Tag Archive | loss

Rhythm of My Heart <3

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“When I first learned about her, no less than two million buffalo stampeded across my chest. (That is just an estimate at the risk of sounding dramatic.) When the dust finally settled, when chaos clipped its own wing & the Earth relinquished her thunder, I found the remains of a heart not twenty feet from my aching body, trampled into a bloody mess. This heart did not belong to me, but I ripped open my own ribcage just to double-check.” ~ Amanda Torroni

Look at that beautiful smile!! So bright, so genuine.  I miss it so so much!! I love her so, so much!!! I miss her! I wish so desperately to see her and laugh with her again. I haven’t seen her beautiful face in person since February 2015. I used to see her so often. Looking at her picture, I am healed in a deeper way and I feel light and joy and gratitude even with my pain. ❤ ❤  I couldn't bring myself to look at it for a while. I am incredibly thankful to see her face. I feel so complete. I still see her face so clearly in my head but to physically see a picture is so amazing.  

Today is the one year anniversary of my close friend, Diane's death. It still feels so new and messed up. It has been a very difficult journey of grief and I know in some ways it always will be. It's one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure in this life. Sometimes I feel I'm in a nightmare I can't wake up out of. 

The pain throbs throughout my whole existence. 

Valentine's Day was Diane's favorite holiday.

Diane is my friend and was my coworker and she died one year ago at work. Just out of nowhere. She wasn't sick or anything. She was loud, funny, giving, compassionate, loving, full of life. And in an instant she was gone and so many are now shattered. She is so loved by so, so many people and always will be. 

I worked with her for nearly ten years. I never imagined being without her. Especially like this. She was (still is) so much a part of this life of mine day after day, year after year and it feels strange and unnatural that now she's gone.

Diane used to stay at work late without getting paid just to help people. Like me, she never liked turning customers away even after we closed so she would stay open after hours and serve them if there were a few stragglers. She was hilarious even when she was angry at someone or something. She would tell people off if they did something she did not like but she still showed love to them. She was mouthy and sometimes sarcastic. I remember one of the first days after I met her, years ago, I said something to her and she said "well yeah no shit" in a sarcastic way and I did not appreciate it. Lol I thought she had nerve getting flippant with me. But now I think it's hilarious and I miss every bit of her sarcasm.  She wasn't even trying to be funny, she just was.

Her last word to me, last year, a few days before she died, was "unfuckingbelievable!" She was pissed when she yelled it and I was amused and I'm still amused. It makes me giggle that that happens to be the last word I heard her say. It's "so her." If only I knew, I wouldn't have walked away, I would have ran back and embraced her and never let go. I would have clung to her and tried to keep her heart going forever. ❤ </3 ❤ I would have given her my own heart if I could have. I would have cracked open my own chest, ripped my bleeding heart out and handed it to her.

Let's be as loving as possible and try to make it so the hearts of people we encounter have less negative stress. Stress can contribute to a heart attack probably.  I don't ever want it to happen to anyone else. </3 ❤

She wanted to learn to speak Spanish. She loved strawberry ice cream and peanut chews and Coca Cola. We have a lot of similar loves. She used to also like bananas with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. She loved to help people. She would always be giving her last dollar to someone else, letting people in need stay with her, inviting me to holidays at her place in case I had no plans. 
 
She used to tell me almost no man is good enough for me, even some of her own family members who had the hots for me! Lol I don't agree that someone isn't "good enough" for me but it always made me giggle when she said it, especially about her own close family members! One of her family members was thinking about asking me out and she told him "don't you dare go near that sweet girl until you get your life together!" lol She used to often tell me "I love you girl!" and make me lunch and always trying to give me money even though she hardly had money herself. She used to borrow money then give it to others who needed it. She was extremely protective & generous. 

She was always trying to help me find a job, always writing down names and numbers and places for me. She was even going to take my resume to give to people she knew to try to help me get a job. So many occasions through the years I overheard her bragging to others about how amazing I am in a way that made it sound like I was her own daughter. I always felt her love but now when I think about it I realize just how deep that love for me ran. I did not lose her love; I keep it with me always. ❤

She has three adult sons and grandkids. And lots of other family members. I still see them around sometimes. She has a big loving family.
I see her son Thomas and her granddaughter, Kaitlyn and Kaitlyn's baby boy the most. I'm so happy when I see them.

❤ 

She would make sure I had anything I wanted and scold me if she thought I was doing something not good for myself. She was always checking, making sure I had enough food. 

I can't believe she's gone and still keep thinking how can this be….how can she really be gone for good? Can it really be? I know this experience isn't unique to me even though it can feel like it. Many people who lose someone so close feel this way off and on even years later, possibly forever. Our story isn't unique. People die so frequently of sudden heart complications. People die every single day in all kinds of ways. Every single day people are left grieving and confused over the loss of close friends, family members, pets, others they know and love.  It's just the way it goes.

But we can feel so lonely in our grief. 

I remember her long gray coat in the Winter and her long blue denim shorts and t-shirts in the summer. I remember her hearing aids and her black hair. I remember her voice. I remember she walked with a cane or leg brace at one point because she was injured. I remember she had asthma and had a bad attack at work one day. I remember it was scary. I remember so much. Sometimes I find it so healing to talk about her.

I feel so light when I talk about her. Not mentioning her death. I'm not in denial about it. I just don't want to think about it. 

And I remember her life, not the horrible circumstance of her death. My mom did not know her but when Diane was alive, I frequently talked about her to my mom and texted my mom while at work so many days telling her all the hilarious things Diane did and said. And all the sweet, thoughtful things she did for others and for me. 

"Oh the rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum
with the words ‘I love you’ rolling off my tongue
No never will I roam for I know my place is home
where the ocean meets the sky
I'll be sailing
"

Mobile:

Desktop:

She was a big Rod Stewart fan (like me!). That's why I'm dedicating Rhythm of My Heart in her memory. 
I was recently looking through old stuff I have, looking for an old philosophy book, and I found this cd case.

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I love how I found it right before the first year anniversary and I instantly thought of her.

I love and miss her every single day. I think of her in everything I do and see things every day that remind me of her. I will always think  of her and love her everyday until I take my last breath. My heart breaks for her and her friends and family. 
I am shattered by our loss but I will honor her in so many things I do. I will keep on loving like she did, like she encouraged me to always do. She was so loving.
She loved my warm, gentle nature that is in some ways in contrast with her loud, assertive one. She told me to never let it change.  I never plan to. 

I’m filled with immense gratitude that I got to know her for the decade I spent with her. Sometimes my gratitude is drowned out by the grief but usually the grief is healed to a certain point through my gratitude. Usually the happy memories bring me deep joy and happiness and laughter & smiles along with my grief but sometimes they mostly only serve to deepen my pain. Some days it fluctuates overwhelming raw grief to a healing kind of gratitude, back & forth. And some days it’s more pain than gratitude while other days it’s more gratitude and smiles than overwhelming pain. But generally it’s a combination of both. Every fiber of my being is in agony over this loss and it would be like this for any friend/family member I lose and am close to, including pets, whether I knew them for years or even just days, all that matters is the depth of our friendship. Grief just hurts.

I have so much sorrow, not just for us who lost her, but for her for not living anymore and experiencing everything she loved, for missing it. This is what kills me the most usually. I know she’s not suffering but she’s dead and it’s worse because she can’t heal or feel happiness or anything. At least us who are left grieving can find a sense of healing and still be happy. But at least she lived and had love & happiness & life and touched so many others. That’s all that matters now. 

It doesn’t get better, it’s just the longer I live with it, the more “used to it” I become so I can cope with it better usually. But I can never truly get used to it. Sometimes it feels like I’m drowning. Like I’m being submerged in water and struggling to keep my head above and breathe. It’s overwhelming. 

Sometimes my grief is so raw it hurts almost physically. Then it mellows out and gets softer and quieter and easier to bear until the next raw flare up. But it never goes away. I don’t want it to. Ever. 

It doesn’t interfere with my general happiness or my ability to function. It’s not depression. When it flares up to the raw pain though, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on other things. 

When Diane died, almost everyday I felt like some physical part of me was missing. I felt like I was missing a limb that got ripped off and felt like in its place was numbness as well as pain. I kept feeling like it should be here. I felt a tingling. I don’t know where I felt that sensation exactly, just all over my body and other parts that aren’t physical. I especially felt it when I would be at work, shortly after she died and sometimes I still feel it. I walked around in a fog for days and days. The initial shock wore off but in some way I’m just as shocked as when it happened. And now the shock can’t numb most of the pain like it did at first. So now I’m shocked and in pain and sometimes numb like when it happened. 

There’s nothing like having to go back to work after losing a coworker to unexpected death. Seeing the empty desk. Standing in the place we used to stand together and the space next to me, empty. Not hearing her laugh. 
Not hearing her funny stories. Showing up for my shift which was also her shift and she’s not there. I seriously dreaded going back to work the first days after it happened.  

She used to sit at her desk and read a newspaper and eat peanut chews, drinking coca cola soda. We would often visit each other after closing at night to say I love you & goodnight or bring each other stuff. Some nights after work it aches so deeply when I walk by and she’s not there. But I’m so healed by the memories and the love. 

Sometimes, especially at first, it wouldn’t feel like it can really be real. I wanted to physically collapse everyday in my deep anguish. Sometimes I still do. It hits me at the most inconvenient moments, on a crowded bus, walking to work, out shopping, trying to sleep, on my way to therapy appointments(i don’t like to talk about it), ….    It’s much too painful. 

After she died, I would lean out the window at work and stare across the street (that’s where she worked for our boss, in the bar kitchen across the street) and wonder if it’s really real. We used to look out and wave to each other, laughing. I would look out day after day desperate to see her face, her beautiful smile, but she wasn’t looking back. She never looked back. I kept checking over and over to see if maybe it was some kind of mistake, some really big misunderstanding, even though I knew it’s not. Maybe no one really died I kept telling myself. Maybe they were wrong, maybe I was dreaming and now I’m awake and my nightmare is over. But I knew that is not the case. Occasionally I still look over and half expect to see her. But I know I won’t. 

I loved being near her. I loved her bubbly presence I felt. She loved me as soon as she met me. She talked to me right away like we already knew each other very well.

 She was my coworker but I love her like a close friend. If she was my family or friend outside of work I still wouldn’t love her more. She was always a friend to me. And my pain shatters me completely and is unreal. It’s all encompassing and takes over every aspect of me sometimes.  Sometimes I can’t believe this pain. Sometimes I wonder how anyone can survive it. It reminds me of my physical pain disorder when it flares up to unbearable levels. Grief is still easier to handle than my physical head pain even though it’s not less painful. But some aspects are incredibly similar. The magnitude of the pain of both the headache & the grief is unfathomable.

 But I go on and on and keep her with me.  And she is still a significant part of me.  She’s no less a part of me than when she was alive. I never go a single day without thinking of her. She’s always on my mind. I always feel her here within. I don’t see or talk to her anymore and know I never will again and I don’t believe she can see or hear me but I keep my memories of her and my love for her close and the love she had for me still lives in me. I rebuild my self to make room for this grief I now live with. Grief & gratitude and grief & joy and grief & happiness can live together. Side by side. Harmoniously.

I don’t want anyone else to die like this and I don’t want anyone else to suffer like us over a loss like this. It’s bullshit. There are worse ways to die and worse ways to lose someone but it’s still bullshit that this happens to people. 

 I want people to see her face and read her name and read how loving and beautiful she was. And I want anyone who has lost someone, maybe a friend or coworker or pet or mom or neighbor, anyone, to feel less alone. And anyone who has suffered a traumatic loss or some other trauma to feel some sense of consolation. Sometimes reading someone else’s experience can be comforting or inspiring or empowering. 

Sometimes I’m so angry about it. Not as frequently as when her death occurred. But still sometimes I feel like screaming “fuck you” to no one in particular. I’m not angry at a person or her for dying. Or at the uni-verse or some god. I accept the fact that Diane is dead, I have never denied it, but I don’t like it. I don’t feel that it’s unfair. It can happen to anyone and would be just as bad if it were someone else, someone I don’t know, and we’ll all probably go at one point one way or another. Some people are blessed to live to be 80 years old or older and die of old age while others unfortunately die much too young. It’s just the way it goes and always has been. But sometimes I am furious about the situation. I feel like how dare this happen. She was 58 years old and could have lived many more years. Isn’t this bullshit? 

“Fuck” is exactly what Diane would have been yelling! Lol Unfuckingbelievable!

It is Unfuckingbelievable. There’s no other word for it.

I can still find laughter in my grief. 

In a way, I don’t feel as if I really lost anything because I got to know her in the first place. Our lives could have never crossed but they did so it’s not a complete loss, I still have her love with me and my memories. So instead of mostly dwelling on what I lost, I think of the blessing this life bestowed upon me when it gifted me with our friendship and I focus on that and my gratitude. Why dwell on what has been snatched away when I can instead more frequently give thanks for what has been “given” to me.  And her beautiful family is still here to keep her memory alive so a big part of her still lives. 

My heart goes out to all those people who have lost someone to a heart condition(or any way at all – grief is the worst pain there probably is, at least for many…). It’s one of the most common ways people die and it sucks! Let’s keep the memory of their beautiful hearts in our own loving hearts, always. ❤ ❤

I hope anyone who is suffering with grief will remember grief is the price we pay for love. It's an indication that we are touched by those no longer here on Earth with us. But even with seemingly unbearable pain over our loss/es, we can still eventually be happy, grateful, full of laughter & joy along with our terrible pain and grief. Grief and missing someone and happiness and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. We can miss them terribly and be sad but still be generally very happy. 

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In Loving Memory of our beautiful Diane, July 14th, 1956 – February 14th, 2015 </3 ❤
I wish most of the healing energy and thoughts and things to her friends & family who knew and love her outside of work, her three sons and her grandchildren who she was very close with and her siblings…as hard as it is for me I know in some ways it must be even harder for them. 

 I'm so shocked and thrilled the song "Rhythm of My Heart" started playing as I was writing about dedicating it to Diane! Then again! Lol I was writing a post to dedicate it to her a while ago but never posted it and saved it for now. My playlist was on shuffle as I was writing the previous post, back then! And it came on randomly just as I was dedicating it to her! Then as I'm writing this one, it started playing again! ❤ ❤

Sweet! ❤ 😀

Hugs & love to you! ❤
Xoxo Kim

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November 19th

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“Life goes on
no one gets rehearsal
life goes on
through everyday reversal 
with every dawn everyday is full of chances 
to find some good before it’s gone…”
 

Today and tonight is very rainy. On my way to Buddhist class in Center City, I looked up at the tall buildings through the rain and saw people in one of the upper floors sitting around at a meeting! Lol Anyone else probably would have found it not important or thought nothing of it but I just loved seeing it. I saw three men in what appeared to be business suits.  There were probably more who I couldn’t see. None of the men I saw have hair. 

It looked important. 

Lol  

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This isn’t the building, these are different, similar ones.

I love hearing and seeing people in the distance. And I love the sounds of laughter and talking and construction work, it just provokes a feeling of connection and Oneness in me, I love the life all around. 

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The meeting in the building I saw through the window brought back a memory of a day in 9th grade when a girl in class had some speaker thing and either it called people or she hooked it up to her phone and called random people and we all heard it through the speaker. She did not know any of the people she called, it was just random numbers. A man answered one of the calls and he sounded distraught, almost panicked and said he’ll have to call her back, he was in an important meeting at City Hall. She kept telling him it’s important to talk to her right now. He did not realize it was a high school girl just messing around. Lol All the kids were laughing and so was the teacher. 

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His meeting probably looked a little like the one I briefly witnessed way up on that top floor tonight. 

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In class tonight, the monk reminded us to remember that everything is impermanent, the seasons, relationships, our problems, everything we love, our physical traits, our life….so cherish all that we have but be prepared to lose it. Depending upon how we think about it, this can be inspiring or gloomy. Remember to bask in the beauty of all we have and not put too much into problems or pain or negativity, it will all end soon enough.

