The Truth Untold: How You Can Save Someone Thinking About Suicide

Note: Graphic details covered here. 

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When I checked my phone this morning to see what daily news was trending, I saw a familiar face that I so loved seeing posts on: Anthony Bourdain. And then I read and reread several times, the heart-wrenching headline of what happened to him. My heart fell deep into a pit so cold and hollow that I was left feeling an aching twist in every part of me. I was immensely devastated to hear that someone who inspired me to travel, explore life outside of my realm, and encouraged me to cultivate compassion and wisdom for humans, was gone, just like that. I cried for a solid 20 minutes, grieving for him, his family, the people who were close to him, his colleagues, and all the people who were touched by him in some way. I also cried because I know a feeling that all too few people understand or want to engage in.

In between moments of wiping my tears for his soul and taking deep breaths to reflect on my own journey through living with depression, anxiety, and experiencing suicidal thoughts, I felt my heart soften back like the wings of a bird settling its feathers after a long flight. In my reflection, I knew that I had to talk about something that isn’t so widely covered in our responses to suicide. I asked myself, “What can we do to help? How can we change this so that we don’t become a society that just tells people to call a hotline for suicide prevention?” Without hesitation, I felt an answer rise up underneath from me that prompted me to write this.

There were so many responses to Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade’s deaths and the many deaths that came before theirs that were just too similar in pattern: “If you or you know someone who is thinking of killing themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.” In so many ways, I know this to be so insufficient to begin changing this sad epidemic that’s taking over our society. While I do believe that in some ways, talking to someone does help, but it is only just the foot in the door. In my own past experiences, I’ve called that hotline for myself several times. Sometimes it didn’t help. Sometimes it did. It’s nice to have another voice listen to you.

But the truth is this. What I wished so badly was that my own friends or family could answer their phones or text me back if I needed to talk. What I wished so badly for instead of calling a hotline were people who came to help me without any expectation of how I needed to explain myself or why I felt the way I did. It frustrated me so much that I felt so much emotional intensity and wanted to find a way to help myself, and yet I was told by society that I needed to “just call the suicide prevention hotline.”

The truth is, most of us who feel this way, feel like ending our lives because society has become so numb to actively engaging themselves with people who aren’t able to just “get over it” or “move on” or “be positive, it’s ok”.

These people tell us, “go to therapy”, “take prescription medication”, “call if you need me”, and it goes on. The truth is, while we want to do all those things, what we want most is to have someone just listen to us quietly, console us by making us dinner or lunch, maybe even brushing our hair–all without any expectation of telling them what’s wrong with us. When I am feeling depressed or suicidal, all I want is for someone to let me lay on their lap and have them caress my hair or my back, without any talking. Just quiet comforting.

When I talk about these things, please forgive me if I seem insensitive. The truth is, the people who often take their own lives tend to be extremely sensitive creatures filled with so much intensity inside them, whether it be a light or dark intensity, and sometimes that intensity can just be too much for one person. I know this feeling too well because I feel it everyday and it is so easy to stay shut-off around people for fear of shame or pestering by society’s solution of “just focus on yourself”. The last thing a person who is experiencing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts wants is to focus on themselves.

The truth is, we would love for someone to reach out a hand and help us–teach us–show us how to love ourselves and that we are loved.

I am reminded of a story I read about Parker Palmer, a poet and religious thinker, whose work I love so much and am inspired by. Parker Palmer went through a very long and extreme depression in his mid-50’s and when describing his experience with it, he talks about a neighbor/friend who noticed that Parker was depressed and this neighbor/friend began going to Parker’s house everyday for an hour and would simply massage Parker’s feet. There would be no exchanges in conversation between he and the neighbor/friend in that hour, just the act of a neighbor being of service to someone in need, quietly and compassionately. Reading about Parker’s story had me in tears because I desired that same experience and understood so well how important it was to just be cared for by another being. Sometimes, it really helps to have others help you tend to the wounds you can’t face yourself, yet. 

With Anthony Bourdain passing, I felt so angry towards society. How could we let this person choose to end his life? In many ways, I understood how. We live in a society that has no idea what to do with people who are experiencing struggle, depression, anxiety, etc. We live in a society that does not know how to engage or be compassionate towards people who have mental illnesses. Instead, we tell them to check into rehab, or take meds, etc.

