What I'm Writing About
© Copyright 2011-2015
All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Bobbi Jean Ewing.
reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3
Is grief good *or* is “good grief” an oxymoron, a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction?
Members of my family of origin used to and probably still do say “good grief” to express frustration, exasperation, annoyance, and those such feelings. I didn’t realize this was a family idiosyncrasy until my older sister’s college boyfriend, who came to visit at Christmastime, pointed it out to us.
I don’t think “good grief” is an oxymoron. In fact, I think grief is good, that experiencing grief is a healthy way to get in touch with and release the pain of the past. I had a good grief experience just this week, like a relief valve that had been holding a lot of pressure finally opened up and out came the grief. Ahhh . . . that felt good.
How did this all come about? Through connecting with and sharing stories of my past. Last Sunday I met with a guy who reached out to me for relationship counsel. He knew I had been married and knows that now I am not and wanted my advice and input on some challenges and strife he is experiencing in his own marriage. I never really considered myself “married.” Our marriage lasted all but a series of weeks, but I was in and out of that relationship for nearly 10 years so I do have a lot of history and experience to draw from.
As this guy described the conflicts within his relationship – the unresolved and perpetual fighting, his wife’s combative behavior, what sounded to me like the classic behaviors of separation anxiety and the insecurity that ensues – I saw into my own relationship of past, saw into a version of myself and some of my historical patterns that played out in my relationship. (If you’ve read or seen, “A Christmas Carol,” – it was kind of like that).
My relationship had also been one of conflict and strife and I fought passionately because I so wanted my needs to get met, I so wanted to be seen and heard, I so wanted to receive empathy and understanding…I just went about it the wrong way and I was dancing with someone who was not skillful or awake in communication and of course, neither was I. Drawing from lessons of relationship past, I heard myself say to this guy, “something will have to change or it will just be more of the same.” Communication patterns and how we show up in relationship must be up-leveled in a relationship of conflict and strife for there to be peace and harmony and deeper intimate connection and really, it must be up-leveled no matter the kind of relationship for us to move deeper into connection and intimacy with others, to experience deeper love, including with ourselves.
I was rolling this conversation around in my mind as I walked home under the light of Saturn, who is viewed by many as having a fatherly presence in the sky. Standing in my kitchen, I had what I am calling an “Archetypal Ah-hah.” I was thinking about what I said, that “something will have to change or it will just be more of the same” and an image of rams butting heads flashed into my mind. Fighting. Aggression. Locked Horns.
I’ve been moving deeper into astrology study under the guidance of celestial navigator, modern mystic, StarryTeller, and shamanic astrologer, Gemini Brett of More Than Astrology, of whom I’m a huge fan. From my birth chart reading with Brett, I learned that at the time of my birth the moon was in Aries in the Zodiac and in shamanic astrology, moon is our ancestry, our lineage. A moon in Aries means I come from the Aries tribe, a fiery and warrior lineage, and a tribe whose totem is the ram head. That rings true to my fire and my passion *and* definitely speaks to the conflict and struggle, the warrior “training” of my youth. And these were not healthy models of fighting, but downright hurtful and destructive. My father was the “worst” and the “best,” showing me all the ways I don’t want to fight and show up in relationship and yet…I had to do that dance and then go out and learn new ways of relating and communicating so I could put down the brutal weapons of my past, of my lineage.
So here I was, standing in my kitchen, butting ram heads flashing into my mind and I got it – I experienced a deeper understanding of the Aries archetype and my lineage. Thursday, 7/16/15, Pluto in Capricorn squared my Aries moon. This particular transit is unique to me and my chart – it is how the alignment of the planets in the sky are relating to and interacting with my celestial fingerprint. Ok, so I’ve got Pluto squaring my moon. What does this mean? Gemini Brett says this is a time for me to “know Aries,” to “retrieve the warrior goods,” to connect with the “righteous warrior of the Aries lineage,” and through alchemy to “turn led into gold.”
The conversation of Sunday past was a real gift, an opportunity to see into my lineage and to do just as Gemini Brett advised, to “know Aries.” And in synchronicistic fashion, because I live in a land of synchronicity, I had another very significant recollection of how the ram has showed up in my life, of how deeply connected I am to the Aries lineage.