I found the lecture and meditation to be inspiring and soothing and sad. I thought of my coworker, Diane, who died in February. I was very close to her and I don’t always cope with her death well. And I thought of those I will likely lose later, animals and humans. It was soothing to hear our teacher remind us that loss is just part of life, just the way it goes and it doesn’t have to destroy us. He used an analogy of staying at a luxurious hotel for a few days and having to leave it. We don’t break down over having to leave the beautiful room and bath and breakfast in bed and king sized bed and incredible view and room service and all because we knew all along it would end. It was never ours to keep. We were prepared to have it end. It’s like our life now. It was never ours to keep, the relationships we have aren’t meant to last forever. The very nature of life is change. If we just prepare ourself for it to end, like the way we know vacations end, we will be great. We are travelers just passing through life. 

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We were also reminded that the most important things are love, wisdom, and inner peace, not material things like money and jewelry.

The monk used another analogy of receiving a big expensive diamond then soon after, being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Would we even care about the diamond now next to something like that? We can have expensive things, pretty things, and still be miserable or still be sick, and still die. And we can have a terminal illness, experience a devastating loss, be very old, and still be happy and at peace.

It’s all about our attitude and what we focus on. 

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When we focus on the good and focus on our breath for a few minutes, we can experience inner calmness. When we meditate upon the concept of death and loss, it can at first seem gloomy, negative, uncomfortable, terrible, but eventually it can bring us to peace and lessen our anxiety about it.  

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It was a good class! Very helpful!

Last night was my little sister’s 19th b-day so my family took her bowling! It was a lot of fun! I got 2nd place! My mom got the lowest score and my dad and sister got the same score.

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Here are a couple pictures:

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The people before us left this score sheet.

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Lol

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I’m the only one of us usually who likes to get my picture taken. Lol 

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This is my boys and me. They are just the sweetest things! ❤

Emmy is the little daddy on my shoulder and Woody is his baby looking up at me. They get so jealous of each other and both want all the attention. Lol It's so cute!!

Here is a sweet song relevant to the topic of impermanence and appreciating the good while accepting the bad and the uncertainty.

“You’ll never know which way a day is gonna take you
there’s always some surprise that comes along to shake you
you’ll never see exactly where the road will lead you
and when it comes to love you gamble when you need to
you’ll maybe break your heart on one unlucky throw
but then again, you’ll never know”

You’ll Never Know – Ringo Starr – mobile

You’ll Never Know – desktop

Much love to you!! ❤

😀

xoxo Kim

Smile because she has lived <3

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She Is Gone (He Is Gone)

“You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”
~
David Harkins ❤ 😀

This poem is deeply inspiring to me. What the author suggests can be so difficult but it's worth the struggle and some occasions will be easier than other occasions. The poem can be comforting in grief but also apply to life in general. It's very hard to put a positive spin on death, grief, tragedy, and loss. But it is possible to see a glimmer of hope and light in it. And often necessary to aid in healing. 

And with life in general, it's good to remember there's often a bright side to even the most unfortunate situations and if not we can create one. If we still just cannot see a positive side to something itself, we can focus on other good things there are in life in general. This doesn't cure all problems but makes them easier to bear and just brings joy into our hearts in the midst of the sorrow. 

I just love this poem! ❤ ❤ ❤

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My heart goes out to all who struggle with grief, heartache, and loss of a person or pet, depression or physical pain/sickness. ❤ ❤ Grief is one of the worst kinds of pain someone can experience. I don't think there's anything worse whether it's the loss of a human or animal friend. And chronic pain conditions whether physical or depression can also be extremely difficult to handle. 

Like the poem says though, for all those lost, let's smile because they have lived. Let's carry their love and light in our hearts always.

Death cannot take away the love we have for them and the love they had for us.

Let's smile for them, love for them, live for them, and keep them alive in our memories forever. ❤ ❤ Let’s display some of their positive qualities whenever we can.

And for any problems we have, let's do whatever it takes to see that light glimmering in the darkness. Even when it's just a faint flickering. 

Look at the vastness of all the darkness of a midnight sky, it seems never ending, all the blackness. But just one small star is bright enough to shine through it all. 

“Into the darkness I fade. May my light lead me through.”

“The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is.” 

Much love & light to you, always. ❤

Xoxo Kim 

To Heal, We Must Feel <3

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“I miss the tears, I miss the laughter
I miss the day we met and all that followed after
Sometimes I wish I could always be with you
The way we used to do
Now and forever, I will always think of you
Now and forever, I will always be with you” ~ Carole King (Now and Forever) ❤

I wrote this post last night and then I was too exhausted to post it! Lol WordPress app, while I’m incredibly thankful for it, is not the easiest to deal with. 

Last night I fell asleep with and this morning  woke up with a heavy, heavy heart. As I mentioned on here a couple months ago, my coworker and beautiful friend, Diane, died suddenly and so unexpectedly. She was my coworker and I never hung out with her outside of work but in the nearly ten years I have known her, I really only thought of her as my friend, nothing less.
She’s the one I wrote about in a couple posts before. She has sons similar ages to me and I always loved how she would brag about me as if I were her daughter. 

You know how there are “flare ups” of grief? Grief never goes away or completely heals but for many people, it’s not always how it was when the loss first occurred. The rawness or worst of it takes the backburner, for lack of a better way of saying it, and eventually is generally no longer the main or only thing on the mind even when we think of those we have lost. Other, happier, thoughts and emotions begin to prevail again and the grief and heartache remain but are easier to cope with in general. But sometimes that horrible grief returns and sometimes even feels worse than at first. It appears and reappears as long as we live. 

Ever since I met Diane years ago, this is the longest I have ever gone without seeing her and talking to her. Two months. For no specific reason, the last two days my grief has been flaring up. Grief over a loss is not bad or wrong, it’s what occurs, in some cultures, when we lose something or someone we know or love. I heard that in some cultures they don’t grieve how we do here in US and other cultures. When they lose someone to death, no matter how tragic the incident, they just celebrate that person’s life and feel love and not devastation or pain. They are brought up that way. It’s hard for me to grasp that concept but I find it intriguing. But here, we do grieve hard when we experience a loss. It’s not a choice, it just occurs when we experience a loss. It’s considered healthy, expected, normal. I don’t want my grief to ever leave me, I just wish it were easier to cope with when it’s like this.

I often wish I can take away people’s pain and suffering even if it means I would have to take on that pain and feel it instead. But I never would take away someone’s grief even if I could, even when it’s very devastating. Because, at least in our culture, we’re supposed to experience it in our own way. It shows that we are touched by the person/animal (I’m just as devastated when animals die but I expect them to die sooner since they usually do not live as long as humans and to me seem generally more fragile) who left us. But I would help someone bear the grief if I could or take on a portion of it if the person wanted me to. Anyway, that can’t happen. 

Today as I was on a bus going to my therapy appointment, I was grieving hard but out of the blue, I was struck even harder. My whole body felt so fragile and so breakable and one of the worst, deepest, kinds of pain I ever felt just took me over.
Some aspects felt violent. It was emotional pain but the whole experience felt so physical. And it was very strange. It almost felt unbearable like my tmjd cluster-like headaches, which are the worst pain I ever felt. It throbbed throughout my whole existence feeling like it runs deeper than body and “mind.”

I felt like collapsing onto the floor, screaming her name over and over, and curling up into a fetal position, and writhing in agony like when I have the headaches. 
I felt horror and disbelief, heartache and pain and I kept thinking how does anyone ever possibly handle the loss of a friend, family member, pet, is it even possible to handle something like this…I felt something close to panic. 
Like a trapped or “claustrophobic” feeling. Death is so permanent. The loss felt inconceivable. So bizarre. So incredible (and not in a good way) that someone, someone with experiences and thoughts and emotions, memories, and a breath, a whole life, can be gone in an instant. Just like that. Never ever to be seen or heard again. 

All those experiences, those memories, that whole life just vanishes into thin air.

Just like that.

In an instant. 

All gone.

Forever. 

It did not last long at all, this experience on the bus. And it wasn’t all bad. It was deep and brought me closer to myself.
 I have experienced grief and loss before so it’s not completely new but it’s not something someone ever really gets used to. No matter who dies on us, another death is still so new and difficult. No matter how many we have lost before, the next one can still feel impossible to bear. 