What if change began by just being of service to those who are suffering?

What if change began by a small act of selfless kindness towards someone you know or don’t know?

What if I told you that the truth is, more than anything, someone who is suicidal or depressed or has anxiety just wants to be comforted with a warm plate of food or hugs that last for 15 minutes?

The truth is, so many of our own closest friends and family are just not equipped with the compassionate tools to do this. So many are afraid to be vulnerable towards people who are suffering because they fear that  “bad energy might affect them”. Perhaps my thinking is distorted or that you don’t quite understand how someone like me can talk this way. I only aim to be honest for those seeking to learn where and how to begin to understand how these thought processes work inside people who have suicidal thoughts, are depressed or have anxiety.

In a world where our attention spans are limited to 3 seconds because of technology’s hold on us, people only have time for you when it’s convenient for them. I ask that you put your phone away when you are with someone who appears to show signs of distress.

Listen without interrupting.
Listen without judging.
Console with a slight touch or a warm bowl of ramen.
Every small act of kindness helps guide those in painful places, back to a place of trust–a trust in oneself, in others, and in humanity. 

I feel as if Anthony Bourdain had had enough of the emotional intensity that he felt and could not bear to live with the burden of unloading this onto his friends, family, and loved ones. I say this because I feel this way quite often. I often think that the burden of unloading my emotional intensity onto friends and family is just a nuisance and that I should just take care of it myself. I went to see a therapist for nearly 3 years, going once a week, and while it definitely helped rewire a lot of my thought patterns and provided me new mental tools to trick my brain from going down the spiral of negativity, I often felt it wasn’t enough. That even though I was “acting out of love” to show myself that I could manage and control what I felt, it was all too easy for me to think of just turning my wheel abruptly while I would be driving and think “even if I change, the world is still the same, so I should just end it right now.” Again, that was my distorted thinking happening, but I wanted to show you how easy it is to fool people into thinking we’re alright even if we have an amazing job, financial security, family, love, etc.

To a person who is depressed, none of those things matter because the world is still the same. And that’s what breaks my heart now with Anthony Bourdain’s passing. The world will grieve his passing and honor his many talents and gifts that he’s brought into this world, and name the suicide prevention hotline, and people will carry on next week in their same patterns and routine, and the world will still run the same way.

What we, as a community, need to begin doing and taking part in, is engaging in acts of kindness and selfless compassion towards people who are quietly suffering. Because in all honesty, the things that a person who is depressed or having suicidal thoughts would love to feel and see from the community are so simple and fundamental to any human’s well being. Here are just a few ways on how to show those who are suffering that you are selflessly there to begin the process of saving them:

  1. Acts of selfless kindness towards us
  2. Listening to us without interrupting
  3. Comforting us without judging or prying out information
  4. Consoling us with the slightest touch or affection
  5. Calling or texting us every now and then to let us know we’re loved
  6. Not waiting days to respond to our efforts of reaching out to you (i.e. texting back several days or weeks later)
  7. Being consistent with your presence whether its face-to-face, through Facetime/Video, letters, or email.
  8. Not comparing our problems or delusions to others or yours
  9. Playing with us when we’re feeling a little bit happy through laughter, imagination, or games.
  10. Say “I love you as you are, now.” and “We’ll get through this, together.”

If our community could begin to learn these simple ways of showing selfless love and engaging in it as if it were second nature, I honestly believe we would not have so many suicides. We need each other whether we like it or not. In order to survive and evolve as a human species, we need to learn how to grow into our heart and become steadfast in compassion so that we no longer have to suggest calling a suicide prevention hotline to people who are struggling, but instead, become the first responders to any signs of sadness and depression, with arms wide open and a commitment to serving their aching heart out of kindness and love.

To Anthony Bourdain, may your memory and gifts continue to inspire and move people towards places they’ve never been to in the world, the way you did for me, and most importantly, may your wisdom and love teach the human race to travel deeper into the beautiful mysteries of our heart and spirit. There’s a saying I’ve heard somewhere that, “a person only truly dies with the last person who remembers them.” I find solace knowing that Anthony Bourdain will never die, because his grace will always have a mark on the human kind.

Being someone who still struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, I do feel hopeful for so many things. I am finding that the world is slowly changing, even if I only see it in a few places, and that people are catching on. At some point, the human race will reach a point where enough is enough in our material-based, superficial world and the journey inwards to understanding our heart and emotions will take the forefront for our species’ survival and evolution to become something greater than technology, machinery, consumption, war and division, and ourselves as we are now–and that our evolution begins with the journey into “the part’s unknown”, which Anthony Bourdain’s wisdom introduced us to explore.

To you, who has read this far: Thank you for reading. I love you.

Noemi

 

 

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Growth in Time.

Today marks the spring equinox. After a strange winter filled with what seemed like weeks of rain and short days met with sunlight and clear skies–metaphorically speaking too–we have this beautiful season ahead that brings blooms of life and spirit back into nature and us. We know summer is near and we feel a little bit happier, a little bit more motivated to get out and be active, we get out of our “winter” selves and start planning our summer, essentially, our overall mood becomes a reflection of spring itself–a reflection of growth and abundance. Have you noticed that in yourself? I’m beginning to feel this myself.

I love the seasons so much because they remind me of our true connection with nature and how beautiful it is to see and feel nature run its life cycles every couple of months. In a way, it reminds us that all things have a life cycle and that we should and can learn to accept and be comfortable with the changes happening around us and within us. Something that I’ve been feeling a lot of lately since my last post is this realization that life can be made, and remade, again and again, even when the harsh winters (or in my case my divorce and trauma from the abuse) of our life come and go and leave us with nothing.

We need to remind ourselves that we are exactly like nature–resilient, beautiful, and in many cases, needing the time to heal and regrow our seeds and water our own roots, because in time, we do begin to live again. I was living with depression for months, slyly hiding it beneath my smiles and laughter, but I knew something was off. I knew deep down that I had stepped away from watering and nourishing the passions and dreams that set my soul on fire. I became too immersed in saving the marriage for the sacred reasons that you don’t break your vows. Instead, I broke my vows to my dreams and passions, momentarily of course.

However broken we may feel or so far away from healing ourselves can be, there’s always just enough left of yourself, your heart and spirit, to live and grow again.

Doesn’t spring remind us of that? I took the pieces of my broken self and what was left was exactly what I needed to start all over again: my dreams, my passion, and my immense love for them. I remember thinking, this isn’t the first time that I’ve felt this way. In fact, it’s probably the 5th or 6th time that I’ve felt this way–broken, no idea where to go or what to do, with a feeling that always returned to remind me of what I should do. Somehow, in the moments of our deepest pain and dark periods in our life, a tiny little feeling of hope can be found in the things that had always pushed our heart to strive for more, to beat more passionately again for the things we love.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, as I always do, and remunerating over these endless possibilities I have now. One thing that I want to point out is that each of us have our own path to follow and our own lifestyles and gifts to discover and nourish. The safe-path, the one we’re taught to strive for in our lives (think: buy a home, get married, have a wedding, have kids and maybe a pet, have a career, be financially secure, climb the corporate ladder) is definitely one that many of us are seduced to working hard for. While I believe this path is a good one for a lot of us, I feel that it’s not often the right path for some of us.

I struggle with trying to adapt to this safe-path and every time I reach a point in my life that feels stagnant or empty, I am always reminded by what has always brought me joy and drive: writing, telling stories, inspiring, and being able to communicate a language that I feel is so foreign to us now in our culture and time; a language lost in the moments where we wonder what our purpose is in life; a language only understood by way of our senses to understand this world we live in; a language that we all wish to communicate, but don’t know how. It’s what I call the language of the sentient being.

Have you ever felt a need to be more connected with friends or family? Or maybe it’s a closer connection to nature or craving the experience of arts or music? It’s those things that we do that somehow lift our spirit by way of our senses. Have you ever felt this desire to see what can become of you? Or a thirst to understand why you’re even alive?

We’re sentient beings. We feel things because we’ve been given this gift that we don’t always like to use when we try to make sense of our place in the world. I am often reminded that not everyone has the privilege to be born with a dream or a known purpose of what they are truly meant to do in this life, so they take the safe-path because it’s a path that can provide if we follow it. The other path of course is the risky path–usually the path that artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, etc., take. The one we’re advised not to follow.

