Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Beautiful Soul

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. ~ Dr. Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross~

Today I write in honor of my paternal grandmother -whom I lovingly called Nani -who is no longer on this physical plane.  About two-three weeks ago, she was not feeling well. She turned 90 this past december and for the most part, I would say was rather healthy for a 90 year old. However, she had taken a turn for the worse, my internal radar had me feeling like this could be the beginning of the end. It wasn't an over reaction, I just felt it. I have seen too many family members pass away and even though I wasn't physically with her, based on the information I was receiving, my only prayer was "god please don't let her suffer, please let her be pain free."  We don't know when death is going to come, and each time it comes, it hits you in a different way. But when it does come, we must remember the message and the life the person lived. We must grieve, because it is important to do so, but in grieving, we must remember their life. Their life was an inspiration, and we must take that with us.  We must be able to look back at the life that person lived, especially someone who has been able to live and see it all:) I was thinking about it the other day - what is it that she has not seen and heard? She has lived and survived through so much - in history, in family, in her evolution of her self, etc. 

We all deal with grieve differently, I like to write. I like to remember the moments, and cherish the times that I did have, because there are times that I wish I could have been with her, but couldn't make it. So instead of focusing on what didn't happen, I remember the moments. There is always going to be a "should have, would have, could have," feeling and it is important to be aware of our feelings, but regret gets you no where -it only fuels for more guilt. So I choose to do otherwise. I look through pictures, I write. That is what helps me heal. Last week, was my birthday.  This is one woman who has never missed any of her children's birthdays, her grandchildren's birthdays, her great grandchildren. She remembers numbers like a calculator and I was always amazed how she always remembered to call and wish. I was glad I got to see her on a video call. She wasn't well, but she was able to do that. So I am grateful for that. 

Today I want to celebrate who she is,

To me, she is and will always be the matriarch of our family. Losing her today is on many levels is like losing the link to our family. She was and is the thread of the family and to have that physically gone is sad.  But when we see the legacy she has left behind in her children and grandchildren, I celebrate her once again. I know she lived a good life. She has attended most of her grand children's weddings, and even got to know her great grandchildren. Her legacy lives on in them and in her children.  They remind us of what she believed in. But that is the kind of person she was. Silent, but strong. And if there was another word to describe her it is Strength. Her strength was unimaginable. And she gained her strength from her faith. So her influence was immense.  

She created a life for herself and came up with activities to keep her busy so that even though she had limited mobility, she wouldn't lose her mind.  She kept her mind active,  she was always doing something and so when I think of one word to describe her, it is the word "energy." She was pure energy.     She had energy in her - her spirit always moving onward, upward, always "doing" something,   Her influences on me were and are tremendous. She introduced me to Yoga at an early age. I remember as a child we sometimes would share a bedroom, and I would wake up in the early morning seeing her do her exercises on her bed. Those exercises stay with me till now, and then she would do her breathing. And that stuck with me. Her energy was incredible. If she visited, her first question to us would be, "what do you want to eat?" and she would add, "it only takes five minutes to make it not long." and lo and behold, whatever we wanted, within five to ten minutes we would see the whole kitchen upside down with pots and pans, and oil, and flour, and an array of sweet indian dishes. One thing I was always so impressed with was her passion for reading and her reading speed. She just didn't read in her native language, she read in English and to be able to do that as an adult was impressive. She loved the phone and was always calling everyone in the family. That sense of connection was important to her and it was amazing how she was able to be connected to everyone all around the world. If we needed to know something about someone, we could ask Nani, and she would tell us.

So yes she was and is still one incredible lady. Her soul was a beautiful soul and I pray that she showers all her love and energy on her family. I pray that her strength is passed on to her children and her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. I pray that no matter how old we get, and boy are we getting old, that we continue to have that energy that she had and find ways to keep us active.  And may we always remain as beautiful as she is despite what life may throw at us - life threw many things at her, and yet with her faith she remained beautiful, graceful and amazing.   

Journal Prompt: If you are remembering someone you lost, write a letter to them. Writing a letter to honor them, to tell them how much they mean to you, to just let your feelings out. Writing heals, and I hope you try it.

Happy Journaling!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fallen Leaf

Breathe like a fallen leaf and think of nothing.  Just Breathe and let your heart and mind be carried, however briefly, by the spirit you can't quite see. ~Mark Nepo~

"I am floating softly in the air. The wind moves me left and right and I move in the direction of the wind. I know not where I will land, and so I enjoy the breeze, the sounds of the wind, and the glow of the sun. I was once a leaf on a tree branch strongly attached to the branch. Then one day the wind got a hold of me and no matter how hard I tried to hold on tightly, I had to let go. I let go but this time was different. You see, I have let go before in different versions but held on so tightly that rather than just swaying away and watching as to how and where I lay, I end up falling down with a thud.  Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it scrapes, sometimes I just don't know how to rise back up.  Maybe because I wanted to control the direction of where I go, rather than see where it takes me.  But this time was different. I found myself moving and enjoyed floating around. I realized that I didn't worry about how or where I would eventually land up, but what I did instead was pay attention to what was around me. I noticed the colors, I noticed birds I had never seen, I even saw trees that I never thought existed. I saw the squirrels play with each other, I saw children running around in playgrounds. And I watched the people around me.  I felt their emotions - so many different emotions all in the same moment.  I was in the moment and allowed myself to feel. Feelings are important.  If we don't allow ourselves to feel, we get stuck and then we can't move onward. Before I knew it, I was down on the ground by a beautiful pond surrounded by daffodils and sunflowers and butterflies. I landed softly, and felt okay. I had learned to let go and fly. "

Journal Prompt:  Imagine yourself a leaf and let your breathe take you away. Once you are done, do a five minute writing exercise on you being the leaf that has fallen. Or write whatever comes to your mind.

Happy Journaling!