I still can’t believe that Diane is really gone. It feels wrong and unnatural even though I know it’s not. It feels confusing that one moment someone can be standing somewhere not sick at all, nothing at all wrong with the person,  then literally one second later be dead of a heart attack. It is so scary. It doesn’t really make sense to me but I know it does make sense. It’s just part of living. It happens every single day. Heart attacks just come out of nowhere and destroy and end people’s lives. But it hurts desperately.

My worst pain is knowing that Diane can never experience again, not happiness, joy, or love. My worst pain is for her. Not for me. Or even the others who miss her and knew her better than I did. 
Living people can find a sense of healing and happiness again even after tragedies and devastation but the poor victims never get that chance. People say they don’t know they’re dead and don’t know they are missing out on life and lots of good things, and so cannot feel to suffer but that’s exactly my point, they can’t feel anymore and it’s heartbreaking to know that. 
So my worst sorrow is for the dead, not the living. 

Life is hope. 

But I also have another kind of pain, a selfish kind. I miss her and wish I could see her. And I know her family and friends do too. I see things every single day that remind me of her and it’s both comforting and painful. I think of her every single day. Never a day goes by when I don’t think of her. And I always will as long as I live. I knew her well. I suspect that as the days go on it will become more comforting than painful to see/hear things I know she loved or would love. But now the grief and pain is so raw. Raw grief occasionally does come flooding back for many of us whether it’s a year later or twenty years or more. It just comes and goes, appears and reappears. And it’s ok. 

As the saying goes “grief is the price we pay for love.” 

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(this is the only picture I got of my day yesterday before my phone battery gave out on me – those little flower petals were everywhere, blowing in the wind all around me)

When I was eleven years old I was at a party with my family in a very big house with a very big pool and like a hundred people around outside in the gargantuan backyard. When no one was looking, I slipped and fell into the pool at the 12 ft. Side. And I couldn’t get myself back out right away. This was before I learned to swim. I went into a panic and I felt my chest become “compressed” or something and like it was being crushed and my lungs attempting to gasp for air. It was suffocating. Horrifying. It felt like I was drowning. Luckily there were floaties all throughout the pool. Somehow I pulled myself up onto a kiddie float that was there and onto the wall and got myself out. 

My grief reminds me of this incident because it feels so similar, like my chest is really being crushed and my lungs struggling for breath. Like I’m being held under water. I’m not speaking metaphorically but literally. It couldn’t be anymore physical if I was eleven years old and back in that pool flailing and panicking, grasping for the float to save me. But I know I will pull myself out of the worst of it and carry on. 

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On some occasions I feel another kind of strange feeling, almost like missing a limb, like my arm was ripped off and should still be here but isn’t and now in its place is a weird tingling or numbness or something. I don’t know if it makes sense but it’s what I feel occasionally with grief. It’s not a feeling in my arm, I don’t know where I feel it, maybe in my head?  my chest? my whole being? I think that’s it. It’s just there. Here. Nowhere in particular. But it reminds me of a body part being traumatically torn off but still feeling like it’s supposed to be here or like part of it still is but mostly not. And in its empty space is a kind of numbness. I guess grief can do strange things to us. 

I’m not spiritual in this way or religious so I do not believe that Diane can touch me or see me or that she’s still alive somewhere or in a “better place” watching over me and all those she loves, but at some moments I want nothing more than to feel her loving arms wrap around me in a comforting embrace. I miss her voice, her love, her laughter, her cursing, her hilarious ways, her stories….she was really funny! She was very loud and cursed a lot in a funny way just in everyday conversations, not trying to be funny. 

She wanted to learn Spanish because one of her grandsons, a toddler, only speaks Spanish and she was trying to teach him English. One day at work she came running over to me yelling “omg! Kim! My grandson just said his first English word! He dropped something and yelled ahh fuck!” lol I burst out laughing! She was horrified. His first English word she unintentionally teaches him is fuck! She was trying to get him out of it fast! 

One day, many years ago, my dad came to my work and as a joke he yelled to me “hey! What are you doing?!” in a mock angry voice, just as Diane was going by in a car and she did not realize that he’s my dad and was joking and thought he was messing with me and she angrily yelled at him “She’s working! What the fuck’s it look like she’s doing?!” lol my dad was pissed! But Diane always looked out for me. Always. 

She did so much for me, tried to help me find a job I wanted, gave me big tips at work, always told me she loves me and how wonderful I am, would bring me food over that she thought I would like as a surprise, invited me to her house with her big family for thanksgiving in case I was going to be alone,
So much….one day for St. Patrick’s Day she made my family cabbage and ham, for me to take home.  ❤

I even miss the things she did sometimes to annoy me! Things I never would have thought I could miss! Lol But now I laugh about it. 😀

A few weeks ago, while on a bus, I looked out the window and saw a lady with her back turned to me who looked exactly like Diane at that angle. I couldn’t believe it, my breath caught. If Diane was alive, I would have been convinced that lady was her. I would have went to work and said “hey I saw you today!!!” 

That’s how much she resembled her at that angle. Diane was very small, short, and thin, with shoulder length, dark black hair, and she sometimes wore a long jacket and that’s exactly like this lady. I couldn’t see her face but I wanted to run off the bus and hug her. I stared and for a few seconds I imagined that Diane was back on this Earth and that I was getting to look at her again once more for a few last seconds. I felt kind of blessed to have this opportunity to feel like I was looking at her. I tried to trick part of my brain into really believing it was her just so I could have a few more seconds with Diane on Earth. I felt so greedy. Like I wanted as many seconds I could have to pretend and believe.  It may seem a bit twisted but I was consumed in grief.  

It felt so bizarre seeing her like that knowing it couldn’t possibly have been her. 

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And Diane wore hearing aids. And she would often put her hand to her ear to adjust the hearing aid. It was one of those “tics” or very mundane, mindless little things, a “personal habit” or detail no one ever thought anything of but now that she’s gone, that little mundane detail that was so much a part of her, stands out to me. It really makes it harder to believe she can just not be here anymore.  It’s a bit difficult to explain in words. But I keep thinking about it.

Anyway, my body has been longing to listen to songs that aren’t very uplifting. Uplifting songs help me immensely and I am a big advocate for having a playlist of positive, happy, uplifting songs, especially for low moods. But all I been wanting to do is listen to slow songs, sad songs, not ones to get me pumped or uplift me but ones to match my mood. Ones to trigger even more deep feeling in me, even if it’s agonizing feelings. And ones that remind me that pain, loss is part of living and others can understand. But some other part of me wanted to reject, deny, repress, listen to uplifting songs, happy songs, repress that grief and heartbreak. Pretend it’s not there, that it’s not real. Then it won’t have to hurt so much. 

So on that bus today I struggled with what to do. 

Last night I found a blog by a man named Ryan and he sends morning e mails to help us start our day. 

http://www.wakingupwithryan.com/

I had to be up very early today and on the bus I read his e-mail and it was perfect for my situation right then. He actually wrote:

“To heal it, you’ve got to feel it.”

Seriously?! Can those words be any more perfect for someone in my situation?! Imagine the struggle I had while on the bus wanting to repress and deny then out of nowhere seeing an e-mail in my inbox, that came through that very same morning, with that title! I felt as if it was written just for me! Thank You, Ryan! Thank You, thank you! 

He encourages us to let our emotions, feelings, thoughts flow, emerge, just be. Even when it’s painful and our heads want to deny it. How can we heal and come to accept when we repress and deny? It will still be here, buried, suffocating, drowning. It needs air and to be nurtured. 

So I listened to these slow, soft, gentle, sometimes sad songs on the bus. Songs to match my emotions, my heartache. And I admitted that I’m broken over this tragic loss. I never denied her death, only wished it would not be and denied how it affected me. But I allowed Ryan to inspire me. 

It was heartbreaking but just what I needed in that moment. Mostly I am helped and inspired by happy songs but when that’s not the case, it’s ok to listen to those sad, slow songs. 

It helped me heal. 
Then after that I listened to the happy, fast paced song to help balance the situation and my mood. “Coast to Coast” by the Stompers. And it was the perfect balance! 

