Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sacred And Pleasing Arrangements, Even In Grief

Our power went out last night at 11:45 and I should have been fast asleep and never noticed but I was awake and I did notice and I called the outage in and the woman who answered the phone was very polite and informed me that yes, they were aware and that about eighty households had lost their power and crews were working on it.
That sounds so reassuring, doesn't it?
She asked if I'd like a call when the power was restored but I respectfully declined since she said the estimated time of restoration would be from 2-3 a.m.
Of course I woke up anyway when the power came back on. I got up and turned off the lights left on in the house and set a few clocks and reset the coffee. It was not a restful night and I stayed up too late anyway, reading with my little reader light, that one beam in the darkness trained on the words of a book I'm not really enjoying that much. I seem to have recently fallen out of love with fiction which for me is like saying I've fallen out of love with water or air.
Ah well. In six months time I will have forgotten most of Keith's autobiography and I will read it again and enjoy it just as much.
I have that to look forward to.
See? Getting older has its benefits.

I want to thank all of you who commented on my post last night. I swear to you- it took you telling me to realize that I am grieving. You'd think I'd know by now what grieving feels like but I guess I just thought I was depressed and yes, because my friend had died but it's not really depression. It's a natural process and we have to go through it and tears are involved and so is disbelief and so is a sense of heaviness.
I spoke to Colin one week ago. One week. The candle I lit for him that day just finished burning sometime last night. A year ago we were doing Sex Please and he was as alive as ten thousand men and was burning with the joy and pleasure of playing Bud The Stud so brightly that we barely needed stage lights.

So yes. I am grieving. So it is.

One thing in Eat, Pray, Love that I did think about a lot was the part where the Balinese medicine man told Liz that he had been to heaven and to hell and that they were the same. All love. And they were the same because everything is a circle. The only difference being was the direction of the seven steps you have to take to get to that place. To get to heaven, you go up in the steps, to get to hell, you go down.
Meaning that you can live joyfully and playfully and with love and then die and get to that place of love or you can live in darkness and fear and sadness before you die and get to it.
Your choice.

I'm still pondering this. I wish someone had told this when I was a child. I wish I knew why I seem to have such a proclivity towards misery because I think it might well be a learned behavior and unlearning something is so much harder than just learning the right thing in the beginning and it's easier to unlearn something if you know how and why you learned it.

Well. The sun has come out. I think I will go for a walk. I will take my grief for a walk and see what some sunshine does for it. Tomorrow is the memorial service for Colin and I am not looking forward to that at all. I think because I know the enormity of the reality of his death will be impossible to ignore at that point. Even if I did talk to him last week.

But I will try to help the process along today by going out into the light, by taking one step after another through the woods and down the road and back again. It is tempting to want to stay here in the house and huddle down with the grief but I'm not sure that is the thing to do. It's not like I'm going to lose it if I take a walk. I will just feel less like I am drowning in it if I am moving my body forward, if I am seeing the birds and the water and the trees and the beginning buds which were not there last week.

Things can change very quickly. It is good to remember that this can happen in both up and down directions. And that in the end, it is all, as I believe, about love whether it is our love for a friend or a child or a husband or the love of a tree for spring, or the love of a palm for the weight of an egg, the love of the eye for a flower.


  1. What a beautiful post. I hope your walk brings you toward a bit of light as you grieve because both of them can exist together, I think.

    I read somewhere -- or studied this -- that our brains are primitively set to feel trauma -- it's part of survival. That's why we actually remember traumatic experience more than joyous. BUT, I read that certain meditation techniques or "inclining oneself toward mindfulness of joy" is a way to help the brain "remember" and even "make" those tracks. That you can actually help to set your brain that way. When I remember where I read this, I will pass it on. I think Eat, Pray, Love is touching on this concept, a bit, as are you quite intuitively.

    I love you --

  2. Hope the walk helped. It helps me too, to walk. To see the daylight and the birds flying and the squirrels scolding and the sky changing and life continuing on... even though the shadows may remain for a time.

  3. pure beauty, each word. you are giving pause to love.
    a circle that does seem more vital in the throws of nature, the heart of an passioned life, the bowl of life that fills and empties then fills once more....

    holding you through out all the changes...


  4. " I will take my grief for a walk and see what some sunshine does for it." Yes. Grief is sort of like a companion that substitutes for the one who was lost so that you don't fall into the hole that was left. A large companion at first that becomes smaller, or at least more translucent, as time goes on.

