The Path of Love

path of loveWhat I now know is that losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That’s the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you’ve abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home. ~ Martha Beck

Have you abandoned yourself to please someone, to hold onto something, to hold something together? Are you clinging on so tightly to the past, a dead dream or the memory of a loved one that you fear you might fall if you reach out for a new love, a new life? Have disappointment and fear eroded your heart, left your soul fading slowly like a photograph?

If I ever feel the grey gauze of depression drifting around me like fog, like snow settling softly in the night, I do what I can to connect with the vibrant creativity of others so that their energy kickstarts my heart.

Sometimes it’s photography, sometimes poetry. The architecture around me or a well tended garden. Gift shops, galleries, yarn shops or beautifully decorated cafés – anywhere that creativity leaps out and sings to me.

If the darkness descends without warning and I feel myself starting to curl up tight and foetal, I listen to music that wedges my heart open like a foot in the doorway, music that seeps into my soul and unfurls me so that the light can stream back in on the wings of someone else’s words and carry me home…

I listen to songs like this.

What could you do, right now, to live your truth, to beckon your soul home?

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*This was a horribly prescient post. I planned to publish it on a timed setting while I was away on a surprise holiday in Greece, my spiritual home, but shortly after my husband booked the bargain last minute flights, we learned that our daughter’s oldest friend was at death’s door. As always, I can’t share details here, but she’s someone we love very much – have done since she was a wee girl, a bright smiling bundle of cheeriness.

A miracle procedure saved her life, and though she’ll have ups and downs, I know she’ll thrive. She feels grateful to be alive, to have the love of a strong and adoring family and is determined to embrace any health challenges life now sends her way. During her time in hospital, all I could do was ‘love, let go and let God’, praying that she’d find her way back home to us all.

I’ll be honest, it’s been an exhausting six months; too much intense emotion and fear and too many hospitals and traumas in any short period take their toll. My holiday was short but gloriously healing and I’m longing to share the photos and memories with you; for now though, I just wanted to tell you that knowing you’re here, reading this, makes my wee blog feel like coming home, however long I’ve been away.

15 thoughts on “The Path of Love

  1. Welcome home, Janice! Home is where the heart is and after reading your inspiring post, touching me and softening me, I will say ‘home is where the heart and soul are’.

    So glad to hear of your Greece surprise and restoration!

    Funny that timing of anything is often a surprising thing as well. Whenever you arrive in my inbox feels like a right time, because of what you bring, the depth, meaning, encouragement in all your words. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Connie – good to be back and find the blog’s still standing. Did the YouTube video play alright for you? It’s stopped working this end.

      I’m glad you find encouragement in my posts; that’s always what compels me to post rather than keep my thoughts in a private journal. I must be getting stronger, or at least still feeling the healing effects of the holiday; I’ve had a couple of unexpected unsubscribes, yet I’m still determined to post with integrity this time around, and not leave out the darker posts because I’m scared folk might find them too gloomy or think there should be some deliberate balancing act of heavy/light/informative/useful/inspirational/fun subject matter. If only there was that much forward planning at work! Ironically, the more honestly I write, the more positive I feel because I know – absolutely know – that everyone has darker times, yet the world encourages folk to forge forward without taking any time to do as the Buddhists do and recognise the value of both joy and pain. How can we let go and embrace all of life if we’re scared to even talk about the times we’re sad or afraid? For me, the transience of everything beautiful brings an exquisite pain that heightens my appreciation of every moment. This video made me catch my breath with that exactly! moment of resonance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb-OYmHVchQ Here’s hoping it posts ok; the downside of blogging for me has always been how exhausting techno gremlins are.

  2. As always Janice – perfect timing, and perfect subject matter. You have been on my mind of late, so not surprising to find this today. I approached the video with trepidation, finding that music from the current era is often not to my taste. However, your taste is spot on – my grateful thanks. Well worth another listen – or two!.

    • Hi, Gwyn.
      As always, thank you for visiting and for commenting. Logging on to my comments is one of the few times I find it dificult to express myself in words. In that wee bit below the box that allows us to do italics, underlines and quotes etc, there should be one that lets me turn comments into hugs. I’d have hugged Connie, above, and a hug is really what I’d like to send you right now. I hope, really hope that you and all the exceptional folk who read and comment here understand that your words uplift me, keep me going when I’m drifting close to the borderline and they help to make sense of the things the universe sends me.