My dad, that vicious, brutal character who was my earthly father, raised sheep. When it was time to breed the ewes and make lambs, he’d bring a ram to our property. I was four or five years old on one of these occasions and somehow I found myself out in the field with the ram. It charged at me, butt me with its head, and knocked me to the ground. I got up and it knocked me down again. I tried to run away, but it ran after me, butting me down over and over and over. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t get away. I didn’t think I was going to make it. My older sister was watching (I have no solid memory of her presence, but know she was there through her own retelling). She screamed out for help and my dad ran onto the scene and with a Godlike presence swooped me up, like the strong, warrior man that he was and saved my life. My dad, my earthly father, the one who hurt me so much with his hands and his words, pretty much until the day he died, saved my life. He gave me life AND he saved my life.
In one telling of my story this week, I felt the flood of emotion start to move from deep down inside and I let the good grief flow.
Six years ago – June 27, 2009 – I got married. Though the relationship was long – nearly 10 years – the marriage was short, unraveling fast and then exploding 8 weeks or so later. For nearly six years, I have been a single woman.
My relationship ended in a giant “ka-boom.” I was devastated, hurt to my very core. The loss of my person was excruciating. I was in A LOT of emotional pain, pain that lasted day after day, month after month. The pain was tangible and felt like a brick was sitting on top of my heart. I remember having a thought that the pain could actually be measured – put a dip stick in my heart and draw it back out to see dark red blood all the way to the “full” line.
It took a full year to cycle through the pain, for the intensity of it to subside, for the grief to fade away. That year came with other losses too. My dad died nearly 7 months after the “ka-boom” and my best friend of 15 years, and also my maid of honor, “broke up” with me over email just weeks before the one year anniversary of the “ka-boom.”
At some point within that first year after my relationship ended I realized I was given a second chance to find lasting love, to have a truly happy and healthy relationship. I still believe in this second chance.
Yet, as time has passed, the bar has been raised. The more I meet conscious, heart connected men, the more I see and know what I want is so very different from my past. I lacked a positive and healthy male model in my father. My relationship of nearly 10 years was with a man who also was not emotionally, mentally, or physically healthy and like both my mother and my father, he did not meet my emotional needs in a sustaining and healthful way. Today I am grateful to have many new healthy and conscious male (and female) models in my life.
Nearly six years later, I know what I am looking for and what I need in a partner. I am looking for someone truly amazing – a new and lasting life partner, a partner who is healthy, skillful, and awake/awakening.
MANifesto: MAN MOST WANTED
Heart connected. <3
Shares a commitment to healing, personal discovery, growth, inner exploration, expansion, transformation, awakening in relationship, and the soul quest.
Skillful – conscious and awake/awakening in communication and self-expression. Self-responsible. Responsive. Expresses feelings and needs and make requests. Expresses appreciation and gratitude.
Empathetic – mirrors and reflects back my emotional experience and self-expression.
Empowering – mirrors back my gifts.
Spiritual *and* spiritually open. Woo Woo.
Has a healthy relationship to self, along with healthy friendships and relationships. Values community.
Present. Spacious. Sensitive (both emotionally and energetically). Supportive. Patient. Thoughtful. Gentle.
Upbeat. Vibrant. Charismatic. Passionate.
Inquisitive. Open. Curious.
Smart. (maybe even Brilliant! :-) )
Fun. Funny. Adventurous. Playful. Silly *and* emotionally mature.
Outdoorsy. Loves and respects nature.
Values education and learning.
Smells the roses. Looks up at the stars.
Healthful lifestyle – loves to eat good food; devoted to physical activity and movement, such as yoga; not dependent on drugs or alcohol; ideally is not allergic to nuts and is gluten and dairy tolerant.
Financially responsible. Professionally stable. Motivated. Reliable. Clean/Tidy.
Handy – owns tools and knows how to use them; good at fixing things. Computer Savvy. Mechanically inclined.
A man of integrity.
Shares a desire to create life, to bring a little person into this world, and share the joy of raising this little being together.
Together we resonate and share a connection, a kinship, a consciousness. (and we laugh together, A LOT!)
Loves me, cherishes me, values me. Appreciates that I am unique, bright, intelligent, insightful, independent, curious, adventurous, playful, strong, spirited, sensitive, loyal, devoted, and simultaneously traditional *and* unconventional. Sees me. Gets me. Is jaZZed about me.
A special shout out to my friend in consciousness, TimO, for being the inspiration for this MANifestO. We share space in our NVC (non-violent communication) community group and he expressed a strong desire to grow the number of men in our group to balance out gender dynamics. I started to craft a clever invitation, “Men Most Wanted,” to manifest men for our group. Men Most Wanted turned into “MAN Most Wanted,” my MANifesto. Thank you, Tim. I value you as a huMAN and as my friend. May we both MANifest!
