This Is Our Unmasking

In those moments I permitted myself to feel the discomfort of all that has changed around me, all that has changed within me, and to grieve all that will never or cannot ever… be returned to me.

I approached the doors to the funeral home to find a young staff waiting with a thermal scan aimed in my direction. I leaned in slightly and on gaining her nod of approval of my afebrile status, was ushered forward to share my personal info with the woman behind the plexiglass window. This was my first celebration of life during these unusual and confusing times.

And it changed me.

Moving to the left I found myself staring into a space where seating was paired, two side to side with six feet to the next set, on both sides and behind. The stagger of the chairs bewildered me for just a moment, due in part I suppose to my expectation of how this should be. I stood there glancing about the room, not certain what to do in the absence of a grieving family standing to greet those who were there to pay respects to their loved one. I will admit to a pang of panic in not quite knowing what was expected of me in that moment. My husband indicated the familiar face of the Reverend officiating and I found myself steered in her direction with some relief that I could comfortably stand close without fear that I was encroaching on a bubble I didn’t belong to. The presence of another known friend found me taking the seats that sat six feet behind his own. The arrival of the widower permitted me my need to reach out, to return the requested hug and to share my sorrow at the loss of his beautiful spouse. I will admit that I have never been a fan of the family greeting line; to me they force the grieving into a position of accepting touch and comfort in a time when they are most fragile and at risk of shattering. It was a surreal realization for me to suddenly recognize that despite my distaste of the typical practice, I still stood there seeking its tradition.

Taking my seat once again, I glanced about the room finding only eyes to greet me, the masks dutifully drawn to the bridge of the nose, glasses perched and clouded or raised to sit on the head to clear the vision of the breath that steamed it. I felt that I had landed in a different place, a different time with a brand new set of rules of both behavior and engagement. I peered into the eyes of the older lady seated six feet to my right and smiled quickly realizing she wasn’t aware that I had done so at all. I felt sad in that moment that we had missed the opportunity to meet on that smile. Perhaps she had smiled my way also, and I missed it too.

My dear friend the Reverend stood to take her place at the podium, and I fell silent to listen to her words. As she moved through her eulogy, and the children stood to speak, I was quite stunned to find myself reaching up to wipe away tears that have never come easily to me. I am not that person. I am not that crier; I share in painful expressions of loss and pain on a daily basis, making this a highly unusual occurrence. I sniffed deeply back to pull it together and immediately found myself right back to tears dampening the cloth that covered whatever facial expression existed beneath it. I could feel the familiarity of the trembling lips, the attempt to then pull the lip between my teeth, as if that motion could stop the flow of fluid now freely escaping my lower lids. But this time the attempt ended in failure.

And then it hit me.

My mask had afforded me the vulnerability to be honest. Yes, I was pulled into the stirrings of emotions listening to a family share stories about a wife, mom and grandmother whom I respected deeply for her love of life despite her egregious health battles, yet a woman I hadn’t been blessed to know well at all. Her story and her fight to live shared over social media by her loving husband whom I knew well enough to be honored to be asked to share in the celebration of her well lived story.

In the short time that followed, I allowed myself to both partake in the words I was hearing, and in the thoughts of the losses I had encountered myself over the year(s) that just passed. With eyes dampened in tears, and the stain of eyeliner marking the trail, I glanced again around the room and found a comforting reality that I was not at all alone. Without the expressions to guard the tears, the tears were more truthful than I have ever witnessed. I felt each one, and became part of a whole in a way I could have never imagined possible. In those moments I permitted myself to feel the discomfort of all that has changed around me, all that has changed within me, and to grieve all that will never or cannot ever… be returned to me.

During a 45 minute celebration of life, I cried for the year(s) that I lost. The year(s) that we lost. Seated hidden beneath my mask, I bade farewell to the experience of what once felt real and felt a stir of hope that something better will fill the holes that these losses have left behind.

Behind my mask I found my pain, and I gave it permission to leave me. My wish for you is that you find your own, that you allow yourself to let it free to absorb into a piece of fabric that protects the vulnerability beneath. My wish for us all is that on the day that this ends, that we can turn new and beautiful faces to the sunshine.

