding. They are waiting for us to be ready to receive, waiting to be birthed from our soul.
I can only write and express glimpses of my journey, using some words or sounds here and there. This is a journey we all travel on our own, by our own choosing — it’s greatly possible, it is our highest calling. Life is beautifully alive, it lives in us. It doesn’t matter what other people think, it doesn’t matter what your inner critic thinks — it does matter that you shine.
Each day is a gift perfectly orchestrated. The gift, when unwrapped, is a box full of choices. We are offered choices to listen, to wake, to love, to connect in this amazing world of patterns and possibility. Possibility speaks to us all the time. It speaks through you and me, and trees, and rivers, and mountains and through birds, and dogs and babies. Messages, connections, and signs are here to guide us on our journey. Stay awake, everything speaks. Everything has something to say.
My journey taught me that we don’t have to live our old story, we can create a new one — we can’t change our past, but we can choose our now. We are the dream come true — the impossible dream, the song waiting to be sung. We are one love, inspired and emerging from the outtakes of our successes and failures, longing to become the masterpiece.
Originally published at yesrising.com on March 16, 2015.