A Tear And A Smile ~ Kahlil Gibran

I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart 
For the joys of the multitude.
And I would not have the tears that sadness makes 
To flow from my every part turn into laughter. 

I would that my life remain a tear and a smile.

A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding
Of life’s secrets and hidden things. 
A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and 
To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods.

A tear to unite me with those of broken heart; 
A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence.

I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I live Weary and despairing.

I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the 
Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are 
Satisfied the most wretched of people. 
I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody.

With evening’s coming the flower folds her petals 
And sleeps, embracingher longing. 
At morning’s approach she opens her lips to meet 
The sun’s kiss.

The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment.
A tear and a smile.

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Joy and Sorrow ~ Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Healing Power of Love

M’s Advice

M opened my eyes to the lessons grieving was teaching me and to the wonderful gift called life. It’s a one time gift. I decided the best way to honor Babe, was to discover how to live again. No one ever said it would be easy, but I’ve never quit. M offered me a final piece of advice I try to connect with each day. Here is M’s advice to me from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“M took hold of both my hands, “Ray, each day you will meet new people. You’ll feel love flowing to you, through you, and drenching you. You’ll know, perhaps for the first time, that nothing is more important, nothing is better than responding in the moment by offering your unconditional love to whoever is with you in the moment. Trust it, Ray. Trust it, and the power of love will heal you.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright.

Grieving Changed Me – I Knew Love Wins

Grieving Changed Me

It was nine months since Babe died. I sat with M at the coffee shop. She saw changes in me. She wanted to know if saw any changes in me. Grieving changed me. I think it changes everyone. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again on how I was changing:

“How are you different, Ray?” M asked. “When I look at you, I see what I see. But, I don’t see everything. There are parts of you that only you know. And, there are parts of you that you don’t recognize and only God knows them. . . . What matters to you, Ray?”

“You do, M. My family does. My neighbors do. The people at the Y. The baristas at the coffee shop. The birds that come to my bird feeders. I feel myself connecting to everyone I meet, and to all of God’s amazing creations surrounding me. It is this sense of connection that is pulling me out of isolation. It is healing my open wounds. It is creating a new heart for me, one capable of loving all and receiving love from all.”

M smiled and said, “Love is leading you, Ray. Love wins. Love heals. The more you love, the greater your healing. Where love is, the door is always open.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright.

Grieving is Tough, I Was Becoming Stronger

M told me she could see me becoming stronger each day. She asked me to write four letters to Babe. I was to write each letter in the present tense as if Babe were still alive. I frequently paused while I wrote these letters to compose myself. It was a very emotional experience, but, it was a liberating experience that strengthened my will to go on. Here is an excerpt from my love letter to Babe in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“Dear Babe,

You’re my first thought when I awaken and the last thought before I fall asleep. When I awaken in the middle of the night and I whisper, “Babe, I love you. I’ll love you forever.” Did you know, I trace the sign of the cross on your shoulder while you are sleeping? I do it every time I wake up in the night. When I trace it, I ask God to bless you and watch over you. The first words you utter after you open your eyes are, “I love you, Bun.” I touch you and say, “I love you, too.”

Each day, your joy of life lights a fire within me. When you open your eyes and turn to me in bed, I see the sparks of joy, life, and love. I know in that moment all is right, all is good, and it will be a great day. You ignite the flames of love, hope, and joy within me. You teach me to lighten up, have fun, and enjoy life’s gifts. “It’s not all serious and it’s not all work,” you tell me.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

Relearning to be Grateful

Relearning to be Grateful

M told me losing the ability to be grateful is common among men and women who grieve. She encouraged me to “relearn gratefulness.” She suggested I begin by journaling my gratitude for Babe. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“I am grateful for how Babe helped me lighten up and not take life so seriously. I am grateful for how she saw in me what I couldn’t see for myself. I am grateful each time I heard her laugh. I am grateful for the times we made love. I am grateful for each of our dates. I am grateful for how Babe taught me to manage a household. I watched and learned from her. The lessons she taught me helped me to keep the house clean, cook, make things neat, and manage money. Little did I know, God was using Babe to prepare me this part of my life.

I am grateful for the small things. I can still see her childlike excitement at decorating for Christmas, her delight while she cooked a meal, or her enjoyment as she sipped a cup of coffee. I am grateful for watching her get all dolled up for me. I told her many times she was born beautiful. I am grateful for her excitement whenever we planned a trip. She would start packing two weeks early. “I am grateful for the moments when I was anxious and she’d put her hand on my neck. As if by magic, my tension and anxiety would instantly disappear.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright