Tag Archives: Three Truths and One Wish

Three Truths and One Wish

Me, Dexter and Obi

Me, Dexter and Obi

1. Grief is something you never get over, you just get used to it. Nine years ago today, Kelly died. Losing her is inextricably linked, in my heart and mind, to losing Obi and then Dexter — one big sticky sharp heavy lump of hurt. It’s been ten years since Obi and Kelly were first diagnosed, practically on the same day, and ever since then, I’ve carried around a deep sadness, a brutal tenderness, an awareness that not only is impermanence real, but it sneaks up on you when you aren’t expecting it, way before you are ready, (although, in many cases there’s no such thing as “ready,” ever). Yes, we all die eventually, but some of us go way too soon, and the hurt of that might dull but it never goes away.

2. The worst part of grief for me is the uncertainty.  I envy people who have strong beliefs about what happens after we die, who feel sure, who can comfort themselves with platitudes like, “they are in a better place” or “someday we’ll see each other again.” I don’t have this, and honestly the worst part of losing Kelly and Obi and Dexter is that I might NEVER see them again. Living with that reality is the worst part of the loss for me.

3. Grief is love unbound by form. Susan Piver is the one who I first heard say that. It’s absolutely true. We are used to having a physical target for our love, a tangible form we can reach out and touch. When suddenly our love doesn’t have that place to land, it goes wild. No longer is there a voice we can listen to, a hand we can hold, a face we can gaze at. It’s hard to know what to do. The love and even the relationship remains, but the body is gone. We love and we love and we love, but in response there’s only silence, emptiness, what feels like nothing.

One wish: That after loss, we can find something to hold on to, something that keeps us from giving up. At the very moment I wrote the line above about our love going wild, a tiny fat hummingbird hovered outside my window just to the right of my computer screen. That feels like love to me, like both magic and medicine, and for now that’s enough.

Three Truths and One Wish (NaBloPoMo Day 22)

The view from my front porch this morning

The view from my front porch this morning

1. Truth: Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong (article on The New York Times). “Not to rain on our Thanksgiving Day parade, but the story of the first Thanksgiving, as most Americans have been taught it, is not exactly accurate.” The innocent, feel good narrative of Native Americans and Pilgrims celebrating and feasting together is a fairy tale that obscures the truth about how we treated and continue to treat indigenous people. To ignore that truth and stuff your face, to rejoice about all the things you are thankful for, to rest and relax in the company of friends and family without taking even a moment to honor the harm that has been done to enable your good fortune and recommit to doing better is just gross.

2. Truth: The mistreatment of indigenous people continues. For example, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe welcomed Pilgrims, but loses land on eve of Thanksgiving. There are so many more examples it’s an exhausting, overwhelming, unrelenting consideration. In this context, what does “Make America Great Again” really mean? What does it mean to have a day — a national holiday — where we celebrate ourselves, give thanks for all that we have but completely ignore all the suffering we’ve caused?

3. Truth: We can and must do better. Just some simple suggestions are: How to Support Indigenous People on Thanksgiving, and How to Talk to Your Family About Racism on Thanksgiving, and 5 Tips For So-Called White Allies This Thanksgiving, and Meditation on Gratitude and Joy.

One wish: May we fully know and face the truth. May we make reparations, strive to heal the hurt, turn our effort toward undoing the damage and easing the suffering. May we experience the joy of good food and good company without the taint of greed and oppression. May we experience the gratitude of doing the right, just, honorable thing. May we ALL be truly free to experience life and liberty, to pursue happiness.

Three Truths and One Wish (NaBloPoMo Day 13)

1. Truth: The way to do more is to do less of what you don’t want or need to do. I’m getting really really good at this. Of course, it requires a fully developed sophisticated sense of discernment and deep clarity about what I really want, because sometimes the choices I need to make aren’t obvious at all, and possibly complicated by external forces who want something entirely different from and for me.

2. Truth: Taking a pause before acting is usually a wise choice. I find if I act too quickly, I’m acting from a space of reactivity and possibly even confusion, rather than one of clarity, wisdom, and compassion. Of course, if something is on fire or someone is choking, there’s no time to pause, and taking immediate action can be the wisest choice in that case.

3. Truth: Rest is a necessary component of action, an essential counter. I know you might read that and think, “well duh,” but so often I seem to forget this. I go and go and go and go and don’t build in any time for rest and recovery. I go until I hit a wall, until I collapse and rest is no longer an option but rather is the only thing I can do, the only way I’ll be able to get back up, the necessary medicine and the magic.

One wish: May we have clarity about our path and know the right choices to make. May we act from a place of wisdom and compassion, clear seeing and love. May we pause and rest when we need it.

Three Truths and One Wish (Day Six: NaBloPoMo)

This bunny somehow made it to the third floor of the parking garage yesterday

1. Truth: Every human just wants to be happy and safe. However, people can get confused about exactly how to make that work. Some of the ways we try and get to happy and safe actually end up causing harm, to ourselves and others.

2. Truth: We all just want to be loved, but again people get confused about how exactly to make that happen or even what love means or looks like. For example, someone spewing something as ugly as racism may very well have been taught that racism is good, and therefore to be racist is “being good,” and being good is the way to be loved.

3. Truth: The real work is dispelling our confusion. None of us is ever going to be happy, safe, or loved if we keep going after these things from a place of confusion. It only generates more suffering.