      We’re all empty jugs, sometimes filled to overflowing, sometimes empty and full of promise, but I’m constantly being surprised by what the universe nudges me to share; before I went to Greece last month, it was music it sent to heal me most and there’s one more music post in the current batch of drafts. Last year it was colour, crochet and discovering – then basing my life around – my core desired feelings.

      From what you said above, serendipity and synchronicity seem to be gently holding the door of your heart open for you. I’m glad they’ve used this wee space to reach you; you know I’m always available to support you and anyone else who finds their way here.

    • Sorry you had technical problems, but after reading your heart-lifting comment below, I’m so glad you persevered! I think it might have had something to do with WordPress automatically updating my blog. I’m now going to have to trawl through my WordPress and Thesis comments to see if anything’s changed or gone back to default. 🙁

  3. Janice,

    Here’s the promised comment that didn’t post for some reason:

    This post just blows me away with its power. Your words are beautiful and poignant. I’ve read the opening part a couple of times now, just letting the words sink into my soul. They are helpful and very appropriate for me. I loved what you said about music “wedging your heart open, like a foot in a doorway…” It does this for me, as well.

    But as much as the post lightened and brightened my day, the words after the post struck me hard. It is always difficult to have anyone we love struggling with a health issue, especially a very serious one. I’m glad to know she’s better. The power of prayer is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’ve had some friends who’ve been struggling with health issues and I always try to take time to say a prayer for each of them. I think it’s not about how you pray, but that you take the time to send the positive energy out to help someone heal. Just in the sending, I feel more at peace myself. I think it’s the boomerang effect:~)

    I am pleased you got a chance to have the holiday. We all need to go to places that resonate with our soul, especially after a time of struggle. For me, it’s the beach. Just thinking about it makes me take a calming sigh.

    It’s good that you are writing and doing so in a way YOU want to write. Never write for someone else…it will come back to haunt you. This is your space. Those of us who visit and return do so because we want to read what’s happening in your life and share it. So, keep writing, Janice. Share what you feel and who you are because from what I see, you’re blooming with love and compassion:~)
    Sara recently posted…Thinking Thursday: Can You Be Ordinary?My Profile

  4. Thank you Sara. You, and the others who take the time to comment here, keep me inspired, supported, and in alignment with my integrity. That’s why, no matter how tempting it is to change my blog’s name, I keep it as it is. The boxes and the supportive relationships that grow here organically are as important to me as the posts; they’re are an integral part of the journey sharing. Despite the different things you and I do with our blogs, I like how they’re journey & connection-sharing siblings!

    I’m glad this piece landed; so many supportive, creative people I know are prone to bouts of exhaustion or low grade chronic depression that I just wanted to acknowledge that I am, too, even though I’m a certified coach. (It struck me how I spontaneously expressed it in a response to Hilary’s comment last week: “…traumatic events have left me struggling with residual exhaustion which is always a worry as weeds of depression have been known to seed themselves in the cracks between intense events and health scares.” )

    Being honest about it helps strengthen my compassion because I no longer fight it – I just take good care of myself, accept I’m doing my best and let the universe guide me. Everything’s fuel for writers. My bouts of low grade depression are mainly caused by medication and malabsorption problems and are not helped by being a member of the sandwich generation – those of us who have kids still at home while we care for elderly parents as well. It’s no coincidence that I’m often inspired to write music posts about music that’s taken my breath away when I’m in the car on my way to my dad’s house or embroiled in intense parts of my teenagers’ life journeys. And I’m STILL in a music phase; two more have birthed themselves in my draft box and I’m inclined to ‘re-post’ one from my archives that never saw the light of day. I’ll just have to go with it! I’m glad you empathise with the empowering effect poignant music has on me.

    One of the many things I love about your blog is how it deliberately evokes and supports folks’ natural impulse to get joy and fuel from sharing their spontaneous creative responses. I have such fun there, and in getting us to respond instinctively, you encourage the silencing of the dreaded censors. Such a powerful way to engage and refresh creatives! I suspect my recent posts have been my way of silencing my own censors.

