Hello dear hearts!
It has been such a long time since I wrote any kind of blog post, so as I sit here, with the impulse to reach out and share what I have been living these past few months, it feels quite a challenge to find my words.
If you have done any face to face work with me during the last couple of years you may know that my husband was diagnosed with cancer last January. I have been balancing work and care since then, accompanying him as he tried to heal his body and make peace with the cancer cells that were causing so much harm. It hasn’t been an easy time, living with all the uncertainty and sadness that cancer and illness brings, and yet our lives were filled with so much joy and gratitude – for each other, our precious family and dear friends, the mountains, music and dancing, caramel sale ice-cream and bike rides along the lake to name but a fraction of things that made our hearts sing. I am still blown away with how blessed we managed to feel during this time. Even as we adjusted to the knowledge that he was going to die, our hearts were full.
Sadly my beloved let go of his last breath on the 1st of September. He died at home in our bedroom surrounded by love and gentleness. His death was heartbreaking and at the same time precious, beautiful and sacred.
Being with him and caring for him was an honour and I am so grateful I got to be with him, in the joyful times that were full of our dreams for the future and throughout his illness. Since his body has gone I have a times been overwhelmed with grief and at other times felt blessed and inspired for all that he, and this experience, has taught me about love and letting go. In any given day I can feel broken, sad beyond words, curious, tired, alive and back to heartbroken again.
There is still much cooking inside me during these days of tears and new beginnings, but what is clear to me is my need for rest and space. So, I have decided to take a break from work and take some time for intensive self-care and integration of this new life. This new life which I would not have chosen for myself, but which I trust will unfold exactly as it is meant to and that I hope to meet with compassion and curiosity.
I will be in India for the next three months and back at work in March when I expect to be diving back into delivering workshops and seeing clients for coaching again. I love my work so much and can easily get in touch with the spark of excitement at the thought of meeting some of you then!
My experiences are not unique, I am sure many reading this will have their own experiences of loss and grief, but I want to share how I have been looking after myself through these hard times. So here are some of the things I have been doing, and will be doing during the next months to meet my needs for compassionate self-care. You will notice that most of them involved reaching out and asking for help. Maybe they will inspire you to look inside and reach out for support.
During the time I was caring for Richard, the fear of loosing him would rise up and suck my breath out of my belly. Thankfully I was regularly reminded to breathe by Sandra (L’éveil des sens 079 758 08 19) and her deeply healing massage. Yes I need to be reminded to breathe!
Since Richard died I have continued to have massage from both Sandra in Montreux and Anne-Marie in Vevey. Both have helped me to cry, heal and honour my tired and heartbroken body. Thank you.
After Richard’s funeral I went on two retreats one after the other. First with Robert Gonzales and then with Sarah Peyton. Both weeks made space for me to grieve in community and be held by people that love me while I wept. I am clearer now than ever that we are not meant to cry and grieve alone. This is what community is for, to create a container for our tears and to acknowledge the precious love that grief points to.
“In every case where grief and praise are still honored, there is one aspect that remains the same with all people: grief, even for an individual’s loss, is a thing for which a lot of people are necessary. A tribe is necessary even if it’s just to be a kind of resilient nonjudgmental human basket, against which the griever is able to thrash.” Martin Prechtel – The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise.
I came back to Switzerland and talked with friends and cried daily. Then I danced, bounced on my mini trampoline, walked in the glorious Swiss November sunshine every day, drank lots of green juice, gave up sugar (again!), and wrote in my diary.
I had a Soul Portrait Masterclass with the awesome Bairavee. I’m not usually into astrology but was drawn to her powerful feminine presence and spent an inspiring three hours exploring what has been and what is emerging. The session was full of story, mythology and archetypes that helped me to see potential sources of power and intuition in me. Lots of fun too!
This past weekend I again followed my intuition and said yes to trying out something completely new, a Holotropic Breathwork workshop in Lausanne. This was both rich and fun! I experienced many powerful shifts and an ocean of tears, in a sacred space created by some very experienced facilitators. Highly recommended.
Now I am about to go to the UK to see my family before I leave for India and I will spend next weekend with Stephen Jenkinson for a weekend gathering called, Die Wise: Making Meaning at the End of Days. Stephen’s book Die Wise, and the Film about his work Griefwalker, were both deeply transformative for both Richard and I while he was dying and I am really looking forward to a few days with friends soaking up his wisdom on how to live and die connected to ourselves and the earth. He says his book is for anyone who will fail to live forever ☺ and so I guess thats all of us!
And finally to India where I will spend time with my family on Solitude, my brothers farm, roll up my sleeves and get involved in his projects with permaculture and music, and enjoy lots of auntie duties and hanging out with my beautiful niece and nephew. In January I will go to the Indian NVC Convention where I get to luxuriate in community again and reconnect with many dear friends there.
I’m sure there will be more tears, more sorrow and sunshine on my path.
Life is full. See you in the Spring!
Love and Blessings