Friday, June 27, 2014

My Shamanic Life With Bees * (Prequel to The Day My Life Changed Forever)

The way of the Melissae from Kate Shela’s website

First a note to those impatient readers who wanted to know how I went from a pile of smoking rubble to rising like a phoenix from the ashes after The Day My Life Changed Forever.

I promise I will reveal all in good time, but first I need to tell you the story of the bees.

On a stifling day in the middle of the summer of 2009 (shortly before The Day My Life Changed Forever) I was feeling oppressed by the scorching heat and by an underlying fearful conviction that something was very wrong in my life. 

Seeking the oblivion of an afternoon nap, I opened the door to my bedroom and was astonished and terrified to find the room was filled with bees. 

Taking a photo was the last thing on my mind. I just took this image from The Inquisitr. 

Humans are biologically programmed to fear bees and given the nasty reactions I had experienced with previous stings, and my ever-present anxiety that could switch to an intense fight or flight adrenaline rush if I noticed a miniscule spider in the vicinity, the predictable end to this story would have been me running screaming from the house. 

But that did not happen. Something shifted inside of me as I stood on the threshold of what was normally my precious sanctuary from the world. It was a moment of grace.

I felt the faint beginnings of courage and a sense of adventure stir within. As I stood there, I observed that the bees were quite listless (apparently they had recently hatched in the oven-like attic and migrated to the relative cool of my room.), so I got a mason jar and an empty manila folder and quaking with apprehension, I approached the nearest bee.

It was easily captured, and when I cautiously released it in the front yard, it dived immediately into the nearest flower. I imagined it’s joy and felt a surprising surge of loving communion with it.

With each subsequent relocation, my trepidation diminished and my wonder and pride at my brave resourcefulness as well as my sense of compassionate responsibility for my new little friends grew. By the time I got to the last few stragglers, I was affectionately reassuring each one that I was taking it to a much better place and that all of it’s family was waiting for it. I had lost all fear of being stung. 

I believe that those bees helped prepare me for what was to come on The Day My Life Changed Forever and the series of major transitions that followed. I gained practice in dealing with my fears using previously unknown resources.  The love I felt for those bees with their stingers that could have delivered pain, served me well as I found love for those who delivered the sweet sting of pain that I needed to leap forward into my new life.

*The day after the events in this story took place, I went to the library and on a shelf of books recommended by the librarians was The Secret Life of Bees which I, of course, had to read immediately. The number of parallels to what had just occurred and what was about to happen would require a separate post. The Shamanic Way of the Bee is an incredible book that I later read after learning it was the inspiration behind the Tori Amos CD The Beekeeper which was on heavy rotation in my play list that year prior to my encounter with the bees. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The day my life changed forever

My “Life of Pi”* tiger - or how I transformed my former husband and the “other woman” from being the “destroyers of my life” into loved ones whom I bless with heartfelt gratitude daily and how this experience has changed my entire life.

The day my life changed forever was 50 years and 21 days after my reluctant, traumatic, entrance into the world. It was not an auspicious beginning and was not followed by an idyllic childhood or carefree adulthood. These are understatements!

The day my life changed forever was 10 years and 40 days after the day of my wedding, which had taken place on the very same beach where I had met and fallen mutually, instantly, madly and passionately in love with the man who would become my husband.

The day my life changed forever was Twenty years and one day after that meeting and one day after my former husband had, once again, declared his undying love to me on that very spot.

The day my life changed forever was on September 11, 2009,  exactly  eight years to the day from when the terrorist attacks imploded the Twin Towers.

The day my life changed forever was on 9/11/09 when the woman who is now my former husband’s new wife came to our home with the truth which would set us all free.

"In case you are confused (I certainly was on the day my life changed forever!), allow me to summarize. On 9/11/(09), shortly after the milestones of turning 50 and celebrating a full decade of marriage and the day after our two decade anniversary of meeting, I experienced what felt like a terrorist attack that destroyed a partnership that I thought would last forever. And given that from the moment of my birth though my life up to that point, I had not had a solid foundation, the odds were pretty good that I would remain a pile of smoking rubble. Enter the Phoenix!

And now I 'm going to switch metaphors from fiery implosion and mythical birds to watery ship wreck and imaginary tigers. This is my story and I get to play with it! "

In The Life of Pi , the protagonist chooses to create a new story that is simply better than the one he started with. Both versions of my story are totally true. The question is; which one is the better story? You decide.

Bitter Ending
Glorious Beginning
A menopausal, overweight, washed up Milwaukee housewife is betrayed by the love of her life. After ten years of marriage devoted to caring for him (including nursing him through cancer and other medical crises) and supporting his career and loving his children and grandchildren like her own, the wife learns that the love of her life has a beautiful mistress who is 30 years younger than him.

Devastated by the grief and shock of multiple losses (dog, home, many loved ones including several adored children, family, friends and community and everything else that would not fit into a small car), she drives away from her old life with no hope of anything good ever happening again.

A woman in the prime of her life is set free for an amazing adventure! After a relatively short segue (in which she is utterly broken open), she begins a new life filled with miraculous twists of fate, a profusion of magical synchronicities and a flood of astonishing blessings.

She finds herself in a paradise of breathtaking, endless beauty in the sweetest community she could have ever imagined, happier than she had ever been in her entire life. Nearly every single day at some point she is overcome with rushes of love and gratitude for her former husband and his new wife and knows that she would not change a single thing about her marriage or how it ended.

Obviously there are many juicy details left out of both versions, but the question is, which one do you like better? You can guess which one I chose! My purpose in sharing my stories is to offer hope and inspiration to all who believe that their current life transition is not a story they want to be living.

When we choose to re-write our stories to have a better ending than the ones that seem so horribly likely when we are flooded with the stress hormones that are activated in the midst of changes*, we can transform our current situations, our futures and all whose lives we touch.

New Moons are traditionally a time of new beginnings and on this New Moon, I offer you my first blog. I will write a monthly New Moon post to share my new beginnings and the insights I have gleaned (through a whole lot of humbling failures and some moments of grace) in the hopes it will support you with the new stories you want to create. In addition to all of my stories, I have been studying hundreds of others and look forward to hearing from all of you who have already, or are in the process of, or would like to re-write yours!

On June 21st, the Summer Solstice, I will celebrate the beginning of my new service called Sparks & Leaps which supports families in transforming all kinds of life transitions. Stay tuned.