My hope is that you find yourself immersed in the opportunity to understand and know yourself entirely before these strange times come to an end. My hope is that you find solace enough beneath the mask to give truth to what you grieve.

There is no joy to be found in the heavy loss of precious life during these present times.

But there is joy ahead for those that will understand why we have shared this together.

No one can see your lips trembling. Go ahead and grieve.

With love and light

Tania

What The Dead Want Us To Learn From A Pandemic.

“You’re all in this together. Work it out”

What The Dead Want Us To Learn From A Pandemic.

With slightly off color forward by Tania:

Have you ever had one of those “I showed up to the party naked and everyone else was dressed” dreams? If you have then you know the feeling it evokes when you believe that everyone is staring at you in horror. That’s kinda where we are right now in relation to forgetting your mask in the car. At least that’s where I am. I leave home and as I cross the parking lot I have this uneasy sense that I forgot to put my clothes on and a wave of momentary panic ensues before I realize that it’s my face that is showing. At this point in the game it’s likely considered the more offensive nudity, which is somewhat disconcerting actually. With the current focus on inappropriate facial features, I almost want to walk into the mall in my bra and sweatpants and see if anyone even notices what’s actually missing.

Several times over the past few months I have reached out to my Guides, even asked those that belong to my clients if they might wish to chime in on our current state of being. Each time I have attempted to get a response, I have been thwarted with either a shoulder shrug or what might amount in the human world to an eye roll type of response.

To say this was a most frustrating experience is an understatement. In my experience those on the spirit side tend to have an opinion on everything, so this silence was both curious and concerning. Not to mention downright annoying as I was struggling to bring comfort to so many who were finding absolutely none. And then last week, we went into the dreaded “second wave” and my already thin patience snapped.

“We’re tired universe. This is exhausting and I’m fairly certain there is a mutiny mounting over Thanksgiving dinner; you have anything to share to bring about some form of calm to the masses, I would most appreciate it”

What I received in response may not provide the calm that I wished for but perhaps it may offer some perspective during these trying times.

Message From Those On The Spirit Side

“You are in this together; as one whole. Not one is separate from the rest, all are equal in their risks. What other way to unite you than to place you into the same experience? What better way to teach you to consider each other than to be considerate of your own frailty? It is only in your own fears that you can adequately understand the fears of those in your own community. We have watched for some time now. We have heard the discomforts of your hearts and souls with many of the unfortunate and tragic events that occur in your world. You can empathize with the catastrophes yet you cannot truly become a part of them therefore you learn little. You send your thoughts, your donations, your blankets, your love and your monetary assistance and then you continue with life as it goes in your own world. With little understanding of the continued struggles of those still battling the waves, you move forward, buy your usual coffee, read your usual news. This pandemic has created a vaster knowledge of the pains that many face in all times, not only during a viral outbreak. The discomforts of isolation, of loneliness, of loss of health and loss of loved ones. It has taught us that not one human is exempt and that all humans are in the line of fire. Regardless of social standing, of wealth or of poverty. This virus has no chosen few, it adheres to all demographics; all race, all religion, all human kind. This microbe might be the one single thing that helps you to finally see each other and not simply look at each other. Perhaps now you might find some understanding in those that struggle and must ask for help. Without the assistance of your governments you would have been in the same place in a short period of time. Perhaps now you might find some sympathy for those that struggle with mental health concerns or with thoughts of leaving your human world. Because now you have been subjected to having your usual set aside for something new and frightening and uncomfortable. Perhaps now you yourselves are beginning to feel the helplessness that arises when there are no answers or no direction to take. Your world will come through this, as it has come through everything that it has faced. You will come through this and we hope that you come through changed. We hope that you come through kinder, gentler and considerate to the plight of all those humans who have been living this very existence alone. That is… until a germ forced you to join them”

Powerful words…so simple yet so thought provoking. So relatable now that we are all in this same place, battling these same demons. A germ forced us to join all those that have felt dehumanized in their exemption from our good lives. This is a wake up call. I hope you all answer.

We are in this together. There is no other choice. We can heal this together.

In love, kindness, common frailty and in understanding.

Tania ( and friends)

F**ck Off, Namaste & Amen. With Love.

**This blog is intended only to serve as a reminder in these very difficult times. It is intended to be an honest and open expression of the truth and nothing more. I believe we can only get through this together if we understand each other a little better.**

If you are an empath, a counsellor, a social/healthcare worker or anyone involved in the easing of human discomfort you will understand when I say that we are in the most incredibly draining time in our own human history. The sadness is overwhelming, the fear is palpable and the loneliness in reduced social activity is creating need of immense proportions. To all those that engage in the human condition please know that it is OK to hang up your wings and swear when necessary. And drink wine. Whatever you need to get through your own day.

“Are Reverends allowed to say f**ck off?” This question popped up into my inbox this evening from a long time friend, a spiritual colleague and someone for whom I hold much respect. As you may have already surmised she is also an ordained Reverend. She worked long and hard to reach this place where she can be of spiritual service, be an ear when it’s needed and a shoulder to cry on. We are much alike in our respective careers so she understood that she could find confidence in me and that I could easily empathize with her frustrations.

Yes, my friends; Reverends are allowed to say F**ck off. Reverends and all those that walk along the spiritual path are certainly permitted to be human. As often and as loudly as is required to make it through a day.

She didn’t need to come to me for permission to use the expletive but it is a natural thing for those on this path to ask if they could have done better. I do it all the time. I seek out a close friend…we all do this. It is a built in system of self awareness. And it’s flawed.

“I snapped someone’s face off this morning, but they kept at me and at me and well…I just lost it. I feel terrible. I could have handled that better right?”

My friend never agrees with that part and is quick to remind me that I handled it exactly how it needed to be handled in the moment that it occurred. And as a psychologist in these current times she had to step back because her own seams were cracking. Lucky for me she hasn’t yet told me to “f**ck off” but if she does I will forgive her for being human first.

Half of the problem is that for most of us that do this work we keep our own private selves private. We don’t share the fact that outside needs pop up in the middle of a disagreement with a spouse. We don’t make it known that we might be grieving our own losses, through death or through disconnection. We don’t make you privy to the fact that at the exact time you sought us out for help, we were dealing with a family member in crisis and absently staring at our phone while scrambling to figure out what to do with them. If we can think straight we may reply with a quick “Sorry not today” or we may simply not respond at all because our brains have turned to mush in that moment. And then inevitably forty other requests arrive and we forget to respond at all. Either way we choose to respond we will be judged; we all know this and accept that it is at risk of our halo falling five inches.

My dear friend the Reverend took steps toward easing others through their pain because she carried the pain of losing a child herself. But she won’t tell you that while she comforts you in your own discomfort. Because she is an empath. We just simply don’t do that. And I for one am wondering what that characteristic is born of? Is it innate or is it groomed in by a world that expects halos to consistently shine without a tarnish? Is it that we were set on a path of being there for those that hurt and with that comes the responsibility to bear it no matter the cost? Or is it because at some point in our own lives we have learned that we never want to cause pain to another soul because we have known that pain ourselves?

I don’t know what the answer is for everyone but I do know that people need to remember that those in the more compassion driven careers are human after all as well. Even when we act like superhero’s, we still had to wrestle in the phone box before jumping into action.

My dear friend was cornered and bullied today because she said no to a request to do something that she wasn’t prepared to give energy to. My friend just put a family member into a nursing home. She was already feeling the sense of failing someone before this bully tried to convince her she failed in her vocation simply because she said no.

“I would have expected more of a Reverend” is self serving and disrespectful to everything this person has put ahead of herself these past ten or more years. And I have no problem with telling bullies such as this to “F**ck off” because despite it all she still feels uncomfortable saying that out loud because someone thinks her halo must shine and not be tarnished by the simple act of being human. So I have just said it for her. Loudly and proudly. And I seek no forgiveness for that either.

Lets try to work harder together. Lets not presume to set the rules for those in certain vocations. Let’s not make it our duty to enforce how they behave. Lets maybe start with not ripping into another human because they can’t wear a mask. We all fail if we continue to behave as if we are the only opinion that matters without consideration of extenuating circumstance.

Lets try not to fail each other through this.

In love of course. Namaste. Amen.

And I will hang up the wings and reserve the occasional “F**ck off” for when the need arises.

