I recently read that when you want to bulk up your muscles by working out, it tears your muscle and creates a scar. That scar is what makes your muscle bulkier and makes you stronger.
Reading that reminded me of the above quote.
Every scar. Every physical, emotional and spiritual wound. Every stretch mark you endure, tells the story of your life. It shows what you have endured and survived, and makes you stronger.
Our scars make us stronger. They make us more beautiful, more uniquely us, and as an extra bonus, more compassionate and kind toward others. They tell the story of our life.
But just as with any workout routine, you first decide to be healthier, you embrace the current discomfort, you work through the pain, you rest when you need to, and then do it again. it takes time to see the results.
Running Eagle was the oldest of five children; a female warrior who chafed against the expectations for her as a girl.
During a hunt, she rescued her father, riding head on into a hail of hostile fire after his horse was shot out from under him. Her tribe celebrated her daring exploits, but some members of the community rejected her because she wasn’t behaving like a woman.
The first time she followed a raiding party the leader tried to turn her away. She refused to leave and he threatened to cancel the raid altogether. Brown Weasel Woman countered: If you cancel the raid against the Crows I will go on by myself, she told him.
She won the argument and the battle, distinguishing herself by capturing 11 horses and defeating two enemy warriors who counter-attacked the raiding party as it returned to the Peigan camp.
It was only after she completed a vision quest that she was accepted. She was invited to participate in a Medicine Lodge Ceremony and given the name Running Eagle-which was reserved for only the greatest warriors – the first time it was bestowed on a woman.
Running Eagle never married, led many successful hunts and war parties, and fell in combat against Flathead warriors sometime after 1878.
~ DIANA’S ENORMOUS BOOK OF QUOTES ~
* I found this amazing story, posted by the YWCA on Instagram, and copied it here, word for word. This story reminds me that when I feel strongly about something, I shouldn’t let a little opposition stand in my way. Have a wonderful Sunday!
This loss spills out over things I never thought it would touch and i am shattered by the falsehood of permanence.
– Chloe Frayne
She’s slipping away, bit by bit. In many ways I’ve already lost the woman I’ve known as mother all my life. She’s being replaced with a new woman, one who has endearing qualities of her own, one who although a stranger to me, I’m struggling to know.
What a conundrum to build a new relationship, when memories created moments ago, are forgotten as quickly as they are experienced.
Yet what a gift it is in teaching me how to ‘live in the moment, love in the moment,‘ right in the moment we have.
She may not remember my visit, or the laughs we shared at the dinner table, or the conversation we had on the phone, or that the big-comfy-after-bath-housecoat I bought her, is hanging in her closet, but I hope with all my heart, the love shared in these moments transcends the moments, and makes its home in her heart forever, even if one day, she forgets me.
Have you ever noticed that the circumstances in life that you struggle with the most seem to repeat themselves over and over again, until you finally find a way to handle them differently?
In past years, I have chosen a word for the upcoming new year. Words like tenacity and service, or perhaps the words actually chose me as my friend Louise Gallagher, over at Dare Boldly has often suggested.
I am certain that my word for 2018 chose me.
Let It Go.
Yes, I know those are three words, but no single word I’ve found, such as release, or surrender, or acquiesce, have fully meant to me what those three little words have come to mean.
I realize, as well, that those three little words have not just made their debut in 2017. They have been waiting patiently at the sidelines for three years, maybe more.
You see, in my family, an issue arises and we scramble to “Fix It”. This works well when it’s a manageable situation like, my car won’t start – call AMA, or my computer is acting up – have you tried rebooting it.
Yet there are many situations in life where you can do all you know to do, and it doesn’t get fixed. There are variables that are simply out of your control, and those are the very things, in my case, that can roll around in my head like a PowerPoint presentation or video that has been set to ‘continuous loop.’
That loop can take over, and more often than not, it prevents me from taking action in other situations, over which I actually have some measure of power to make a difference.
