Posts Tagged Love
I hope this piece finds you enjoying the beautiful summer. A new month is upon us and with that, I also have a few new things in the works. One being, I will be moving my current blog over to another service. Over the next few postings, I will provide information as to where you can continue to follow me on this journey.
For today’s particular post, I would like to share about my latest project. The LOVE Sangha.
I wear the LOVE tattoo as a means of creating awareness and providing support for friends and family affected by addiction, depression, self-harm and suicide. With several people in my life that battle mental health issues, it is one way I can help bring light to their world.
Statistics tell us:
- That for every alcoholic, 16 people are directly affected. This includes spouses or partners, kids, friends and co-workers, just to name a few.
- In 2012, an estimated 16 million adults aged 18 or older in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This represented 6.9 percent of all U.S. adults.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 16th.
As someone who attends al-anon and has loved ones whom have experienced major depression, which led to suicide or attempted suicide, I have also found great refuge with meditation. That is why I have created the LOVE Sangha. I chose the word LOVE, as an acronym: Let Others Voluntarily Evolve. One of the most difficult things for those in al-anon to do is let go. We can’t change someone who isn’t willing to do it for themselves. And it is just as important to work on yourself. The LOVE Sangha is not a replacement for a traditional 12-step meeting. Rather, it is a safe space to help you explore a deeper sense of self, as a community. One does not need to be part of any 12-step program or have any experience with meditation in order to participate.
This is a free online forum, which provides anyone from around the world to participate. Using a video conferencing system, it will allow you to participate from any computer, tablet or phone. Having a support system is equally important for those who are effected by mental health.
Please reach out to me directly if you or anyone you know may be interested.
Today people are expressing all they are grateful for. Whether it is early morning Facebook posts, words shared around the dinner table or thoughts they keep to themselves. While there are many things I am extremely grateful for, today I share I am thankful for all those who trust me to hold space for them and for those who hold space for me in times of need.
I know some of you are thinking what in the world is she saying or even that is too new age for me. “Holding Space” was a phrase I heard early in my yoga practice but never really understood until a few years ago.
In 2009 I attended Yoga Journal conference and spent three days with Nikki Myers in her intensive Y12SR workshop. At the time my friend and I had just started our volunteer program teaching yoga to kids in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. We learned such a great deal from Nikki that we invited her back to Boston later that year. Over that weekend, all of our participants were extremely honest and raw with their history, emotions, and struggles. It was the first time I really understood what it meant to hold space. Nikki and company would sit, breathe, listen and just be so others could share. To me, this phrase, holding space, means having the ability to be in a space, free of judgement while those around you and including yourself take time to process life.
Holding space is about allowing a situation to unfold without fueling the emotions that may be part of it. Holding space is trusting that by allowing a person to express their emotions freely, their deeper healing is already at work. Anything you say while holding space must be free from your judgements about them and their situation. You get to create a safe space for them to have their process.
The practice of holding space can be loving and comforting. For example, a friend may lose a loved one. You can sit and just be with them. Other times, holding space can be down right scary. Not all relationships are roses. The key is to allow them to share their feelings without judgement.
What I understand about myself is that I have to work very hard on watching my emotions come and go. If I let them get the best of me, it’s like a small ship lost in a storm at sea. The wind and elements are outside myself.
Holding space means not reacting to haste or fear. Rather it is responding with love and awareness.
From the very first chapter, I felt all the raw emotion radiate off the pages of “Slaves to the Rhythm”. It was as if I were right there with Terry the whole time- living, breathing each and every moment with him. This story is more than watching a partner live with AIDS. It’s a story that depicts family relationships and struggles, undeniable passion and loyalty for those we love and what it means to overcome adversity that we may encounter. This was my review on Amazon for Slaves to the Rhythm- A Love Story, written by Terry Connell.
Today I honor World AIDS Day by celebrating my friend’s book. The idea of the book was sparked by a family tree put together by his father, in which Terry’s partner, Stephen was left off. Intertwined between two stories, 1) following journal entries of Terry’s years caring for his partner with AIDS and 2) vignettes of family history as a gay, Irish Catholic boy, Slaves to the Rhythm is about life, death and self discovery.
Terry was interviewed by Anthony Brooks and that can be found here- http://radioboston.wbur.org/2011/03/30/slaves-to-the-rhythm
In memory of those we remember and in honor of those still waiting for a cure-