Defeating Darkness Before Death

 

“Did you ever walk up
To the edge of a cliff,
Stare into the abyss
As your mind wonders if

You should take one more step
Further into that night?
Well, your mind says you won’t
But your heart says you might.

Would you fall through the dark
Feel the wind in your hair?
Would you embrace the ground
Ending your life right there?

Or would God reach his hand
In that moment you fly?
Or if he chanced to blink
And then, that moment you die…”

Epiphany, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, from the album Night Castle 


Yes. I have walked up to the edge of a cliff and stared into the abyss as my mind wondered if I should take one more step…these lyrics are part of a longer interconnecting story written by the creator of the TSO and have to do with a young soldier who is in war…that aside, these lyrics speak to me personally, and have. They are speaking to me again, now because the topic of taking one’s life has been sparked by a great synchronicity.

Dave has a friend whom he doesn’t communicate with often, and just a few days ago she reached out to him for healing, speaking to him of a great tragedy. Her grandson, who was only 19, committed suicide a few weeks back and she is now grieving heavily with her surviving grandsons. Her children are gone (a unfortunate case of overdose and another suicide), so the grandsons are all she has. Now, I’ve seen Dave and (I’ll call her “D” for confidentiality) were friends on Facebook, but that’s about it; I never have met her in person nor on Facebook. Anyway, her story was so overwhelmingly heart-wrenching that I felt completely compelled to write to her and express my deepest and most sincere condolences. She was moved by my words and thanked me much. She then went on to explain how she follows Dave and I on Facebook and absolutely adores our relationship along with our many adventures. This is coming from a seventy-three year old woman who never even made eye contact with us yet knows our age difference! The humble generosity of some people is something I am eternally grateful for.

Anyway… D explained the entirety of the situation in detail, but I found it highly disturbing and don’t wish to write it here. The importance of this post doesn’t lie in those facts anyway. What matters to me and moves me the most is the sad fact that in general, so many young people take their lives over situations that could be overcome with some counselling, talking, and above all just listening by others, even a stranger. These young people perhaps may even just need a little extra love in their lives as it may not have been an emotion received as an infant, toddler or child.

In today’s ridiculously fast-paced society where a main chunk of our focus is on work, family, technology, attaining high grades, achieving high stats in sports, etc. there’s not much attention given to socio-emotional development. Now, when you’re a preschooler and during the first few years of elementary school, there’s emphasis given to children to integrate and be social, while learning how to get along with others properly. Yet, to me it seems so…mainstream. It’s as if the same techniques have been used over and over again, the basics so to speak, that the emotion in teaching children about emotion, has been eliminated! We teach them to be social, and we teach them manners, proper ways to interact. But, do we teach them what to do when feeling hurt deep down? In a way, yes. Talk to a parent, guardian, or teacher the answer might be. But then what? How are we to manage and work with these powerful, sometimes frightening emotions? As children grow older, they can have a tendency to become rebellious- wanting to act “tough” or “cool” because their peers are. So, soft emotions are thrown to the back burner where they are to be buried since appearing rough and tough is higher up on the priority list in order to fit in.

If a teen or young adult does end up attending counselling sessions, do they really feel heard? Is there success? I’m not sure. I can’t say as I’ve only went to one counselor in college, and I gained absolutely nothing, as the particular individual who was listening to me gave off strong vibes of, ‘I’m going to pretend to care and ask all the right questions, but really I’m not caring and think you’re messed up and there’s no help be gotten here.’ As disappointed as I was, I know I certainly cannot speak for all counselors out there, and that was only one hour of one day! What I’m getting at though, is that sometimes, for someone deeply troubled, going to sessions like that might not cut it. They can be drawn out to where getting to the heart of the issue can take weeks, and as the sessions pile up, so do the payments. In the end, that person that went to get help may very well end up more confused than when they set foot in the door!