And so, those three little words unassumingly step forward for the millionth time to gently nudge me, encourage me to recognize, to really see that it is time to let it go, to trust, and accept, and even embrace the natural unfolding of what is.
And yes, it really is as simple as that.
Wishing you all an amazing 2018 filled with courage, growth, resiliency and love,
When you use the sheer force of your sorrow to crack open your heart, it promises to drop you down into a deeper capacity for compassion and care for all living beings. You become initiated into your own humanity in a way that connects you to all life. Such is the paradox of grief. It holds the power to either destroy or to save you. Which one is up to you.
“What is the name of that singer I really liked?” mom asked me, sitting across the booth from me at her ‘second home’ at Vieux Chateau in Hawkesbury, ON. “You know, the guy who sang, ‘You ain’t nothing but a groundhog?’“
How interesting that mom would ask that question, with the mistaken groundhog instead of the actual hound-dog from the song she so loved by Elvis Presley, since my brother and I had recently discussed how life with mom is sort of like the movie Groundhog Day.
Two years ago, mine and Mike’s dad, and mom’s husband of 56 years passed away. Mom hasn’t been the same since. How can someone go on when their husband, whom they have spent more than half their life with, is suddenly gone.
It hasn’t been easy for mom, or for us kids who are witnesses to the profound sadness that saturates mom’s reality. And just recently mom has also had to give up driving and leave the home that she and dad built together to move into a retirement home.
Getting old sucks!
We try to tell ourselves otherwise to make ourselves feel better, but it’s a shit show of giving up independence and autonomy. Sure, one can still find joy in moments and be grateful for what remains, but as in the case of mom, that takes a great deal of re-focusing and determination.
You see, mom isn’t who she once was. She has become very forgetful and displays signs of dementia, and she knows it. Imagine if half your brain was breaking down, and the other half was fully aware of it. It can’t be easy for her. And she is different. She’s not the mom we knew. But the new Margot is beautiful. She’s compassionate. She is concerned about the future of, and misses, her family immensely.
During my one-week visit, I watched mom reach out to others who are struggling, doling out hugs, taking the arm of a woman who has pain when she walks. Mom is fierce in her efforts to help and protect others, because she knows firsthand what it means to feel helpless. She is beautifully compassionate when she hugs and cries with those who are hurting. And although she doesn’t feel it, she is brave, emotionally connected and a light in the darkness.
It’s not been easy for us, her kids, because we are heartbroken with the cards that life has dealt mom. We feel guilty because we can’t spend as much time as we would like with her. And yet, we are so proud of her and so in awe of her ability to FEEL the moment and experience it in the moment.
I don’t mind so much when she cries, because that is RAW honesty, and it passes. She feels it. Accepts it. And moves on. I guess the hardest part is when she panics, when she feels that she screwed up in someway, when the chaotic thoughts in her head send her into a tailspin. Thankfully, these episodes seem to be less, now that she gets her medication dispensed by a nurse at the correct times.
Don’t misread me. It’s not all gloom and doom. Mom’s only been in her new home for a month. She needs time to mourn what’s she’s lost, and grow accustomed to her new surroundings. We do have high hopes of a meaningful quality of life experience for her moving forward. We look forward to a possible trip with the whole family to Germany, mom’s homeland, and we look forward to a June wedding between my daughter and her fiancé.
But I don’t think we are fully off the hook. Individually, and as a society, we need to take a long, hard look at how we treat the elderly. How do we make sure that there is still “life” in their lives? How do we create an environment where joy can exist? How do we move away from ‘doing everything’ for them to ‘helping them find their new purpose?’ How do we move away from the warehousing of elderly people, to an integrated model of all society that includes children and all ages? And how do we keep the conversation going until we find it?
Getting old sucks, but it doesn’t have to…
Check out the amazing results that happened after this cool 6 week experiment.
