It’s been two months since my last communication and I feel compelled to catch up. A lot has happened, the first and most significant of which affected all of us here on the West Coast. No, I’m not talking about the demoralizing implosion of the San Francisco Giants and the subsequent, equally depressing success of the Dodgers. As terrible as that was, I’m actually referring to the summer of fire: numerous, non-stop fires that smoked us all into our homes like so many trapped rabbits. Living through sixty-plus days of what looked like a nuclear winter just sucked all the joy right out of summer: no concerts, no bike rides, no dinners al fresco. It was rotten for everyone caught in it, and of course the worst of it was the massive loss of homes, trees, critters and human life. Still, a double whammy for those of us who could not enjoy being outside and could not take solace in baseball inside. That’s a sort of suffering too. Truly.
On a more personal note, I did not win the speaking spot at the fancy-pants conference that I applied for. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I have toxic metal poisoning. That’s good news because I have been dealing with chronic illness for nearly five years now and I’ve spent a whole lot of time, energy, hope and money trying to heal, to no avail. But my latest foray (to a Chinese medicine specialty doc up north) led to a discovery of the metals and I’m now working on clearing it. It’s a process, but at least I know that I’m doing something that is actually doing something.
Lastly, I am deep into finalizing my second book, Grief Girl’s Bedside Guide to Grief: How to Do It, Why You Should, and What’s In It for You and have just emerged from a six week journey through hell that is the creation of a book synopsis. I sent the it to a very promising publisher (who traffics in books on grief) who promptly replied that she is only accepting memoir. (Where was she five years ago when I needed her? Sheesh.) She really doesn’t know what she’s missing here. I mean, how can you not love a helpful little book that’s about grief and cheeky at the same time?
So that’s what’s been going on: a lot of things that revolve around loss and hope. And that’s really my point here. (A point? Thank goodness, she has a point!) All the crummy things we face—be they big, like fires and illness, or small like not winning or having to do some horrid task that causes you to be very surly and self-pitying and throw daily tantrums—evoke important qualities in us: qualities like gratitude, patience, perspective, tenacity, humility, and joy.
It calls to mind the way that certain conifers can only release their seeds with the intense heat of a forest fire. It is the only condition that stimulates their opening. And in the blackened clearing left in the wake of the fire, the seeds have the perfect conditions for germination, a word that means “the process of coming into existence and developing.” The same fire that destroys life and darkens the landscape is also what stimulates the opening and growth of new life; kind of strange and beautiful when you think about it. Metaphorically, fire both burns and refines; a life of never ending hunky-dory-ness, as lovely as that sounds, doesn’t quite compel one to do much soul-searching or to develop deeper capacities. Just look at the Kardashians.
If you or someone you know could use some guidance through a particular fire in life, give me a call; I’m back to my practice and would love to help. And if you’re feeling great and appreciating the hell out of this glorious fall with its clear, blue skies and life is sweet, more power to you. Wherever you are, however you are, I wish you blessings of peace and love.
P.S. Giants, even though you sucked and ruined my summer, I still love you. #truefan #getittogetherin2019