When one door closes

Just keep breathing

The words "I'm sorry for your loss" have taken on a deeper meaning for me.

On April 29, 2015 two of our friends died. Needless to say, it is a devastating loss and I am no longer the same person as before. I feel as if I am entering a new book — not just a new chapter — of my life.

As of this writing I'm not yet in a place where I'm ready to share some of the insights that have come to me. Because right now I am still in The Void.

And I am embracing being in The Void.

The Void is a safe place where you can be exceptionally quiet and contemplative. It's a place to be alone with yourself...and is a place that you can only reach when you are deeply wounded. And I definitely feel wounded. But as Rumi wrote, "The wound is where the light enters you." So it's not a bad place to be.

Some of my best art, photos, and writing have come from being inside The Void. (See my art here and check out my magazine here.)

The above photos were taken after the funeral / memorial services, during our getaway trip to a place in South Africa's Western Cape where we find solace. A friend commented that my images felt serene to her. Well, that's how it feels to me inside The Void. It's serene and peaceful. It feels empty in a wonderfully spacious way. There is no emotion there, no pain or heartache. There is only peace and quiet. It feels like the wind has momentarily gone out of my sails, and I am just sitting peacefully in my tiny, little sailboat. Just floating on a bay somewhere, moving with the tide and enjoying myself. And as I quietly sit in that tiny, little boat, alone, I just look around and notice everything around me with much gratitude and appreciation.

The colors inside The Void are clean and bright.
The sounds inside The Void are harmonious.
There is no clutter or distraction inside The Void.
It's a peaceful, beautiful place to be.
I like being inside The Void.

After our friends died, my mom suggested that I write down what happened. A friend suggested that I write three pages for three days, for no one but myself, and then to burn the pages or to tear them up. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, I might just do that. Yes, put an old-fashioned pen to paper. One of the last times I did that while inside The Void, a powerful poem came out of me, fully formed. It was an amazing experience because it felt like taking dictation.

Another friend asked if I've made any art since the deaths. I haven't. I just don't feel like I need to. Yet. That said, there is a piece that has been floating around me for about six months, titled "Open", that will probably be about 3 meters wide. That's how it feels to me inside The Void: open and expansive. So I just keep breathing it all in, taking things one step at a time, and enjoying being in the moment.

Granted, I still haven't reached a place of acceptance. I know the details about what happened but still don't fully understand what happened. Intellectually, yes. Emotionally, no. It just hasn't sunk in yet that they're gone because I wasn't expecting what happened to happen, and that's what knocks me off-balance every time — those events that I didn't see coming or ever expect to happen.

But that's life. And I am learning to go with the flow.

In time, I will find a place for this loss. The wound will heal, and I will embrace the scar that their passing has left on my heart as a reminder that I was gifted with their presence in my life. The wound is the place from which I pull my strength, so I know that some good always comes from situations like this, even though I would never seek them out. (Read more here.)

Having gone through the process of grieving before (read how here) and knowing how I, myself, grieve, one thing I know for sure is that once I've had some time to work with my emotions — to use them for some greater good — I will be stronger and more compassionate than ever before. And I will be more radiant and more relaxed, too. I will also continue taking things as they come and will taste and celebrate each and every moment! (Read how you can do that here.)

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass,
it's about learning to dance in the rain."
— Vivian Greene