Tag Archives: Halloween

Battle Scars

3 Nov

I  had surgery on Halloween. Nothing like being told that the risks of surgery include that 1) you could never wake up and 2) you could sustain nerve damage. Talk about fright.

My surgery was preventative and minor. Thankfully, I am extremely healthy and well and for that I am most grateful. But to put your hands in the hands of another human being is probably one of the most terrifying things you can do. You have to give up control and you have to TRUST. The surgeon said to me, “I get it. I don’t ever want to lie on that table.” But they wheeled me in anyway.

A friend asked if I got to take home the golf-ball-sized clump of cells they removed. “Put it in a jar as a souvenir,”he suggested.

No, thank you, although they did put it on ice.

They called me yesterday and it’s benign.

I got what a wanted.

But I also got more than good news. I was reminded of people’s kindness and the preciousness of life. Nothing should ever be taken for granted for we simply don’t know how long we have on this planet. We struggle and have our issues and conflicts but at the end of the day, love and joy are all that really matter.

I was also reminded that when we go through experiences we incur battle scars. Thankfully, this one is going to heal very nicely.

Every thought and event of our lives becomes held in the body – for good and for bad – so removing actual tissue triggers contemplation.

“What’s being removed? What is healthy and what is pathological? Were there little pockets of negativity lodged in that lump that needed excision? What do our bodies carry in their consciousness? What do our bodies and souls actually need to thrive and transform?”

I recall a woman I once worked with who had had a mastectomy. She was experiencing phantom limb, plus an enormous amount of grief. To help express and understand her feelings of loss, I had her dialogue with her missing breast and actually give the breast a voice. I wanted to hear what it was thinking and feeling.

That breast held a lifetime of memories for her – sexual pleasure, breast feeding, and her beauty and identity as a woman. She felt lost without it but once the breast’s consciousness was respected and acknowledged, her symptoms abated.

Perhaps, at Halloween, we dress up in scary costumes to remember the mess that comes with being in a human body and living out the human experience. Yet El Dia de los Muertos is also a day to remember and honor the spiritual journey of souls.

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Day of the Dead

1 Nov

I always feel a certain sadness at Halloween for the 31st of October turns into the 1st of November and then we have All Saints Day, All Souls Day and the Day of the Dead.

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I remember the first Halloween after my mother took her life. The holiday came a few months later and I was definitely stirred by the recent loss. And now, not long since the deaths of my two cats I feel haunted again. Whether at home or in a hotel room never graced by their presence, I have been feeling their spirits as I lay my head upon the pillow each night. How fitting for this time of year…

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I didn’t realize that the death of one’s animals could linger so. Having mourned two parents, I thought the passing of one’s animals might be easier. And indeed in many ways it is. But grieving follows the same cycles that always seem to take us by surprise no matter what type of loss.

The last month of their lives was hellish for everyone. We somehow all knew death was knocking at the door. Even days before I made the decision to put Hafiz down, he clung to me, getting as close as possible when he no longer felt comfortable on my lap.

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And then Rumi too began to decline and before my eyes I watched in disbelief as they went home together.

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When our loved ones die there seems to be this bizarre transition where I’m not convinced they have 100% left the planet. It’s like the paper work hasn’t been fully processed in heaven. And in this phase, it’s really hard to let go.

I thought I had but I was only denying how much they meant to me and how empty it feels without them.

We remain haunted until we fully grieve. Only then can the ghosts of our loved ones finally depart. As we sit with these lingering spirits we wonder what we should make room for in our lives. How do we invite life in to the here and now, fully embodied? For if Rumi and Hafiz taught me anything, it’s that we’re not meant to be alone. We might be loners by nature and there is great joy in solitude, but our love is meant to be incarnate. It is meant to be shared with others. We were made for union.

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