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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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kiss sorrows

Jennifer Boykin Jennifer Boykin grief embracer. courageous survivor. midlife midwife.

Jennifer Boykin's vision is to "rebrand a gazillion crones." She speaks, teaches, and writes as the Creative Visionary and Chief Rabble-Rouser of the MidLife Reinvention site Life After Tampons. [www.LifeAfterTampons.com]

jennifer_boykin_feature

Two years ago, I married an Italian man with three sons, so between us we have six sons. All my life, I’ve been around male energy. As I’ve started embracing more of the feminine in my mid-life, I’m being reintroduced to myself.

The work I’m doing now is the twenty-year culmination of my life vision of being an inspirational speaker and writer. I said that out loud for the first time after the death of my only daughter.

That loss was so deep. One of the things that’s frightening about the experience of deep suffering is the feeling of drowning, of never coming out the other side. I used to freak out when I started to feel myself bottoming out, until I realized that what we resist persists.

Going through something with a really long shelf life – like the death of a child – meant I needed to set some boundaries. Someone shared a tool with me which really helped, of making appointments with my sorrow or bereavement or anger.

I’d say, “My first bereavement appointment is from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.” I’d set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and just suffer – I’d stay with the loss. Then I’d stop and say, “Okay, my next appointment is at 11:30.” At 11:30, I’d sit down and find that I didn’t really have 15 minutes of sorrow, I had two that played over and over again.

Then, an hour later, if I started having sad thoughts about my dead baby, I’d say out loud, “Stop! Right now isn’t the time for that. Right now I’m driving on the freeway. There goes a Ford Taurus.” I’d say aloud what was in my personal present. “Right now I’m talking on the phone in my Vagina Room.” (That’s my pink room where the boys aren’t allowed.) “I’m looking at all the frilly things. The candle is lit. This is what’s actually going on right now.”

This tool also tells me if I’m a liar or not. Do I really want to get better? As the mother of a dead child, it would be socially acceptable to remain in pain and misery for the rest of my life. But I don’t honor my daughter by doing that. I honor her by being willing to experience the transformation of loss and suffering.

We only get better by going through. If we turn around and grab our sorrows by the ears and kiss them smack on the lips, they don’t have the power to scare us anymore.

– Jennifer Boykin

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