It doesn't matter the year that follows it.
It is May 23rd. And on this date, I always stop. I stop moving as quickly, stop breathing as easily, stop thinking as clearly.
Sometimes, I forget. In the days leading up, I'll make plans, go about business as usual. And then I'll walk past the calendar, or scroll past something on my phone and notice the date. And my breath always catches on that burning feeling that bursts in my chest.
I've shared this before.
And once a year, it feels important to honor the pause - to let all other business plans, art pieces, sales, courses, dishes, and laundry just fall away.
It feels important to just breathe.
For those new to BeingBreath, May 23rd is important to me because it is on that date - on May 23rd, 2006 to be exact - that my ground fell away.
It is on May 23rd, 2006 that my father - my rock, my stability, my definition of "What Is And Will Always Be" - took his own life.
I don't want to dramatize this too much.
I share, in part, for recognition: Because survivors of suicide (family members, friends, loved ones) need to be visible to one another, to know that there are those of us who still find strength in the will to live, to know that we are there for one another.
I share, in part, as a reminder to myself.
I heard a quote once from a woman whose father had died in a car accident. She said that she didn't want to make him a martyr nor make the event some fundamental point on which she built her life. She said that she simply wanted to, "honor him by making something of herself that she wouldn't have otherwise been had that not have happened".
Almost daily, I recognize this. I look around and see the life that I am living, and know that much of it exists because of my father's choice. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. I broke ground on this new life on May 23rd, 2006. I had to. And each aspect of my life is built, stone by stone, choice by choice, on that ground.
Of course I would give anything to still be standing in my illusion that no one dies, that nothing changes (except for those things that I want to), that no one suffers that much that they feel life isn't worth living, that my mother and father and brother and sister and everyone I love will always be around.
But his choice put him to sleep and awakened me.
I hate writing that.
I hate writing all of this.
Perhaps I wouldn't give anything to still be in the illusion. I wish to every God I've ever prayed to that my beautiful dream wouldn't have been shattered in this way. I pray - so strongly that I can feel my fingernails piercing into my clenched fists - that no one ever has to experience the suffering and illusions that led my father to his choice.
Awakening in that way SUCKED. It still SUCKS.
But here I am.
May 23rd, 2014.
Still waking up. Still breathing.
And once again feeling that burn to awaken every. single. living. being. to THIS. THIS, this, this, this, this.
But I digress.
I'll let that passion spill into another post, into every other effort I make in this world.
For now, I pause.
I made a video, sometime around June or July of 2006. I am not sure why I felt called to make it. I've always had a desire to feel deeply, and perhaps doing this video - sorting through photos, music, making something that forced me to feel what I wanted to push away - was part of my healing. Maybe it was just something to keep me busy.
I share this video once a year for others to view.... secretly, perhaps, to cause an earthquake. I want you to be groundless. I want you to Not Know.
I want you to awaken.
Pause with me. Even if you just close your eyes when you finish reading this and take One Full Breath, please, just pause.