Within the echoed halls of grief
looking for missing pieces
the clawing scrape
leaving traces of the beggar
cut open and searching
for something that will never
Within the echoed halls of grief
looking for missing pieces
the clawing scrape
leaving traces of the beggar
cut open and searching
for something that will never
Does one have to be a Einstein or Picasso or some other famous artist/inventor to have a great passion in life? Or is a great love that drives ones passion in life? What makes a person get up every day with fire in their belly and music in their soul? And why do some of us seem to lack this magical feeling?
I can look back in my life and know there have certainly been times and people that lit this passion in me. Moments of great beauty and things that I did where I knew I was following my bliss. These flashes of ‘rightness’ were so calming and soothing and made my world worth living. It’s when we know the path is chosen and wherever it takes us, we will learn and grow along the way. We will become bigger, learn and hopefully give back to the Universe too. All the cogs mesh together…and things run smoothly.
But it seems more often than not, for me, much of my life has been devoid of these feelings. There has been more a sense of being lost and off the path. That finding meaning to it all is difficult and that passion is almost not possible. The older I become, the more excuses I find to feel the numbness that surrounds the world around me. There is a fuzziness that surrounds the picture of what I feel should fill that hole.
The day to day treadmill of sunrise and sunset becomes an anxiety of loss. I will never get those days back–days lacking in color, in meaning, in passion.
So what does one do? If I’m not artistic I can’t suddenly become a musician or painter. And if I’m not brilliant, I can’t find the code to unlock the cure to cancer. How then do I awaken myself?
Life is a beautiful gift, this I do know and I don’t want it wasted (although so much of mine already has been) on much more mundane things day in and day out. While others ask for material gifts, I only want to feel more alive and have a deeper sense of purpose.
Yesterday you were something
Strong and juicy
Walking tall with strutting shoes
And clicking mind
Then life is sliced
The switch is flipped
And it’s not the same
You are gone
Somebody new has come
Are they visiting
Or come for good ?
Looking at them
It seems like you
And only time
Will intertwine the two
The wounds we suffer from an unexpected illness or traumatic accident or incident can go layers deeper beyond our physical being. The bruises, broken bones, scars, lumps or changes going on under our skin may be seen under a microscope or with an X-ray, but no one has a clue what is churning within our psyche—sometimes not even us.
Certainly if an injury involves the brain at all, then it’s impossible to understand how we feel. Even a concussion can cause memory loss, depression and a host of other feelings the individual may not be aware are related to the injury.
We are such complex machines. We include part computer, pipes, motor, lenses and this crazy soul. If any one of these parts isn’t functioning, the rest limps along poorly.
The odd part is that we may not even be aware something is wrong or unable to articulate what it is….
So in a system of health care providers that don’t care or are too busy to really pay attention, we are left with lots of people who aren’t being treated properly. If a patient is elderly or simply just too hurt or ill to understand what is going on, they will slip through the cracks and get poor care .
So what do we do?
I was one of these people a number of years ago after a horrific car accident. I had no clue just how brain injured I truly was at the time. I was a mess. Yes my physical injuries were bad, but the hidden mental, spiritual and emotional injuries lasted much longer.
Luckily I had friends nearby to help talk me off the ledge. My depression became cavernous. It snuck up on me. My memory was shattered for a while too. And the pain was like a lover that wouldn’t leave my side. It was dark times.
If we are lucky we will have an advocate or at least someone who cares a lot and who still is in touch with reality when we are not. It’s hard to listen when our lives have been shaken and our bodies rattled. A part of us believes nothing will be right again.
But actually I believe these things actually do change us for the better. It’s like nature’s way of doing a rapid mutation, sometimes only lasting seconds, as in the case of my accident, but with everlasting positive effects.
There are certain moments in life where we are given a gift that sets us free. News that lifts us high and helps us to remember life is good and beautiful. Lately I have been given many of these moments and for them I am truly grateful.
It is so easy, with our fast paced, whirlwind lives, to take life for granted. To forget our connection to family and friends. We press on so hard into our daily tasks that we may not stop to look around us to see the wonders that abound. They are all around if we just take a second to see them.
Feeling compelled by life to have material wealth, we sometimes lose spiritual well-being. We take jobs that make us unhappy or keep people near us that really prove to have negative energy.
Because I am getting older and finally see the wisdom in serenity rather than money, my choices from now on will be very different.
This is my promise to myself.
As my Mother heals, I reflect on my good fortune to be able to be near her and help get her stronger. It is a blessing that such an awful thing can actually turn out to be something wonderful because it has bonded us so closely together. She is an amazing woman and together we are invincible.
