Wednesday
Mar152017

what happens now?

what happens now? 

All the moving toward something, someone, somewhere just stops. What now? It feels like the end of a chase scene but there’s no outcome, no resolution that is obvious or quick. It’s merely a ceasing of looking for the next thing. Anticlimactic. A slowing down, going within more deeply, as there is no shiny object calling my attention. 

It’s ordinary and routine. Making tea in the same pot. Opening the same blinds each morning. Hearing the same birdsong. There is nothing new.

But I am noticing there is an intimacy available that comes with the staying. It is a similar quality that I have known over decades of meditation. The terrain becomes more nuanced. The space inside has taken on variations and the ability to stay out of the extreme places in my mind is more common these days. 

Perhaps this is what is happening now… a deeper intimacy that requires repetition and willingness to stay. Not always be on the way to somewhere else. To bring my whole attention to where I am and love fully from here? Nothing more needed to allow myself out to shine in the everyday ordinary moments. To be ready for the inevitable changes but not need to create a mountain to climb, but instead to climb the ones that are already here. Perhaps that is what’s happening now?

Friday
Nov062015

being seen

I liken it to sharing only the photos where I look good, I don’t want to be seen sometimes. I feel withdrawn, unsure, unloveable. And so I wait it out. Cleaning the house. Balancing my financial accounts. Taking baths. Connecting in ways that I feel capable of. But waiting to be seen until I look and feel good seems like a waste of precious moments.

So, what is it I don’t want you to see exactly?

Perhaps that I am very human. Messy. Out of sorts sometimes?

When I am giving my full attention to another person, as I do in my work, there is no resistance to showing up and being seen. It’s when I’ve got too much time to think, not enough people to connect with that seems to be when the disconnect with myself begins.

So, the antidote is just show up here and now just as I am. Eyes still a bit puffy from crying, grief still running through from my Dad’s passing earlier this year and still learning how to lean into life when I want to hide.

It’s raining here in Louisville today. I love the rain. Any weather changes really as growing up in Southern California was so full of sunny days that snow and wind and rain are still child-like delights for me.

I’m here. I’m ready for more clients. I have a lot to give right now.

 

Friday
Aug142015

ending with love

When this phrase first came to me it was in regards to ending an intimate relationship with love. I witness so many examples where love is abandoned when endings are called for. This perplexes my innocent perspective. Why would someone want to stay angry?

My nuclear family of five became an extended family of ten when I was four years old.

Two moms, two dads and six kids in one house for three years (this is a big story in and of itself that I’ll share another time), but the ending is what has stayed with me the most. 

The couples decided that the other partner was more suited (it was the 70s) and they collectively chose to end both marriages, swap partners, and marry the other.

All ten of us were at both weddings. There was genuine love that carried through the letting go and the stepping into the next phase. Of course it was not idyllic and there were many challenges for everyone, as in any family, but there was care for all.

For the last 45 years I’ve had four incredible parents. As my Dad approached the end of his life, we all showed up. We all loved him till the end. 

It’s so much simpler to end with love and it opens the way for more love to be enjoyed in the future. Love is a practice, like any other. We must love to know how to love more fully and even in the moments we don’t want to, that is when practice pays off.

I can only imagine what it would have been like to grow up with complete separation between my biological parents and their new loves. So much energy is wasted in the fight to stay away from love.

My definition of love is relaxing into the energy of all that is (the atoms that make up life) and letting go of outcome and past ideas and hurt.

I have dedicated my life to love. I see that in the end it is truly the only thing that remains. My life was changed in so many ways by my Dad, Robert Kausen, over my lifetime, but the last months of his life revealed a level of love that I had not known before.

I am writing a book to share my experiences with Dad while dementia took him away. The book is called Ending with Love: A Father-Daughter Dance with Dementia and you can pre-order a copy of the book and help me leap into the next phase of my life. I’m grateful for you holding me in this vision of this book in the hands of all those that need what it has to offer, including me. 

This is from a conversation I had with Dad nearly two years ago:

After dinner a few nights ago I asked him, "So, at this point in your life, nearly 8 decades in, is there anything you regret or would change if you could?"

I realize this was a big question, but I want to know him better. He was silent for a time and then said, "Nothing comes to me…seems odd doesn't it?" I assured him that whatever he did or didn't want to change was perfect. He then said, "Well, I suppose you do."

