Overcoming Grief: Being Beside Oneself

This blog is peppered with various strategies for moving through emotional turmoil. Tonight, I experienced a new strategy that was more efficient than others I’ve used so far.

Wednesday’s are transition days for me, and they stand as a reminder of where my life is not how I had planned. Having the day off made today a less distracted and thus a more emotionally charged Wednesday than usual.

While sitting with my emotions, I used my usual alchemy techniques and while the edges were less sharp, the heaviness of grief still weighed on me. It was then that I felt myself “beside myself.” Then I began to assure my “beside self” that I had every right to feel every bit of what I was feeling; even down to my desires to smash things, which weren’t okay desires to follow through, yet I acknowledged they were okay to feel.

So now I sit, no longer needing to be beside myself, reintegrated, and more at peace with myself and this situation. Yes, there is still some work to do, yet it already feels that much better.

May we each find our inner path to peace, understanding that what we feel is what we feel and it’s really okay to feel; self-validation. Understanding that just because we feel it doesn’t mean we must live it. And that blocking our feelings prevents us from fully living.

Namaste

Dancing Through Sadness

For several hours, I moped around like Eeyore. Thoughts like a broken record circled my mind, it seemed the sadness and grief that gripped my heart would surely cause it to cease pumping.

The backstory could have been anyone’s. Yet what I did next may seem novel. I played sappy love songs to pull out the pain. Then, I got up from the couch, rather reluctantly, and began to tap one foot. My heart was tired of the weight of the sadness and knew dancing would help. It just took my mind and body a song or two to thaw out.

After 20 minutes of increasing movement, I had gone from toe tapping to boody-shakin’ and arms-in-the-air full body dancing. This is the best part: my heart, mind and body all felt light again and literally after 20 minutes. Now I’m asking myself, “What took you so long to shake and move it?” ūüėČ

I wish I could take credit for the idea behind this, but it is not my own. Several months back during a session with my life coach, Sam, she suggested that I dance every day until our next session. While initially reluctant yet receptive, dancing became a necessity that got me through some rather tough emotional times.

While my regimen has fallen back to several times a week, it was so helpful to keep me more even-keeled when I danced a daily basis…

I strongly encourage everyone to find a favorite tune and shake it out. Happy or sad. Angry or not. It can be immediately mood altering and uplifting. Given time, it becomes life altering.

Namaste

image: google

the fear of death keeps us from living not dying

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The fear of death keeps us from living, not dying.

Paul C. Round

It is our fear of death that keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zones into our greatness.  For us to gain in life, there are parts of it that we must be willing to lose.  The parts we leave behind are those parts that no longer serve us.  They can feel like a security blanket, so in a way,  we can feel vulnerable without them. There is also often a grieving process involved in release,  in a way,  we do die. However, it is the death of that which no longer serves.  This grief can be temporary,  if we allow it to be.

Let’s take a look at the natural world where animals “let go” in order to gain:

A snake sheds its skin so that it may release that which no longer serves it and so that it may begin anew.

The caterpillar must be willing to let itself die  as a caterpillar,  so that it may enter into the void of the chrysalis so that it may transform and emerge as a butterfly.

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.

Luke 17:33

By giving our fears over to God, we may release that which holds us back. In letting go,  we step more into our power.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

By holding onto our fears,  we block our own freedom. When we choose fear over our greatness,  we keep ourselves in bondage. Through surrender,  we cut away these self-imposed limitations.

Just for today, I choose to release my fears about my greatness and walk in my strength. Please join me!

Namaste

Image courtesy of pat138241 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Walking in Another’s Shoes

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

-Henry David Thoreau

The morning schedule was busy with patients who needed physical therapy reassessments and evaluations. This meant writing two notes per patient, testing each patient and “extra” brain work to analyze the test scores. The¬†headache from the early morning antics at home was growing and I was getting hungry; a dangerous combination. A quick chart review revealed that my next patient had been moody at his last therapy visit. “Fantastic!,” I thought to myself as I begrudgingly walked out to the waiting room to call the moody patient back into the busy clinic.

Usually I perform the physical testing prior to performing the patient questionnaire that asks standardized questions of patients to help create benchmarks regarding changes in their function, as well as to help predict outcomes. Since the patient was visually impaired, I had the additional pleasure of reading the questions to him. His answers were long-winded and often did not answer the question being asked. Hungry, in pain and tired now of redirecting him, I was doing my best to remain calm while inside I was screaming in my head. Yes, now I was moody.

One of the questions asked about driving, and being tired, hungry and in pain I read it without even thinking about it. The patient calmly replied, “Did you know about my wife? She use to drive me to my appointments. I lost her last month unexpectedly.” Talk about being instantly humbled. My countenance quickly turned around (and around some more).

From that point on I asked few questions. Instead, I just sat there with the patient and listened to him talk while remaining as present in each moment as I possibly could. No wonder this man was moody! He had unexpectedly lost his wife of 59 years. “I heard a thud and I didn’t realize that she had fallen from a heart attack.” So he was not only grieving for her loss, he was also blaming himself for it.

Yes, of course I cried. I cried tears of sadness for his loss, while grieving my own losses.  Some tears were shed in envy. Here I am in the process of separating from my husband of 15 years and this man has lost his spouse of 59 years (I wanted a lift partner, I thought to myself). Other tears were from guilt for having dreaded working with this man and for having judged him difficult before knowing his story. Add to that the shame of not feeling compassion for the patient until he had a heart-wrenching story to tell, thus deviating from my ideals.

At this point I moved into gratitude and wiped away my tears and did my best to verbally acknowledge his suffering. Then I asked his permission to share his feelings with his referring physician.

It can be such a challenge to know what someone else is going through. Sometimes we see someone who is having a bad day and we know not why. In this situation, I was given the gift of an inside glimpse into this man’s life that helped to put him being moody into perspective.

The patient seemed genuinely grateful for the time we spent together today. I know I was grateful and expressed my gratitude to him, as it was another lesson for me to remind me of compassion, unconditional love and that you never really know what someone else may be going through until you walk in his shoes.

Here is a link to a really great ad for The Cleveland Clinic that I feel exemplifies this concept. The video begins with the Thoreau quote from above:

Namaste

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