Viral Vulnerability

Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it ~Maya Angelou~

This may be a slight diversion from my typical humor, but I wanted to share with you what I have been learning over the last year, but it took me til now to figure out what that was. I would love to know what you feel you have learned also during these trying moments. Thank you for reading.

I respect all opinions, all viewpoints and all choices. I hope that you stay healthy during difficult times and that you all try to do the best that you can to respect the health of others, while respecting your own limitations.

We are all experiencing viral vulnerability right now. We are not only exposed to the undetectable movement of an organic nature, but also exposed to the reliance on each other to ensure our own survival. We are wholly and completely attempting to survive while pointing fingers at those that may threaten this survival. One needs only to take a stroll through social media to find evidence to support my thoughts. And yet throughout these current difficulties we are expected to traverse our normal lives, with our normal responsibilities and our normal discomforts. Life as it is continues with all of its unexpected twists, with health issues that lie outside of the boundaries of a pandemic, with family needs that take precedence and with the ever growing knowledge that we are in control of none of it. So do yourself a favor and do others the same service. Respect how you choose to survive and allow others the same respect without demanding that you are their responsibility. Without attacking or bullying someone that doesn’t do it the way you believe it should be done. They no more know of what brought you to your choices anymore than you know what brought them to their own. I stood and watched a young woman burst into tears last week after being publicly shamed for forgetting to mask. As she stood there with an agitated toddler trying to get out of her arms, my heart felt her fear of being that one person held responsible for the life of everyone in that store in that moment. That’s too much. It’s gone too far when the weight of your survival falls onto the shoulders of that unfortunate soul that happens to be in your line of fire . We have to carry it equally and with that comes the responsibility to not terrorize another human without giving some respect to who that human is when they are not standing in line trying to buy dinner for a screeching child.

~Forgive yourself for what you didn’t know before you learned it. ~

I found this quote about a month ago now and it resonated with me deeply although I wasn’t certain why. I promised to write a blog because I felt stirred by the words but each time I attempted it my mind went blank. I guess I had to wait until I learned what it was I needed to forgive myself for not knowing sooner.

So…

I forgive myself for not believing myself worthy of respect of my human edges.

I lost my shit the other day. My spiritual self crashed into my frail human and the emotional response it garnered was both shocking and strangely exhilarating. As my middle finger hit “send” I experienced a quick flash of shame that the receiver was soon to read something they likely didn’t anticipate yet should have expected had they paid heed to their earlier words that perpetrated my own. Their response to my words simply seeking some respect of my “gift”, of my energy, of my time and of the time of the countless others currently in need was to reply with two infuriated sentences followed by blocking me. I fully anticipate that somewhere out there may be a shaming thread aimed directly at me, but if so that’s fine. They need to find space to place the anger that they feel in their lack of control of a situation that they are facing. It’s fine. I understand their anger, their fear and their impending loss, but a line was crossed in their expectation that I give to their need in the moment they expressed it.

I sat for a few minutes following this exchange and berated myself for over explaining my lack of availability in the moments that it was demanded. I berated myself for giving reasons for why I wasn’t prepared to respond right away. Berated myself for asking for patience as I nursed a painful tooth, which seemed unimportant in the face of their own health condition. I berated myself for being human and for being authentic in that humanness. And most importantly….

I berated myself for expecting that they might respect that.

As an intuitive, as a healer and as someone who simply wishes to ease pain, I have never desired to be the person that demands respect for the energy I share. I have always attributed that need to an EGO response and have worked tirelessly to avoid falling victim to it.

And it took a pandemic state to teach me what I hadn’t learned. That the giving and sharing of energy is something to be celebrated and appreciated, not something to be downplayed or anticipated because the spiritual have long been expected to be restrained in chasing accolades. That I can and will apply this celebration in both my personal circles and my professional circles. That despite having a gift considered unusual by many, does not make me unusual but simply makes me an unusual human.

An unusual human with a toothache.

I think we can all respect that.

I have struggled for decades with accepting thanks for what I give or share with others, believing it to be an inherent expectation on my part to simply do. So if I have ever brushed off your heartfelt gratitude, forgive me…

I didn’t know I deserved it until I took vulnerability by the hand and walked with her awhile.

What do you deserve….that you’ve forgotten?

With gratitude…and love…and with nothing but respect..

Tania