I am missing my daughter like a phantom limb – pain living in the tissue of absence.  Phantom limb pain used to be called a sensory ghost. It is a way in which the nervous system refuses to accept the absence of what was there.

She has become a ghost – an apparition that haunts all of us who knew her.  In Norman Doige’s book, The Brain That Changes Itself, he tells us that for those who have lost a limb, “Long after the body has healed, the pain system is still firing and the acute pain has developed an afterlife.”   Losing a daughter is like an amputation – there is no real turning off the pain signals.

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen speaks about a way in which the nervous system can regenerate.   What happens when more information comes in than you can process?   To save our lives, we refuse the information.  She says that the trauma goes back into the tissues until it can be processed.  When we do not work to figure it out or change it, little by little, the body-mind finds a way for it to be absorbed.  We do this by choosing the easiest path, which I take to mean waiting the long wait as the system re-calibrates.

When I was studying the Sedona Method, the suggestion was made that when the storm hits, don’t try to ride those waves, but become the sea, dive under and wait it out in the quiet depths of the ocean floor.

Does that help?  Yes and no and then again yes.  Nothing makes us more vulnerable, more tender than our children.  Nothing. Is the pain less searing?  Yes.  Is it gone, no.  The difference is that more and more, I experience myself not as the pain itself but as the awareness that holds it, one breathing moment at a time.



following Gillian

GILLIANPhoto:  Pam White

Following Gillian

From the horse’s body


Gillian Jagger is one of the extraordinary people I know.  I have been blessed to know her for many years now, and the depth and ferocity of her work, the expansive sky of her mind never cease to move and inspire me.

She recently sent me a link for some new videos that I share here:  Following Gillian and from the horses’s body.

Watch them when you can make some real time for them, because she is inviting you into a world that has nothing to do with clock time, with limitation, with hurry.  Let yourself be moved.


winter & appreciation


My Swiss friends Hansjorg and Franziska sent me this gorgeous photograph of their back yard in winter.  It is helping me with the appreciation part of winter.  I dislike ice, the cold, the covering of skin, the absence of green, peonies, hibiscus, you name it.  However, this picture gave me pause.  Maybe because of the poetic curves of the chairs, and the fact that it is someone else’s back yard, I am not sure.  But then there is this, which is my back yard, or rather a minute’s walk down the street from us.

IMG_1091Photo:  Pam White

And this, which is my backyard:

IMG_1098Photo:  Pam White

So I need to expand my sense of appreciation, de-contract my body and mind to take in what is here now.  Here are a few things that I do appreciate.  The anatomy of the trees against the pale sky.  The snow-sculpted hills.  The resting of the plants, their deep dormancy, and the accompanying quiet.  And I am sure there is more.  Yesterday on the way back from the barn (cold there!) I was listening to an interview with Pema Chodron.  She was talking about being interested, curious when we encounter resistance in ourselves.  So I am going to be more curious about this season, more interested in its gifts.  One day at a time (and they ARE getting longer).