Tomorrow is August.
For those of you who've been here for a while, you know August sucks rocks for me. No, not all of August, but the light, the sound of the birds, the crickets, the kadydids, all elicit instantaneous gut memories of some very difficult times. August is beautiful and treacherous for me.
My beloved Della's sudden infatuation with all things tractory is bringing up that odd and intense connection to my past in a far-from-timely fashion (although, maybe in the bigger healing story, it is right on time. Oy. and WTF.)
My reiki practitioner said that Della is my biggest teacher right now (oh how I know this to be true) and boy howdy, on the way home from daycare yesterday, she dropped a clover she'd been holding, and when she does that she usually freaks out-- so I quickly said, don't worry, we'll find it when we get home. And instead of escalating into frenzy, she said with a shrug,
A few minutes later, she dropped something else-- a sticker I think-- again, usual cause for freak out...
At her first whimper, I said, don't worry! We'll find it when we get home!
But instead of escalating, she calmed right down and said:
Momma, all gone.
She's never ever said this before, not once, not ever.
So that second time? I laughed hard. Ok, I hear you little one, I hear you.
There is a mythology of grief and of loss that is pretty intense and pretty compelling-- the idea that holding the memory fresh and true is some way of memory-keeping, as if, if that memory loses immediacy, loses intensity, the mere act of letting the acuteness fade is evidence of not having loved quite so much, or not having lost quite so much, or maybe it is also about compounding the loss with losing something else (the acute present-dayness of the pain and memories)....
if I were speaking to a beloved or dear friend, I would say:
Beloved, no amount of replaying will change what happened, and will only cause you re-injury (cue PTSD)... the love was (and is) love, the loss was and truly always will be, loss. The person was the person. The situation was the situation. Hear me: there will always be grief. I know this to be true.
But holding onto acute grief as evidence of what was lost is like keeping a bone broken to prove the game happened.
So, I'm going to try to mindfully (radical idea) deal with my own tender self these next few weeks.
Yes it is AUGUST. I will be tender. To think otherwise would be bullshit. But, maybe I can do this differently this time.
In my mindfulness, can I catch myself mid-stride, on the verge of habitual grief or triggered escalation, nearly compulsive re-injury through re-playing...
can I catch myself, even once, and mindfully envelop the whateveritis in lovingkindness and release it?
So this August, this day, beginning right now, I am going to try to do this differently. I will fail often, but every moment I succeed I am giving myself the gift of healing, even if just tiny bits, and every single tiny bit counts toward the wholeness I want to feel.
I am inviting you-- all of you out there who are on your own healing journey-- to try this along with me for the month of August. 31 days of incremental healing, of mindful gentleness and self-compassion.