  5. What a perfectly timed post, Janice. As the world reels with the death of Robin Williams, people struggle to make sense of the loss. As my own son said, “Wow, as rich as he was, why would he do that?” It was a good opportunity to educate him on the truth about depression, that it is not caused by not having enough money or enough things. I was able to tell him that some people occasionally experience depression and it gets worked through, and then it’s better, and then they move on. Other people fight a daily battle to stay afloat with the heavy weight of chronic depression bearing down upon them.

    Like so many people have mentioned online, when people have a more obvious illness, like cancer or Parkinson’s, it’s easy to rally to support that person. But when people suffer from the invisible disease of depression, they are told to “snap out of it” or “be grateful your life is not worse.” I’m hoping that Robin’s death will help people realize that if someone as apparently joyful and full of life as he was can suffer from depression, then we all need to be aware of the signs.

    In light of all that has happened regarding his death, I was so grateful you described depression from the vantage point of someone who has been there. This line gave me the chills: “If I ever feel the grey gauze of depression drifting around me like fog, like snow settling softly in the night…” You described perfectly what it feels like for some–a gradual, gray, colorless, weight bearing down and making it hard to breathe.
    You also shared what works for you–taking advantage of creativity and music. Music has pulled me out of many a dark day, and I call it my own personal anti-depressant.

    I’m so glad that you write from your heart, Janice. Not only from your heart, but from your soul. It’s obvious from the comments I always find on your blog that your voice resonates with many people. They feel that they can open up, because you have. Your compassion sets people free to discuss things here that they might not feel comfortable doing elsewhere.

    Thank goodness for miracles, and for the health of your daughter’s friend. That has to be a relief.
    As always, I learned a lot from my visit here.
    Randi S. recently posted…The Return of the TeenMy Profile

    • Hi Randi,
      Thank you for capturing, in these few lines, the essence of what the blog’s grown into. I know I risk sounding mawkish and trite, but the comments here really do inspire me to keep blogging with the comments turned on.

      I’m so glad that you write from your heart, Janice. Not only from your heart, but from your soul. It’s obvious from the comments I always find on your blog that your voice resonates with many people. They feel that they can open up, because you have. Your compassion sets people free to discuss things here that they might not feel comfortable doing elsewhere.

      I write because, like you and so many bloggers, I couldn’t stop if I tried, but it’s the brave, open-hearted organic connections here that restore my faith in humanity and make sense of what I’m drawn to share.

      Reading that also made me realise why I don’t even log on to check comments regularly any more; I’ve now reached the stage where I want to be able to respond to folk as authentically as I post, and to take the time to have dialogues here in the boxes as well as on other folks’ blogs. As you know, I overdid the blogging before, burning out and turning it into a burden. I’ve seen other bloggers grow their blogs lightly and graciously, linking, surfing, promoting other sites and evolving the appearance of their blogs effortlessly, but I’ve had to acknowledge that I can’t do that because everything takes me so LONG, especially now that I’ve finally embraced that I’ll always be a deciduous blogger; it wasn’t just a phase.

      The bouts of depression I’ve had have been mild, but long lasting, hence the gradual blurring of the lines between what I know life could be like and the muffled version mild depression can cause. I wish I could scream from the rooftops for women to get their thyroid levels fully checked, and their minerals: depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism, zinc deficiency and ferritin deficiency, flooring many women throughout perimenopause and menopause, too. Then add ubiquitous SOYA to the mix – it’s everywhere, but lots of folk don’t realise how it messes with thyroid function, both the production of hormones and their ability to cross into cells and do their work! I malabsorb so I was mineral deficient for years without realising; the thyroid problem is a constant juggle as I’ve been on medication for decades since getting a tumour removed. So many women suffer needlessly as the right balance of nutrients, multivitamins and minerals can act like a miracle cure! Like you say, if depression had visible symptoms, folk would be more aware and treat genuine depression with more compassion.

      Robin Williams death made me so sad; why is it that his level of genius so often makes for troubled souls?

  6. Hi Janice – Having not experienced ‘depression’ (perhaps once briefly – so at least I have a light overview) …but having been around people with depression and seen it work its darkened path – I am glad I don’t suffer.

