Good morning, everyone. On behalf of my dad, my brother, and our family, thank you for being here today. While I am going to do my best to put into words to share who my mom was, I’m not sure it is possible.
My mom was one of the most caring and genuine people I know, and all walks of life: the four-legged, two-legged, winged, young, and old knew it too. Her laughter, beautiful sense of humor, and her positivity rang through even though she had endured great loss. She wanted people to be happy and feel joy even through hard times like this.
The irony in her so genuinely wanting others to experience happiness was never lost on me as she did so while carrying perhaps the greatest burden a mother could know. The loss of one of her children, Jeffrey Joseph, when she herself was just 23 years old. For more than 50 years of her life, she struggled to understand and find peace in the anguish of such heartbreak. The way in which she still showed up as she did for her family and friends truly speaks volumes about the kind of human she was.
My mom loved Detroit. There was a lot of connection there for her from growing up there to bar hopping after work with my dad to tooling around in the convertible with me before my brothers were born, “just us chicks,” she would say. It’s where she was born and lived until she was twelve.
The neighborhood she grew up in was mostly Polish, “a bar at every corner,” she’d proclaim. She attended a Polish Catholic elementary school and her family lived with her mother’s parents on the top floor and my mom’s family on the main floor. It was a place steeped in Polish traditions, where family and the church came first, and of course good drink and good food.
After the sudden loss of her grandpa, her family decided to move to the suburbs of Allen Park. They left the comfort of the Polish neighborhood and their friends... which couldn’t have been easy for any of them. My mom shared many stories about this time in her life and beyond - always speaking fondly while looking off with a smile on her face, mischievous sparkle in her eyes, while spilling the brilliant stories of adventure and fun with joy filling her heart.
Her love of all things Christmas and the yearly trips to Bronner’s and annual ornaments for everyone warm my heart when I think of them. We have quite a collection as do some of you, and she always picked the perfect ones every year.
Her offerings of more food even after we just ate a wonderful meal she prepared. That was something my brother, Kevin, and I heard constantly throughout our lives from her. Even if we said we were full, we still got the rundown of what else there was to eat in the refrigerator or pantry. That’s Polish love for ya.
Her love of sports - both watching and playing. The no-hitter in slow-pitch softball she threw - yes, in slow-pitch -– is something she may not have shared but is worth noting now. And for those of you who don’t know, that’s a really difficult thing to do.
I always felt such pride watching her as I grew up and loved getting to know her teammates and dear friends. Eventually, my mom and I finally got to play on the same team; playing with the same women I watched as I grew up was quite an honor. Another summer, our whole family played co-ed ball together… that was every bit of the adventure that it sounds like. She would also spend countless hours in bowling alleys across the country bowling herself and watching my brother bowl. There wasn’t much she enjoyed more than watching and cheering on her loved ones.
Her love and acceptance for others was apparent as she always had room for one more in our family. The friends my brother and I would bring home while growing up, to the teams I coached, to the friends I have now were always “adopted” into our family. From pizza Thursdays in college, to my friends and Soul Sisters today. Known as Mrs. B, Mom B, Momma B, or Grandma she was adored by all as she was a great listener and never judged or turned anyone away... even though through her life some people judged, left her out, or turned her away.
She loved her grandchildren incomparably. She was so very proud of the humans they are and it was a privilege to see and feel her depth of love for them. She spoiled them as only grandmas can do, and they were truly buddies.
They travelled together to many places and had many, many laughs. From Joe Louis Arena for Disney on Ice to The Detroit Opera House and The Fox Theater for plays and musicals, to the drives through the old neighborhood and Elizabeth Park and more. They went on many adventures.
My daughter, Jordan shared some of her fondest memories which include how her Grandma went to every one of her bowling events and the two of them watching Big Brother together - even if they weren’t in the same location, they would call each other to watch it together in that way. She also recalls making macaroni salad together (she did make it best), and decorating Christmas cookies every year and even included Jordan’s best friend, Megan who is a dear part of our family.
When it came to my son Joshua, my mom absolutely loved to hear him play the piano and sing Fly Me to the Moon or other oldies for her - she was the only one to ever get a personal concert by the way. She also held very close to her heart the pieces of artwork he would create for her which some of you may have seen yesterday.
