When grief answers first … wait.

When Grief Answers First When grief answers first, it isn’t pretty. And, sometimes, it's raucous and self-involved. At least that’s my experience with it. Maybe I am more messy than most – though I suspect not. I suspect that what I am giving voice to here will not seem strange – or sacrilegious to the preciousness of life – if you have spent intimate time with grief. Singular grief sucks. Multiple grief sucks. Overlapping grief sucks. I’ve done them all. When that gut-punch, double over, drop-to-your-knees moment hits, it is hard to imagine that there is anything beyond the pain. When I found out I had breast cancer – just months after Ray took his last breath – grief spoke first. “Well, here’s your ticket out of all this pain. Your work here is done. It’s been a good run.” When losing someone or something you love becomes a reality, it throws off the order. Ray’s run with a cancer that ended in death turned my days – and my morning prayer time – upside down. The pain felt in his absence left me with a desire for connection at any cost. Even if it meant I spoke to Ray first – and God second. Something I never did while he was alive. My healing hierarchy fell out of balance while cancer cells feasted on estrogen without supervision – or should I say without “super vision.” When the small lump grew and ate away breast mass, I witnessed what the physical demonstration of grief must look like in a part of my body designed to nurture life as well as receive pleasure. There are those who believe that disease gets its footing in times of dis-ease. As I look at the overlapping distress and disappointment, compressed into a span of five years, I have to say my dis-ease has carried on long enough. Even for this messy muse. Each day, I wrestle with angels until I find a blessing – knowing that it will not be a blessing that offers a re-do. It will be a blessing where grief – singular, multiple or overlapping – learns to live with grace and gratitude, moment by precious moment. When grief speaks first, I am learning to let it say its piece and forgive myself for what feels like an indulgence, for grief is not indulgent. It is simply a part of life. Then I wait for the whisper of grace. And I embrace grief as a part of evolution – not involution.
I wrestle with a greater awareness of love through the face of loss. And I evolve because I love – not because I loved.
Grief and grace invite me to be part of the equation. To notice the places where I am missing from myself as I am missing him or her – or this and that. To love more deeply and receive more freely. How much grief and grace can a heart hold? A lot. An awful lot if we allow ourselves to evolve and expand through the process. I intend to heal through this grief AND the cancer in my breast. And that means I have to give my ALL to the process. I have to be fully honest, fully present and fully human. (Got that human part down pat.) I told you in my “Life. Death. Breast Cancer.” post that it would get messy here. I also said that if I share anything heavy, it would be to build muscle. So, if grief is a challenge for you in this moment, you are not alone. When our hearts expand, they touch. Here’s to building muscle, together. I welcome your journey with grief here. And if you, too, are working hard for a physical healing in your life while wrestling with an overlapping grief, I would love to hear how you are doing with it. Sharing is Caring. And feel free to subscribe.

Why I’m Not Fighting Cancer – Again.

I’m told I have breast cancer – invasive lobular carcinoma. Stage 2. The initial test results came through 7 days before the Celebration of Life I had planned for Ray – my husband for 37 years – who died on the fast track of a cancer found too late. I chose to put the news of my party crasher quietly on the backburner and go on with my plans to celebrate the LIFE I shared with this man. Maybe I am just too raw, with this overlapping Ray’s passing, but I’m not accepting the invitation to play war here. I’m not fighting cancer – again. I am LIVING while I navigate this next chapter in my LIFE as I learn to live it without his presence. What you say? Isn’t the battle with cancer about fighting for your life? No. Not when you STOP LIFE to fight it. Anyone who’s gone through this knows what I am talking about. A lot of stuff goes through your head when faced with your mortality – or that of one you love. You say “Yes” where you might normally say, “Stop” or “Wait” or “No, let me try another way.” Ray and I barely had time to digest the news that his was Stage 4 metastatic before we found ourselves caught in the revolving door of tests, doctors, hospital beds, pharmaceutical cocktails, heart monitors, iv drips – and blood drawings that turned his arms black and blue. Of course he would fight it and I would support his wishes. Given the circumstances, fighting was probably a better option for him than devastation and grief – as he lived only 50 days beyond diagnosis and most of that in a hospital. (And now, I am left to digest that it was a slow-growing cancer, missed by a medical system of specialists and primary care that only looked at their piece of the elephant. A blog for another day.)
“I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” – Mother Teresa
I am not fighting cancer. I am embracing life and that embrace is my basis for recovery and healing. So many precious moments were lost in Ray’s fight. Moments that we did not know were to be our very last because we were too busy fighting “it” to check-in with the rapidly changing terrain. I do not wish to lose my focus or balance. Family and friends have been put on notice to rouse me if they see this happening.
They know cancer is not part of the equation when it comes to creating what matters most in how I love to move through my life and how I move to love through my life.
This does not mean I will not be diligent in my research and careful in my decisions. That I will not be attentive to those offering me alternative approaches to balance, strengthen and heal my body. That I will not be respectful of and grateful for the medical professionals as they share with me what they know, as well as their assessments and treatments for this party crasher in my breast. This does mean I am not going to operate from panic. Last week I got a call from the oncologist’s office. They scheduled an MRI for me. Efficient, I suppose, except they forgot to ask me before they booked it. They forgot I have a life. A simple thing, I know. No big deal. Why not change my schedule and keep the appointment? After all, it’s CANCER. Cancer is a noun, not a verb. I do not wish to start CANCERING. Call me crazy, but I sense the point where that noun-verb transition occurs. And I teeter there some days. Not in fear, but in the scramble for insurance coverage, in the assumptions made by doctors and their staff, in the measured urgency of loved ones not wanting to lose me – the way I lost Ray. I choose, daily, to be conscious of where that CANCERING point is so I don’t cast aside LIVING. Another verb. The medical machine whisks us through the door after the word cancer is spoken. (And how willingly we go because, YES, it is a scary frickin’ word.) Once we get through that door we start to lose our perspective. We forget we have choices that may be outside the realm of discussion among our providers. We forget we are the patients, the most important part of the recovery equation. Fear and urgency rule as we cast present moments aside while we aim for better days. I’m not a fighter, folks. And I am not fighting cancer – again. I am living – still. LIFE is my point. When I remember, I invite those who forget, to remember. When you remember, you invite those who forget, to remember. And when WE remember, we remember together – and it doesn’t get any better than that. That’s the point where miracles happen. Our journey continues ...  
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”  – Thomas Paine
PS: Treat yourself and read the comments. There is some great experience and wisdom being shared! XO Sharing is caring. And feel free to subscribe.  

