Today Is a Good Day and I Am Feeling Fine

On the advice of a friend, I have been doing a daily affirmation, telling myself I am happy, but it doesn’t work for me because I’m not sure I want to be happy. Un-unhappy, yes. Unsad, yes. Contented, of course. At peace, for sure. But happy? It’s not a state I’ve ever aspired to. I’ve always believed other things are much more important, things such as love, truth, purpose, freedom, kindness, integrity. Happiness means many different things to many people, but to me, happiness has an element of giddiness, of being glad to be alive, of effervescence, maybe. I prefer being centered, not tipping toward happiness or sadness, but unafraid of my tomorrows, satisfied with my yesterdays, at peace with my todays.

To that end, I have changed my daily affirmation to “This is a good day and I am feeling fine.” This affirmation was gift from my yoga instructor, a short meditation to help us get through the holidays. She suggested we sit quietly, breathe in thinking “This is a good day,” and exhale thinking “I am feeling fine.” And it works for me. Of course, it helps that my days now are good, no real traumas, no sock-to-the stomach bouts of grief, just a slow gentle roll into sadness now and again, and a slow gentle roll back to center. The few tears, when they come, seem more nostalgic than debilitating.

The past couple of days have been especially good — lovely weather, clear skies, warm sun, breezes no stronger than a breath. And I am feeling fine. No overwhelming aches and pains, no worry or stress to weigh down my shoulders. I’m standing tall, breathing deep, opening myself up the world and the future.

I’m still not sure where I am going, what I am looking for, what I expect to find. For now, it’s enough that I am continuing to open myself to possibilities, continuing to believe that today is a good day and I am feeling fine.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

My Dirty Little Secret

When my life mate/soul mate died two and a third years ago, something in me broke wide open, leaving me exposed and willing to talk about that great soul quake. As I heal and settle back into being me, I’m not sure I will have the courage to continue exposing myself, so I’m going to tell you my dirty little secret before I wimp out.

Part of me misses my grief.

Bizarre, isn’t it? For two years I’ve screamed my pain into the depths of the blogoshere, totally confused by the vastness of my agony and the enormity of my loss. I don’t miss the pain at all, it truly was almost more than I could handle, and I truly hate that he is gone, but I miss feeling as if I were on the edge of something important, something vital . . . something eternal.

It’s as if for the past few years, during his dying, his death, and my grief, I was on stage in the middle of a great tragedy. That it wasn’t my tragedy didn’t matter — I still had a major role, that of the chief mourner. Now, the curtain is down, the audience is gone, the lights are off, the stage is empty, and I, no longer a tragic figure, just an actor with no role left to play, am heading home alone down the dark empty streets.

If my grief had been supplanted with something else — a new love, a new focus, a new outlook even — I might not feel so
. . . diminished. But the truth is, my grief seems to have burned itself out, and since I have not yet rebuilt my life, I am in a sort of limbo. I still have moments of sadness, still have moments of tears, still miss him, still want to go home to him, but all of this is not the focus of my life as it has been for so long.

I suppose it’s just as well I don’t know what I want to do with my life alone since I still have obligations, and so could not act on any desires, but someday I will need to find a new focus. I am doing what I can to prepare. I take long walks, exercise, try to eat right. I’m even doing a bit of writing. And of course, I’m still doing a lot of thinking, though I’m trying to curtail the mental activity and simply be, and more specifically, simply be me. (I haven’t a clue what that means, but since I am the only me the universe has to offer, I might as well make use of the opportunity, right?)

A lot of the angst and questioning is dissipating along with my pain. Most recently I wondered “why something instead of nothing?” and found an answer I am satisfied with: because something is possible. Maybe in the end, that’s the whole point of life — possibility. When my current obligations come to an end, my whole life opens up into one huge possibility. I have no where to be, no one to be with, no task that needs to be done. Sounds to me as if my life will be opening up to endless possibilities. But until then, it’s just a matter of heading down those dark empty streets and seeing where I end up.