Monthly Archives: September 2014

Loss of Love

The loss of a loved one is possibly the most painful experience any of us will ever have. Recuperating from such a loss is a long, difficult journey. In fact, we’re never the same. And we’re not supposed to be. One of the purposes of lost love is for those remaining to re-examine who they are.

We develop an identity around a relationship that is separate from our own personal identity. We become comfortable with how we see ourselves within that context and it gives us a sense of “being” that wasn’t there before. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy to feel like we “need” another person in our lives to be whole. (That’s a whole other blog). I’m talking about the connection between two or more people that bonds us – as a couple, a family, friends, etc that becomes an entity separate from the individuals involved.

This identity gives us strength – a frame of reference for how our life is going to play out. When a part of that entity is taken away, it literally rocks our world, and initially, we don’t know how to proceed.

When I think of this process of coming into a new sense of Self in a loving relationship, I remember watching one of my granddaughter’s favorite movies with her – The Velveteen Rabbit. Shortly after we watched the movie, I came across this passage in the book DARING GREATLY by BrenE Brown. She quotes the toys in the original book – it’s a beautiful reminder of how good it feels when we know we’re loved:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Those of us who have experienced grief know all too well the pain that comes along with losing someone we care for deeply. The temptation is often to close off our hearts so we don’t have to experience this pain again. But that’s where the lessons are – in the love and in the pain.

If we don’t allow ourselves to completely experience each relationship, we are not fully alive. As difficult as it is when the loss comes, it somehow makes the love that much more precious.

Don’t Take Your Life so Personally

My family and I have been going through a really rough patch recently. The specifics are not important. What is important is what we do with it.

I have been receiving many messages of thoughts, support and prayers from friends all over the world. It’s overwhelming just managing the replies at times. But aside from the obvious feeling of love that is flowing in, it’s also therapeutic. As I answer their questions and explain my feelings, it helps me untangle all the intellectual violence going on in my head.

My spiritual study and practice has helped me understand that life is not something that is being done TO me. Rather, for each of us the situations and relationships we find ourselves in are most likely chosen by us and our loved ones before we incarnated. Maybe not the specific situations, but the general theme of our lives. We orchestrate these so that we can each learn and propel our souls to a higher place.

Knowing this helps me back up and look at all the minutia of my life from a different perspective – a more impersonal one.

Saying grief and pain are impersonal may be a little misleading. Each experience of loss or pain is unique, and in that way, VERY personal. Every person who goes through a painful situation must feel it and heal it in his/her own way – and no one else can really KNOW how (s)he feels because of the uniqueness of that person’s relationship with the other person/situation. However, the fact that everyone has or will go through similar experiences is what makes it an impersonal, universal experience.

Here’s my understanding – and once again, for some of you this falls in the “woo woo” category. While I certainly respect your beliefs, and am in no way trying to win you over to some other side, I hope you can be open to this as a possibility, because it can be a helpful way to look at our lives.

Case in point: For my soul, it was a calculated choice to allow my essence to come into the family and life I have now. And we agreed to this journey together in order to help each other work on specific lessons. We can’t know exactly how it’s going to show up or how it will turn out, because we do have free will as humans, and the choices we make at each juncture determine the direction in which we proceed.

From this perspective, what I know about my current situation is that I need to approach it from Love. As I face each choice, I need to ask myself, “what is the most loving way to handle this (for me and for my loved ones)?”

As I was writing this, I came across this excerpt from Carolyn Myss. She explains what I’m trying to say so much more eloquently than I can:

. . . A broken heart qualifies as a small thing precisely because it is such a core, universal experience, and even if you resist healing, part of you will begin of its own volition. That is the nature of life: to heal the body and spirit back to a state of balance. Understand that the healing mechanism itself is not personal. A broken leg will start to heal as soon as it is set, regardless of your feelings. The same is true of your emotional self. After a certain length of time, you have to work at staying depressed, sad, and mournful—unless you’ve been exceptionally traumatized. Everyone experiences heartbreak, and although our own individual heartache may feel devastating, it is not unusual. This is not meant to diminish individual grief, but rather to reposition that grief within an impersonal or archetypal vantage point.