What the issue boils down to is this: not enough children/teens/young adults and yes, even older adults, are being truly heard. They are conditioned by society, peer pressure and unfortunate circumstances such as family trouble to stuff the sad away. You’re to grin and bear it so you can make it out, move on and not be inhibited by the suffering. I cannot speak for the young man who recently took his own life, but based on his situation, I believe that’s something that could have helped him, maybe even saved him- being heard and told that it’s okay to let out emotions like sadness and anger and frustration. The key to overcoming all of those isn’t tossing the blanket over them, it’s really feeling them, in the moment, as they’re happening without reacting in a harmful way. When feeling extraordinarily troubled, call someone, meet up and just let it all out; a true friend and confidant certainly won’t judge. Once the emotion is out, talk. Just talk. Don’t worry about making sense…Dave and I like to use the phrase, “barf on the table” when referencing getting something out. So, yes, get with someone and just barf on the table; the mess can be cleaned up later and you’ll feel much better. That will be a big step in getting back on track to work at the issue that caused the sadness or whatever emotion and then the inevitable barf.

Another issue with letting emotion show is fear. Fear goes along with having that facade as “tough guy”. Meaning, if someone thinks that in order to fit into a certain group they have to be this way or that way, then they’ll be afraid of acting any other way as they might become rejected if they show weakness. Darwin in action on all the wrong levels.

It’s okay to feel sad! The movie, Inside Out portrays this concept wonderfully! Instead of stifling sadness, just let sadness be and she’ll do all right…she might even save the day if given the chance! Yet, if only reacting to anger, then a person will on go further away from others, themselves and the issue at hand; nothing gets solved when hiding from what you’re really feeling.

So what can we do? There’s already suicide prevention week. There’s a hotline to call…there’s counselors…yet these things, no matter how emphasized they are, don’t seem to be enough- the glass is only half full and always is. Why can’t we fill the glass completely with helpfulness so more young lives can be saved?

One small, yet significant thing you can do is simply reach out. Even if it’s a stranger that you see struggling or appearing down. Ask them how they are…but, go deeper, ask them what they are dealing with and not if, but how you can help. Encourage children/teens/young adults to go to a parent. Express to them that what you are feeling and why. Ask them for help.

I didn’t get that opportunity. After my thoughts slowed and the difficult situation passed that made me feel that down, I attempted to bring it up to my parents. My mother felt and showed no sympathy only responding harshly saying that, “if you ever play that suicide card again, you’ll really need help”. No mom, I needed your help when I was suffering. Some of that suffering was caused by your words in the moment- your actions. I wouldn’t have blamed you, but even if I did in the heat of the moment, you could have looked past that and actually asked me what was going on. Even after everything passed…you could have talked with me.

This was an extremely difficult situation for me, but I learned from it and gained insight that could potentially help others. I’m not blaming my mother now, and by no means am I saying that she is a poor mother. Absolutely not. I’m just putting the facts out there, and explaining that she could have gone a different, more helpful route. Again, all anyone needs to do is reach out to a friend, family member, anyone who is seriously down. Stay with them, no matter how okay they say they are. Listen. Tell them that no matter what, they will get through what they are going through, then offer advice to help and follow up on it. Follow up with them frequently and above all, let them know they are loved!

It doesn’t take much to be generous and show genuine love. Too many people are cold and careless- caught up in their own world, too blinded to see beyond themselves to help others. I have taken time to be with friends who were contemplating suicide. And I truly believe, even though they didn’t express it at the time, that I made a difference and had a positive impact on their lives. Dave and I will continue to help D and her surviving grandson, as they both seek guidance in this fragile time. We will be there for them to listen and lend a hand as needed.

Life is beautiful. Life is joy. Life is a privilege that’s meant to be played out to the fullest. Life can be filled to the brim with happiness, laughter, joy and celebration. Life is meant to be honored.

Richard Dawkins eloquently describes the privilege of being alive, and not being afraid of natural death in this spoken section in the final song of Nightwish’s most recent album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: 

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will, in fact, never see the light of day outnumber the sands of the Sahara. Certainly, those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people.

In the teeth in these stupefying odds, it is you and I in our ordinariness that are here. We privileged few who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority never stirred?”

Let us live and be thankful for life and all the goodness, astounding beauty, abundant blessings and joy that it brings. All of the good can outweigh the bad.

