Til Next Time, Madison

I’m waking up one last morning in Madison, WI before heading back home to Brooklyn, NY later tonight.

Home–such an ephemeral experience for me, right now.

I arrived in Madison 2 weeks ago to discover just 2 days into my time here that life as I knew it in NYC was now forever altered. My relationship and our blossoming plans for a life together lay dead in the ground where moments before they had their own heartbeat. I was devastated, my ego grasping for some illusory semblance of control where there was none. I felt utterly alone and struggling to make sense of it all.

I wake up this morning, two weeks later, still in pain, my mind playing its games and weaving stories that make my heart ache with longing and anger and sadness…and yet something has transformed.

I have been blessed to work with 9 extraordinary women in this time. Women who I have been privileged to support as they blossom into their own truth and power–and in the process they’ve unknowingly realigned me with mine.

I’ve had the opportunity to connect with my best friend for the past 21 years to be reminded of the kind of unconditional love that transcends time and distance, and to witness her on fire with passion and purpose as she continues to expand on her path–such an inspiration to me. And then, there are her amazing kiddos–sleepovers with miss JJ only get better through the years.

And at the heartbeat of this trip, I have been here each day, supporting my mom, caring for her doggies…shoveling snow, of course…and finding myself.

I now pass the torch of care for my mom onto my sister who has also been a godsend in helping me process my grief these past 5 days.

I head back to Brooklyn with a heart that is filled with complex emotions, with visions of a future lost, and new ones emerging. No longer part of a “we” or an “us” and also more excited and empowered to be ME than I’ve felt in a long time.

Just me, finding home in the depths of my own being. It’s not as exciting as finding home in a place or another person, perhaps, and yet, it’s more dimensional…more real, somehow, more spacious and freeing.

With each day, with each losing and letting go, I’m coming home to my own heartbeat and discovering little by little what is truly meant for me.

Til next time, Madison.

:)Melissa

Dancing with grief and grace

I find myself in a dance right now between grief and grace.

My heart hurts upon waking and it seems to take the jaws of life at times to pull my attention away from the painful stories in my mind and shift toward my breath and the innocence of the present moment.

I get myself up and moving and at times throughout the day I am again overcome, filled with so many emotions, one after the other, and it feels like I will be tortured by this painful experience for eternity.

And then there is grace: little reminders here and there to bring me back to center, to remind me that I am loved, to remind me of the limitless capacity of my love.

There is grace as it shows up in my work–last night a phone session with a dear soul needing guidance and clarity as she processes the end of a significant relationship, and after an hour of deeply listening to her and calling forth what’s needed, it was as if *I* just had someone spend an hour holding space for me as I processed my own grief, and fears, and questions of “what now?” She walked away clear, connected and grounded in herself and so did I. Through you, my wisdom is called forth in ways that grace us both. There are no words for my immense gratitude for that gift.

I’m not a victim of another or of my circumstances, I am a powerful agent of grace, and as I step into that awareness, I am met by grace around every corner.

And so it is.

Melissa

Grieving

Every painful loss I have ever endured has only been the loss of an illusion.

And it fucking hurts in every cell of my body as I grieve and resist. I get angry at God, like my wants were a perfect plan ripped away, like I’m being punished for something, like a spoiled child screaming, “You never let me have ANYTHING!!!!”

And then, somehow, I surrender. I pick up the pieces and move on. Life goes on without my illusion.

Today, I’m not there yet. I was really attached to this illusion.

Love is a continual practice of letting go…and letting go…and letting go

As I receive unconditional love and acceptance from my partner on a whole, new level for me, I am being confronted with inner demons that I didn’t fully know were there.

Because relationship is simply a mirror for our own relationship with ourselves, I find that as I experience love flowing in, that love is being matched by an equally powerful self-doubt and in all honesty, a self-loathing that is both painful and surprising. The mirror is being held up and I’m seeing all of the qualities that I didn’t even realize I find unlovable within myself, all of the ways that I reject myself. My ego is squirming this week and looking for cover…big-time. The mask is falling away and I’m coming face-to-face with my imperfection.

There’s a very young voice that comes forth inside of me wondering, “Have I gone too far this time? Have you seen too much? Is this the point when I make the love go away?” It is raw, vulnerable, down-right terrified.

I’ve found myself experiencing deep shame at various points this week, judging myself, feeling tremendously insecure, wondering when the stronger, empowered…get this…more lovable me…will return. You know, the me who “has it all together.” This week I’m being challenged to surrender a deeply ingrained belief about myself, about love–that I have to control your experience of me, that I have to act and operate in a certain way in order to be worthy of your love.

And as I’ve been the snotty, needy, victim-minded, emotional mess…ummm…not the me I wanted my partner to see, I’m having to face this fear head on: What will happen when I’m not playing the part? When I let the wounded little girl come out of the closet? What will happen when I’m not in control?

And well, I’m finding out even as I write.

I see now that the deeper the love, the deeper the surrender that’s required. Love is a continual practice of letting go, and letting go, and letting go.

And the most challenging and beautiful part of this whole process: It’s not my partner’s job to love me. It’s MY job. It’s MY job to heal this old wound and to hold myself gently. Right now, loving myself as I’m facing my “ugly” parts is in writing this post, it’s in creating spaciousness for myself, focusing on what matters to me, and it’s in allowing myself to be seen and believe in the love I’m receiving from my partner. Slowly, and steadily unfurling my petals despite how “unsafe” that feels. And breathing. And breathing.

Real love is no fairytale. It doesn’t just show up and good feelings abound happily ever after. It challenges us, stretches us, grows us…heals us. It’s so much more dimensional than a fairytale. It’s not perfect. It’s real life. It’s an opportunity to see who we REALLY are, and love what we find there…even when we don’t. 😉

All my love,

:)Melissa

New Year’s Reflections

As I reflect back on this past year, it has been a year of great courage for me.

I moved to NYC with little money in my bank account and fortunate to receive the support of great friends. I took on a life far from the cozy one I’d grown accustomed to and with each day, leapt into a new unknown.

I discovered burn-out in my work and had the courage to release patterns and dreams that no longer served me. It was scary and dark…deeply uncomfortable. I’m still letting go as I surrender notions of what it means to be a “success,” to have a purpose, what is meant for my life, what wants to be birthed through me.

It takes great courage to live inside the space of “I don’t know.” I’ve felt small and purposeless at times, a voice in my head constantly chiding “What if I never amount to anything?”–and that might be the most precious gift of this challenging year–there is something much more profound unfolding then my Personal Will can ever create or comprehend…and I don’t have to “amount” to anything to be a gift and receive the gift of my existence. A lesson I continue to learn.

And in the midst of all of that letting go and clearing out, a great love was being born and continues to birth itself with new adventures on the horizon–partnership was perhaps the least expected gift this year, and a most welcome surprise.

And now I face 2015 with continued courage, brand-new dreams, and a continued deepening of my surrender. “Thy will be done.” This will continue to be my prayer as I embark on yet another year of this precious life.