Category Archives: Grief

Where is the Joy?

IMG_0985When was the last time you felt happy? How long did it last? Five minutes? Five hours? Five days?

I started a 10 month leadership program in San Francisco in September. The first weekend I was so filled with joy and playfulness that I questioned what was wrong with me. My internal voices: ” I am a Spiritual Warrior. I have been actively growing and seeking my Truth since the late 80’s. I know how to dive into personal growth. Am I resisting? In denial? Am I sad? Am I angry? Why am I so Happy?!?!?”

I have had a lot to excavate throughout my life. Deaths of a brother, son, husband. A life threatening illness. Lots of real life to process. On that first Immersion Leadership weekend, I told myself, “This is serious work. People are crying. This is a personal growth program. Get to it”

Still I felt so HAPPY. By Sunday, I saw that my growth that weekend was to expand my JOY. How many days in a row could I be in a happy, JOY-filled state! (I even found a man in the program who agreed to be my Intimacy Research Partner for 10 months. What could be better than that!)

For all of the other Immersion weekends and in between, I have had my highs and lows just like everyone else in the program. I didn’t have to MAKE myself go down. It happened naturally as part of the process and I have learned and discovered and remembered so many things about myself this year. I am so grateful and honored to have learned so much from everyone. Vulnerability is a rich playground.

Now as I approach the 9th Immersion weekend, JOY has returned to me in full force again. On Monday, I had a healing and sensual massage session from a friend. He used a technique called Faster EFT and then a Sensual Massage. In the process of talking, the story about my brother, Kenneth emerged. I was 4 years old when he died of SIDS at the age of two months. In the Faster EFT, memories were accessed that I had never seen. We found the spot where my 4 year turned down her joy and pleasure button. I could feel the grief in my house and I felt the internal message that I could only be happy for so long and my joy and excitement could only be expressed when other people were happy, too.

I am the Excitement Channel as my natural state of being. In order to keep my joy alive, I learned to be really excited when I am alone or with children. Dance parties in my garage apt by myself. Cracking myself up with jokes and things I see in the world. Homeschooling my kids and being a Girl Scout leader. Driving a Suburban all over the United States. Going to Jonas Brothers concerts. And finding “acceptable” times when everyone else is happy.

On Tuesday, the day after my session, I was in the kitchen with some of my housemates. Out of my mouth came the word, ” Shenanigans.” Then the word, “Alas” and a few minutes later, someone asked me when I was going to the Dry Cleaners and I said, “What’s a dry cleaner?” with curiosity and innocence. We were all laughing so hard and I had an AHA! My 4 year old was coming out to play. This part of me is being unleashed to play and find joy in everything. Yesterday “she” got excited when she saw a light switch turned on and read the word ON and when “she” saw the word PENGUIN.

I like playing with her and seeing how all of these parts of me can bring more PLAY and EXCITEMENT and LIGHTNESS into my life.

I am the smiling child on the left.

Where do you feel the joy in your life?

Post in the comments and tell me about your journey with PLAY!scan0006

Love and love and love and…

Yesterday was the anniversary of my son’s birthday. If he were still alive, he would have been 22 years old. Hard to imagine that sometimes. He died when he was 19 months old and to think about who he would have become as an adult is so strange when my photos and memories are of an infant~toddler.

Cooper died on January 15, 1993
Cooper’s Memorial Service was January 23, 1993
Hannah (my 4th child) was born on January 30, 1993

Intense time of emotion. The death of a child and the birth of a child. All within a span of two weeks. Years later, it is still one of the most profound moments of my life. It taught me to feel everything. To feel the pain, to find joy in every moment and to open my heart to love and love and love and…

Kenneth “Cooper” Cox: June 12, 1991-January 15, 1993

Grief Transformation With Music

Grief Transformation With Music:
The Gift of a Tape Player That Led to a Health Recovery
Music has always been a powerful healer for me. Songs are linked and woven into the memories of joy, sadness, and change woven into the memories. Music and sound opens my heart to bring forth the tears or anger or other emotions of loss.
Many years ago, I was diagnosed with an automimmune condition called polymiositis. My immune system began to attack my muscles. I became weaker and weaker. I was so physically weak that walking down the street and tripping on a crack in the sidewalk would send me hurtling forward. Several times my face landed with a  smack onto the pavement. I am amazed I didn’t shatter the facial bones. I also took 3 hour naps every day just to function. My daily goal was to keep my one year old daughter safe during my nap and to cook dinner.
After two years of holistic and traditional medicine, I was lying in a hospital bed suddenly unable to walk at all. I was in an isolation room because the doctors thought I had a bacterial infection and if they didn’t find the source I might die. I knew in my heart and soul that I was having a reaction to a new medication that I had started taking three weeks earlier. I just had to wait for them to figure that out and for the drug to leave my body. For a week, I was allowed to have visitors but was isolated from the other patients.
One day, a friend of mine named Lucky Sweeny brought a portable tape player, headphones and a tape of Kenny Loggins singing songs from “Return to Pooh Corner” to the hospital. If you have never heard of the CD it is listed under CDs for children and adult contemporary. Some of the song titles are Rainbow Connection, Return to Pooh Corner, and a Neverland Medley.
I had never heard the music before, but as I played the tape I began to sob. Huge tears fell from my eyes and I sobbed on and off for two days. All of the layers of pain and frustration broke open in my heart. I grieved the loss of my health, the 60 lbs I had gained on prednisone, the loss of control of my life, the quality of time with my children, and the failure to heal. Through the tears, I released the gunk that was surrounding my heart I was so frustrated and discouraged. In the sobbing, I wondered what was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I heal? No matter what I did, it seemed like I was getting sicker. I had fallen to my knees over and over again for two years. I thought I had surrendered and released. In my gut wrenching sobbing, I asked, “God, what else do you want me to do? What do I need to learn from this?”
I took the prescription medication and listened to the advice from the doctors. I tried a wide variety of vitamins. I had weekly acupuncture that included therapy focusing on the emotions and clues from my body. I prayed, and ate healthy food. I wrote about my emotions in a journal. I had daily rituals of affirmations and a positive focus.

People were praying for me.
It seemed like nothing was working. As I look back now, this is what I believe happened. I had been actively doing and being the inner work. I was doing exactly what I needed to do to fully experience a health crisis. And the last huge piece was to end up in the hospital and grieve. I had to let go of a picture of my life and release the vision I was trying to control. It took time to do that. It took time… The wounds were deeper and required a journey deep into my core center.
In the hospital, the music and the words of the songs on the tape pierced my heart. I opened to more love. I connected with my heart and completely surrendered. I released through tears. There were elements of forgiveness, gratitude, self-love and letting go and the willingness to let go completely.
At the end of two days, I experienced a light bulb flashing moment. I knew that I was going to get well and I was going to start home schooling my kids. I stopped feeling like a victim and I woke up to the power that is within me. I had taken a deep dive into the pain and had emerged with a new vision for my life.
It was one of the most powerful moments of my life. With the help of the music, I had shined a light into the core of my being. I discovered something new and I emerged to heal and live a fuller, richer, deeper life.