20 Dec

Gratitude in Cycles

It starts with gratitude. I’m grateful.

I’m suffering and I’m raw and it’s beautiful. I wouldn’t give it up. I’m grateful. I sometimes need this temporary suffering to recenter and reflect. I would of course love these moments if the cause wasn’t related to loss and grief.

Grief like this is a cycle.  

It came 2 years ago, two dogs gone 6 weeks apart. So swift, so unexpected even knowing their time was finite. They were older dogs. One day there, sometimes underappreciated. A center of my life and (one of many) reasons to get up each day if only to pick up poop (almost always) and feed them (future poop). To caretake them each day and they took care of me in so many ways. And poof. In such a short window of time, gone.

Grief cycling in again 8 years ago from today in the form of a divorce. Even amicable and mutual was still so hard. The social constructs. The starting over.  

A year before that, losing my grandparents. Losing them truly years ago as dementia and Alzheimer’s took them from my life long before their physical bodies collapsed. The grief of their offspring serving as caretakers during their “golden years” with scars certainly still present, hopefully fading for my Father an Aunt.

This generally light and intermittent grief is a rich a feeling. Being opened up to the other side of emotions. My life is so good, so positive overall. The sad feelings often out of reach and surficial. Only accessible through the musicians in my life who put to powerful and emotive lyrics. What Chris Cornell could capture in words and deliver in song. Mark Lanegan. Shannon Hoon. Their deep struggles tapping into something deep they shared with us. A double-edged sword of suffering.

I’m grateful for the ease I have in my life, my struggle with my own fabricated drama, while others struggle with their day-to-day in disabling ways I sometimes can’t see and often will never experience, nor do I invite in this struggle. Please listen Universe to that request.

From the book “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsh:

“You have created a society in which is very not okay to want to die – very not okay to be very okay with death. Because you can’t imagine anyone wanting to die – no matter their circumstances or condition. But there are many situations in which death is preferable to life.”

The last line in the paragraph above is for Stephen Pierotti.

There is a beneficial sense of purpose in wanting to help others through this current suffering as I suffer alongside them. What an experience. It feels good to support while it feels bad. We are meant to feel all of our emotions. Not to tamp them down but in this case to, in a way, revel in them, to expect their impermanence. Keeping those emotions in perspective being the healthy framing so needed right now for Stephen’s family and friends. Myself included.

Loss is normal. Grief an honoring of the loss.

The cycle of life and death is a cycle. Cycles don’t stop unless you remove the energy, relationships in this case being the energy. The cycle spins some people out of your life. Spinning others into your life. Not always a net zero experience.

So what now? For me, a reinvigoration of energy for the created future while honoring the completed past, or the passed.

I “get” why I’m here. More comfortable with it, albeit clunky at times. I’m here to end as much suffering as I can and to bring about as much joy as I can. The “how” of this is so many things: non-profit board service, emcee, DJ, speaker, workshops, retreats. All of it in service to those suffering. Some of the how comes with paycheck, some of it volunteering and paying me in other riches. A sense of belonging, a unique contribution – a different payment. And non-taxable. In this lifting up others, an easing suffering and creating a space for us to thrive in this confusing and confounding world I also win. Don’t get lost in the noise.   

It won’t be easy but I know on my deathbed (I ask for another 50 years, please and thank you.) I’ll be proud of what I did versus what I avoided because of fear. Thank you, Jim Carrey, you great espouser of wisdom, the comical archetype turned philosopher who uttered:

“Fear sometimes disguises itself as practicality.” Those words have floated around a lot lately in this semi-vacuous skull of mine.

So, let’s go 2023 and 2033, 2073! Bring on this road full of the ups, the downs, the sideways, the trips, the falls, the stumbles and the so frequent joyful moments big and small. Cycles within and well outside my control. I can only control my response and look for momentum.

It All Starts and Ends with gratitude. I’m grateful.

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