I encourage you to check out his blog and subscribe if you like that kind of stuff! And to maybe let his words inspire you to feel, accept, and just be. 

http://www.wakingupwithryan.com/

I embrace my grief and I carry Diane in my heart and I will allow her ways to keep inspiring me.  One way we can honor those we love who die, is to incorporate some of their ways into our own lives, if they were loving, we can try to be more loving even if we already are, we can try to make it a point to make it more frequent. If they were very active with certain causes, we can carry that on if we also support the causes, if not we can be inspired to work for a different cause we support. If they helped people often (like Diane did, she would give people her last dollar even if she did not have money, she would borrow money then if someone else needed the money she just borrowed, she would give it!), we can start helping people more. If they were happy and full of joy, let’s try to remember to be happy and full of joy. Wear their favorite color, listen to their favorite song (although this can be too painful for a while), try to keep those we love who are no longer on Earth with us, alive in our hearts, keep their essence going.  

I wish I could be loud and curse a real lot like she did but it’s just not in me. Lol She always told me she hoped I would always be sweet and gentle, pleasant, and quiet, and wonderful no matter what, even when I get another job where I may encounter difficult people and situations.

I will. 

After my therapy appointment, I was in Center City, walking to the bus to go home. I am not depressed today and have been very joyful underneath the pain. I saw one single yellow flower today surrounded by lots of green and it uplifted me then out of nowhere I saw two small, white butterflies tenderly flying around the flower. Also, more pastel pink flowers have been blossoming on the trees, into the bright blue sky, and everywhere has the fragrance of sweet Spring flowers and the sky was bright blue with pretty fluffy clouds. It was warm but cool and breezy also with comforting sunshine. And little flower petals blowing all over, everywhere, in the gentle breeze. I found a pretty pink fragrant flower on the ground and brought it for my mom. It was already dead and crushed in my pocketbook when I gave her it but she still found it beautiful. 

It couldn’t have been a more perfect Spring day and cannot be a more perfect Spring night.

I would have pictures of my beautiful and little  journey out and about but my phone battery was drained! So I just cherished the moment and the day without getting pictures!  Still perfect! 

Something strange happened. I take pictures only slightly less than I breathe. Lol So when I see something beautiful, while I still cherish it and live in the moment, I also automatically have to take a picture. But yesterday it never even occurred to me to take a picture of one of the beautiful pink floral trees and the bright blue sky above it. I just stood and stared in awe. Then I realized and went to take a picture but remembered my phone battery drained. Lol I’m not even sure what the point is of sharing this here but I’m just fascinated and it was part of my day. 

So even though I wasn’t depressed walking to the bus, I held my head slightly lowered and struggled with my heartbreak. I usually never walk with my head down. I love to look up and see people, smile at strangers, make eye contact(I’m so shy and even though I long to smile at people I don’t know, I am sometimes too shy but I’m better and better at this. I often think what if they think it’s weird or don’t care to have strangers look at and smile at them but it’s amazing how many people smile back and actually seem to appreciate my attempt at connecting) but I felt so heavy in grief. A sweet young woman with blond hair, maybe a college girl, was sitting on the corner and said to me hello, have a good day. I looked up and smiled and said thank you. I usually would have been a bit more friendly with a more uplifted tone and said something like “thanks so much, you too..” But I did express my appreciation with my smile and appreciative tone.

 She helped me more than she probably knows. I don’t know why she was sitting on a street corner or anything or why she said that too me. I know she said it to help me. Her words and tone were so sincere. But I don’t know if she was saying it throughout the day to random strangers or just to me because she sensed my griefstricken and heavy heart.

But either way, my broken heart welled with love and gratitude for this beautiful Earth angel who set out to uplift a stranger. It seems like I write about this so much here on the blog about how one simple touch, word, or gesture can do wonders and it really can. I can never say it enough. 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~

Leo Buscaglia

It is so healing to experience and even to remember later. To know someone cares to uplift people.

Now I have another “ordinary angel” to add to my infinite list.

Even though Diane isn’t here anymore, even though she’s dead and I’ll never see her again, I am blessed and thankful to have known her and I have so many beautiful memories of her and our days together. My heart breaks for her sons, her grandchildren, her other family, and friends and all who know her. I know her sons and grandchildren and other family members/friends who lived with her and know her better than I do and knew her outside of the context of work, have to be suffering more than I am. While it’s all of our loss and a loss to the whole world, the loss is truly theirs and most of the sympathy and healing messages/energy should go to them. 

One thing that I find comforting is that the quote “you don’t know what you have ’til it’s gone” While often true, doesn’t apply to us here. I always knew I am blessed to have Diane as my friend, to have her love. And she always told me how wonderful she thought I am.

While there are definitely moments this quote can apply to me about things, I try to live so it won’t usually. I would like to encourage us all to live in such a way that when we lose someone or something whether it’s a person, an animal, a job, or even a gadget like a phone or microwave oven, that this quote doesn’t exist for us. Let’s all know what we have while we still have it.  

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of her, she did not like getting her picture taken. But I see her in my mind and remember her voice so vividly. And I know it’s enough. 

My heart goes out to you if you are struggling with grief, whether it’s new raw grief, a raw flare up, or just the same old grief you felt for years. Hugs & love to you. I am reminded to reach out like that girl who reached out to me today. Reach out to a stranger or friend or family member who is struggling or just for no reason. Who wouldn’t love a friendly smile or warm hello even if we aren’t currently sad or struggling in any way?!  Thank You, sweet girl!! 

And I am reminded to be mindful of the beauty all around us even when I’m struggling. There’s always something to smile about and be thankful for even in darkness and pain.

Much love to you ❤

Xoxo Kim

If your heart breaks regularly….<3 </3

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Then you’re doing something right.

“If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.” ~ Andrew Harvey

I recently saw a self-help book, I don’t remember the name, designed to help us completely eradicate anger and other unpleasant feeling emotions out of our lives. It’s also designed to “make” us not even care at all when someone rejects us or when a relationship ends. Not only to eliminate “negative” emotions or help us heal but to PERMANENTLY obliterate them. Forever. Never feel anything but positive emotions again as long as we live. To be forever indifferent to negative events in the world.  What a joke, right?   It even has a warning saying something along the lines of “Caution, do NOT read this book if you do not want to permanently erase sadness over rejection….you can NEVER go back…. We promise…”

K.

I’m not buying it. Not just like I’m not buying that book. That too. But I’m not buying the nonsense they’re selling.

I don’t believe it’s possible or likely for most people but also, more importantly, I don’t want it to be possible. Even if I could, I would not permanently erase my emotions. Any of them.   I refuse to be a brick wall. Or a zombie? Or some non-human emotionless thing.

I believe that life is a gift. And that includes our ability to FEEL. To feel pain, grief, pleasure, heartbreak, hope, and healing. Anger, fury, joy, and happiness. Sadness and relief. To feel rejected and accepted, empty, broken, then whole.

Imagine walking around in a constant, static state of just one emotion. Whether the emotion itself is pleasant or unpleasant, the whole experience is not pleasant, in my opinion.   We don’t need dramatic mood swings but a little variation would be sweet.

Like the cliche goes, it’s easier to appreciate the good with a little bit of bad thrown in!

But not just that.

Unpleasant feeling emotions and sensations actually serve a purpose. We would be in trouble without them. They let us know something is wrong. They fuel us, motivate us, teach us. They keep us safe. 

Being peaceful and happy in general and having great control over our emotions and thoughts and actions or expressions is one thing, rarely getting worked up or angry is one thing.   A good thing! Permanently erasing “negative” emotions and never being capable of experiencing them again is something else.

Fear.

 Imagine a world without fear. Even if you could not feel fear, you likely wouldn’t be stupid.   You would still know what can cause your death and seriously hurt you and probably would mostly avoid it but you may still act more recklessly than when you can feel fear. Your judgment may be a bit off without a healthy dose of fear.

Crossing a busy street for example. I see the horror of people crossing recklessly too often. They don’t want to wait so they dash through the speeding traffic, trying to avoid getting hit. It’s horrifying to witness. Just horrifying. They usually don’t get hit, thanking my lucky stars. And these are people who can and do feel fear. So imagine if some of those very same people could not experience fear. They would probably be even more reckless with their lives and the lives of those people in the cars, not having their fear to guide them.