One wish: May we continue to make every effort to cultivate wisdom and compassion, sanity and kindness, in ways that actually manifest as happiness, safety, and love, and benefit the most people possible.



Three Truths and One Wish

The view from my Eddy Hall office at CSU

1. Truth: What is easy for some is hard for me. Today I’m thinking in particular of how hard it is for me to simply relax into my truth, to give myself what I need without guilt or shame or anxiety or apology. Every choice I make, every hunger or longing, goes through an exhausting process of how it will affect others, what impact it will have, what other people will think about it and thus about me, whether or not I’ve “earned” it. It’s become a practice for me to simply want something and allow myself to have it, to feel ease or even joy, to relax with myself. It should be automatic, but I have to try, make so much effort to just be.

2. Truth: The turn towards fall feels so peaceful to me. You know how much I love summer, the garden with its blooms and fruit and vegetables and bugs and birds. The longer, lazy days, and all the light. However, fall is really my season. Dusk is also my favorite time of day and this season — the changing light, the cooler temperatures, green turning to gold and orange and red — feels similar, comfortable and calm. Like a dog sigh or the first sip of a cool glass of water when you are thirsty, permission to relax, a sense of relief and ease.

3. Truth: I feel myself slowing down. There were lots of things on the to-do list I made at the beginning of summer that haven’t been done yet. I still need to buy new bras and paint the house, and the new computer that was delivered weeks ago is still in a box. And yet, I know that I’ve spent a lot of years prioritizing doing and accomplishing over rest and contemplation, and that hasn’t served me. I’m tired. I long for rest. As difficult as it is, I’m going to give in to it.

One wish: May we honor our hunger, our longings, our need for rest, and may we thus find ourselves restored and open to ease and joy.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: We went on a short hike this morning. All of us, the whole tiny family. This is a big deal, because Sam hasn’t been able to go since he injured himself almost six months ago. He’s up to walking 3.5 miles a day and his amazing lovely wonderful physical therapy vet told us at our last visit she thought he was ready to try a hike, so this morning we did. We went to Mount Margaret, up by Red Feather Lakes, one of our favorite places. We saw hummingbirds and butterflies, a deer and a marmot, a herd of cattle and lots of chipmunks, and two gorgeous dogs that reminded me of our Obi. It was already warm because it’s going to be close to 100 degrees here today, but it was lovely. The other thing to celebrate about this hike is I did it without wearing my knee braces. I’ve been feeling stronger, and like I could do it without them, and I was right.

2. Truth: As humans we are wired to seek out the danger in our environment. Long ago this was absolutely necessary to our survival. We needed to watch for predators and be careful of various poisonous things and mindful of the weather, etc. There is a small, old, deep part of our brain that is still doing this work even now, which explains some of the mystery anxiety we often feel. That is simply the context you need for what I really want to point out — even though we are wired this way, the tiniest beautiful thing can cheer us up, stay with us for a very long time. The whole world can be going to hell in a hand basket, and yet seeing a hummingbird beating its wings like mad against the blue sky can buoy us, remind us that while nothing is okay, somehow everything is fine.

3. Truth: Mid-summer for me and the beginning of summer according to the calendar is always shadowed by sadness and anxiety. Dexter died five years ago today and I still miss him like crazy. It gets stupid hot here. I’m only just coming out of the funk that lingers after I stop working when the anxiety of having to go back hits me. I have so much to write about and at the same time I want to stay quiet and still, would rather read than publish anything. Not only are things not getting crossed off my to-do list, things have been added. I feel awake enough to my life to know that I’m not doing what I “should,” (although that will be changing). It’s a strange mix of rest and worry.

One wish: No matter where we are or what our obstacles, may we notice the tiny moments of joy, collect them and carry them with us, hold them close and not give up.

The sweetest boy, on his last day

The sweetest boy, on his last day

Three Truths and One Wish

Strawberries from our garden

1. Truth: I am in a strange fugue, a liminal state. This happens every summer vacation, for at least the first two weeks, but if the year was worse (like this one) it can linger. I’ve made the to-do list — things like painting the house and cleaning out the garage and buying new bras and getting a haircut — but only a few things have been done and crossed off. This summer it feels particularly strange because I know when I go back next year, it will be my last (had I told you that yet? It’s not official, but it is for sure), and I already am really clear about what I’m going to to next but can’t start yet. It’s a weird place to exist.

2. Truth: I’m not purposely trying to bum you out, it’s just that everywhere I look things are bad. I can see the good too — I mean just look at that bowl of juicy strawberries that came out of our garden — but I refuse to deny the bad just because it’s difficult or uncomfortable or fucking depressing. The reality is both — tender and terrible, brutal and beautiful. I feel myself tipping towards the dark, feeling the overwhelm of the awful, but I haven’t given up and it doesn’t keep me from seeing the good.

3. Truth: Tomorrow I’m taking my first swimming lesson. Not the first of my life. I took swimming lessons when I was younger, but was a scared, timid, nervous kid who was tormented by teenaged instructors who thought, for example, that it was funny to push a kid who was crying and afraid to jump in the deep end into the water from behind or to meet fear with anger and bullying. I sort of learned to be in the water, but more so learned to be terrified. I’d like to change that, and tomorrow I’m going to start trying.

One wish: That no matter where we find ourselves, we can keep our head above water, keep swimming, keep trying.