But I have to take a risk now. Because if I don’t, I will regret it later on. And I have to keep trying and getting back up, even if it means having to start all over from scratch every time I get beaten by my fears. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

A few things that have helped transform my perception about this risk-taking are people who have followed their intuition and worked incredibly hard to bring their dream to life. These people you’ve heard like Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Jeff Bezos, Salvador Dalí, Susan Sontag, maybe someone you know, etc., were always convinced and driven by the one thing that their heart always knew: their gift or purpose in this world.

In order to grow your dreams and make them come to life, you have to be clear about what you want, why you want it and what you’re willing to do to get it. You have to do it because you care deeply about it. You have to care deeply about it because not everyone in this world is born with a dream or a purpose–that itself is beyond divine comprehension.

Can you believe in yourself a little bit more because of this? I think so.

After weeks and mostly nights where I couldn’t sleep, I could feel this ache again to do what I always knew was my god-given gift. WRITE. While it’s not what I do for a living yet, I do believe that future exists for me so long as I continue to beat my own fears and assumptions about failure. Perhaps marriage and buying a home or having a corporate job are not part of my path right now. Because ultimately, if you have a dream or a passion you’d like to pursue, you are called to do the hard work, time and time again after every failure or obstacle that you experience. I know this to be true. I’ve lived in 3 different cities, had 5 jobs, and still, in moments where I’m lost and have no clue what the hell to do with my life, a quiet whisper comes to sweep me up and remind me of this dream to be a writer and storyteller.

Dreams are not to be taken lightly. Everything takes time, but you have to be willing to fail gracefully and be willing to work so so freaking hard. You have to be willing to answer these questions when you start taking your dreams and passions seriously:

What do you want to do?

What are you doing instead?

What are you afraid of?

What are your biggest assumptions?

You have to be willing to cry and feel all sorts of emotions you’ve never thought you were capable of feeling; You have to be willing to push yourself on your own when you don’t have any bit of inspiration left or have $200 left in your bank account; You have to be willing to delay gratification for the integrity it takes to build respect for your dreams; You have to be willing to be so resourceful and creative, but honest, in order to create the momentum needed for your progress; You have to be willing to sacrifice certain notions of the safe-path so you can remind yourself that you’re still doing the hard work that is required for your dream to come true; You have to be willing to sit with depression, sadness, madness, and jump through hoops of fear, and be able to face it head on because ultimately, the risk of not living your true self and the dreams and passions you have is far worse than the fear itself.

In a couple of months, I have an exciting journey ahead of me. I feel the stir of an engine in me, ready to meet my heart’s drive and experience the journey of where my talents take me. In a strange way, I really do feel that the Divine has perfected this imperfect path for me to take. In hindsight, some of the things I have experienced and learned have an eerily strange way of connecting itself back to the things we know most true in our heart. We should learn to trust the cycles and beat of our heart just like how nature trusts in the cycles of our solar system to create magic and abundance every year.

Where do you begin? How do you begin to feel your sense of purpose or know what your dream is? Start with curiosity. Pick up things that interest you. Challenge yourself with a new hobby or language. I promise that doing this will get the gears going for you. I began learning French and downloaded the free app, Duolingo.

I spend an hour every morning after breakfast and coffee entertaining myself with the app’s clever ways and methods to teach the phrases and vocabulary. I hired someone I found on Craigslist to teach me how to drive a manual transmission (stick shift) because it’s a useful skill to know if you’re traveling to other countries. I bought myself a Passion Planner because I got sick of trying to manage my goals with check-lists or scribbled thoughts in a notebook when I had NO REAL MAP of goals and what I needed to do to take steps to bring my dream to life. I minimized my belongings (again–5th time now) so that I wouldn’t have to worry about being tied down to having too much stuff and its maintenance and put everything I don’t even use in a public storage. I currently use a 40-liter Osprey backpack full of clothes, 4 pairs of shoes, my laptop and PC computer, and some books to live my day-to-day. I’ve accepted that I can live with only a few things right now and be completely satisfied and able to do my job and keep myself well-balanced so that I can focus on my dreams and my passion. Again, these are things I am doing out of my own curiosity to see how my life can transform and my habits change so that my dreams can start to feel confident to take center stage.