As you have heard, she was a wonderful mother; the perfect mother for me in fact. The perfect grandmother for my children. The perfect wife, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, and in-law for all of us here. Our lives wouldn’t be the same without experiencing her.
It was an honor to hold her hand and listen, to hold the sacred space for her as she transitioned, and I thought about how our relationship will change. For all the guidance she offered everyone in life, now she will be a guide for us from the other side. How lucky are we to have a new guardian angel like my mom?
As time was growing short and especially the last few days with her, I pondered all her kindness, her loving ways, and her humor. I thought about how wonderful of a mom and human she was. I realized I could never say enough about how she loved her family, friends, and pets deeply and unconditionally.
So, with a few short stories and reflections, maybe I shared something you didn’t know or sparked a memory or two. My hope is that your memories of her are held in the same loving way that she held all of you.
Mom, we will forever hold you, cherish you, and honor you. We will do so with laughter and tears, travel and good food, music and much love. You deserve it all.
Thank you, mom, for loving all of us so very much through all the times. It was the one constant we never second-guessed and never will.
We love you forever and for always and we know you love us more.
Dziękuję (Jankuya) and kocham cię (coham che)
And Goddess speed, lil’ mama.
Sense of Urgency… or lack thereof
Something occurred to me this morning at 5:30am: now that I’m feeling a little better the lack of urgency has me feeling very uncomfortable. Isn’t there something I should be doing? Going out and getting? A fire to put out? I have all these new ideas and thinkings and no grasping (although my brain is really trying to). No GO GO GO and this is NOT easy and I believe is fueling some of my confusion. What am I “supposed to” be doing? Turns out nothing, or so it seems.
Everything I created over the past month (which was done with no sense of urgency by the way) is now swirling around me… the posters, the colors, the words, the emotions (those are mostly swirling inside), the ideas, the becoming. Instead of trying to grab one or four, I’m just waiting for one to fall to me, to receive what would come next. My brain is really having a hard time with that and doesn’t know how to process it. It’s a very strange place to be when you’re used to grasping in desperation. The desperation of what I’m not sure of but I am sure my amygdala has something to do with it lol.
I don’t mean I’m being passive either or not doing anything but what I am doing seems to have to marinate - which I’m not sure how to allow without taking action, which causes some panic - and I have to trust. Someone once asked me, many years ago now, “What did you do when you had a bad game?” I had a long pause, which made him realize I didn’t have many bad games so he then asked, “Why do you think you didn’t have many bad games?” My answer was this: “Well, I trusted myself, I trusted the game, and I trusted the field.” I mean from the core of my being I trusted. Is this time in my life really any different than that? It’s just a different game, which I mean with the highest regard.
All of this go, go, go society or our families have taught us is “just the way it is,” is bullshit really, isn’t it? We have been indoctrinated to keep pushing, keep moving, go bigger, etc. Why? Does anyone really pause and ask why? Because it’s exhausting and we can’t reap the rewards nor celebrate any accomplishments because we are already on the next thing! Oy! That makes no sense. There is a sacredness of it all to be honored and we often don’t see it or realize it. Celebration is a sacred act we rarely participate in - especially celebrating ourselves. Anyway, I digress a little. My morning reflections on the sense of urgency or lack thereof I’m dealing with led to this.
I’ve got all these posters with all of this brainstorming in words and colors and now they feel like they are swirling all around me. Like I can see them as they fly by and I’m close to discovery BUT reaching out and trying to grab one is not working. They are elusive and sometimes it feels like taunting. It’s like I have to wait for it to fall out of the sky (or my unconscious) and if I can get to a point of receiving (seemingly what I already know on some level), then each will rain down as it should in the right order and with the right intensity. No sense of urgency or grasping, just ignition and energy. Energizing instead of constricting… Inspiring instead of drudgery… breathing instead of gasping. This is a tall order for people like me that are used to taking action all the time or who find themselves putting out fires for others and their urgencies.