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Holistic Healing

S12185113_10153678412642645_1919510576205171587_oo, it’s been a little over a year that I’ve been helping Dave at holistic expos. I’ll never forget the elation I felt when I began to become involved. This was for a couple reasons, the biggest being that years and years ago when I was still seeing Dave in the tiny post office near my house, he would tell me about doing them. At the time I had no clue what the word “holistic” even meant. “You mean, like holy?” I questioned Dave one day. His reply was to the effect of yeah, kind of- healthy and spiritual healing. Again, even after that, I wasn’t turned on and couldn’t picture what an event was like. Through emails, he’d explain more and then tell me that him and his ex at the time were going to do one. Back then, I never gave much thought. Fast forward to me being more open and receptive to well, pretty much everything. I was going to say, fast forward to be being more open to “new age” things, but, I never gave that term to those things. Sometimes I view that term as derogatory, as most people will typically poke fun at the culture/lifestyle and dub people as “new age hippies”. Anyway, as I became open I was drawn to this world of holistics. Upon moving in with Dave, I realized that I would actually finally get to go to one and not only go there, but help him. Such a dream come true for me; I was melding into his world a big way!

Not knowing what to expect, I was nervous and remember feeling awkward at my first show as I knew no one and Dave was a celebrity; his friends were coming up to him hugging, kissing and chatting with him as if they’d known him their whole life! Of course I was introduced, but I still felt a little out of place. Once adjusted I came to feel the excitement bubble up in me. There were so many diverse people to see and meet! And, they were either selling unique gifts like crystals and gemstones, hippie jewelry, incense and candles, or offering their services of bodywork, card readings, or other psychic abilities. There’s also a wide assortment of healthy, organic foods, teas and other beverages. The list goes on.

Talk about skepticism. Here’s a (at the time) Christian girl in a world of what I had come to believe as Pegan/Wiccan sinners.

Hit the brakes, please.

Initial reactions aside, I was open to all of it and eager to learn about these different kinds of people whom I never knew existed before. Actually, they were people like me! All loving, caring and totally open minded. Over time, I discovered these people weren’t “sinners”, they didn’t “cast spells” and use “magic” and freaky incantations to solve problems and condemn people to some eternal hell on Earth. Instead, they were just ordinary beings with a gift that they were called to share with the world. That’s it. They all had something to offer and offered their skills beautifully.

Every personality was beautiful, too. Extremely positive and strong energy runs rampant through these shows. Now, yes, there are some…”unusuals” there…those that seem to go a little over the top with their skills and proclaim to be a wizard in a barren land, when all they really are is a fake, using hype and design of a clever facade to draw people in. These kind of people are pretty rare, though. It’s not hard to spot them or feel their darker energy. It’s best to avoid them at all costs.

So, back to the beauty- Inner Light Holistic Expo 2015. One year later, and I was now welcomed as Dave was! I felt like the celebrity so to speak! People hollering my name, running over to embrace me in a warm hug, people whose names I inevitably forget because there’s so many! People remembering me from a year prior with my long hair…it felt incredibly heartwarming to be welcomed in such a way! I have a whole new sense of community in places like these. We had done a show a few months prior- actually, THE biggest one of the season and that couldn’t even compare with this one. I’m not sure I could pin down what the difference was, but I can say that the main thing was the people! Not just the vendors around us, but the customers who we’ve grown to know and love. There was a deeper energy that seemed to be pulsating through everyone.

Dave did about 10 massages a day and connected on a more spiritual, even psychic level as he saw struggles in people that were, on a subconscious/energetic level reaching out for help.

Through teary eyes and friction filled hands, he was able to emotionally touch.

While he was busy connecting with those on the chair, I was manning, (womaning) the table with the books, crystals and biofeedback game that we were selling. It was great to converse with the diverse and build up friendships that I never had before. The magnificent part though, is that all of these people that I encountered over the weekend are fully supportive of Dave and I’s relationship! They have not ever seen any issue with us. Instead they sense and see our bright light that shines out to everyone. They are pulled in by it and have no need to blame, assume or prejudge. All love. 🙂

