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Saturday, March 31, 2012

So it's your birthday...big deal

I found myself waking one morning to a frantic phone call from my sister. Her husband had stopped breathing during his sleep and she performed CPR and alerted 911. Her heroic efforts helped give him only 2 weeks to live as he was placed on life support and finally passed only 8 days ago.

I am blessed to have a very stable loving relationship and I was able to purchase a 1-way ticket to fly to be by her side. I watched the doctors grim faces as they updated her daily with reports of his decline until he passed. He crossed over at home with his family and loving dogs by his side.

My spouse has packed up our office and belongings and we have decided to stay with her for the time being. I do not know the length of this stay...I only know that I am needed. As children we dreamed of owning horses and I find myself on a 13 acre farm with horses that need feeding, brushing and stalls that need cleaning. Back home (in the Florida Keys) we travel often on business and I am unable to own a pet dog (I so desire)...and I now find myself surrounded by a mixed dachshund-terrier named Molly and a black lab named Ace that are hurting as their beloved master has passed. We now take long walks together and my steps keep time to their wagging tails.

So many lessons I am learning daily. To understand that I live surrounded by love with a mate who is confident and SOLID in himself allows me to just flow freely. How beautiful and how natural this all feels to me. To be able to cut through the pettiness of daily mundane BS putting aside unnecessary stress to be of use to a fellow it my sister or a neighbor is so rewarding.

There are many holidays, reunions, graduations, birthdays and celebrations - but there is only ONE that trumps them all...death. (And yes, I know his Spirit is all around and I feel his presence, but her pain is raw.) I am starting to see that people take these celebrations with so much focus that they feel hurt if we do not acknowledge or make a fuss... if we do not share in their delight. When you are surrounded by a grieving loved one you realize that celebrations come and go but that the physical existence of THIS day is precious. Yes, we can rejoice with others and send cards and smile, but when you know someone is grieving learn to not take it personal if they cannot raise a toast. We must take stock- give love, embrace love, BE love everyday. This is what I want to breathe in daily.

Meditation has given me this insight. To learn how you can meditate without any CD's or guides for FREE please read How to Begin

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Death and Dandelions

My sister's husband of 39 years is dying of a rare cancer of the blood. My profession as a designer allows me to work anywhere my mac is. And so I am by her side now for the duration. She owns 13 acres with a stable filled with horses. Her husband is 62 and he was once a man that was a chief of police commanding a team... now he no longer can lift his head and will pass very soon. He was diagnosed only 2 months ago. Sad? Yes, but not an uncommon story. Cancer does not care about age, career or goals.

I know I cannot heal him and my sister is numb. Sometimes when death approaches you do whatever you can do to lighten a load. And so I picked up a pitchfork and shoveled manure and when the horses were cleaned and fed I rested.

Anyone can help a family member or a friend... you just need to look around. The hospice team will care for him as he continues to grow weaker and I will remind my sister to eat and to breathe and to just take each day as it comes. And while I am here I will weed a garden. A garden that Lee loved to work in and I know this will bring a smile.

Lee is sedated but I know his spirit is very aware and so I will continue to send him love and surround him with care and compassion for his beloved pets and his best sister whom I will rock to sleep in my arms for now. Sometimes healing appears in the strangest ways. Look around at the people you know who are hurting and find your garden to weed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Smiling Through Broken Glass

I used to think that my life was nothing more than shattered dreams.  I was never able to quite win the approval of my parents. My teachers shook their heads disapprovingly as they marked my grades in red ink. And I always wished I was born into a family that was little less lean in the wallet. Being born into a pack of 8 kids you learned quickly to take whatever was offered and to be thankful. 

When I was very young I learned I had the unique talent to create art. I was fascinated to discover I could actually earn a living by doing something that came so natural. I had no formal training but it didn't stop me from trying. I even made it all the way to NY where a big company Newman Marcus wanted to purchase some of my art for their children's wear. Wow, and I was this nobody painting on children's clothing out of my garage. And then something happened that would change my life forever. My art representative stole my portfolio containing all of my original work and sold it, passing it off as her own!
It was like a meteor crashed into my world. I had been moving in a direction that seemed so perfect and BAM I was knocked flat on my back. I had a few options available to me. Take her to court and submerge myself in legal bills and a swamp of negativity, wallow in self pity and numb myself with drugs and alcohol sinking deeper into depression... or go to art school and learn how to develop the natural talent I had arrived on the planet with.
But first I would have to get my hands dirty and put in the work. Did I mention I was a single mom during this time raising an 8 and 13 year old? yeah. I drove 180 miles daily five days a week for two years just to earn a degree so I could say I was an "official" artist. I finished at the top of my class, too. Geez, I can still hear myself telling my classmates who thought I was an over study-er. "I didn't drive all this way to get a C!" You'd think for all of my effort someone would at least ask to see my certificate, but no, not really. All I was ever asked was show me what you can DO Lorraine.
The theft of my portfolio helped move me toward being the artist I am today... do I want to thank this no, I wouldn't exactly say that. But, I am thankful I was able to rise above the negativity and move THOUGHT into ACTION. 
We must all understand that life holds a lot of broken bits and pieces. We have storms and trials and we sometimes fall flat on our face. It is how we are able to create something from this that will enable us to love ourselves more. It will help us to feel complete, whole and beautiful.

I continue to use meditation to help me learn more about how I can move THOUGHT into ACTION and you can too. To learn how you can begin to meditate please read my book Sæ-sii Meditation: How to Find Your Bliss in 15 Minutes a Day