It's hard to believe that it's been 6 months since I have spoken to the positive people on this list serve. I’ve had to grow, glow, shift from a deep depression, and then climb out and then next moment, repeat the same steps. It's been a ride, just like on a roller coaster, up and down, around and around. Today, I affirm that I.m. back AND I am not holding my breath. But thanks to the Creator, I.m. still breathing through my grief, and taking it one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time and this is how I.m. pushing through grief, to heal the feelings.
,I've read a lot about grief. As a degreed counselor, I.ve had to listen to many people share their grief with me. I.ve held their hands, hugged them while crying hysterically, and have stood at gravesites of sisters who have lost their sons, and breathed with them to calm them down to not jump into the grave out of grief. I.m also, not a personal stranger to grief. I've had to deal with the loss of several pets as a child; my 17 year old son, Rashid; my 1st husband, Damani; his parents who transitioned 1 month to 2 months respectively after him; his grandmother; my father; then my brothers Melvin and Maurice, both leaving from serious unexpected circumstances. After several years of care taking, my mother transitioned at age 92 and I heard her take her last breath at her home. My sisters and I organized her home-going celebration based on her wishes, and it was a true celebration of her life. She is not the only person, that I.ve shared the last breath with, and it is quite an honor to be an assistant in this process of "dying", just like it's amazing, to help birth a baby as they take their first "living" breath.
I lost count of how many associates, that I knew, who crossed over from COVID. Then, in 2021-22, I experienced my Sistah-friend's daughter's transition, then my nephew, Michael, then John, my husband of 22 years.
You would think that you get used to the fact, that we are all going to go down this road, someday. For some, sooner than others, but eventually this is our destiny. So, as I handled John's memorial services, then his ascension service, similar to taking care of my mother's final affairs, I noticed something about me.
Here I was, handling all of the phone calls, unannounced visits, social media exchanges and blessings of support in every way - flowers, money, plants, sea-moss, and an amazing blessing in which my yard was totally transformed, yet, I found myself, taking care of the business of "putting away the dead", but NOT attending to me and my true feelings. I "numbed" them by holding my breath. I pulled out my "ole" happy pipe to smoke away the pain, as this addictive behavior, had been my coping support, off and on, for over 40 years. But in the last stressful, 2 years I had quit, again.. Now, my emotions were upside down, turned around and I was spinning like a top. My empathetic self felt overwhelmed and burnt-out.
Then, several family members came at me for the "things" of our life, and the sense of disappointment and betrayal, was soooo painful, that it ripped at my soul. My person, said to me, "time to slow everything down and "just allow yourself to dwell in your feelings". But the final blow, that bought me to the door of deep depression, was that my son, got arrested and detained. Aw man, I said to myself, "what next?"
I spoke to the emptiness of not having my husband, friend and partner around. I spoke to the disconnection that had been created in the family and got so angry as this hurt felt like I had been beaten up. When I couldn't believe what I was facing, my depression sunk in deeper and I turned on the t.v. As I sat in front of the t.v., staring at Netflix and Amazon Prime trailers, spending more than an hour, attempting to find a movie that would not make me think of how low I was feeling, it came to me that I was "disassociating" from my real feelings. I was getting into the movie version of other people's lives and problems, and not attending to mine. Disassociation, merely distracts our attention, and prolongs our getting to the bottom of our real concerns.
But, I knew about this.....isn't this what I usually share with my clients?
How often have I said to them, "what you resist, persists".
So, I stopped resisting, my "blues"'. and instead accepted that I felt crappy and didn't desire to feel my usual joy. I looked at a whole lot of movies, that reminded me of all of my situations, my feelings and I just cried and cried, until I couldn't. And I let the phone messages go unanswered, as I decided that it was best not to work, so I simply breathed with ME.
I faciliitated my own "transcendence breathwork" session on me, where I screamed, kicked, tore at my clothes, shook uncontrollably and breathed in a connected way for over 45 minutes. John and I had developed this practice, having watched the way Africans, Middle Easterners and Indigenous people more often than we in the West, allow their pain to show and release, in very dramatic, expressive ways. Boy, did I release some "stuff" in that session.
Well, after a month and 1/2, as I kept focusing on my breathing and my crazy movies, I got tired of being "sick and tired". The clouds began to lift. I cleared the message unit. I pushed myself to work with several of my contracts. I got up, turned myself around and started anew. Turned the distractions off. Pulled out my "Breathe and Stop Smoking Naturally Pamphlet", and started the process of detoxing again. And I just breathed, and the breath shifted and elevated my Spirit to forgive all whom I felt had hurt me.
Since, I started "rising", like the phoenix from the ashes, I've been able to envision new breathshops and new directions for PositivEnergyWorks. Check out the Up-Coming Events section https://www.positivenergyworks.com/up-coming-events.html of our website to see the wonderful activities that I.ve come back to involve myself in.
I thank all of you who have been here for me and mine. I love you so. Your support and patience, will never be forgotten. Thanks to the Most High and the breath of life, we are given......I'M BACK.
Ayo Handy-Kendi is reknown as the Breath Sekou, which means in the Guinea language "a master teacher". She has worked with breath techniques for over 50 years and loves teaching "the power of the breath". She has created a system called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) which teaches 12 common breath techniques with 4 breath practices. As a Wholistic Practitioner she incorporates sound healing, laughter yoga, Reiki, healing touch, movement, behavior modification and stress management and oxygen concepts, such as water hydrotherapy, Aroma-therapy, nutrition, into her trainings.She is creating a "breath movement" to wake people up to their joy and positivenergy with the belief that when you breathe better, you live better. She is also known as Mama Ayo, when sharing cultural presentations or performing as a storyteller, actor, author or speaker. She is the founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13, the Ritual of Reconciliation, founder/director, African American Holiday Association (AAHA) and founder/CEO, PositivEnergyWorks.