As you go through this season of spring, I hope that you can find comfort in the thought that your life will go only as far as you want it to. Growth takes hard work and patience. We have to be willing to understand ourselves better in order to make better choices that benefit our ability to grow for our dream, our purpose, our passion, whatever. We have to allow ourselves to feel a little bit more because it’s the language that allows new pathways for our heart to better serve and direct our soul to its reason for life.

I feel so much warmth and belief right now for myself and for you. We’re all in this together if you think about it. We all have moments where we ask ourselves these hard and time-tested questions from the heart and that’s good, because if you aren’t asking, you aren’t truly living your authentic self. How else could we experience the answers unless we live the questions themselves through our curiosity and actions?

In spring, I find that the the flowers and plants never bother to find the answers for why they exist because they already know they have gifts to gift every season. They live only to bring forth themselves, year after year, through drought-stricken weather and floods, inch-by-inch. They exist because their purpose is to be constant reminders for us all that we too, can rise in the faith that our purpose will grow more and more clear every season of our lives.

With love,

Noemi

Featured Photo Credit: Official Tourism Blog of San Diego

 

Emptiness in Time.

Two years ago, I wrote about understanding the power of presence and how to stay in line with our self-love, reminding ourselves to recognize when something or someone does not serve our higher self and is toxic to our growth.

Two years later, after experiencing what I thought was the love you knew was meant for you, I sit here with an immense amount of emptiness—both a good and cruel feeling measured by time. I fell deep in love, or what I thought was love, and married the person who would unknowingly become a person I feared, loved, resented, and was heartbroken over so many, many times. It has taken me awhile to truly sit down and write my thoughts and feelings about where I’ve been these last two years.

I lost myself. I let who I love consume my life. I forgot how to love myself. I became a victim of broken promises. I lost respect for myself. I allowed the person I loved to continue harming me emotionally every time I accepted his apologies. I didn’t listen to myself. I second guessed my intuition, when all this time it kept telling me the truth. I was empty. I became so empty that I couldn’t function in my daily life, in my hobbies, in my passions. I became depressed and sought nothing more but to end my life because my marriage wasn’t working. Where did I go?

Two months ago, I experienced the most terrifying thing in my life that I could imagine. After two years of what felt like a slow emptying of myself through tears, arguments, late night drives to cool off, and constant forgiving and believing in someone who promised to change, I became a victim of abuse in 20 minutes of the most traumatic experience of my life. How could someone who says they love me do this to me? Writing this isn’t easy, and the anxiety and stress from the trauma still creep into my spirit, but I hope that my story can help you understand what it means to get out before it’s too late and how you can find hope in this tragedy.

My life was threatened by someone I love and in those 3 breathless seconds that I experienced, my life became more important to save than the love and broken marriage I was in. I managed to get out safely and report the incident to the police and soon after I moved my belongings out. Where did I go? I went to heal myself and protect everything that has ever made me full of the love that has given me my life, my soul, and spirit.

“Where did I go?” was a question I asked myself countless times throughout the day, ruminating on the past and what signals I should have taken a closer look at that got me to this place in my life. I stopped writing. I stopped feeling. I stopped expressing myself through love in ways that brought me joy. And for what? To be with a man who did not even know how to understand his own source of love, and falsely propose to give you what you needed in a partnership?

I blame myself for not having taken the time to truly test the waters and swim in the ocean of love long enough to know that a person I was going to marry is someone I could trust in turbulent and calm waters. I was a fool for believing so quickly in eloquent words and in the ideal that he would come to learn how to become himself through me. That he could grow with me. But ultimately, I did not have that kind of influence or power, no matter how hard I tried to inspire and motivate him to be the best version of himself that he could be. No matter how hard I tried to set an example of good habits and values, it was of no use if he didn’t care to practice these things in his own life.

At one point, I thought I was the crazy one—he would tell me I was crazy and was overly sensitive and should just “sleep things off”. I wish I had known not to have given so much of my love and effort to someone who was incredibly stubborn and prideful. The toxicity sucked every ounce of my empathy and compassion for myself that I became so disillusioned by the state of my marriage. In essence, I became a reflection of him during that time—picking up his habits because he wouldn’t compromise with mine, suppressing my emotions because he couldn’t express himself, not speaking or hanging out with friends or family as often because he didn’t like people knowing about us, becoming a complete hermit because he didn’t have any interest in making friends or hanging out with mine, making excuses for his absence at family parties or events because he was too anti-social, and all of this in hindsight, I see now, was enabling his behavior every time I forgave him and protected his values. I felt so unloved and neglected.

