Choosing to ‘live in colour’

My soul sister told me the other day over tea that she wants to “live in colour.”
The desire was voiced after sharing her sadness about the recent death of a friend. We talked a long time about this, and we both had a compelling sense to fall into the world with our eyes closed and our arms outstretched.
Why? Why not? After all, none of us are guaranteed much of anything in this life other than the moment we are in. It makes sense to me, too, to live in colour as much as I can.
Above my writing station is a quote by author and former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff that reads: “One of the greatest feelings in life is the conviction that you have lived the life you wanted to live—with the rough and the smooth, the good and the bad—but yours, shaped by your own choices, and not someone else’s.”
The philosophy therein is mine—body and soul.
I was taught in a “Time for Me” workshop last year to use “I-statements” when sharing my thoughts and feelings with others. It’s a hard lesson to employ, especially when I want the nods of support of the people I’m talking with.
Using “I” instead of “we,” “you,” and “they” when sharing feelings on a subject can be daunting and leave me “out there” on a ledge by myself.
But at the dimming of the day, I know that if I don’t take off my own skin and stand naked in my very own beliefs about a thing, I have done myself a severe injustice.
So at the advice of my soul sister, I return once again to a subject I thought I had left said and done in this fickle world of writing about my life adventures. This is where putting my honesty into the hands of my readers can come back to me as a hot poker to niggle at half-stitched scars.
Some of what I write here is hiccupped on repeat, like an old record skipping over the same six words.
I cannot remember the last time I wrote in anger, but this time I am angry. The reason for this particular column is twofold.
It is a clearinghouse for my frustrations once again about the archaic reactions based on old and rusty rules of socially-acceptable time frames for grieving born in another century.
And in my “readership wish book,” it is warrior’s stand for anyone else out there who has been through the grief grinder and who may be wading through an ill-supported system as they make their way back to life.
I am here to remind you that your grief is unique, your recovery in your own way is unique, and there will be hurdles. Be a hurdler.
What is the biggest chance you have ever taken?
I know what mine is. The biggest chance I ever took was a deliberate leap to find happiness again and I am appalled that, still, I meet up with careless-mouthed dream stealers in my bid for a happy life.
No one in this whole wide world can tell me that I don’t know how life can change in an instant. I learned that lesson the hard way when I drove into my yard on a cold winter night and found myself helpless in the face of death.
But it was not the end of my life; it was just the beginning of a different one. I am driven to grow from all the walks of my life and anyone who knows the many, many hardships I have experienced, knows I am not a quitter.
I am not wedded to my past. I am a strong and beautiful soul, and my goal is to be happy.
And yet despite all my strengths, I am weak. I am human. I hurt.
Suffering a loss, whatever it may be, is a unique experience for each of us. For those of us trying to find the happiness we want and deserve, please don’t take us down.
Remember those six words. And I repeat.
“Mouth closed, ears open, presence available.”

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