I recently hosted 5 dudes – 5 MEN – for 5 ePic days and nights. Two dudes became four and then finally five. The population of my house exploded from one to six. It took me an entire week, 7 full days and nights, to recover from that adventure.
How did this all come about? You all remember my friend, Rosh, right? I met Rosh in Maui at the start of 2014 on a yoga retreat with Hana Maui Yoga Institute. On the drive out to Hana, Rosh was chatting up The Blind Cafe which I had *just* heard about a few months back. Rosh was that guy, the guy who founded The Blind Cafe, THE man behind the operation since he started running these pop up events in 2010.
Rosh stayed at my place last summer when The Blind Cafe came to Seattle and while I was in Peru. He called me up a few weeks before the event and asked he if could “rent” my car and I said, “you mean… borrow?” During the course of that conversation he joked that maybe he should “move in” to my house. This scenario had occurred to me and I had already decided I’d be ok with that, so over the phone I agreed to let Rosh stay at my place while I was on the other side of the equator. That was a first for me, quite an act of trust on my part, to let some man I’d only gotten to know for a week on retreat, interacted with briefly at a Blind Cafe in San Francisco, with whom I exchanged sporadic emails and a few phone calls, have total access to all my belongings. But that’s the thing about Rosh… he engenders immediate and whole hearted trust.
Rosh and I reconnected in Maui at the start of this year for our second annual new year’s retreat. During that week, our mutual respect of each other and friendship deepened. When I learned The Blind Cafe was coming back to Seattle, I offered up my place to Rosh as his home base, offered up the use of my car. There was a bit of back and forth – phone calls and emails – questions like, “how many people are you comfortable having stay at your place?” and arrangements to split up The Blind Cafe team at two houses so we wouldn’t be all on top of each other. Going into this adventure, it was my expectation and understanding that I’d be hosting 2 guys, Rosh and his new operations manager, for 7 nights. Two guys. I felt my insides relax when I got the final news. Not four or five. Two.
The night Rosh arrived he told me housing fell through for his other guys and that he needed to find a place for them to stay, with mentions of possibly booking them a hotel room. The next morning Rosh asked me if I’d be ok with two more guys joining us. I hesitated at first. My insides said, “ahhhhhh.” He read me energetically and said, “it’s more fun if we are all together.” Tug, tug at my heart strings. I thought about it on my bike ride to work, visualized in my head where folks would “camp” out, did a mental inventory of blankets, pillows, and towels. Ok. We can do this.
On the third night, the fifth guy joined us. Not so much asking at this point, just Rosh slipping in a little, “Sliver Fox is coming,” before bedtime on night two. Me: “What? Who?” Rosh: “We’ll talk about it in the morning.” Ultimately: questions unanswered. Sigh. At this point, what was one more person?. Oh and I guess I forgot to mention that two of these five guys are blind. Yeah, you are experiencing this news just like I did, “ummmm, what?!” and “ok.” (here you’ll have to add tones of first surprise and then tentative agreement into your internal voice of my voice and please, laugh along with me if you haven’t yet already)
I imagine that as you are reading this, you are getting a sense of Rosh’s watery nature and my more earthy nature. Rosh shifts like the sands, he is fluid. I am solid, steady, grounded like the earth. Rosh’s watery nature, from the get go, was rocking my earthy nature, but that’s what I signed up for. I know this about Rosh, I know his watery nature “pushes” people to stretch and grow. One of our retreat mantras was, after all, “the schedule is carved in sand, not in stone.” Rosh’s vibration, his optimism, his upbeat and encouraging energy, makes you want to stretch and grow. I find myself saying yes to things I wouldn’t normally say yes to and I do it because I know it’s helping me to grow and I want to grow, I want to expand the edges of my comfort zone. I signed up for this adventure. I invited this experience into my life, all the way in…
What was it like having 5 dudes in my house? Intimate. Noisy. Bustling. Busy bathroom. House and yard full of life, sometimes more life than my nervous system could tolerate. I am a highly sensitive creature – my nervous system cannot hold multiple conversations, loud music, and people shifting about all at the same time. In these moments I was really challenged to stay grounded and collected. Remember, the population of my house exploded from one to six and I was one female among five MEN.