This is also somewhat philosophical because if you think about it, if a person is unable to experience fear then does it mean that person also can’t experience a certain degree of concern? Is concern just a much lesser degree of fear?

(like some physical discomfort is a lesser degree of full-blown pain…?)

When I’m standing at a street full of speeding traffic and I’m safely on the pavement, it’s not full-blown fear I feel or even a lesser sense of anxiety. I know I’m safe so there’s nothing to fear. However, I do experience a certain degree of concern, enough to hold me back so I don’t go flying into traffic in a hurry to get across.   Hmmmm…interesting.

My dad read a novel many years ago when I was a little girl, about a young woman who was born without the “fear gene.”. She never experienced fear a day in her life.   I was fascinated but never read it.   I remember my dad reading parts to me out loud.   The character said she does not fear death or injury but she would never jump off a bridge or anything as she still knows what that can do. She doesn’t fear getting hurt but doesn’t want it. I can relate in some ways. I don’t “fear” getting a paper cut but I don’t want it. (perhaps desperately not wanting something IS some form of fear??) I don’t fear having a broken bone as long as it’s only a minor break of a less crucial bone but I sure don’t want it.   I don’t fear any kind of surgery but would prefer not to have to undergo it.   I’m not brave, necessarily, for not fearing this stuff. I’m just not naturally afraid of it. Fearlessness is not courage.   Courage is feeling the fear but doing whatever it is anyway.   That’s what it is to be brave. Being fearless isn’t.   Like that quote about how superman isn’t really a hero in a way because he’s literally invincible, indestructible, the real heroes are you and me, who can be destroyed in many ways but still find it in us to go on, to take chances…

I’m assuming that fear means the full blown unpleasant feeling, not mere concern. The kind that makes you tremble, your heart pump like you want to run and run fast. There are different extents of fear, though, that I know of.

Some things I fear like that are: small closed in spaces, if I see someone nearly get hit by a car, if I think someone is about to die whether I know the person/animal or not, some amusement park rides (like the atmosfear – thing that drops) sleep paralysis, some hallucinations(I have psychotic depression), severe physical pain, going deaf(because of my facial pain disorder)…. and I used to be very fearful when my left arm would go dead because of my pain condition.   I learned to tolerate it and no longer fear it.

Some things I don’t fear only because I know they can’t or probably won’t happen like: if I was the only human left on Earth, jumping out an airplane with a parachute (would probably terrify me, not thrill me), losing my sense of vision for a while. Because of my pain condition, I sometimes lose my hearing, sometimes completely and some occasions almost completely and have since I was a little girl before I knew why. I was always too afraid to tell my mom. It’s recurrent and the deafness and partial deafness lasts all different amounts of time, sometimes hours to a whole day, off and on. I never get completely used to it no matter how frequently it happens. I’m not as fearful when it happens as when I was a girl and young woman but it’s still very scary to lose a sense. 

Physical pain.

Imagine no ability to feel physical pain or any sort of physical discomfort? You wouldn’t know when your appendix is about to burst. You may not know if you’re having a heart attack or if you’re cut badly in a place you can’t see right away.

I don’t know about the lack of fear thing but I know there are people living with this very rare pain disorder. They often die prematurely because they cannot feel physical discomfort at all and can stay in one position for many hours which can result in damage to the body. They don’t naturally turn in their sleep.  Unlike us with the ability to feel physical pain and discomfort, they have to learn when to move throughout the day and night to avoid muscle atrophy. We take it for granted and never have to learn. We don’t give it a second thought usually; we just mindlessly move at the first sign of pain or discomfort. 

Many of us have heard of “those people who can’t feel physical pain” but we may have some serious misconceptions of this disorder.  

They often don’t walk around exactly like people who can feel pain, with no extra problems. They have so much against them.  They suffer serious and sometimes even deadly consequences.

When they’re children, they are often blinded and chew their own tongues off. They don’t realize the teeth going through their tongues and their own fingernails slashing their eyeballs. Parents often don’t know they have this disorder until this trauma occurs.   They often have to have their teeth and fingernails removed or wear socks on their hands. Sometimes their eyes have to be removed because of the damage their fingernails cause. Many are in wheelchairs because of muscle/joint problems.   They often can’t sweat and they overheat.

We naturally, often unconsciously,  learn not to claw our eyes out and chew our tongues off because of pain & discomfort. No one usually has to teach us.  Unfortunately for some, they do not have that gift.

They CAN feel emotional pain and other physical sensations, like massage and skin on skin contact. 

They aren’t like those other people who have that other disorder and can’t feel anything physical because of some touch/feel/nerve problem/injury.  

Anger.

Imagine if you never felt anger. Not just being an easy going person who rarely gets angry and even when you do you control it well but imagine not having the ability to feel anger. I don’t know if anyone like this really exists but I imagine it can’t be all good.  I suspect that if we all of a sudden could never experience anger, we may run into problems we never realized could happen. Anger may be serving other purposes we don’t even realize.   We’re so used to having the ability we take it for granted.
Have you ever had something you never gave a second thought to then lost it and realized how much easier or better it really was making your life?

I know sometimes anger motivates me to act. To do what’s right. It fuels me to stand firm against things. For example, I remember an instance when I found that people were destructively criticizing me just to be unkind. I mostly felt paranoid and somewhat anxious and like a “victim” sort of.

But then anger crept in. But not the anger that destroys. That other kind.   The kind that builds, fuels, the kind that gives me a backbone. Not the kind that made me want to retaliate.   I did nothing at all to seek revenge on these people and did not care to but my anger for the situation helped me greatly.   I thought “What the hell!! Let them talk, whatever they say is up to them, anyone can be criticized for whatever reason true or not. If I really wanted I can criticize too, I can if I want, do the same to them, they are wrong.” But I let it go. I let my anger give me life, let me rise above, even if only in my own head, instead of being the spineless jellyfish I was at first. They did not get over on me. Even though I did nothing back and never will.

And I did not get over on them. I just let it be. But in an active way.

My anger reminded me that I am equal no matter what they say.   And anger, like fear, manifests in different degrees.   A mild annoyance to a passionate fury.

Anger motivates us. And if we use it appropriately, it will motivate us to act/think for the better. 

I want to be affected by the world and people, for good and for bad. I don’t want to build up walls. I want to feel as deeply as I can. If I feel unpleasant emotions as deeply as possible, I can feel the pleasant ones as deeply and experience the gift of life to the fullest.

Grief, loss, & rejection.

And about the pain of rejection and loss or grief. That shows us that one life or something impacted us. Touched us so deeply that we grieve over the loss or rejection. Don’t you want someone or something to impact you so deeply that it’s hard to say goodbye or hard to be pushed away?   It shows that we’re open completely and that we had something to cherish at one point. And reminds us that it’s possible to feel that love again. And again. And again….

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~ A.A. Milne

It’s so much better than being numb.

Guilt. Remorse. Regret.

So many people say “I have no regrets and never will.” Advising us not to regret or feel guilt. I agree to a certain extent.   It’s best not to dwell on guilt and regrets but it’s ok to have certain regrets and experience a temporary healthy level of guilt when we’re wrong. But we should (should in my opinion, I don’t like telling people what they ‘should’ do) forgive ourselves and move forward, not carrying a constant burden of guilt for life.

If we don’t have the ability to feel guilt and regret it’s possible, just like I mentioned about fear, we may occasionally act more recklessly. I’m not saying completely be a monster and destroy everything and everyone but guilt and regret can aid us in our actions sometimes.  

There are some occasions we may know intellectually that something is wrong but as long as we don’t feel guilt, emotionally, we justify it. 

For example: Some years ago, my sister and me went with my mom and dad on a fun trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary here in Philadelphia to learn about the old prison, historical facts and all. I saw a prison hoodie I desperately wanted. My sister did not care at first to get one as much as I did. But my dad bought her one since he bought me one. They are on the expensive side and I eventually ruined mine. My sister’s got packed away. When we were pulling stuff out to move, I found her’s. And kept it. Hoping no one would remember I ruined mine and just think that’s mine and hers went missing.   Lol! At first there was no guilt. I knew intellectually it’s wrong but emotionally I couldn’t have cared less. 