The urgency becomes the fuel but not in the way that a car travels, but more in the way there’s a bonfire in the middle of the kitchen and no way to put it out. It wreaks havoc and strangely enough, can burn you from the inside out even though you think it’s outside of you. It’s not. We often want it to be, but it’s not. And it will burn you out faster than you think without even realizing it.
In grad school, I wrote an extensive paper about athletes and performance anxiety. There is a need for some anxiety to alert the body and mind that it’s time to concentrate, perform, and increase focus; but the threshold is delicate in that just a little too much and one can go into flight or freeze mode and this obviously affects their performance negatively. Just enough though, gets them in flow. I had forgotten about this paper until I listened to the chapter on Bewilderment yesterday (thank you, Jeffrey Davis and your book Tracking Wonder). There’s some clicking happening.
This led me to remember when I played. I used to say the only pressure that exists is the pressure you put on yourself, it’s true here too. I believe I rarely had bad days because I also believed this wholeheartedly. What was there to worry about? Like I stated earlier, I had confidence in and trusted myself, the game, and the field. This has shown up over and over again in times of confusion and strife in my life. Why is what I am going through now any different? Is it different? I don’t think so.
All this said, patience is also a key factor for me. It comes with trusting the open and receiving and that all will come when the time is best for each. No urgency. No destructive fires, only ignition.
What makes a Good Facilitator?
Curious about exploring Family/Systemic Constellations and what makes a good facilitator? Michaelene had the honor of being interviewed for classes offered by REAL (Resources for Embodied and Ancestral Learning) Academy in South Africa.
She is one of the facilitators from all over the world, to be a part of the Resources for Beginner & Intermediate Facilitators. Michaelene's teachings on anxiety & depression, fertility, and addiction are in part 3 of the offerings coming soon.
If you'd like more information, please select the button below. It is a great way to learn more about Constellations from esteemed colleagues and experienced facilitators.
Much of the time we feel isolated and alone in our traumatic experiences, we feel shame, terrified, lost, confused, unsafe, and misunderstood. We feel as if no one could possibly help, support, or understand us and our experiences or that people just don’t care. We feel shame for what we went through and how we feel. We aren’t able to see and/or trust that there is any compassion in the world, any kindness, or any connection — not even within ourselves. Nothing is sacred and everything is scary. It is scary to be in the world, it is scary to be us. And the truth is, finding that safe and sacred space to bring us safety, comfort, healing, and peace seems overwhelmingly unattainable.
It is interesting to me, that people in our world (family, friends, therapists, the media, etc.) feel they have the right to define what our traumas have been — “Was it a big “t” or little “t,” I’ve heard asked. “Oh, that’s not real trauma,” I’ve heard, adding fuel to the fire of the original trauma. The fact is, YOU are the only one who gets to define your experiences. YOU are the only one who knows what you felt and feel in the way of your traumatic experience and at any other time in your life. Only YOU.
For many years I fought with these judgments and criticisms — and quite a few came from myself. I would compare my traumas to others and lessen its value and impact to say, “Well, it could have been worse I suppose,” or “someone has it worse than me.” This was not helpful in the least but I was terrified to be exposed again. I was terrified for people to see me as broken and unfixable. I was terrified for people to see me at all. Even now, as I write this I am scared but I have seen and experienced the sacred pieces of mine and others’ traumas too, the pieces that no one can take away from you (even though it feels as if they were stolen), the pieces that can be nurtured and honored through the sacred actions of reclamation, empowerment, support, connection, love, and healing through Healing through Connecting Constellations (Family & Systemic Constellations). All of which occur within our own sacred beings and eventually again with others. To me, this makes our traumatic experiences sacred [and nothing to be ashamed of].
I have been processing so many things these last few days. Trying, like everyone else, to make sense of so many things: my roller coaster emotions, the best and worst of humanity that can come from a crisis, fear and survival instincts, a little scare from a loved one, friends that are experiencing the virus first hand in their families, the anxiety of the unknown, the lack of leadership from our national government and the actual leadership of some governors, and... .
I have many worries up for me. There is the worry of someone I know getting ill. The worry of bills and how they will be paid. The worry that my clients are ok. The worry that my parents won't stay inside. The worry of a really big healing gathering won't come to fruition months from now. The worry of people worrying and panicking. I feel it all. The enormity of it all....