I got a lot of practice relating to men and experiencing very different kinds of energies. I got practice making requests. I got practice setting boundaries, particularly around my tolerance for certain kinds of humor. Father and past relationship issues bubbled up to the surface. In one particularly loud and expressive voice, I heard yelling and anger and I noticed how my nervous system started to rev up and go into fight/flight/freeze mode. Oh, and exhausting. I didn’t sleep well at all. I knew that would be my greatest challenge and it was. A rush/flood of adrenaline and stress hormones made it hard for my body and mind to relax, especially the first night. And after 5 nights of not sleeping well, I was really run down and worried I was on the verge of coming down with a whopper of a cold.
The whole experience – hosting 5 dudes and “being” with Rosh’s wateriness – rocked my internal structures, specifically my needs for order, predictability, reliability, boundaries, peace and tranquility. I stretched myself farther than I’ve stretched myself before on my home turf. I’m not accustomed to so many bodies “living in” my house. I’m not used to being around so much big male energy, and sometimes the emergence of middle school aged chatter, in my home, my sacred space, day after day. I’m not used to so many shifting variables and changes in plans. I’m not used to my furniture being moved around. All of that rocked my insides, rocked my structures and I was asked to adapt, be resilient, or crumble and break down inside. Toward the end I *was* starting to crumble inside. My system was maxed out. I had experienced more “shake ups” and “rattling” than I could hold. I was feeling agitated, irritable, and needed space and quiet and sleep.
I was rocked and I recovered. Now I know I can make it through ePic internal stretches, that I can push myself and be pushed outside my comfort zone. It is my hope that my nervous system benefited from this experience, that it will be able to hold discomfort and change, to be with agitation, with ease; that I will be able to stay grounded and collected with grace when things get shaky and turbulent. I will say this of my earthy nature: I *am* resilient and adaptable and where I am not, I am cultivating a softer, more fertile soil, letting my being soak up ~water~ to soften my earthiness.
I can tell you this much…as a writer, I have let go of conventional form here. I fully embraced the meandering, watery quality of a personal essay, taking you on a walk and talk along the bank of and sometimes wadding into the babbling brook that is me.
Today, December 21, is the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Today is also my dad’s birthday. Growing up I remember my dad referring to his birthday as the “shortest day of the year.” As a kid, I thought that meant there was less time in the day. I don’t know at what point growing up or even as a young adult that I realized that the Winter Solstice has the fewest daylight hours and minutes, that the sun rises later and sets earlier on this day than any other day of the year. And now I understand that the Winter Solstice is not only the shortest day, but also the longest night.
Late this last summer I had an “ah-hah” moment, a revelation, that I am light born OF and TO dark. My dad, who passed away almost 5 years ago this coming March, was a contracted soul – he was a very angry and abusive man. He lashed out with his hands and his words. I have a fire in me that gave me courage to stand up to my dad, to look the monster in the eye when he was full of rage, and when I did, I saw hate stewing in my dad’s eyes.
My dad was a very physically strong man most of his life. He was a championship wrestler in high school, college, and for the US Navy. He was both proud of the fact that he wrestled for a spot on the US Olympic team, beating his opponent twice, and sad that his loss the third time cost him a spot on the team. My dad used his strength and formidable presence to hurt people, especially with his angry words. My dad was a scary man and I learned years later, that the kids I played with growing up were afraid of my dad. Adults were afraid of my dad too.
The last 10 years or so of my dad’s life, his strength and his mind began to fade. He fought and resisted his decline, trying so hard to hold on, suffering through the nasty effects of muscular dystrophy. He died as a relatively young man at the age of 65. I feel and believe that in his passing, in his return to Source, that my dad has returned to the light and is no longer a contracted soul.
A universal teaching in many spiritual traditions says that we are made of light, that we are emanating light (measurable now through science, or so I’ve heard from my yoga teachers). I had a coca leaf reading in Peru this last summer and the wise and old Quechua healer who read my leaves said to me, “you are light.” I smiled hearing this, experiencing a moment of affirmation; I also smiled because I was hearing this familiar teaching in yet another tradition. I discovered this truth for myself, that I am light, one year ago during a light meditation when my spiritual and heart essence name, “Bright Joy,” came to me in a vision. Where my dad was dark and lived in darkness, I am light and chose to live in the light.
