Yellow Roses

For Christmas, I got her roses. They sit on the dining table, in their blue vase, lighting up the room. Yellow, her favourite. A few days earlier, we fought. As usual, I was mean, unkind; she was resolute but not unkind, never unkind. She spoke first, afterwards, asking me what I would like for lunch, and then cooking it. Sadness made her slow, all day, courteous and gentle but gone to that deep country of the drawn-in self. I could not follow.

Grief and Aging by Yvonne Racine

I have often said getting old isn’t for the faint of heart and the older I get the more I own the truth of that statement. I am only 63 as I write this. I am healthy, not on prescription drugs, and no major chronic pain, although all kinds of mysterious pains tend to show up along the way. Yet I know I am in the challenging phase of letting go in life. This letting go isn’t so much about things as about dreams and expectations I either consciously or unconsciously held for my life, that I know will never come to pass now. It’s about the youthful looking person that no longer looks back at me in the mirror. It’s also about some of the activities I used to enjoy (or indulge in) that I no longer feel like doing, such as partying or staying out late, etc. I would rather stay home now and relax and read or watch TV, than frantically go about looking for ways to fill my time. I’m happy about that and I’m also kind of sad that I don’t want to be more social. I’m not really in the building stage in business anymore either, though there are still things I can and want to do. I’m not retiring any time soon but I’m sure that too will bring on some grief as I once again face the loss of yet another identity. The bottom line is that there’s a lot more life behind me than in front of me which means I have to enjoy every day as best I can, even while I am letting go of some of the fantasies and possibilities to which I’ve been clinging.  There’s still a lot of living to do, places to go and people to meet but it’s different now somehow and I guess it’s the ‘different’ that brings up the grief. With all the losses I’ve experienced in my life I know there are only going to be more of them going forward, so I think it’s important for me to face that realistically and with compassion. I have no desire to fight it, I’ve done plenty of that in my life, and now it’s time for acceptance and gentleness, and allowing the little things in life to bring me joy. Even just thinking about all this as I write I can feel my heart opening and the life energy moving through me. Such is the gift of being present, of letting go and allowing myself to grieve. Namaste, Yvonne Yvonne Racine is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Life Celebrant

The Living Inquiry by Paul Galewitz

It wouldn’t be much of a reach to suggest that we are living through some very turbulent times at the moment. Many of us have seen some of our most treasured ideals, hopes for a better future, and dependable institutions trashed over the last several months. This has undoubtedly engendered an entire spectrum of difficult feelings, ranging from fear and anxiety to the bleakest despair. I have experienced this range of feelings, including boiling rage, bitter disappointment, and extreme sadness. These feelings are ongoing, and I can only wonder how much of this a body can endure. But you know what? None of these feelings last forever. It is the nature of feelings that they are transient. You might be hard pressed to remember what you were feeling before you began reading this blog. As wave forms, feelings are not designed to get stuck in our systems. They are designed to pass through. It is only our resistance to feeling these so-called “negative” feelings that keep them sticking around. If we resist them long enough, this resistance can lead to emotional outbursts, depression, and perhaps physical and/or emotional breakdowns and health issues. The prevalent programming on this planet is to encourage our avoidance of any feelings that might be labeled “negative.” The number of forms this avoidance takes are apparently infinite, and can often involve the use of addictive substances and/or addictive behaviors. If you examine your life right now, my guess would be that you wouldn’t have too much trouble noticing the substances or behaviors you use in order to avoid difficult feelings. Many of these substances and activities can be enjoyable and even beneficial in some cases. But the next time you sense a difficult feeling looming in your awareness, also notice your next move. Is it to allow the feeling, or do you want to avoid it by taking something, eating, going for a run, turning on the TV, or doing anything at all in order to avoid feeling that feeling? Once you notice your “go-to” move, your life  may begin to change in expected and unexpected ways. Allowing difficult emotions and feelings may not be as easy as simply intending to do that. As stated before, the prevalent programming on this planet has been to avoid, rather than to allow, being with difficult sensations. We shouldn’t underestimate the strength of this programming, as it has created some pretty sticky patterns for us to unwind. However, we also shouldn’t underestimate the power of our focus and intent, so when you are ready to go down this road, and reverse the programming we have been subject to, there is no doubt that you can succeed. One of the tools available to us that is of extraordinary help in this regard are The Living Inquiries, as originated by Scott Kiloby and a few other collaborators. The basis for the inquiries is that suffering is caused by the fact that thoughts, in the form of words and pictures, are attached, or velcroed, to bodily sensations, feelings, and emotions. Once we are able to examine the words and images as simply that, words and images, we are free to allow the sensations to be felt. This allows the feelings to be free to pass through, as they are actually wave forms, and are designed to move. Because there have been so many shocks and traumas in our lives, some pretty sticky patterns of avoidance have been established. This is entirely understandable, as we were struggling to survive in our families of origin, especially in our very early years, or even in utero. During a Living Inquiries session, many of the thoughts associated with these events can actually reveal themselves, accompanied by the sensations associated with them. The good news is that there are tools that will allow you to “unvelcro” the memories (words and images) from the sensations, allowing you to simply sit and be with the sensations by themselves; in other words, without the story they have been associated with. A huge component of The Living Inquiries is coming to a place of profound rest before a session. Many of us have experienced this place of peace and relaxation in meditation or at other quiet times. You will be guided to revisit that peaceful, quiet place inside before the actual inquiry begins. Revealing these memories is not the goal of a Living Inquiry session. The goal would simply to examine whatever you are experiencing in any given moment. Any issue you are experiencing in that moment is the jumping-off point for beginning an inquiry. One never knows where an inquiry will wind up, and what surprises may await you. It’s not as if doing an inquiry will actually change whatever situation you are experiencing, although it could. Rather, something about you will change. You may notice that you are perceiving the same situation differently than you were previously. I like to say that the solid ground you thought you were standing on begins to shift, and that change becomes the only certainty. Which brings us back to the beginning of this blog, the turbulent times we are facing. So many people in my experience are being triggered by what is happening on our planet. If you are one of those people, and are ready to inquire into what might actually be triggering you (it’s almost never what you think it is!), I invite you to explore the websites below. Whatever you decide to do or not do, know that we are all together in this, and that this is the time to use all the tools you have at hand. We will be reaching out to each other now more than ever, and my appreciation for what I have learned and the people whom I reach out to has never been more profound.

