Guest Post: “The One Who Walks Beside.”

On December 11, 2015 my father lost his wife. Below are the words, images, lessons and teachings from his experience…..

There is an American Indian phrase that is used to designate the person who walks beside another, through out their life; it is, “the one who walks beside.”  This simple expression is clearly referring to a spouse, a best friend, a brother, a sister, etc., who, regardless of the kind of conditions or circumstances that surround the beloved person, will walk by his or her’s side.  This kind of relationship exudes characteristics of loyalty, love, support, protection, respect, selflessness: my wife would say, “they are attached at the hip.”

This phrase accurately describes the relationship my wife and I had.  She was the one who walked beside.  I say “was” because my wife passed away, unexpectedly Dec. 11, 2015.  My wife, Mary Lou, was  not feeling well after Thanksgiving.  She complained of stomach pains, thinking she had an urinary infection, which she had had several times previous.  We went to urgent care, and she was diagnosed with a severe urinary infection, and was given three antibiotic pills.  Mary Lou seemed satisfied that the pills would cure her infection, as they had on previous occasions, and she would be fully recovered in three days.  The next day, Mary Lou wasn’t feeling any better and complained of lower back pain and a severe headache.  We went to see an orthopedic doctor who took x-rays of her lower  back with the result that, other than some arthritis her lumbar area was fine.  The next day Mary Lou was getting weaker. and we decided to go to the hospital emergency facility.  She was so weak that she could not put on her socks and shoes, I had to put them on her feet. Continue reading…..

Have You Ever Wanted To Leave Your Family?

I left my family.

How many of us women, wives, mothers have left? How many want to? Need to?

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It was only for a couple of days. I went to my mother. The irony. Our past relationship is one of the reasons I have walked through the world protecting myself from the need to need anybody. But, I’m growing up. I went to my mom—anyway— and she was there.

She opened her door—could hardly believe her eyes I was standing in front of her. It felt good to be there. By day two, crawled up in a blanket she put on me, I began to feel a twinge of guilt. I was away from my own family and the guilt was probably a sign I was doing something I had not done in a while—take care of my self.

I don’t know all of the reasons I left, but my guess is any woman, mother, wife reading may know a reason or two. What I did discover: the pain that caused me to pack a bag and look into my husband’s eyes and say, “I’m leaving” was no longer seeing my reflection, the essence of who I am in my family—the one container I have put everything in to.

To put it another way— I lost myself in my family and not received a dividend for my investment except depletion and resentment. I desired them to fill me up as my cup ran dry, believing this reasonable, and I resented they couldn’t or wouldn’t. And when the water in our new home stopped working due to a frozen pipe, I had to leave.

For years I endured far worse than a frozen pipe. But, somehow this broke me.

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It was this pipe that brought me back home. I had to let the service technician in. The water is flowing again. As for me, I am restored enough to see with new eyes, remembering my gaze is needed here in this home because a mother and a wife is what I am. It’s what I have chosen to do. But—my gaze is also needed to stay within my very own soul, a place I must return again and again for restoration, peace, clarity and wisdom.

The Soul Reporter

Paint with Love.

Source: xxjenliu.tumblr.com via Casey on Pinterest

Love is the key- the simple solution but often so hard to achieve.

It has been a long while since I have written, at least anything of great length. I was in transition- I believed from bearing my entire soul on each blog entry, which I have done for many years, to something entirely new, although I didn’t know what. But, it turns out that wasn’t really the transition I was making.

You see, there was something going on within me, beneath the surface- a battle of sorts. On my spiritual path, I’ve faced many of these, and the ultimate one is between love and fear. This battle of love and fear is what was rumbling.

In this battle love does not fight. In fact, love gently and powerfully leads the way even, it seems, when it looks like fear is winning. We often talk about choice, especially in this New Age of The Course in Miracles and positive self-help: choose love over fear, these teachings tell us. But love has already chosen us. The work then becomes knowing this in a conscious and connected way. This is our evolutionary route—back to love and what we can choose is whether we want to be a conscious participant or not on this journey.

I have a personal example. Tonight, during a conversation with my significant other, I watched myself move from being led by fear to being led by love. It seemed to have happened instantaneously, but actually there have been signs this transition was on its way. And, finally tonight I was able to put it into practice. I guess I could say I chose this practice of leading with love, but mostly it just happened as a natural course of my evolution of consciously participating in my route back to love.

As it happened, this transition to love, I kept going with it because it felt so good. It was so liberating. Somehow I knew there was a solution here- an answer I had been looking for, a remedy to my present suffering. I thought: so damn simple, but God  how I have suffered. In this one moment, in this exchange with my husband, I kept throwing love whereas I would usually throw more fear. In my fear I don’t give him the benefit of the doubt. I am paranoyed, afraid he might leave me. I cling and control. Nothing gets resolved and only more pain and suffering ensues.

I always thought it was because I was co-dependent and crazy, which yes, there are many moments this appears true, but actually I love this man. I love him a lot. And I guess this love has frightened me, and instead of taking this love and painting beauty with it, I have taken it, hoarded it, been ignorant of it, and allowed it to almost turn preverse and paint ugly with it. (And of course, it hasn’t helped I have been hurt in this relationship as well).

As my fear told me he was purposely avoidng my calls and texts and I began to feel that familiar panic, love was there and allowed me to be honest. To say things about what was really going on inside me. I actually merged with the truth, instead of swimming around it where the fear lurks, and the truth of this moment was—I don’t want to hurt anymore. I will believe him. I will love in the face of adversity, stress and fear. I will love. Love is the safety net, the simple solution—nothing else.

But this simple solution is not always easy to come by, even though we talk about it like it is. The reason why it is difficult to go to this safety net is because it takes quite a bit for us to get really honest and really real with our selves, with what is really going on within us. We are afraid of the fear and afraid of the love and we move around in chaos and confusion until finally we don’t want to hurt anymore. Until finally we want and are ready for a solution to our suffering.

To love, I mean really love in the face of fear and adversity takes preparation—almost as though we must prepare to receive the love that is within us. We must be ready for it, therefore this process cannot be forced. It must unfold, naturally, and it will. It does. It is.

Love is the gentle force behind the fear. There will come a time in its unfolding when it breaks through and shows us its power and lets us feel its presence within us. That is the time of liberation and restoration. And then love can become our practice. Our way. Our truth.

The Soul Reporter

Are You Recreating Your Childhood With Your Partner?

Got a new column over at elephant journal, and I’m talking about marriage.

Here is the first post:

The Soul Reporter on Growing Up Your Love.

The other day, my husband informed me via text he was going to do something he knew I might not approve of. Him sharing this with me is a new behavior. In the past, I found out these things by accident or because I was snooping around.

I told him how I felt about what he was going to do. I threw in the kids: “Do you think it is a good choice considering we have children?”

Turns out, I had no influence. He was still going to do what he wants to do, and I fell into a funk and sent him this text:

To continue reading…