~ DIANA’S ENORMOUS BOOK OF QUOTES ~
Mom lives at Place Mont Roc now; a wonderful place, run by wonderful people, helping wonderful people. Their kindness is amazing and it’s a great foundation on which to build what we can further do to respect and keep the dignity of our seniors; our moms and dads.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of Louise Gallagher’s company. It has become a tradition for us to meet each year before Christmas. And I always leave our time together re-energized.
Among the many topics we cover, we talk about Louise’s current move to a new home. I imagine, because of Louise’s creative soul, she must have lots to pack as she’d be inclined to keep things that might be used in a future art project.
“Yes I do,” she affirms, and holds up a print out saying, “I look at this and wonder how I could use it for art.” She goes on to tell me about an empty container she keeps that reminds her to ‘hold space’ for things she cannot change, like the hurts she has caused others, or others’ have caused her.
I pull a black, shiny stone out of my pocket – an Apache Tear – and tell her when I feel it in my pocket I remember those whom I have lost in this life, and those who still struggle.
Do you have a meaningful object? What does it remind you of?
Hear about that car accident? Yeah, probably a teenager on drugs. They’re all on drugs you know? They have no idea of the worth of a dollar. They’re lazy. They don’t care what they look like – no respect for anybody. LOVE LOVE LOVE – yeah right, loose morals if you ask me!
Sound familiar? Not so different from words I hear today about the next generation.
But we were the generation that wanted to see the end of war, that wanted to feed the world, that wanted to give peace a chance, that felt we were handed a mess. We were idealists.
And then something happened. We grew up. We had families. We got tired. We looked out for #1. We wanted to make sure our children would be looked after in our little corner of the world. We put blinders on. We forgot about the grander picture. And the next generation says we left them a mess. They are idealists.
Well maybe they won’t forget. Maybe they won’t grow tired.
Something I heard said, while growing up in my hometown of Chateauguay many times. And it isn’t fair, it certainly doesn’t seem to be at times.
We plan, we work and we dream about the life we are building, and things don’t always work out the way we hoped. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it crashes down on us like the destructive force of a storm. Yet, sometimes when the storm has passed, we look back and are able to say, “if not for the storm, I wouldn’t have learned (fill in the blank).”
I’m learning that in the storm, in spite of its force, in spite of my fears, I have to be brave. I have to trust that things will settle down, and I have to believe things may even be better than they were before.
The storm wakes us up. It shakes our foundations, and causes us to pay attention. It reveals what is important. It reprioritizes our priorities. And it creates a huge space for love and compassionate action.
Mom is teaching me this. My brother is showing me this, through this frightening time of transitioning Mom to a retirement home.
A new stage in life. A profound sense of not knowing and loss of autonomy. A shaking up of a life hard-worked for, painstakingly planned for, and callously turned upside down.
Yet love is there. Courage to believe is there. Hope that it may even be better than it currently is in this storm, is there.
~ DIANA’S ENORMOUS BOOK OF QUOTES ~
Mom and Mike, I am so proud of you. You may feel fear and helplessness, but I see your courage, love and hope; and I know that Dad does too. I love you!
The act of spreading joy does not often come from a place of my own joy. In fact, every time I can recall my own joy, it’s been a deeply personal experience, felt by an audience of one – me.
The wondrous privilege of witnessing nature; a dragonfly landing on me with wings glistening in the sunlight when I was a child in Chateauguay, a hawk calling while soaring across a central BC sky, a spider’s web sparkling in the pre-dawn light of a full moon in Brown County Indiana, the lull of the ocean’s waves crashing against the shore and receding, crashing against the shore and receding in the Dominican Republic, and more profoundly moving of late in Calgary, dogs approaching me with the same trust and love they used to approach dad with.
My joy comes while living in the moment and is deeply personal.
Spreading joy often comes from a place of brokenness; cycles of dysfunction in relationships or, stubborn ways of thinking or being, when I finally reach out with forgiveness, when I decide to break the cycle to relieve someone else’s pain through kindness and friendship.