I’m generally not a thief and generally very honest.   And in most cases I won’t do wrong stuff knowing it’s wrong even if I don’t feel guilt with my emotion. Feeling guilt isn’t just knowledge of being wrong but feeling it. Feeling it emotionally as opposed to just intellectually.

But I justified this in all ways imaginable.   I told myself that I was really the one who wanted it. I wore mine more often than she wore hers til I ruined it. She did not care about it anyway, I told myself. She had it stored away.   I got away with it.

But as the days would come and go, guilt crept up on me. I no longer only knew it’s wrong. I felt it. It wasn’t mine.   Whether or not she really wanted her hoodie, whether or not I loved it more, the hoodie was never mine. I caved into my guilt and fessed up. My sister was pissed! She yelled at me and called me a lying thief who can never again be trusted.

And while the lying thief part was true for that occasion, it’s generally not. That doesn’t make it ok for that occasion but I did not let my guilt overcome me after I confessed. I admitted I was wrong and I eventually did what’s right.

My sister wouldn’t forgive me at first but I was able to forgive myself.

It doesn’t change what I did but at least I made it right, as right as I could after the fact.

A guilty conscience is good when you know you were really wrong! 

But you can cleanse it by confessing and moving forward. Accept that you were wrong. It’s not the end of the world.

I read a self help mediation book, I forget the name, and the author said whenever she did something wrong she would say to herself, to ease her guilt “I was wrong, so sue me!”. 

That’s great to a certain point!

We really shouldn’t go all out and do bad, destructive, immoral things though, just because we can say “…..so sue me!” But when we’re wrong and are genuinely sorry, we can move on or move forward.

I don’t dwell on regrets but having them is ok.

I wasn’t just wrong to my sister but to the universe, to life, to the world. I don’t want to be a thief, a sneak, a liar. That’s not who I want to be. I don’t  want to put that kind of energy out into the world.  It’s not who I am deep inside and when I act out of accordance with that, my conscience reminds me and won’t let me rest until I make it right.  I want to be true.   True to life and goodness and all that is right. I aspire to be all that is good and right and true. I won’t always know what that is. And occasionally I know different views will clash. What’s right to me may not be to someone else. What’s right in one situation may not be in another. 

But it’s ok. I will live and learn. Accept and forgive, myself and others.

I believe painful emotions are ok, good, healthy even. But in moderation. In a healthy balance.

They can also help us empathize with and understand each other better because we can draw on our own experiences. 

They’re inevitable at some points.   We don’t have to intentionally inflict them upon ourselves and others.

We don’t have to go searching for pain and negativity.   Anyway, there will be a plentitude throughout your days without searching!  

As Dr. Steve Maraboli says “When you hate something, you chain yourself to it.”

It’s true, in my opinion but it’s not to say “hating” is wrong or unnatural and that we should never feel it.   It simply means not to let the negativity get over on us by Dwelling on it. If you “hate” or strongly dislike something, let it motivate you to act for the better. Let hatred allow you to reach out in love. 

It’s true I experience heartbreak everyday. When I hear of a person or animal dying or being seriously ill or hurt, even if I don’t know those who die or are hurt or sick. When I witness someone suffering. When I read about tragedy or heartbreak. When I remember sad things. When I know happy things will end. It’s painful and sad but it’s not bad to feel this heartbreak. It means I’m alive.   Fully alive. It inspires and motivates me at a deeper level to reach out, to act out in love, to show greater compassion and provide consolation. To better understand.

To better appreciate all of life.

Let your painful and unpleasant emotions and feelings guide you in life along with your pleasant emotions and feelings and aid you in your actions. And let them remind you again and again that you are alive. And that’s a beautiful gift.

Xoxo Kim

When I Becomes We <3

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“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

I wrote a couple of posts here previously about Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, a Philadelphia psychologist. He is one of my greatest inspirations. He suffered devastating tragedies in his life and was able to rise above and help others. He experienced divorce, grief and loss, and suffered a tragic, near fatal  accident when he was thirty years old that rendered him permanently paralyzed, with a broken neck, afflicted with quadriplegia, which is paralysis, at the torso and all the limbs.   

He suffered with suicidal depression after that but found deep healing. He is able to use his life lessons to help people with various struggles, severe struggles and just every day life, “ordinary” struggles most of us face now and again. He has a young grandson with Autism who teaches Dr. Gottlieb so much about life.. He even wrote a couple books about the wisdom his young grandson teaches him.

I read his writings quite frequently and have a couple of his books. And tomorrow Dr. Gottlieb is having a book signing event at Barnes & Nobles in Center City, Philadelphia for his newest book!!! I’m so happy and thrilled!!! I’m going!!!

It will be so amazing to finally meet him in person after reading so much by him, sharing his inspiration frequently, and being deeply inspired by his life.

One thing Dr. Gottlieb teaches us is how we can connect with each other through our basic humanness, disability, illness or not, we are all human, all with basic needs and desires, a deep longing to connect. His lesson is not unlike Dr. Leo Buscaglia’s message about how deep inside we are the same, human and we can connect in many ways even when barriers prevent more advanced communication. 

Dr. Dan doesn’t even care much to be referred to as “Doctor.” On his business cards he writes “human.”

Another of his lessons is that no matter what happens to us and how much we grieve over what we lost, we can still find happiness in the midst of pain and grief. Sometimes he wishes desperately that he can walk again and dance and he grieves deeply over his lost abilities but he can still be happy just as he is.

It’s ok to grieve and feel a deep sense of loss and longing and those experiences do not have to taint our general happiness and wellbeing. They dont have to be mutually exclusive.

He is so very humble.   He doesn’t make his life or pain out to be better or worse than anyone else’s. He knows we all have struggles, some worse than others but no one’s pain should be invalidated.

Another lesson he teaches us is positivity. He cannot move much and therefore his urinary bladder does not work as it did before his paralysis.   He needs a catheter since he cannot empty his bladder as people without physical disability can. The urine goes to the catheter and that gets emptied. He doesn’t have to use a toilet. He likes to remind “non disabled” people and anyone who can use a toilet that while they’re getting in and out of bed all night to empty their bladders the “normal” way, he is sleeping peacefully in bed. Lol He says this in a funny and playful way! Humor is also a great lesson he teaches us.

I love his sense of humor!

He teaches us that there’s little bits of Heaven here on Earth, all around us. We don’t have to die or go on vacation to experience Heaven. We often long for a vacation and look in awe and gratitude upon the sunset and land when we are not at home. But wherever we are, we look upon that same sunset, the same sky, the same Earth. Beauty is all around us. Right here. Right now.  

He teaches us that everyone’s needs are “special.” We all have some kind of needs. We all are dependent in some ways upon other people and things.

He teaches us about the good hope and the bad hope. Hopefulness is good. But putting off current happiness and peace of mind hoping for “better” isn’t good. For a couple of years Dr. Gottlieb desperately hoped he would walk again even though it’s impossible.   He put his life and happiness on hold hoping for “better” but he eventually found healing and hopelessness. The good kind of hopelessness that is acceptance, letting go, and liberation. 

You can read about some of this here:

http://www.temple.edu/medicine/dan_gottlieb_visit.htm

He teaches us to just sit with and be with our emotions. Not to repress or deny them. Just be. And so much more he teaches us.

His new book is “The Wisdom We’re Born With (Restoring Our Faith in Ourselves).”. It’s about the importance of living in the present moment, connecting with our own emotions, calming the unquiet mind, breaking bad habits, and the importance of love.

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/82835

Here is a beautiful poem by Dr. Daniel Gottlieb about how we are all connected, we are all One with each other. It’s called “When I Becomes We.”
Click the link to read:

http://www.drdangottlieb.com/2014/02/14/poetry-when-i-becomes-we/#

Here are a few lines:

“…when “those” people become “my” people

when the person in the street with a Styrofoam cup becomes my brother or sister

when every hungry child becomes my child

then I will cry more and laugh more and love more…”

Beautiful, isn’t it?!