Life. Death. Breast Cancer.

Life. Death. Breast Cancer. I have no clever first-line hook for this post. And it won’t be neat and tidy with a beginning, middle and end. If you’ve spent any time here at all, you know I am not shy about sharing when life gets messy – though never for drama’s sake. God knows we all have our tribulations and don’t need another magnifier in the world.
A wise woman recently said it perfectly. If I am going to share the heavy stuff with you, it will be to build your muscle – not sink you.
When I posted about the only New Year's resolution you'll ever need back in January, I had no idea the hurricane that was mounting at sea or that there would be no stopping it when it hit shore. I also didn’t know how challenged I would be to catch my breath, let alone post anything in the messy room. I figured, when I could show back up here, I’d post about my beloved’s battle with a cancer found too late (that had metastasized throughout his body) and all the stuff you witness to in that agonizing race to buy time – at least enough time to digest the news. But then he died. Just 50 days after diagnosis. So, I figured I’d make my way back here and blog about death and grief and how precious life is and the things we say “Yes” and “No” to and all the silly stuff that captures our attention while the really important stuff gets lost in the hooplahah. But now I find myself in a most bizarre overlap. The cancer train has not yet left the station. It seems that I have breast cancer. That the lump they told me was benign in January, before the hurricane hit shore, is not benign now. It has grown and gotten greedy and is invasively feeding off healthy breast tissue. Another intimate life-long partner, challenged. Were it not for my journaling, my morning quiet time spent with God and His divine messengers, and the tribe of wise souls circling around me, I would have washed out to sea before the third tidal wave hit me. But I’m not drowning. I’m here. And I’m back. And I’m writing. My walk with life, death and cancer continues. And I have messy stuff I want to say. I awake with grief and grace, daily, in a scavenger hunt for gratitude and understanding. I am not in resistance – but am in persistence – as I prepare for this next round. It would appear that my life is in what marathoners call a “split run race.” (That’s when you run faster in the second half than the first.) By divine design no doubt. A sacred overlap, perhaps, with my beloved who is now assisting from the other side. I am the stuff of stars. Not cancer. And I will find out what this old girl is made of as I work to reconstruct my life in this next most curious chapter. So, get ready to build some muscle with me or unsubscribe – cause the messy room just got messier. Thanks for listening.

