Words are not easy today

So instead of new words, and thoughts, this.

It’s World Mental Health Day today. A day that is to bring awareness and understanding and support for mental health issues. Instead of the writing I had thought about doing on change and needs and the like, a little something different.

So many people I know struggle and live with personal mental health issues or the impact of those they love who have their own battles.

Today, words are coming hard with emotions on their heels so I’m pulling some older posts that tell what I can’t today.

Hold each other today, in our hearts and souls and bodies if you are able to.

 

https://truthfreedomjoy.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/inside-the-mind-of-mental-illness/

 

https://truthfreedomjoy.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/did-you-know-2/

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Just One Picture

Can a person who is hurting and living with grief still laugh and feel joyful? Absolutely. Can that person cry and feel like never getting out of bed again? Absolutely.

Why is it that it’s encouraged and supported to relive and carry with us “good” memories but we are quietly (or not so quietly) nudged to let go and move on from the “bad” ones.

Take pictures of that awesome vacation and the hikes and the milestones that everyone is smiling at. Remember those times in your life blah blah blah.

But grief…loss…death? Oh dear, it’s bad to hold onto that. Don’t dwell on it. Let it go and move on with your life. Don’t let that shape how you see life now. Put it behind you and live your life.

Well guess what? All of those amazing experiences and those happy times are inside of me and helped make me who I am today – and so are all of the not so happy times in my life. Joy and hurt can exist in the same body and mind. At the same time.

Why is it ok for me to talk about a great family vacation and laugh as I remember the ridiculous events and the fun, but when I talk about how it felt to leave my son behind in an emergency psych unit, I get told that bringing it up will just make the grief last longer? Life is made up of laughter AND tears. Trust me on this one, not feeling hurt doesn’t mean that all you feel is joy. If you have lost – or pushed away – the ability to feel hurt, than what’s left is not just joy. It’s apathy and emptiness. As bad as grief can be and as badly as it can hurt, I’ll keep letting myself feel it because it means that I can also feel the swing side of it. There was too long after Willie died that I was numb. I’ve learned over the last two years that starting to feel “good” things again – happiness, love, sensuality and silliness – meant letting in the “bad” that I had been hiding away. I can’t move forward without bringing it all  with me.

Like a picture that hangs on the wall, grief is just there in my life. It isn’t the only picture on my wall and it isn’t all that my life is, like it was at first, but I know now that it will always be there.

It’s always present but I don’t always look at it or even really see it sometimes. Some days I go by and barely notice it. Other days, it’s all I can see on that wall. Its presence doesn’t affect what goes on in the room though. There are days that I cry and rage and scream there. There are other days that I laugh and make love and giggle in that room. Some days the room is quiet and mellow while some days the noise can be deafening.

My life is like that room. So much more than just one picture among the many that adorn its walls. It’s a combination of everything that’s there and all the things that will be brought in still as I experience and live my life. There’s always room for more.

Adding on and growing and with every new addition, it changes and becomes…. and is Life.

Sometimes it’s laughter and not tears

A gathering lately of friends -people who are, oddly, not necessarily closely connected yet are also,more close than can be explained. Tribe. Family. A weekend that words don’t really do justice.

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Words that still elude me trying to bring essence to the awareness of my experience. A soft knowing that happened in a moment when a smile broke out instead of tears. When I knew that, at that moment, healing meant laughter and silliness and the elation of flying and sharing space with a few amazing women. An oddly secluded and intimate space of time, safe, secure, simple and easy and just… yes. No words. Just feeling.

Feeling that in welcoming joy in, it wasn’t going to be with tears and pain. The wind blowing in my hair and ruffling my skirt around my legs as I giggled and joked and connected – with my Self – and more importantly with the people who I was blessed to be with during that time. The wind and the sunshine, the calmness and the joy in the women with me, the water, the trees, the dirt, the rock that brought me back to my senses even, all of it bringing feeling back.

Words try, but they can’t tell what has to be felt and seen with the heart instead of the mind. Sometimes it takes something so deeply in your body to take you so deeply out of it.

365smiles

I’ve said for a while now that it’s time to put the focus back into finding and experiencing joy again. A text conversation with one of my sons the other day was like a smack upside the head… a simple idea: the “big” happy moments in life come by few and far between but every day pretty much has at least a few little things that make you smile (or at the very least make you think “hmmmm” in an amused way!)… and it’s the accumulation of all those little things that bring the most joy to our lives.

An evening spent with people I care deeply for – laughing and talking, snuggles and holding hands together … reminding me that an easy and fun evening can be simple and enjoyed. That I can still feel what I wasn’t sure I could anymore.

Living through grieving and at the point of moving forward now sometimes I lose sight of those little things.

So, in the spirit of life being lived with smiles and laughter again it’s project time 🙂

365smiles… everyday a picture or writing of something that brings a smile to my face or laughter to my day… because joy should be shared 🙂

I’ll be posting using my lolabits blog; http://lolabits.wordpress.com/ . If you’re reading this on my truthfreedomjoy blog ( https://truthfreedomjoy.wordpress.com/ ) pop on over and sign up to follow or sign up for email updates :).

Keep smiling – or start smiling if you’re not 😉

Lola
Live Openly, Live Abundantly