Now, there is one extraordinarily special woman that I am compelled to write about as I talk about holistic shows and their magic. Her name is Julie, and she’s another one that I met one year ago as Dave and I were walking through the MUM (Metaphysical Universal Ministries) expo. Prior to meeting this incomprehensibly beautiful soul, Dave had talked about her and told me about what she did. I found out she was a hypnotherapist and did treatments that were kind of like guided meditations, but the purpose of them was to make you go inside yourself and see something either from your past, a past life, or even in your present that you haven’t seen before. Pure magic, ah! Anyway…upon meeting her, I was immediately drawn in by her appearance- she struck me as the hippie, free-spirited, loving type and had the most amazing magnetic energy. We shared a long hug, smiles and laughs, Dave actually teared up over seeing her because of her special energy. So, it was nice. We  moved on to walk around and about 20 minutes later as I was being bombarded by the sights and sounds of all the vendors, I stopped as if I walked through an apparition. “Her energy is still…clinging to me.” I blurted out. Quickly realizing this was Julie’s energy, I told Dave and then it was love at first sight, and every sight of her after that.

We have connected well and our friendship has become tighter. For this, I couldn’t be more thankful as she has become a woman in my life that I could be on the same level with intellectually, spiritually, yet still look up to as a mentor, a mother figure and a soul guide. There’s something mystical and sacred about her. I’ve often explained to Dave that she is a mirror of him in a female figure.

During this past visit with her, we all spoke of my transformations form the past year. I asked her, “I’m not the same woman you met one year ago, am I?” She shook her head. We later spoke of current situations that Dave and I are struggling through, and with her infinite wisdom, she held our hands and gave us advice on how to overcome, or at least alleviate the hardship. She spoke her wisdom in stern but, loving way. That’s one of her abilities that I love- the ability to be blunt and honest when giving advice. She doesn’t suggest, she commands. But it’s not offensive or harsh.

During Dave and I’s ride home on the last evening of the expo, we discussed what our dear friend had had said and wondered if it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t sure and felt very apprehensive about it, yet at the same time I wanted to listen to her and follow through; I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy. We talked about it so much that we ended up killing some of the energy high that we were on from the entire weekend. That wasn’t Julie’s fault, but ours, and it was just a, (as I’m learning through Dave) a natural cost of the situation that fate is giving us.

What I learned this past weekend was that there is hope, light and goodness in people, in humanity, in those who could be stuck, but aren’t. For me, going to these holistic shows is a complete refreshing breath of fresh air, the coolest drink of the purest water in a desert. My energy is renewed and I am able to see beyond the pain that I occasionally endure while at home with Dave or anywhere else. The friends we meet there aren’t physically close, but are close in heart and mind. The Inner Light show was the last of this season, and holistic shows start up again in spring. There’s a lot more I can say, just about the show in general, but the point of this post was to share my progress and my experience of them. Until the next show, I will hold in my heart my own inner light and I will let it break out of my soul so that everyone I meet can see it, feel it, breathe it and let it be part of them.

There is light and peace in every dark corner of life. It’s not hard to find. All you have to do is believe.

Shifting in Season: Poem

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The darkness comes once again

To greet us when we are already

Searching for something brighter.

Standing upon earth’s yearly sacrifice

Under clouded sky, we weep

For our own personal sacrifices—

Ones that brought us joy

And ones that brought us pain

Throughout the year.

Sometimes we believe we can

Live up to every expectation

Of a loved one, friend, mother or father,

Yet, reality speaks a different truth:

It says to have no expectations

As nature has no expectations

On its growth, its demise, its surprises.

It is in nature’s imperfection that

We can discover ourselves.

We are not perfect and our

Sacrifices should be made to better

Ourselves, one another, those loved ones.

We cannot honor any one living thing

Nor many, if we are living

In constant denial.

We are always at fault with something,

Always searching for that better way

To love, live, breathe, walk.

The tiniest oak does not seek

For the bigger, brighter of leaves.

It is content being small

And living in itself, it waits patiently

To ascend to see above other trees.

And it does.

In this season,

Let us welcome what we’ve

Never welcomed before—

The vision of seeing beyond

The suffering and sadness,

The faith filled with intentions that

One life can be transformed.

In the storms of distractions

That will follow, let us

Hold our ground, create roots;

Darkness is only allowed in

Where we allow it to be.