And without thinking the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "I had an abortion when I was 16." I cried a bit and he said, "I didn't know that" to which I replied "There's a lot of things you don't know about me." It's been over 40 years since I lived with my Dad.

After some emotions and deep feelings in me he said, "What I think you need to do…is forgive yourself."

I agreed and asked how he forgives himself. "From a deep place of compassion ask a few questions: how does it serve me to live in blame? Could or should I have known better? How would my life be different if I can truly find forgiveness for what I did? It takes a huge amount of love."

I can see where I got a lot of my greatness.

I'd love your support in any way that feels true to you, thank you.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ending-with-love-leaping-into-life/

Saturday
Jul042015

emerging

It’s been a long while since I wrote. This process of grieving is so personal and unique. For those that don’t know my Dad passed near the end of May. I had the privilege of being with him most every day for last the months of his life.

He was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in the fall of 2013 which is completely symptom based as there are no medical tests to verify until the person dies. Like Robin Williams did and they found that he, too, had the very same thing. Dementia and Parkinson’s symptoms which if one is treated the other gets worse.

Dad and his wife Dee Dee moved back to Marin County in late 2012 as Dad’s condition began to deteriorate rapidly. The family stepped up to help pack and move them from their sanctuary home on 3 acres of land on a running creek up against forest open space in the Trinity Alps where they had thrived for 25 years. It was a very rough transition on everyone.

Once he received the diagnosis he wrote this (with the help of Dee Dee since he was unable to write down his own thoughts clearly at that point).

 Met yesterday with Dr. Angeloni to hear his view of my progress. It may seem odd to be looking at progress of this kind but it depends on what you are looking for. My body and brain functions are accelerating their shut down - their performance of service is decreasing in value. The next area of ‘work’ for me is in the spiritual. I'm feeling thrilled to be able to focus what ever amount of time I have on this ‘work’. I love each of you unconditionally.

Dad was finally put into a memory care facility in January of 2014 after a fall and hip surgery made it clear there was no way to keep him at home.

He continued to touch people with love and humor until the last days of his life. He truly surrendered to what was happening and didn’t fight. It was the deepest teaching he ever gave me.

I got to hold his hands till the end.

I am writing a book about my precious time with him called Ending With Love: A father daughter dance with dementia. I will let you know more soon.

Thank you for holding me in these months, consciously or unconsciously, to help me show up fully for him and for me. Now it is time for me to bring all of my deep learning and love to my work. 

Here's the celebration of his life  if you are interested to take a peek.

Wednesday
Feb042015

have the courage to love

Life is a beautiful mess. Things are constantly in motion from one form to another with seeming chaos in-between.

A friend died a few days ago (a dear friend’s father who I’ve known half my life.) I was with him a few weeks ago kissing his fingers and reminding him that love and gratitude are the doors to freedom, for him it was being able to let go of the body. I’m happy he is free now.

Those doors of love and gratitude for me, or for you, most likely look different today than letting go of the body, but letting go of the identities that we’ve outgrown perhaps is a version of the same thing. There is a heaviness that comes with holding on too long. There’s is a Zen saying that I love, “Let go or be dragged.”

Having the courage to love means, to me, to be willing to let go. To let go of knowing what will happen when I open my heart or when it breaks as things inevitably change and the wild animal of grief arrives. The courageous act is to love anyway.

As many of you know, I am in the beautiful and uncomfortable process of saying goodbye to my father…very slowly. Over the past 5 years things have been changing, first slowly and now it seems, with a greater velocity and momentum. To let my love lead me in this letting go, and not my fear, is a great teaching. It is actually beautiful to witness the change in me and in him as odd as that might seem.

This practice of being present to what is happening, the very practice of life, is amplified through this as the words and the sentences from his mouth are less frequently about anything I can see or track. So I’m practicing the improvisational tool of, “yes and.” Instead of saying no or correcting him (or any of the many sweet beings who share this strange journey of losing one’s mind) I say “yes and”…to engage and to love.

Love is all that remains at the end, that’s what I see in my Dad. All the identities crumble with nothing to keep them together - no past or future to stretch across and make some facade or pretense of.

I have cried a lot over these past weeks and months and years. Those tears soften me, help me be more resilient and ready for the unknown. I’m grateful for being an emotional creature riding my intuition where it leads.

I pray for the courage to love even more and to let go of the identities that keep me heavy and separate from life. These full moons are full of so much. Enjoy it all, the whole beautiful mess.