    Glad that you all are dedicating this show filled with women characters to a man who loved them. May Colin always be flying about the Opera House.

    Hugs from Here. N2

  5. I'm out in the sunshine today,
    waving to you quietly.

  6. Well this was one of the most helpful posts I've ever read. Others like to read helpful posts about how to paint chairs with spraypaint or how to color your hair or dress cute on cheap but I want helpful posts about how to best ( meaning most joyfully and meaningfully ) get through life. I am going to copy what you wrote about the medicine man and talk to Lola about it too. THank you Mrs Moon I love you.

  7. Elizabeth- I am always drawn to this idea- that god or God or Whatever It Is does not want us to suffer although life does not really give us that proof, does it? Well, of course on some levels it does. So many beautiful things for us to see, to hear, to enjoy, to feel. I have always loved that part in the Color Purple where she says that whenever we see the color purple in nature we should stop and admire because that makes god happy. For us to be pleased, to be reminded that there is such joy in this life, as well as all of the sorrows. I want to believe that with all of my heart.

    Leslie- The walk was just what I needed.

    rebecca- I feel your arms circling around me. Do you feel mine circling around you?

    N2- What an astounding and lovely idea! Thank-you.

    deb- I am waving back, my love.

    Maggie May- I love you too! I am the same- it's nice to know how to dress for cheap but it's far better to try and learn to live in the light. Tell Lola that Ms. Moon sends love on her birthday.

  8. Just today in therapy we were talking about this, the negative paths, that it's somehow easier for me to be miserable and failed and stuck than alive and real and somewhat okay and stable. It's more familiar that's for sure. But I don't want it to be easier anymore. I don't want to bask in it. I want to just get up like you and walk in the light.
    Thanks for sharing your struggle. Your insides.

  9. I think that grief is something that is just there, ready to come out at any time. I still grieve the loss of my parents, my grandparents, my friends. I don't often cry over this, but the grief is more of an empty thing inside. And I do what I can to fill it up, push it aside, but still it resides there. A feeling of loss that goes way back for me. I suppose that one of these days I will reconcile with it--when I die.

  10. Another beautiful, meaningful post. Sublime, as usual. How do you do it? Your well of words does not run dry in grief, and you shine your own lovely light on every thing around you.
    I hope that walk was a good one, and that grief wandered off for a while. Hugs.

  11. What Maggie said. Exactly. Plus, losing friends is hard. Whether by chance, choice, accident, quickly or slowly, it's so hard to let them go. But we do. We have to.

  12. Oh Ms Moon I have so much to comment but as usual I am worried it's the wrong thing to say. I hope the memorial helps you grieve and share your sadness and your happy memories with your friends. About the misery - absolutely. I too learned misery too much. We should just decide to do the other but that can be so hard because the misery is comforting in its familiarity. Of course a little misery is allowed and natural when someone has died. I send you an electronic hug and sorry about my clunky words. x

  13. IT is a beautiful post, and important. Love to you, Mary.

  14. Bethany- Oh honey. I swear. I feel so bogged down most days. My words fly far higher than I do. But I aspire...

    Syd- Every death brings back every death. Yes.

    Mel- I think my words are what save me. And walks definitely help as well.

    Ms. Trouble- We don't have a damn choice, do we?

    Jo- Thanks, sweetie. I hope you are feeling better.

  15. I know exactly, precisely what you mean by having a "proclivity towards misery". I've wondered all my life if this is a proclivity many share, if it's genetic, if it's "fixable", or if, perhaps, we're meant to howl and grieve and stomp and scream for the rest of the world to look on and feel somehow lighter and more understood through universal suffering.

    Does that make sense or is it too early for me to express these hidden things?

    Well. Meditation and walks are perfect ways (for me) to loosen the tight hold on grief and simply accept it, let it pulse through, and hopefully give way for enough room to breathe deep, again.

    I hope it does for you.

    Much love.

  16. The walk was the right thing to do. Whenever someone I love dies, or even someone I didn't know, but wished I had, I try and enjoy and appreciate things for them. So you could take your walk and appreciate your surroundings for Colin. I think he'd be glad.

  17. Your words, dear friend, are lovely and profound. I'm thinking of you. Allow yourself to grieve.


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