And I also got a new lease on life today, which I will not take for granted. I’m grateful because I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I wish it could be so for all whom I love. But together we fight the good battle, and we’ll win anyway.
My father has been visiting me quite often lately. This is quite an interesting phenomenon given he has been dead a very long time. In dreams he has come visiting, though foggy memories as I awake, it’s clearly him–warm and wise. This is unusual as I rarely had dreamed of him before my move.
A door seemed to have been opened, a gate to my subconscious thus allowing an ancestor to cross over into my realm. What smoothed the way for this meeting and caused the crack that let slip the apparition to appear?
When an aperture is created, whether actual or unintentional, it gives the opportunity for its opening to allow entrance. If the gate is purposely opened and we welcome whatever is on the other side, then we are prepared for our guests.
But often this may not be the case. A hole can happen suddenly in our lives, unexpectedly due to an unforseen accident or illness. This creates a gap that opens the floodgates of fear, anxiety and depression. Then the uninvited visitors may march into our deepest self and take residence without our permission.
Sometimes a planned change in our lives, like my own move or a divorce, can surprisingly pry open parts you might not think. My sweet, new relationship with my Mother is now tender and loving. It catches me at moments where I find myself overwhelmed by it. This passing through has put me on the other side where I have always longed to be.
These wells, doorways, keyholes can be tangible or deep within our souls. Maybe we dig them with shovels and spades or instead they can be created by a diagnosis or footsteps walking away from us. Either way, we can ultimately decide to walk through–welcome the ancestors, walk over the threshold and see the gate as something to open, not slam shut.
So look for your openings, guarded gates, daring doorways and hold in wonder what may be on the other side. For maybe they were flung wide beckoning you to enter the life you have yet to discover!
This week is National EMS Week (Emergency Medical Services). I’ve been an EMT/Paramedic for close to 20 years now. It’s been quite a ride, one where I may soon be stepping off of the proverbial bus as we like to call the ambulance.
We are called ‘ambulance drivers’, much to our displeasure–after all, we are much more than that really. Taking countless hours of classes to hopefully be able to perform some life saving procedure on anyone from a neonate to the elderly; waking up in the middle of the night during any kind of weather, even it’s just to comfort someone who is scared; dealing with every bodily fluid known to humankind; getting yelled at by your patient even when they were the one calling 911; and getting up again right after that tragic call you just went on and barely tucked away in the crevices of your bleeding heart.
Yes, we are ambulance drivers, but we are sometimes merely taxi drivers. We have been called heroes, we are furniture movers, we are psychologists, comedians, the grim reaper, teachers, advisors, friends, healers, weight lifters, engineers, actors, drug counselors and more. But what we are not is God.
We do what we can and it’s our job to help, but often people wait too long to call and expect miracles. These we can’t provide. And then we are only human, there to hold a hand, listen or cry right along.
For in the end, your emergency becomes our emergency, but we must remain calm. You must never know if we feel fear for you would lose hope. So we tuck our fear, our sadness and our insecurities away for another day, so when the call comes, we answer and give it all we’ve got.
So here’s to all the EMT’s out there! Thanks for all you do, your courage, devotion and hard work. It can be a thankless job, but we love it none-the-less. We love it for those tiny moments where someone looks you in the eye and says: thanks for helping me, or where you know you really made a difference in someone’s life. That’s the true payback.
Here is a poem I wrote today for my colleagues:
We may not all always get along
And we may not always see eye to eye
But when the tires hit the road
And our patients are in need
We put it all aside
Pool our knowledge
Use our skills
And do our best to heal
It can be a thankless job
Or it can be the greatest gift
We are never alone
Our partners have our backs
When we need it most
So when you’re tired and beat
Discouraged and sad
Tomorrow is another day
The day when you will help a crying baby
Sooth a son after the death of his Mom
Help someone breathe a little easier
Actually save a life
Because that’s what we do
Day and night
Sister and brothers
In the back of our special bus
As I was done with my morning routine today and was leaving my sacred space, I spotted of photo a friend had given me. It was of the two of us someone had taken on a past holiday. The photo made me sad because we don’t talk much any longer as the way of friends–sometimes good friends.
But it gave me pause and made me think about the nature of relationships. How we pick our friends, who or why do we tend to attach to or look up to in a person? Is part of it that they become someone we admire? And do they, in some way, become our heroes?
For me, this is most certainly true, not just with friends, but with people in general I may admire. In my lifetime though, there are some special people who I can think of that are truly heroes in my eyes. And not for the reasons one might think…
While it’s true that I am in the emergency service business, one would most likely think I come across these people every day. But these aren’t really the people I am talking about. Honestly, we are trained to do a job and I personally cannot stand when someone calls me a hero. I am not in that sense of the word to which I am referring.