This was not a marriage or relationship I could tolerate any longer.

I had wanted so much to be married, but this was not the marriage the Universe and the Divine had intended for me. I wanted so much to believe that all the things he shared with me were true, and maybe some of it was, but our love for each other was felt in two different ways that could not grow together.

So often we forget to heed the wisdom of those who come before us and have felt love. While some are lucky to really know when they know the one, I find a lot of comfort and value in the thought that you cannot know unless you both have felt the treasure of time separately, first, and then, together. That with the treasure of time, you each would choose to live with intent and awareness in growing your self-love and learn to understand what compassion and empathy look and feel like because when you have that, the rest is simple when you choose to marry. When you have a sense of self respect for your love and your values then you already know what you must do to protect the love and values of the one you choose to spend the rest of your life with.

I don’t regret having gotten married and then disappearing for two years from my passions. I do regret not leaving sooner when the relationship was at its breaking point several times. I know that I am stronger than I feel or think and I am happy that I got out when I did, but how did I miss the warning signs? Signs that my intuition had pointed me to look at closer, but then I’d second guess myself. Warning signs found in the constant refusal of a substance abuse problem, lies masked in wordy excuses, denials and circular conversations, financial mismanagement and disorganization in goals and ambitions, broken promises and emotional neglect, refusal to understand on an emotional level, and pride that was prioritized first before the love and feelings of the partner you chose.

So many vows were broken. I never thought someone I love could emotionally and physically hurt me so much. In moments where the anxiety and PTSD creep in, I tell myself, “I am so sorry, Noemi. I am so sorry this happened to you.”

And in between the moments where my eyes well up and my throat is in a knot, I exhale a deep breath and hear my soul whisper, “But you are immensely loved. Do not forget the gift I have given solely to you in this life”.

I am crying as I write because I feel so sorry for having turned my heart away momentarily from what has always sparked my life and spirit: my own source of love.

It is an ever growing source that will never betray me or hurt me as long as I continue to believe and nurture it.

The end of this marriage has also reminded me of the one thing that has stayed true and constant in my life thus far: that my intuition is part of the gift I have been given to understand and express the truths of love and life in my time. In hindsight, it has been the silent compass of my soul, directing me to what I know is my divine purpose in this world. While the direction that it is going remains a complete mystery to me, I can trust that the direction will always be that of growth if I choose it to be. A huge part of my heart and soul have been emptied by this traumatic experience and the ones I experienced in the duration of my two years of absence. I have drowned and have been broken in love and after all of it, here I am.

I am a survivor.
I am stronger than I have ever been.
That there is hope after tragedy.

I am always reminded by the resilience of nature and how life and death is a cycle that can be seen in its seasons. This was a great and turbulent season of my life. It has washed away so much of what I had grown and yet there I am in pieces, scattered throughout the soil of my broken heart and soul like seeds, waiting to be nurtured and grown again—that in time, I will rise and become the garden of my love, once again.

I am so grateful for the friends and family who have shown me so much love and support during this difficult time. They are the ones who help water the soil of your brokenness while you take the time to make sense of the chaos of it all and heal from it. They are the ones who are truly heaven-sent to ensure your path is always comforted by reminders of real love and joy.

Having endured this momentary absence from my own life and the traumatic experience at the end of it, I realize that the process of my emptying in this marriage was necessary for me to learn so that I could understand how to grow myself again when destruction and chaos come to uproot everything.

It was a necessary emptying so that all I had left was everything that I began with—the foundation, the soil, the earth, the nothingness and everything, the messiness, the beauty and hope of starting all over again with the only tools I needed: my hands, my heart, my mind, my soul, my faith, my choice to live again in this emptiness in time, where darkness can be abundance, and death can bring new life.

I see now. How important it is to empty ourselves, whether that be emotionally or spiritually. I see now. How time is our silent friend in all matters of life, death, and love. That this emptiness in time that we all experience at one point in our lives, is one of the greatest reflections of love that call to the depths of our inner self to feel the incredible lightness and plasticity, magic and resilience of our divine soul.