And my worry turns to anger. Big anger. Anger for being whooped up by all the whooping happening in the world. Anger that people aren't listening. Anger that people are still being political and think we have to choose sides. Can't we just come together and stop all the blame?!
I'm angry that people are humanizing this virus to be some kind of enemy. I get it being a fight/resiliency thing but it doesn't have a brain. It isn't out to get us. It just is. And yes, it's terrible and scary because we can't see it but it doesn't have motive. It doesn't have a hidden agenda like so many humans do. It's not even "alive" until it finds a host. And I'm angry at the Universe/God/Goddess/whomever is in charge "up there."
Yet, part of me (a big part of me) understands that this is probably what had to happen to get us to slow down. To see how we've destroyed our planet. To see how we need a reboot. To see humanity again and where we are in it. To see what happened to our foundations of connection to each other, to Mother Nature, to ourselves, to Spirit/God/Goddess/etc. To see what we've done by choice. Yes choice.
We've chosen to be divided. We've chosen to, at times, stand by and do nothing. We've chosen to worship the almighty dollar over humanity, over people. We've chosen to overlook the homeless and those in need. We've chosen to be disconnected and yet long for it but not willing to admit it. Our devices and modern technology helped us to choose. Children don't know how to navigate relationships. Hell, a lot of grown ups don't know how to connect.
Where has our depth gone? Where has our compassion gone? Where has our honor and integrity gone? Where?
This virus has shown us all of it and more. And we still have choices. Will you choose compassion or apathy? Will you choose division or connection? Will you choose blame or responsibility? Will you choose fear or courage?
What will you choose?
Healing through Connecting™ is not just a theory… it is a fact, it is proven, it is seen and felt by many. I lived for so many years without true connection - except for the connection I had with my maternal grandfather. I am still connected with him to this day, even after his passing several years ago. I didn’t learn how to connect, really connect with anyone, including myself, until I was in my late thirties and even then I was still leery. It wasn’t until Systemic Constellations found its way into my life that I truly learned to connect.
True connection takes authenticity, genuineness, vulnerability, non-judgment, compassion, love and more. I could go on and on with this list. One of the reasons it took me so long to learn to truly connect? I was viscerally afraid that once connected they would leave. It was too much for me to lose so I just decided not to even try. I (thought) was keeping myself safe and yet, I was missing out on so much. I don’t regret the years of disconnection, but I certainly learned from them.
The other thing disconnection does, is separate. We can see in our world today how much separation there is just because people have been indoctrinated or trained that “the other” is scary. Often because of the color of their skin, their cultures are different, religions beliefs, or really… just being different than what you or society wants to believe is the “norm.”
We all have choices, right? And our choices to live authentically and be in our Truth often makes us “different.” I’ve come to the realization that my own choice to be authentic, true to who I am at the core, takes an extreme amount of vulnerability which in turn takes great courage. It is one of the reasons it has taken me to begin to write this book. Another reason is, where to begin? And yet another is, well people will SEE me. See me for who I am at my core. See me for the “different’ that I am. Criticize my “me-ness.”
We often hear, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Why don’t we see the hurt in others and connect? Lack of empathy? Lack of compassion? Fear? Self-centeredness?
In a few hours, I am going to facilitate a constellation workshop that is, in all ways, about connecting. During this workshop, we connect with each other, we connect with our ancestors, we connect with ourselves, and we connect with something greater, the collective and the highest and greatest good for all. We reconnect with family members in a safe and sacred way - they don’t even have to be present. We connect to the energies of all this, the sacred energies - good, bad, or indifferent. We connect to healing. We connect sometimes to let go, in a way. To heal. We connect to heal on many levels and... We connect to GROW LOVE.
Doing this work gives the gift of compassion and sight for what is. It allows one to lift the confusion, protection, judgment, and resentment. In doing so, we then see the big picture of one’s life. We get the ability to become compassionate of other’s challenges and issues. It allows us to go to deeper levels of healing.
In my private practice, I have been privileged to facilitate this work with clients. The healing experienced, the depth of awareness, and the realizations of all involved in the process have been powerful. This is my life's work.