Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Forgiveness & Closure. And questions.

There's been a lot of change this year.  I write about it almost every week.  A lot of birth, growth, new beginnings, endings, sickness, brushes with death, and recently for me, ending a relationship.  (Not Marc!)

An ongoing family drama lasting almost two years now has come to a pretty firm conclusion the last two days.  The details beyond that are private and not really important, but it's obviously got me asking all kinds of questions and wondering about all kinds of things.

What is closure?  How do you forgive someone?  What do those words and concepts even mean?

Over the past several years, I think the concept of forgiveness has changed in our culture from something involved in repairing a relationship with a person to being much more focused on doing it for yourself - a way to free yourself of past hurt.  There's the simpler level of having a fight with someone, forgiving them, and truly being able to move forward with that relationship.  That is a bit more cut and dry and easy to understand (though not necessarily easy to do!)

Easier said than done, dude.
That idea of forgiveness as being more "for yourself" is especially helpful, I imagine, if the person you're trying to forgive has passed away or is just no longer in your life.  It's not about them validating you or forgiving you in return - it's about you.  Or you also read about extraordinary people who have forgiven the murderer of a friend or family member, talking about a need to free themselves from living a life of bitterness and resentment.  It makes sense, and sounds amazing.  It also sounds deceptively easy - but of course there's no way it can be easy!  Can it?  I suppose it's different for everyone.  The quote on the right I think typifies this type of thinking about forgiveness and working to let go of anger, however justified.

Closure is an even more open-ended concept to try to get my brain around.  What gives something the power of being "closure?"  How can you measure it?  What does it feel like?  If we're talking about something on a relationship level, you're dealing with at least two parties - what if one has closure and one doesn't?

I know these are really abstract questions.  I think they're abstract mainly because I tend to be more literal and more tactile.  It's probably why I've been more drawn to a spiritual practice that has such a physical component as opposed to a more traditional religion.

I realized last night, talking this through with Marc, that I've never been able to "achieve" forgiveness with anything beyond the most basic kind of working something out with a friend and moving forward in that relationship.  I haven't been able to get to a point where I've just decided to forgive something I'd categorize as major in my life.  Part of why I haven't is because I don't know what it feels like.  I don't know what it means.  It almost certainly doesn't take away feelings of sadness and anger and a feeling of being wronged or hurt.  If it's "for me," what does that mean?

It's the same feeling of uncertainty that comes up when I address the question of God.  I'm an agnostic because while I don't believe in God, I also know that I don't know for sure that there isn't a God.  I just don't know, and I don't feel I can presume to commit fully to one side of the spectrum or the other.

Relating that to the concepts of forgiveness and closure, I know that they aren't magic buttons you can press to make anger and sadness go away.  So what are they?  What does it mean?  What does it take to get there?  How can forgiveness set you free if the pain is still there?  And am I just being too damn literal about all this?

Any and all ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day!

This Veteran's Day, I'd like to share my all-time favorite rendition of our national anthem.  Future star of stage & screen, Lisa Helmi Johanson, rocks it like no other.  Just cock your head to the left ;)

Namaste, y'all!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I am a DOULA!

I can't believe that one week ago today, I was sitting in Birth Day Presence in the presence of one of the country's most established doulas soaking in her wisdom.  I wish so much I could go back and take that training again and again and again and again.  (Luckily for me, as a doula, I'm required a certain amount of continuing education credits each year so I may just get the chance!)

Debra Pascali-Bonaro, I'm so very proud to say, has made me a trained doula!  I still have a ways to go before my certification is complete, but this is the most significant part of the certification process to complete before I start attending births.  Debra was wonderful - there are not enough adjectives in the world.  She was warm, put us all immediately at ease, funny, unbelievably knowledgeable, and her heart is clearly in every single thing she says and does.  Her genuine love radiated through every word she spoke.

I'm gushing, I know, but I just don't know how else I'm going to write about this workshop!

With a lot of upheaval going on lately at Karma Kids (I can't reveal our exciting news just yet, but stay tuned!) and my mind and energy focused on that, I've been saying over and over what "terrible timing" this workshop has been for my life - but like so many things, what I thought was going to be a massive disadvantage turned out to be a huge advantage.  I was so caught up in everything else going on I had nearly forgotten my passion which sparked my desire to become a doula in the first place - this pushed me right back into the deep end of it.

The first day was focused primarily on childbirth education, while the second two days focused on the role of a doula as well as anything and everything we'd need to know going forward as doulas, from pre and postnatal visits with clients, to providing emotional support, physical comfort measures, and the history of female support at birth, before it moved into the hospital in the early-mid 20th century.

Each day's lunch break we had the option to stay and watch one of Debra's many documentaries she had on hand, and we also were able to come early to watch them too.  There were so many inspiring stories - Guerilla Midwife featuring the unbelievable humanitarian work of Robin Lim in Indonesia and the Phillipinnes and various other areas natural disaster has struck (read more!), A Doula Story focusing on angel-in-human-form Loretha Weisinger is doing in Chicago for pregnant teens (read more!), and so much more.

None of us in the group wanted the training to end - we could have happily gone on like that for another week!  But we all feel so grateful for the time we were able to have with Debra and with each other and all look forward to coming back together whenever and however possible.

I'm so excited to keep moving forward in this direction with the help of my invaluable mentor, pre/postnatal expert and doula Juliana Secches.  I'm so ready to start attending births and, after all this talk and practice and theory, really start doing this work that I feel so called to do.