The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

The Only New Year's Resolution You'll Ever Need It’s that time again, and I am offering you the only New Year’s resolution you will ever need to make.
Live your life like you mean it.
Yep. That’s it. Resolve to live your life like you really mean it. Don’t wait to mean it when you fall in love. When you’re out of school. When you have money. When the kids are grown. When your hand is forced by age, or disease, or death. Don’t wait to live your life like you mean it when challenged with some outside circumstance that suddenly opens your eyes. (Like we usually do.) And certainly don’t live your life like you mean it because I told you to.
YOU are the meaning-maker in your life so live your life like you mean it – the way you mean to live it.
Make eye contact every morning with that you looking back in that mirror and mean it, even if just for a moment. Make eye contact with everyone you meet, every day, and mean it. Not as a series of foreheads and noses and lips and ears. Look life in the eye, and all the other folks that show up with you each day, like you mean it. And, when you do, pay attention. You just might be surprised at all that you can be and do and feel. Put this locomotive at the head of the train. Don’t lead with cabooses. (As cute as they look, save them for wishes.) If you put this resolution up front, all the other desires, intentions, determinations – and even wishes – will hook up and follow at their appropriate time. Think about it. This resolution directs you like the Golden Rule. When you love your brother as yourself, when you do unto your sister as you would do unto you, all the rest that’s right or wrong naturally comes into view. The who-what-why-when-where appears organically. And because you are living your life like you mean it, you won’t miss it. If you do, you will circle around and get back on track – or you will find someone that can help you. Living your life like you mean it – like it matters – supports the healthier diet, more fulfilling job, expanded education, improved relationship, shift from depression, or whatever fill-in-the-blank resolutions you might have. The ways and means to accomplish your goals will introduce themselves at the best possible time because you mean it. (Some might appear inconvenient at first but, because you are living your life like you mean it, you will recognize the wisdom in the timing.)
“Matter is Spirit moving slowly enough to be seen." – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
If life matters, you matter. If life matters, how you spend your time giving meaning matters. You give life the meaning and the mattering. You give matter meaning. (Am I messing with your mind? Yes. Make it matter.) It’s  almost 2017. And you are reading this for a reason. Lets ring this one in together. Lets take a deep breath, right now, and slowly exhale like we mean it. Nap like we mean it. Play like we mean it. Hug like we mean it. Seek help like we mean it. Accept help like we mean it. Be amplified – or ambivalent – like we mean it. Divine Source and the universe love to support matter and the meaning in the matter. Spirit loves to conspire on your behalf. Check it in. “This is what meaning looks like to me when I do _______.” Then send out the signal loud and clear. Resolve to live your life like you mean it this year. May 2017 abundantly bless you with meaning so all that matters will come to you. Dream awake. Be amazed. With Love ... and I mean it. Bernadette XO Click on the pic below if you want to know more about my intuitive mentoring services. Muse Fusions Intuitive Reading Special Meaning-maker thoughts? Questions? Share them here! If you like this post, then please LIKE and SHARE because together we CREATE a better world! And be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my Messy Room for more musings and inspirations to come!

Muse Fusions Wrap Recipes for Low-Stress, Low-Impact Holiday Gifts

Muse Fusions Gift Portfolio Wrap
Here are some creative holiday ideas that are gentle on the environment as well as the spirit!
LOW-IMPACT GIFT WRAPS Remember how Grandma used to press and save wrapping paper? Start your own tradition of “re-use.” Wrap presents in last year’s calendar, old posters, maps, coloring book pages, sheet music, blueprints, and pieces of old quilts or embroidered linens. Or my favorite – shopping bags! (As you can see I have a Trader Joe’s theme going.) Use strips of fabric and yarn as ties. Old costume jewelry, Christmas ornaments, fresh flowers, pine cones, and netting for bows. Make gift tags from last year’s Christmas cards. Silk drawstring bags with beaded tassels can hold all kinds of goodies and be used by the recipient the next season for their gift-wrapping. The year’s recipient can toss in a “fortune cookie” wish as they pass it on. What fun you can have watching those fortunes grow within your circle of family and friends! Take stocking stuffers beyond the fireplace mantel. Come up with gift-wrapping pairs. In other words, wrap a gift with a gift. Put kitchenware in a breadbasket, a gift card in a picture frame. Let a necklace and earrings adorn a plush teddy bear. Muse Fusions Trader Joes Gift Wrapping Paper LOW-STRESS GIFTS Gift a service. Housecleaning, clutter clearing, yard work, or car detailing. Pamper with a massage, facial or pedicure. Inspire with a tarot reading, energy clearing or Feng Shui consult. (Psst! I am offering a "Ring in the New Year" special on an intuitive reading. Yes. Shameless self-promotion. You will see the link below!) Gift lessons. Art lessons, music lessons, dance lessons or a pottery class. Gift an introductory coaching session in an area of interest. A writing coach for a blossoming novelist. A nutritional coach for someone wishing to change his or her eating habits. A creativity coach for someone who needs a jump-start back into his or her art. Gift your time. After the holidays, help with a project or take someone out for a play date. Muse Fusions Tea Bow Trader Joe Wrapper
Here’s a creative holiday idea that is gentle on the environment as well as the spirit. Book sleeve wrap + book + tea = cozy evening reading!
POST-HOLIDAY IDEAS Tree-Cycling. If you do not live in an area that offers post-holiday tree-cycling consider using your tree as a habitat for wildlife and birds by laying it out where the branches can offer shelter from the winter weather. Adorn the branches with seed cakes, fruit slices, or pine cones packed with a mixture of peanut butter and seeds. Be green with old things. Don’t let them clog up your closets as you head into the New Year! Donate them. Re-purpose them. Re-gift them. Look for municipalities that offer post-holiday electronics collection events for all your old electronics. Muse Fusions Paper Health Giftwrap
There is 25% more waste produced during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. That converts to one million extra tons of trash per week. I encourage you to consider ideas that not only save our landfills from the extra burden of this season but also save us from the extra stress that comes with juggling time, energy, and money in the holiday dash.
Click on the pic below if you want to know more about my intuitive services and specials. Muse Fusions Intuitive Reading Special Have some great holiday ideas of your own? I’d love to have you share them here! If you like this post, then please LIKE and SHARE because together we CREATE a better world! And be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my Messy Room for more musings and inspirations to come!