Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Baby Steps

I recently met a woman who came for her first reading ever. In her life she has experienced intense trauma and grief. At the age of 23 her husband was murdered in front of she and her 2 year old son, he died in her lap. Subsequently her brother, mother, father and other brother all passed away. Mind boggling loss.

She is accomplished in her life and profession with the exception of her partners. Over and over she has been taken advantage of, lied to and disrespected by the men she chose. When I asked her if she wanted an intimate relationship she couldn't answer right away. History had shown her it wasn't safe to allow herself to bond closely with a partner, after all, her first love was brutally taken from her at the ripe young age of 23. It was a simple question but one that she took home to ponder.

Her relationship with her father had been one of great love and respect, in both directions. I encouraged her to remember the feelings she had when her dad was here, that feeling of allowing herself to receive his love and support. If we have a memory of anything, it can be activated by our conscious attention. This is why we serve ourselves best when we stop retelling our traumatic stories. If our desire is to move out of old conditioning, we must consciously let go of the disempowering memories and events of the past. It's a practice. Like all things that we learn, we first practiced. Be patient as you practice telling yourself a happier story of who you were. Every choice made in the past came from an innocent desire for love. Let yourself off the hook for the way you conducted yourself before you knew how to do it better. Baby steps...you'll get there.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Do The Best You Can In Every Moment

I’ve been sitting here waiting to feel better. Every day in my mind I take a walk, work out or ride a bike. And every day I sit here waiting to feel better. Losing my brother was a quick trip to shut down mode. I’m finding that I don’t always want to talk and that turning inwards brings on loneliness.
It is challenging when someone tells me about someone who has it way worse so I should be thankful. Trust me friends, that is neither loving or helpful. Pain, loss and recovery ...are a most intimate journey. Your pain is relative to your life experience. For me to diminish your loss by comparing it to anyone else’s makes no sense. We come from different backgrounds and experience and process our lives in our own unique way. Please don’t tell me to be thankful that I don’t have some else’s problems, this is not a competition, this is life.

This morning was the first time I got up, put on my shoes and took a walk. I know it’s what I needed. I’m hoping this was my literal and symbolic first step to the new normal. It is hard to know what to do or say when someone has suffered a tragic loss.

To us they’re not really gone as they live on in our hearts; precious and beloved. We still want to say their name and talk about them, even if it makes us cry. The first year is particularly difficult, remember to stay in touch with your friends and loved ones in the months after the memorial service. And, please do understand they may not be able to be there for you as they always have been, it is not personal. We are all doing the best we can under our own circumstances.


Kind People Make The Best Friends

If you have any question about how someone will treat you in a relationship, notice how they talk about others. Notice how they treat their dog. Notice where the majority of their conversation stems from. Expressions of lack or pessimism cannot do anything other than perpetuate out into our relationships.

Seek the company of those willing to look past apparent reality and choose still to embody hope and wear the best smile they can. Not that we must deny our pain, rather that they are uncommitted to remaining in a state of suffering. A display of understanding that present circumstances are painful and that all states are temporary is healthy.

The company we keep dictates our overall sense of well being. Choose the people that listen and smile.


Grief

It’s been a very long time since my father died – 25 years. Recently I had the thought that I understood grief but didn’t actually remember the depth of the pain. When my brother made his journey home on March 12 my family’s life has changed forever. Obviously. In the ensuing weeks I have run a cycle of being paralyzed, numb and sad to my core. Last week anger set-in. I didn’t feel angry at anyone, just anger rumbling around in my mind and body. I wanted to lash out a...nd unburden myself of the pain I was feeling and witnessing in my family. Part of me wants to scream and the other part wants silence.

Physical death is finite; no more talks and laughs, no more hugs. Transitioning from our mortal relationship to the spiritual is personal and we process at our own speed in our own way. Friends ask what they can do… we do not have an answer. To summon up a request from the depth of our pain is (in my experience) nearly impossible. If you would like to do something for your grieving friend or loved one – just do it. Please do not feel offended that they do not take you up on your offer of “if you need anything call” that’s simply not going to happen.

It is lovely to receive a check-in; to know we’re being thought of – that feels really good. Keep it brief; know that we may not have the energy to hear about what you are going through in your life. It is not that we do not care, it is that we simply do not have the bandwidth to hold the space for you right now.

It is hard to put yourself in another person’s shoes especially when you too are affected by the loss. I think the key to showing up is to be considerate as we process our life change and step slowly into the new normal our life is becoming. Thank you for being there and holding our hearts in your prayers.