I live with intention and my intentions are to be conscious and awake in my words and my actions; to be self-aware – to see my thoughts, my feelings, my words, and my actions with clarity and discernment; to speak skillfully in ways that are non-harming to others, that instead invite connection and evoke warmth; to act and be in this world in ways that are gracious and pure of heart (not selfish or greedy or jealous or resentful); to experience the world and others from a spacious place (to not judge or evaluate or condemn); to be kind and compassionate toward others and myself; to grow, expand, and deepen my capacity to love others and myself; to be generous with my love, to give without selfish motivation or expectations.
This week I’ve been reading, “Celestially Auspicious Occasions,” by Donna Henes, for inspiration for a Winter Solstice ceremony I am leading this evening. She writes, “The Winter Solstice is an anniversary celebration of creation” and represents “The Great Uterine Darkness.” At the Winter Solstice the sun stands still in its retreat in a pregnant pause and from the darkness light is birthed forth.
This idea of the sun standing still in a pregnant pause, of light being birthed from The Great Uterine Darkness, got me thinking back to my revelation that I am light born OF and TO dark. I started to think about my birth date in relation to my dad’s birth date and I began to wonder about my conception date. I had a hunch that I was very likely conceived on my dad’s birth date, on the Winter Solstice. I checked out a few websites with birth date-conception date calculators and guess what??? I WAS CONCEIVED ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE (or within days of December 21, but definitely during the pregnant pause of the sun).
I am the spark of life and light that was created by my father’s darkness in the great uterine darkness of my mother’s womb. I was born in the early afternoon on September 10 when the sun was shining high in the sky and when the moon was still bright and full. I am light born OF and TO dark. I was given the name Bobbi Jean, named after my dad, Robert Eugene. Yet…I am BRIGHT JOY.
On 9/9, the day before my 38th birthday, I started to see a new friend / connection for acupuncture treatments. I was going through a bout of insomnia and experiencing (again – *sigh*) a surge of mysterious twitches and pulsations in muscles around my body. I chose to start treatments on 9/9 for two reasons: 1) to me, the date represented balance and alignment and 2) my intention was to start my 38th year with balanced energy, in energetic alignment.
After I scheduled my first appointment, I heard a little voice in my head, a voice that is very likely my voice of intuition, tell me that these treatments were going to provide holistic healing and more specifically, an opportunity to heal a little wound I have with this friend.
Visit 5 – there I am on the table, face down, needles in my back, body literally punctured. My acupuncture guy steps back into the room minutes after pushing firmly on tender spots around my shoulder blades and gently inserting needles into those same tender places. He tells me he just had an intuition hit, that right now is not the time to start a specific aspect of treatment as discussed and planned. The energy inside and around me immediately started to shift, feeling very heavy and thick. My little wound had just been punctured.
When I got home later that evening it hit me. I had a simultaneous flash of insight and an intense somatic knowing as I connected the surface wound to the original core wound and the series of wounds that came in between. As it hit me, the grief rose from the depths of my core and came out in sobs. By putting needles in tender, vulnerable spots in my body and inadvertently pricking the surface wound by sharing his intuition hit, my acupuncture guy released the energy block sitting on top of these wounds, creating an opening for an up chuck of grief.
The wound that was punctured is the wound of no choice. It was not my choice for my 10 year relationship to end. It was not my choice, just one year after my relationship ended, for ties to be severed with my best friend of 15 years. It was not my choice for a new romantic relationship to not be given space and time to blossom into the relationship I so wanted it to become; and in addition to that, to be bewildered, frustrated, and hurt that he moved away / “ran away” without communicating.
In each of these experiences, I had no choice; I had no sense of power. The “termination” of each of these relationships was decided for me, I was “abandoned,” and I had to live with ensuing pain and grief created by the choices made by the other person. And with my acupuncture guy, he had also made a choice that was not my choice in our history and here again in the clinical setting. That’s the thing with wounding, the heart recognizes the likeness and feels the prick, the stab, the pain.
Sure, it was painful for me that night of the up chuck of grief to connect with the core wound, to see a pattern of wounding in my life, but it is such a blessing and a gift to release deep grief still trapped in my body and my being. I knew there was potential for holistic healing with my acupuncture guy, but this release far exceeded anything I had envisioned. I feel strongly that this release occurred because of our history and though there is a tiny wound there, the wound is a gift that continues to inspire healing, continues to challenge me to work through the pain and patterns of my own wounding.
I need more healing around my little surface wound, but I am so grateful for the emotional healing of my deeper wounds, so grateful for the safety and trust we have cultivated together that is allowing for deeper healing. And my intuition tells me there is a divine intelligence guiding this process, creating little places of friction and pricking at the surface to get at what’s deeper underneath.