    Your postings are full of challenging ideas from which we can learn so much … and certainly which I appreciate reading – as they remind of other days (past times) … when gentleness and a smile can help so many.

    I am glad to read your daughter’s friend is recovering … and they both will benefit from seeing each other often as the journey continues … so important the human connection and understanding …

    I echo your other friends’ comments and thoughts .. it’s good to be here – cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Commonwealth Games highlights from Glasgow 2014 … part 2My Profile

    • Hi Hilary,
      Loved what you said about past times when gentleness and a smile can help so many. The pace of modern times has left me reeling a bit. I frequently log off to strengthen my resistance to ‘FOMO’ and because I get queasy with all the quick fix superficiality, hypocrisy, selfies and hedonism that people share in the name of ‘YOLO’. I also hate being bombarded with marketing, popup boxes that ask me to subscribe, even though I already have, and being treated like I’m raw meat at a vampire fest. So much going on, blink and you miss it, snooze and lose, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook quick updates, Twitter… I’ve felt my age more this last year than ever before. So I write to people in sentences that have more than 140 characters and that can’t be superimposed on one photo. It’s my antidote. I like long, leisurely chats over coffee or wine and I like dialogue, real active listening and authentic responses, on the phone, in emails and here. I know I’m a dying breed, but deep in my heart, I genuinely believe what Douglas Steere expressed, and I’ve spent my life trying to listen to folk – my kids, husband, family, friends, strangers – so I can better understand and support them. It may not seem the best use of a life, but on days when I can’t manage much else, it’s all I have.

      Holy listening – to “listen” another’s soul into life, into a condition of disclosure and discovery, may almost be the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another. ~ Douglas Steere

  7. Just stopping by to say hello, but couldn’t resist reading your comment to Hilary. I can really identify with this comment, especially the part about you being a “dying breed.”

    Well, if you are, so am I. I still don’t have a phone that will text. However, my phone’s battery life is at least a week if not more. My bank recently told me they were putting in a new security feature where you’ll get texts to verify certain transactions. I called the bank and said, “So, what happens to those of us who don’t have a phone that will text.”

    LOL The young woman was silent for a minute, as if this wasn’t something she couldn’t imagine. She left for a second and came back and said, “We working on a plan to deal with this.” I hope so or I may have to change my bank:~)

    Be good to yourself…Oh, I like the Douglas Steere quote very much.
    Sara recently posted…The Mysterious Case of the Missing AliensMy Profile

  8. We have to stop meeting like this…well, maybe I do since I’m the one leaving you comments. Oh. My. Gosh. I’m a comment stalker!!!! I’ll never live this down. Help!

    Hey, from the South…I hope all is well in your world. I’ve missed your posts, but I understand life gets in the way of blogging. Do something good for yourself today. I insist, okay?

    • It’s good to see you back in the boxes, in more ways than one! This is the first time in a while my comments have actually been working! (Hope you received my recent emails, explaining my absence then sudden reappearance in your comments boxes.)

      Life’s been a bit rollercoastery this past few months, but I’ve been happy and strong in myself for the most part, just staying offline so that I could give my full attention and presence to folk who’ve been needing my support.

      I came back online last week and found a note from WordPress telling me to upgrade. So I did – easy peasy – only to view my site and discover all of my blog’s comments had disappeared!. And you’ll love this, being a woman who ‘loves’ technology as much as I do – they were broken because my Thesis theme no longer worked with the new WP upgrade. I stayed calm, checked forums and we learned how to upgrade to Thesis 1.8.6… and lost five and half years of customisations when I reinstalled the old 1.5.1 version for a moment just to check something! I redid as many as I could but while I was doing that, my hosting renewal date came and went… Sorted that, but because of some server firewall problem, WordPress is no longer playing nicely with my blog so we need to do new weird stuff over at the server CPanel. It’s all meant, cause the upshot is I’m just longing to get past all the techno turbulence and get WRITING again! I’ve a few drafts in my box that have been there since my hols last year but I can’t post them till the blog’s fixed. Come to think of it, those posts got stalled cause our Greek photos got stuck in the digital camera! My husband’s convinced I have some sort of energy field that fries technology. 😉

      I hope you’re well. Thank you, as always, for understanding my deciduous nature; I truly am the worst blogger in the world! Hope to ‘see’ you soon.

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