A widow falls to the kitchen floor in tears. Only a week ago she called the 911 dispatch hoping her husband only had flu-like symptoms. Little did she know that stage four of pancreatic cancer was eating him from slowly the inside out. In six short weeks he went from having a clean bill of health to be put on life support. In those moments on the cold kitchen floor, not knowing what the future will be, she screams out loud in helplessness behaviour. Her dogs watched helplessly as the tears rolled down her face. Alone with only her thoughts, the sound of silence echoed the house in a haunting manner.
He used to watch T.V. downstairs on a Sunday afternoon, often hearing the footsteps of him coming up the stairs now and then to check on his wife. No longer is the T.V. on, nor the sound of footsteps other than her slow pace as she walks around the house mumbling to herself “I can’t believe you are gone”. How can one cope with these trials and tribulations of grief? She hibernates. She doesn’t have the energy to leave the house. Most widows know how grief can take over the mind. Your thoughts become cloudy, and your decision making becomes muddled in confusion. Hibernation takes over, and yet you want to move on with your life. How can this be done?
Life can change in a matter of moments for an individual. The sudden loss of a loved one, a pet, a job can all be traumatizing, and the emotions of sorrow and despair can overwhelm an individual. Moments of fatigue, helplessness, loneliness, all affect our mental state of awareness which is compellingly. Rather than turn to traditional forms of healing, sometimes the informal way of learning can prove to be beneficial to those experiencing the grief-stricken sorrow. Yes, I did the regular and more formal ways of healing like grief counselling, yet I also turned to other means and creative outlets like art therapy and discovering a retreat centre. I wanted to dive deeper into myself and discover who I was at the core. What better time to find myself than now when, at the time, I felt like all as lost.
Coming to the Edge.
It was only a couple of google moments where, in a just a couple of clicks, I discovered the Edge and the Heart Foundations of Shamanism program: a retreat centre that seemed to fit what I needed at the time of grief and loss. As I drove northbound to this remote place, I found myself excited to find out what kinds of magical moments would lay ahead. The freshly fallen snow that covered the Canadian shield on that cold February day seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. I felt nervous traveling north, yet I’m reminded of my indigenous teachings where, in the North, it is the dawning-place of true wisdom. The North represents a space to realize all a traveler may posses within them. It is a place where the path becomes a mountain for us to climb, assess our deepest teachings and wisdom, and for us to discover what we have within ourselves.
As a nature retreat and awareness centre, I came to discover the power of the path at the Edge! In those moments of healing, I began to discover the power of listening. I listened to my soul. I listened and harnessed my appreciation for Gaia energy. As you are driving down the road, becoming unplugged to the world around, you can reconnect with your core, discovering who you are and embracing your belonging. Nature has a way of creating a deep play for young ones, but also for adults too. At the Edge, I was able to dream, create, and become mindful at the moment, leading by my heart centre. My heart was broken, my sense of identity lost. Coming to the circle, an ancient community practice, at the Edge, helped me understand what my new normal would become. The art of listening is what I encourage people to do in those moments. Taking a gentle walk along a path can have amazing healing moments as you listen to your soul. Even back at home away from the Edge, I walked a beautiful path in the woods on a regular basis (3-4 times a week) to help clear my cloudy thoughts of grief. I listened to the birds, the leaves rustling, I’d pause along the path, and I gave myself a space for my soul to be heard.
As a young widow, my normal was lost. My reality, my family, however, YOU have the power to create a new normal for yourself. You may not know what is in those moments of healing. If you can listen and trust in the path, the pieces of creativity are slowly emerging for you to create and weave together your new being.
Life’s Path: 2 Years later.
Grief still creeps in from time to time, though my pup and I are doing well these days. No longer am I on the floor in tears, but the occasional moment of silence will help me create a conversation with my husband on the other side. The love never died with Derek; he is still within my core. The silence within this space is no longer haunting, but a place is inviting me to continue to work and create my new normal. I listen, and I trust…and by discovering my new being, I can now love myself again and open myself up to love someone new.
After completing the Heart Foundations of Shamanism at the Edge, I was able to discover my true passion for teaching and leading again. Now as I approach the two year anniversary of my husband’s passing this fall, I have now become a Coach, Leader, Speaker, and Author, who is currently completing a Masters of Education, specifically in Outdoor and Land Teachings with Mindfulness Training. The power of the path underneath my toes holds space for me to create new and exciting tracks as I continue to listen to my soul.
At Home Practice:
Today, I encourage you to venture out onto a path. Let yourself become mindful of your breathe and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the area around you. Feel that energy coming from Gaia. She is there with you. She holds the ground strong for you to walk on, and she gives you that breathe of air. Notice the path: Is it straight? Is it curved? Are there any branches sticking out in which you may have to step over? Reflect in these moments (either to yourself or even in a journal). Let yourself feel the strength coming from the path.
Blessings Along Your Path