Training thoughts, ideas, observations on the road of life to pedaling in circles really, really fast.
Friday, February 08, 2013
A Community Full of Possibilities
When Ryan died, I was on a mission to find a new community. One that I felt at home with. One that didn’t look at grief as a problem to be solved, a series of steps to be taken as a means to move through it. I wanted a real connection. I wanted to feel and embrace grief and look at grief as a gift. One filled with possibilities and experience. One that recognized the trauma but also gave light. I felt alone in my quest but strong in my resolve.
I remember a friend’s child asked, “Why does she seem so happy, mom?”
As hard as it was to loose Ryan, I knew I had a choice. I had a choice of how grief showed up for me and how I wanted to view it. I could shrivel up and die myself. I could view it as a problem, one that needed to be solved. Or I could choose to live life to the fullest and share my gift with my community.
I went into hunting mode. I craved answers. The University of Washington bookstore had many books on grief. Some of which have revolutionized how our culture addresses death and dying. In many ways, they focused on death as a problem to overcome. The conversation continued in a comfortable way, explaining how one deals with trauma. This new issue you are facing in your life is a problem and lucky for you, we have many books on how to solve it. I picked up book after book, read the book insert and put them back.
Our culture is obsessed with problems. And problem solving. Media, linguistics, judgements are all based on problems. We are bombarded the way our community has too many problems. The problem with our leaders, the problem with society, the problem with problems, death as a problem.
I grew frustrated, quickly. I carefully searched for possibilities and gifts inside of books and groups that I could resonate with. Only a handful of books put grief as a gift into perspective. I wanted more. I wanted the majority of books to have that insight. I didn’t give up, reading as many books as I could get my hands on. I talked to as many widows as I could. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why we viewed grief so differently. And then tonight, I had an AHA moment.
We need a paradigm shift toward death. It’s the driving force behind my book and why I am writing Leaping Into Lovers Lane.
I never viewed Ryan’s death as a problem or an issue to be dealt with. I didn’t get angry. I was rocked to my core and even in my darkest days, I knew light was a possibility. That I was experiencing this for a reason. A grand plan in the Universe. One that may not make sense at the time, and feel like a heavy toll to pay, but one that I accepted. One that I owned. One that I viewed as an amazing gift.
If it were up to me, I would eliminate “problem” from the dictionary. Instead I would replace it with possibilities and gifts. Just think of a world without problems. One that instead focused on possibilities. One that was so full of light that our communities grew stronger. We supported and celebrated one another for our amazing talents and abilities.
I’m beginning a conversation with you, my community. That’s where it starts. Conversations gain momentum and then birth a new light. A new consciousness. A new way of thinking and a way to show up in the world.
Leadership starts in small groups. It moves slowly, gaining momentum and creating sustainable change. In you, in me, in everyone we surround ourselves with. I challenge you to eliminate problem from your vocabulary. Use possibilities instead. Notice what shows up for you in the world. When you find yourself slipping into that old verbiage, stop and reframe.
I know that changing your perspective, one that you may not even be aware of, will shift things in your world. It shifted mine.