An Experience of Deep Release by Paul Galewitz

Every time I have come to the Hawaiian Islands, and Kauai in particular, I have always felt that I was coming home. Not necessarily an earthly home, although I have lived on Kauai for ten years, off and on. But along with that, it is more the feeling that being here engenders, the feeling of home that many of us have probably felt at one time or another. Kauai has also been a place of refuge, deep rest, and great healing, no more so than this particular trip. My connection to the land and ocean here has never been more pronounced, and it was that deep connection that brought about this latest healing. A group of us were taking a hike to a spectacular lookout on the North Shore in an appropriately named community called Sea Cliffs. The views all the way up to the lookout are spectacular enough. But upon reaching the lookout area itself, as I was overlooking the ocean expanse, a searing pain went through my being, and I was brought to tears. I attributed this to not only how much I love it here, but also my reluctance to leave the island, as we were scheduled to leave in less than a week. I allowed this pain to be there, but as we were in a social situation, I didn’t give it its complete due. As we walked down the trail and back to a friend’s house for lunch, I noticed that I was becoming more contracted, angry and just plain off, which was a puzzlement to me at the time. Over the lunch period and the entire next day, I remained contracted and very guarded, which was a very real trial for my wife Juliette, who bore with me as best she could. The next morning, we were scheduled for massages with Ocean, a friend who is a very gifted massage therapist. Little did I know what was in store. Immediately upon lying down on the massage table, I started sobbing. I have never before experienced this kind of sobbing, my entire body was trembling and shaking as the tears flowed. It would come in waves, as a certain thought or a word spoken by Ocean or by me would trigger the crying again. During an early wave of this releasing, I could sense that a window was opening into the unconscious (thank you Christopher Moon), that deeply buried memories and information was now available. So as my body went through its process of releasing and spasming, many realizations came to me. I will recount them as best I can. I could see that the sadness I had been feeling about leaving the island was more about another life I had lived on the island, and that the details of that life were not going to be shown to me at this point in time. It didn’t matter, as I well knew what had happened to the native Hawaiians in the past, both near and distant; the only detail that was important here was that my heart was broken. I could feel many, many hearts being broken along with mine, and I could also feel so many broken hearts in present time. I have been carrying so much heartbreak into this life, without being consciously aware of it. In fact, I was shown that my personality had been formed in large part to protect me from feeling this heartbreak. So many personality quirks, mannerisms, qualities that I thought were just how I was in the world, were shown to me to be compensations for deflecting my awareness from this deep sadness and heartbreak I was now feeling acutely. The key here is that until this window opened, I was quite unaware of any of this. My body was still sobbing, shaking, releasing, and I could no more control that than I could physically move a mountain. A timing mechanism had gone off. This was my time to release the armor I had been carrying around for this entire life, and other lifetimes as well. I could sense my connection to Juliette during that past Hawaiian life, and I saw the face of another good friend as well, revealing the depths of our connection. I also was seeing the wisdom of what Scott Kiloby had said so many times – that our bodies carry around a lot of unfelt pain, and until that is addressed, all the mental understanding of spiritual principles, non-dual concepts, deep realizations and years of meditation will not bring a person the freedom from our patterns that will come when we can release this pain from our bodies. Well, through whatever miracle of timing was occurring for me in that massage, I knew that this was my body, in its own wisdom, dropping its load, its armor, its shielding. During the rest of the massage, Ocean was the perfect guide, using her intuition to give me some of her feelings on my process, using various essential oils, and basically being the perfect companion for this journey. I stopped sobbing when my body was finished with its releasing. Again, it was not up to me – a greater wisdom was at work here. Afterwards, I slept for a bit, awakening when Juliette was finished with her massage. I was aware that I felt different, although the words to describe what I was experiencing were still unclear. That I had dropped a load was certain, but what this would mean for me was still integrating. It has been three days since that massage now, and many realizations have settled in. I knew during the massage that in some mysterious way, what I was going through was for many of us, not just me. My gratitude to my body for its innate wisdom, its courage and its strength is profound. I have noted the absence of my defense system, and now when someone says something or does something that I would previously have defended myself