I’m so inspired.   And I hope you have found some inspiration here too.

&

And keep smiling. There’s beauty all around you, everywhere, everyday.

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Xoxo Kim 😀

Gratitude Meditation <3

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“While there is time let’s go out and feel everything” ~ Steve Winwood

I have been meditating more regularly than usual and have been doing more gratitude meditations, usually at night before sleep.

It has a serious, positive effect on me. Not just while I’m meditating but all day when I wake up. Even with less sleep I feel more energized, more alive, more awake, and aware.   And more grateful.  

During my meditations, I have been overwhelmed with powerful emotions coming over me, flooding into my consciousness.   One emotion which has been so strong is grief.   Grief over my dog who died in April this year of old age, grief over broken friendships, grief over people who died, grief over the years I “lost” to depression, grief over people I once knew and let slip away, grief over years gone away, into the light of yesterday…

I’m not exactly sure why this is. I know meditation has the tendency to bring about strong emotions which we have pent up inside, emotions we repress or deny. But I haven’t been denying my grief for the most part.  I have grieved so hard over my losses, not denying them.  But grief over a loss, especially a permanent one, is not easy for me to handle. There sometimes comes a point where my grief reaches a pinnacle so great, it’s too painful to bear so I do try to repress it, not deny it but just push it aside.  Maybe my meditation practices are bringing to the surface of my consciousness, the remnants of initial grief I kept locked away.

It’s possible to repress things or have thoughts or feelings without even realizing at a conscious level.  The experience of my grief flooding back to me during meditation is not bad, it’s good.  It allows me to experience and release.  It is painful though.

Also, I have been gaining some fascinating and deep insights about creativity, beauty, open-mindedness, and seeing various things in different ways, at different angles.   I feel even more empathetic and compassionate than ever.  More creative and enlightened, like the beginning of some awakening that’s difficult to put into words.

Everyday I acknowledge gratitude and being alive.  Sometimes I just think of things I’m thankful to have and the fact that I’m alive.  On other occasions I actually feel gratitude seeping into me at a deep level, flooding the cells of my body, tingling and sinking into the marrow of my bones, just flooding over me. 
And I feel so alive, absolutely fully alive.
Sometimes this feeling comes on out of nowhere, other moments I can tap into it intentionally.  And other occasions I feel ungrateful and not appreciative. Or numb, trudging around in a sense of stagnant drudgery. 

I don’t have to just be happy to feel so alive.   I have felt this in moments of grief and pain, anger, and heartbreak. Life is full of happiness and joy and also pain and heartache. So if we’re alive and fully receptive, we will experience it all.  And it’s beautiful to feel so utterly alive.

I want to pull in and embrace every emotion and feeling that comes to me, snatch it up and hold it close while I can, even the painful ones, as they are an indication of life.  So life-affirming.

I want to feel everything while I can.

I want to take full advantage of the gift of life, my blessing of being alive and conscious.

Since practicing these meditations more regularly I have been feeling the deep gratitude feeling more frequently each day, not just acknowledging things I have to be grateful for, but the feeling of gratitude living and breathing, dwelling in my cells, venturing through my veins and each artery, and each breath of my heart.  The gratitude and life that breathes in me.  The gratitude that floods my existence, caresses my very essence.

It’s so different than the depression & despair that generally consumed me for years.

How often do you truly feel alive? So alive that you can feel every sensation in your body and notice every thing outside of you? All the colors, feelings, textures, lights…of your external environment, the tingling in your toes and fingertips…so alive on a deeper level than what we usually feel everyday..

Even in monotonous moments and routine environments?

“I will live while I can, I will have my ever after” ~ Steve Winwood

“We go so fast, why don’t we make it last
Life is glowing inside you and me
Please take my hand, right here where I stand
Won’t you come out and dance with me
Come see with me, oh, come see” ~ Steve Winwood

One very interesting thing is I have been feeling somewhat distracted during meditation the last few nights. I usually do not have this problem too often but I have been, lately, so I have been doing, let’s say, “half-assed” jobs at meditating and still seeing incredible results. So imagine what I’m capable of when I get over my distraction and give it my all!  

I have been struggling for a few days with not feeling very grateful as much as I possibly can. I have been having annoying technology problems with my phone that won’t allow me to do things that I do every day.   Also, I just found out a man I have known for some years and talked to frequently, recently died, of a possible drug overdose and I am so sad.  He was so friendly and outgoing and kind.  He struggled off and on with alcohol and other drug addiction and attempted to get help on multiple occasions.   But we lost this battle and it’s devastating.  And my heart goes out to everyone impacted by this tragic loss.

And to everyone affected in any way by any kind of addiction. It is a devastating and heartbreaking struggle.

It’s often easy to feel and express gratitude when things are going well.   But what about when it seems that everything is going wrong, all wrong, when we have a heavy heart, a broken heart, when the world seems to be crumbling on top of us?   When we lose and lose again, sinking so low it feels we can’t go lower, then we do?  That may be when we need gratitude the most.  Maybe we won’t feel it purely but we can feel and express it to some degree if we try and practice.
It is possible to feel a slither of gratitude even in the midst of pain and anger.  And that slither can be enough to keep us going.

I wrote this.

(Much of it is inspired by 

Mobile: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo 
Comp. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo

which is created by Angela Carole Brown and is a brief meditation video for gratitude affirmations.)

I live in gratitude.

I breathe gratitude. 

I am grateful everyday that I live and breathe.

Every day that I have a creative idea, a revelation, learn something new, and am able to let go of old limiting beliefs, I am grateful.
Every day that I face my fears or overcome obstacles, I am grateful.
Every moment that I am given awareness of the simplest of beauties, the opportunity to experience profound joy, and feel genuine happiness, I am grateful.
Every day that  I stumble upon hidden treasures, I am grateful. 
Every moment that I am enlightened and discover insights, I am grateful.
Every day that my heart feels compassion, understanding, patience, and peace, I am grateful. 
Every day that I act upon love and compassion, I am grateful.
Every day that I Encounter and engage with another living being, I am grateful.
Every day that I am
Hugged, kissed, and loved, I am grateful.
Everyday that I 
Laugh or make someone laugh
Inspire and am inspired
Hear of someone’s life being saved
Change someone’s life or someone changes mine, I am grateful
Every day I love, live, and breathe, I am grateful.
Every day my heart pumps, I am grateful.
Every day I witness, hear about, receive, or engage in an act of kindness, I am grateful.
Ever day my heart is overwhelmed in anger, pain, frustration, negativity, bitterness, and grief, I am grateful 
Every moment that I act out in anger, I am grateful
Every moment that my heart is broken, I am grateful. 
Each challenge, painful situation, every loss, setback, and failure provides opportunity to learn, to evolve, to get stronger, to become more aware, more compassionate of myself and others, to develop deeper empathy and I am grateful.
Everyday that that I am
Humbled by a mistake, a thing learned, a person who teaches me…I am grateful.
Everyday I am faced with
Seemingly unbearable pain, and struggles
I am grateful
Every day for Lessons learned, I am grateful
Every day that 
I am Strengthened by pain, I am grateful
Every day for moments of 
Quiet and reflection, I am grateful
Every day for stillness and calm within, without, I am grateful.

Every single day, 
At every single moment
I am grateful.
Forever grateful.
Thank you

This is Angela Carole Brown’s page.

 http://www.angelacarolebrown.com/GLOBALYOGA.htm

Please check out her gratitude meditation youtube video. It’s so beautiful.
This is only seven minutes and forty-three seconds long. 
Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo

Non mobile:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R52DePavMo

It’s so inspirational and when practiced everyday can be life changing for the better!

She explains how gratitude even for unpleasant experiences is the way to go. A life with some pain and challenges is better than an “effortless ” life, as she says. Because we become stronger, wiser, more empathetic and compassionate, and learn many valuable lessons.

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

Much love & gratitude to you all!
And thank you for reading! 😀

Xoxo Kim

“We must live while we can and we’ll drink our cup of laughter
The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be

I’ve been sad and have walked bitter streets alone
Come morning, there’s a good wind to blow me home
So time is a river rolling into nowhere
I will live while I can, I will have my ever after

The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be” ~Steve Winwood