Accepting the Changing Currents of Grief


Grief Ocean Quote Vicki Harrison


It is interesting how sure we can be about something one moment, and then feel so lost the next.

This is the ebb and flow of life. Ever changing.

There have been many shifting situations in my life these past few months, and especially these past few weeks.

Some you know about. Some I have yet to share.

I debated on divulging this situation for a long time, unsure of what would be appropriate.

Even more uncertain because of the changing currents in mood that come with mental and chronic illness.

I will be okay. I am not okay. I will make it through.

I have been sure for a long while that I would weather everything with barely a glimmer of change necessary in my work.

Today I was reminded that my mind can be unpredictable, and just as progress isn’t always linear, neither is grief.

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Like so many others, my family has been touched by cancer.

We are dealing with a process that is so common and yet one from which we are so removed.

I have lost loved ones in the past, but none have felt so immediate and complete as this.

There is a sense that nothing will ever quite be the same.

And yet I know these tides will change.

And life will move on.

We will not forget, though memories may dim.

We will heal, even if there are scars.

We will continue to love, feel joy, falter, and cry.

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I am giving myself the gift of patience.

An offering of stillness.

Accepting the changing currents of grief as they come and go.

To not let new beginnings be marred by endings.

Even as this means letting go of ideals.

I will allow myself softness.

And a slowed pace.

Time to grieve.

And space to mend.

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I wrote this very different sort of posting at 5:30am, after a night without sleep. When we have the tendency to push through, to add more to our to-do list instead of paring down, the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the acceptance of imperfection. As my family and I continue through this process, dealing with the decline in health of a loved one, and the unavoidable future, I am striving to maintain what I have set forth in this blogging venture. At the same time, I will allow myself compassion and the permission to fall short. I will keep you posted.

All I ask is your patience.

With love always and forever,

Rei Signature


*Base photo by “Death to the Stock Photo” edited in Pixlr.


 

 

Friday Favourites: Instagram Challenges and Get Well Gifts


 

Calgary tower fourth 4th street buildings and street signs urban blue skies streetlight street light green


It’s been astoundingly warm these past couple of weeks in Calgary, and while it makes some things difficult, I’m very grateful for the heat and sun. I still think I’m not fully recovered from the long winter we had, even now that it’s the middle of July.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week on all of the amazing things there are to do in this city, and how little of them I ever actually get around to. Part of it’s a time and energy thing, and another is simply what I discussed on Tuesday, about procrastinating on enjoyable things out of fear that they won’t be perfect (“Does Perfectionism Keep You From Doing Things You Enjoy?“).


Are you on Instagram? For the past couple of weeks I’ve been participating in Gala Darling’s #RadicalSelfLoveJuly Instagram challenge. A photo a day all themed around self love. It’s been a blast and has been a great motivator for taking more photos every day, as well as interacting with more of you lovely people around a topic I feel is very important.  Interested? It’s not too late to join in! The above and below photos are both from this challenge: My city, and one of my favourite quotes.

I know that being afraid and moving forward don't have to be mutually exclusive quote by Paul Jarvis from his book Everything I Know


And now for the links you’ve all been waiting for; here are the best things I’ve read online this week:

  • She also wrote “Awesome Get Well Gift Ideas for Sick Friends” which I think is perfect not only for those who are expected to recover, but also for your chronically ill loved ones. Even if they’re not going to “get better,” your chronically ill friends could use a boost through rough times.
  • I’ve been wearing a lot of headbands while my hair has been growing out. Maple and Oak Designs (local for you Calgary folk) sells amazing handmade fashion accessories from recycled vintage fabric, and even wrote up a great article on “How to tie a rockabilly headband” for those of us who didn’t know how!
  • Are you unsure of what your passion is? “Know Your Passion: 5 Identifiers of What Makes You Really Tick” might help you figure it out. I do think #4 is a little harder for those of us with mental health concerns, especially anxiety issues, but even if you are dissuaded, you’ll probably still be secretly longing to do whatever it is you stopped doing.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and that things ease for those of you going through difficult times.

Much love always,

Rei Signature


Does Perfectionism Keep You From Doing Things You Enjoy?


 

Backlit green leaf tree patterns by Ben Moore


We’re probably used to procrastinating on things we’d rather not do, or are scared of doing, but do you also find yourself putting off something you’d really enjoy doing because you know things wouldn’t be as perfect as you wish they could be?

I used to do this a lot. It’s safe to say that procrastination has been one of my #1 struggles in life. It’s also a pretty sure bet to say that things will never be as perfect as I’d like them to be for a number of reasons:

  • I may be experiencing too much fatigue to do everything I’d like to do.
  • My cognitive abilities might not be as good as I’d like at any given time.
  • My brain can come up with some pretty elaborate scenarios which would be difficult to follow through on regardless of my physical or mental abilities.

I might plan a luxurious night to myself, complete with my favourite food, a movie I’ve been looking forward to watching, and an elaborate creative activity of some sort (perhaps those collage projects I’ve been thinking about for ages). It’s obvious that the ideal fantasy I’ve built up in my head is going to be pretty hard to match, and so I might end up putting off my plans altogether. When it comes right down to it, hanging onto ideals is what’s really at the root of this procrastination.


In his free ebook, Letting Go, Leo Babauta of zenhabits talks about letting go of “should,” letting go of our ideals, in order to be happier and more productive.

“When you have an ideal, you fear not meeting the ideal. You hold onto this ideal, and in your mind it becomes real.” – Leo Babauta - Zenhabits

Having a set idea in mind of how things “should” be keeps us from doing all kinds of things. It keeps us from starting creative projects out of fear of doing a poor job. It keeps us from trying new things and meeting new people. It can keep us from doing things we’d enjoy because they could (and in our minds, should) go better than they could right here and right now.

But we all know perfectionism is procrastination. Perfection is a myth. We really do only have this moment. Let’s get out there and make the most of it! Learn to let go of ideals. Scale back. Enjoy what you can while you can. As much as it would be amazing to be able to live out all of your plans according to the glamorous fantasies in you head, wouldn’t it be better to enjoy at least a part of that experience than none at all?


What would you do right now if it didn’t have to be perfect? 

With love,

Rei Signature


*Photo by Ben Moore via Unsplash