Fall is here. October is here. The tides of change are in the air. October has represented something different for me since my dad died 12 years ago. I've never been one for remembering the "death" dates; this has surfaced as preconditioning surrounding loss. Coming from a background of grief and loss, my typical response is to slip into escape mode using maybe not the healthiest coping mechanisms. Thankfully, since being on this new path, I am doing my best to observe my behaviors, trying to catch patterns to be able to choose my response to life experiences.
I had to dig really deep to even begin to think about doing this. Now that it's in my conscious reverie, I cannot escape myself. Thank you hypervigilance.
This year, journaling, writing, and drawing has helped me through my fears. About a month ago, I wrote down "When you realize everything you went through turned you into a pretty f*'ing amazing adult" — I was shocked that it came from me. Until now, my solace was found more in victim mode, rather than being brave or taking charge. This statement empowered me, giving me confidence that I only found from external validation. I am beginning to trust myself finally recognizing security within. To even be able to begin seeing the other side of things. I am strong because of what I've been through. I am who I am because of it. I am pretty happy with the person I turned out to be (most days). I am willing to keep healing and not give up on myself or those I love.
I've been mulling over the meaning of this for me, which seems to be popping up now that I'm anticipating pain and unpredictable behavior, in addition to probably doing too many hip openers for hanumanasana. Not only am I grieving my father, I am also grieving my mother. In her own grief and now dementia state, I've grieved her and for her my whole life.
Most days I can identify how I am feeling, most likely root cause, and how I wish to deal with it.
Through my self-study and yoga influences, I've discovered that self-compassion and loving-kindness has deepened my self-healing journey. "When I find myself in times of trouble..."
I place my hand over my heart
Take a breath
Speak out loud or
Try to consciously choose how I wish to respond
I use this to heal from songs, places, dates, people, photos, or memories that trigger pain and the potential for unhealthy patterns. Especially surrounding shame, guilt, fear.
For October reminding me of dad's death:
This event will always come up for you because of how deep your love is
This time of the year doesn't always have to be depressing or feel so heavy
I can make new memories in October
I can move past this and cherish who my father was and what he meant to me
I can keep his memory alive in ways that give me peace
Even though this pain will always be a part of me and I am forever changed, I am whole even with the broken pieces
I am always growing toward health and healing
The beauty of October brings new energy and shifts of change, many which I may not have been ready for until now
I am doing my best and I can ask for help
I have new tools and skills to healthily cope and hold space
I can sit with discomfort and survive
I am stronger than my pain
There is a lot of pain. There is a lot of love ♥️
Sometimes this may not always work the way I hope because the anger or sadness is more familiar. I want to be mad. That has to be honored too. Just don't stay or get stuck there. In my experience, resilience or bouncing back is important to come back to yourself and those around you. It can take as much time as needed, an ongoing work in progress. As long as you don't forever lose yourself. If you can find a way to feel like yourself even with the new painful pieces in place shaping who you are, that is what is needed to not only survive — to live.
Maybe the next time you feel distraught or anticipate a trigger, place your hand over your heart and say whatever you need to hear the most. Be sure to include how f*'ing amazing you are. *Profanity optional.