Bringing down the Wall


5104664684_54c2cc0beb_oI stood and let her waft the sage over me, cleansing and preparing me. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply the earthy scent, asking my body, my mind and my heart to open to the gifts she was offering me.

We had sat and discussed life and expectations and crystals. She is as much teacher as healer. I’m trying to hold on to all the knowledge she has given me, but some of the experience still swirls around in my head as my subconscious  and conscious work through processing it all.

These words are part of my processing, even now I’m not exactly sure what my pen will say or how it will interpret, and I’m trying to just let myself open to the natural flow and let my pen tell me my story. It may not come all at once. She told me the healing continues for 2-3 days so perhaps over that time my pen will have new stories to tell me that it wasn’t ready to delve into and explore at this moment.

I am going to try to find some time for meditation over the next little while. I feel called to make space for that, and to make time for my pen to talk to me, to help make clear the fuzziness, or just to open the paths for me to a place where I can start to find peace and healing.

Twenty years of pain is not washed away in a few of hours spent in the skilled hands of a Reiki practitioner but today was another big step in my healing path.

2379996296_12f3e8e9e0_oShe felt my wall. As she ran her hands over me and felt my energy, she encountered a massive, all-encompassing heaviness. As she was describing it to me I recognized my wall. It is a wall I’ve built around me to keep everyone out, to protect myself from more pain, to distance myself from meeting new people for fear of them seeing my shame, my guilt, and judging me unworthy, in turn creating more pain. Such a vicious loop that just solidifies my fortifications.

Her words filled me with love and hope. “You need to work on taking the wall down, or at least removing a few bricks so that we can help you.”

Those words were comforting and beautiful. My wall was seen and felt and recognized. Most of the time I feel invisible because of my wall, and my wall is invisible because I keep it that way. My wall is my camouflage. I project on to it what I want people to see. Taking it down will be hard because it means allowing people to see me as I am, no artifices or dressing up, just vulnerable and naked and scarred.

Many people will not be comfortable with what they will see when the wall comes down. Some will grab the bricks and mortar and beg me to put the wall back up because dealing with my vulnerability and pain will force them to face their own and it’s hard work to face your vulnerability and pain. If I refuse to rebuild my wall and make them comfortable, several fall outs are possible. Some may pick up the pieces of my wall and hurl them at me in anger, others may pull away and quietly disappear but the ones that I choose to focus on are the ones that extend me a helping hand to pull the wall down so my light can shine, so my pain is seen, recognized and allowed to heal in the safety of their presence, and what chooses to grow in the wall’s place will be nourished by the love and support of the people brave enough to see me for everything that I am, the dark and the light of me.

It’s a constant process. Every day it’s getting up and looking into my pain, my past, my present and future and weighing every decision based on love and openness and being willing to put down the bricks and mortar so at the very least I’m not building my wall any higher or wider. Some days if that’s all I manage, it’s still a victory. The wall may not be any smaller but it didn’t get any bigger either.

My Reiki practitioner gave me such a gift when she saw my wall. To be seen in my pain and vulnerability, to have space held for my weaknesses and to be asked to step out from behind the wall and shine despite whatever burdens I carry, is a huge gift and I thank her for that. I don’t feel so invisible any more and that’s an empowering feeling. It gives me strength to face my journey knowing that my pain, my past, and my worthiness has been seen and accepted by another. It is a validating moment and sometimes validation is exactly what we need to give us the strength to fly.

My wings are ready. Maybe I won’t break my wall down, maybe I’ll climb up to the top of it and jump off, spread my wings and learn to fly. Maybe that’s why I have spent all this time building it so high…


A Dozen Roses


3293365635_689005da3f_oShe brought me roses again.

It was my Mother-in-law’s tradition. Every Mother’s Day weekend I would always find a white box tucked in our front door delivered by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa.

I loved those roses. They were a thank you, a connection of love from one mother to another, a reminder I was good enough. Good enough as the wife of her oldest son, as the mother of her grandchildren and as the daughter she never had the opportunity to birth herself.

My Mother-in-law left us nearly ten years ago after a six-year victory run with end stage breast cancer. She lived with grace in pain and with love in life. Her strength of spirit was immense and it infected every part of her life and it conquered her cancer.  It wasn’t her cancer that killed her, at least not directly. After six years she was getting tired and it was time to move on. The Good Lord came for her and even to her last she didn’t go without a fight.

She fell trying to get out of bed. She got caught in the blankets and fell to the floor, the phone tumbling out of her reach, preventing her from calling for help. She lay there for a while until her husband came home from work and she was rushed to hospital where she went in for emergency surgery to repair her broken leg. Unfortunately a couple of days later she developed a blood clot in her lungs.

We stood around her bed, holding her, loving her and, albeit reluctantly, making space to let her go, making it okay for her to move on to her next phase. The emotions in the room were thick, pain, love, grief, loss, colliding in a kaleidoscope of intentions, each of us needing to be held in our own way. That is a moment etched in my heart and sealed with burning tears. I remember the closeness of the room, the people pressed in close, the desire to run away from the pain but not being able to let go. Our lives would never be the same again…

She passed just before Mother’s Day 2005. The first time the roses were not in the door was a shock to my system, it was the cosmos reminding me she was gone and I would never receive my roses again. Each year on Mother’s Day I think of my roses and there is an empty vase that will not get brought out to be filled with them.

Friday she brought me my roses again and she filled my vase with love and hope and affirmation.

I lay on the Reiki table, my friend passing her hands over me and she saw the image, it came to her as she was close to my heart and passing on my right side. A pious woman with a veil holding a bouquet of roses.

It was my Mother-in-law and it was her way of saying she is still with me, still loving me, and is still looking out for me and my family. She brought me the roses to remind me I am more than enough for all I need to be and do in this world, I just have to remember and own my inner strength and beauty.

I’m trying to. Every day I’m working on remembering the love she carried for us and still does. She is everywhere around us. My youngest has never known her alive and yet when he sees her picture he has told us he knows her, he’s seen her, at her house. I believe she has visited him during one of our visits to see Grandpa.

I’m opening myself up to the comfort of her embrace and accepting the gift of her roses into my life and sharing the gift with my family so that we all might heal from our grief. Next spring it will be ten years since she left us in body but her spirit has never left us. We must all open ourselves up to the gifts she continues to bring us whenever we need them most.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.