It’s the everyday person, that has no intention of doing something amazing, good, kind, brave or honest that raises them in my eyes to this special status. The folks that go beyond their limits, or the average person’s limits for someone else or even what they thought they could do. And it’s not their ‘job’ to be a hero. These are truly the stand-outs.
To name a few:
The friend who extricated herself and her child from an abusive marriage after 10 years of isolation and fear. She did it alone with guts and with no knowledge of what would happen to her and her child, no money–barely any hope. Just a leap of faith and a knowing it was what she needed to do.
A friend who was fired after many years of being the Chief of an ambulance service. A woman who gave her heart and soul to the place, but was turned on by petty politics of small town. She only took one day to cry, then pulled herself together and found another job: as a grunt paramedic–and loved it; continued to serve the public she always had with dignity and professionalism.
My Mom, who after years and years, could finally admit that our relationship was less than it could be and agreed to make it right with me. This is not easy for someone her age and generation.
And my oldest daughter, who had struggled with drug addiction, but has been clean for years. She kicked it on her own and now has graduated with honors from college, has a wonderful job and is doing beautifully. She fought demons and won.
One who had turned her young life of living with alcohol into a healthy life of gardens and good food, and then found herself facing cancer. But she has battled it bravely and honestly, doing it her way despite the paths of others. She now has a new body and continues to come up against new struggles at each corner, but she is undaunted and doesn’t complain, continuing to honor and love life.
Another dear friend who grew up amidst sexual abuse but never gave up her struggle to be whole and free. Always kind and loving, never letting her inner suffering turn outward onto others; instead her love is always felt by those around her and we are always grateful.
Of course, the countless reporters that put themselves at risk doing stories in violent places when they could just as easily could be here at home; or the medical people who go to help in countries where people have diseases like Ebola; or teachers or workers that go to places to help at their own discomfort; or the dreamers, scientists, philosophers, musicians, artists or anyone that steps outside themselves or comfort level for someone else’s benefit. It’s hard to pick them out with the news filled with pain and suffering, but these heroes exist among us!
And finally, this may sound selfish or lame, but slowly I am unearthing the hero buried deep within myself. She has laid dormant but is starting to awaken. She is the person that wants to be on the edge of human need, face her dragons head on banish them, face every day with joy and courage and try to love a part of each human she meets. This may be the true test of a real hero!
Not too many of us get to travel back in time. All the quotes say: live for today, forget about the past, don’t think about the future. Blah blah. But there can be something said about revisiting the past. About taking a peek down memory lane or even a good long walk, or better yet staring it right in the face.
This is exactly what I did the other night when I met with my ex-husband (well one of them) at a local restaurant. He was in town (living in a different state) visiting a son in college. Now, I have to add, this isn’t so odd because his sister and I are still very close after 30 years or so. She came to live with us as a child, along with her brother. So there is still this partial connection to him, and we do occasionally communicate. But I have not seen him in many, many years.
We both had remarried. I have been divorced again, and his wife sadly died of cancer. There were many years of no communication between us while we were both otherwise engaged in our other lives. But for me, at least, he remained somewhere on my radar screen I suppose.
One day a few years ago, as I was putting away Christmas decorations, I found a letter he wrote as we were in the process of divorcing. It was very old–probably close to 25 years. It was on New Year’s Day that I found it. His number was easy to google, so I called it and left a message. I didn’t hear back…right away. But eventually did, and this was what officially started our conversations.
They have been sporadic over the years, but his sister is our bridge, so I keep informed.
So recently, when he suggested meeting, I was fairly stunned. I never expected it, but welcomed it. As part of my whole self exploration/healing path, it seemed like another piece in the puzzle.
Of course it was fairly awkward for us both, and we looked A LOT older! But as the course of the evening wore on, it felt pretty comfortable. Funny how easy it is to lapse back into patterns, or at least notice them. The discussions we had were interesting, cleansing, weird and normal all at the same time. It was an odd little dance.
It’s like a mirror to see how much I’ve changed, who I am now, who I was then and to say I’m sorry for the dumb things I did (there were plenty of those). It was also good to hear him articulate his mistakes (whoa!). How often are we blessed with that gift? Yes, it truly was a very empowering evening.
I’m not sure where it takes us from here. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are all slated to be together again. It seems it’ll all be fine. That feels pretty good to me. It’s another rung on that ladder of life where you know you are taking the right step. That blast from the past sets me clearly in today and helps me to feel that while I am surely much older, I’ve gained some wisdom along the way.