I’m going to be very honest here. Right now I’m vacillating between trying to be loving and wanting someone to pay for their actions – to experience the pain I feel. All I know is that I want this to be over. But I have a sneaking suspicion that if I don’t go the route of Love, it will take longer. From the loving perspective, I can release the specific outcome I want and allow peace for all of us to begin.

Regardless of what your life experience is right now, I send you Love and Light and I hope you, too, can find the loving perspective from which to live.

Acts of Kindness

One of my favorite authors is Dr. Wayne Dyer. Because I listen to his weekly podcasts I’ve heard him talk about this study on several occasions. (I have not verified the study but I take Dr. Dyer at his word). I find it fascinating, so I thought I’d share it with you.

Dr. Dyer speaks of a scientific study that was done several years ago, where they found that the serotonin level went up significantly when a person was the recipient of a kind deed. (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects our emotional states, and many of the antidepressants used currently are designed to stimulate its production in the brain).

In addition, the study found that the serotonin level of the person who performed the deed also went up at the same rate. But what I find most interesting, is that the serotonin level of people who witnessed the event also experienced a rise in their serotonin level to the same extent.

While I’m not saying those on an antidepressant should quit using it and simply try to be nicer to others, I do think this speaks volumes about our society that is so dependent on pills and other methods for our quick fixes.

I have used a gratitude list/journal for years to help myself get out of a funky mood, or to quit obsessing about something that I can’t do anything about. I write down all the things I can think of for which I’m grateful at that moment. (It sometimes includes things as simple as “my internet is working!!”) Then I notice that feeling of gratitude or joy, and where I feel it in my body—and just allow myself to feel it for a few moments, before I move on to the next thing on my list.

When my day is especially frustrating or depressing, I look for someone I can do something kind for. It doesn’t have to be anything big. I send an email to someone who I know is ill or lonely—just to say “Hi, I’m thinking of you.” Or I pick up trash while I’m on my morning walk, or help an elderly person take their groceries to their car, etc.

We all know how good it feels to do something for someone else just because we want to. People are put in our paths every day who could use a hand. I challenge you to be more aware—maybe even look for the opportunity to do something for someone. Become an instrument of kindness, and see how much better you feel!

Be kind to the unkind because kindness is your nature.
–The Tao (as interpreted by Dr. Wayne Dyer)

What You Resist Persists

I’m re-listening to the internet class Oprah did with Eckhart Tolle about his book, A New Earth. During one of the sessions a quote I’ve heard & liked before came up: “What you fight you strengthen and what you resist persists”.

I’m sure we’re all guilty of fighting things in our lives. Things that are problematic or worse, such as an addiction, or even a political issue about which we feel strongly. I’m not saying we should not tackle those issues – just that the energy we put towards them makes a huge difference.

I’m not well versed in physics, but I do know that the physical world we all live in exists in polarities. Every physical form, no matter how thin has a front and a back. There has to be a “down” before we can conceive of “up”. Before we can even imagine appreciating good health, we have to have had some experience with poor health or pain. You get the picture. So when we strengthen one pole, the other is also strengthened.

Look at the “war on drugs”. Since that war was declared, access to, sales and the use of drugs has only increased. Or bring it closer to home. Remember the last argument you had with a loved one. The minute one of you became defensive about something the other said or did, that person probably became even stronger and louder. Your defensiveness just strengthened their response.

I’m not saying we just avoid what upsets us. That just builds up and makes us more upset and eventually builds into something very hard and dark, and hurts us the most.

So what do we do instead? We need to make peace with it – whatever “it” is. That doesn’t mean we like it, but we accept that it exists. Then when we chose the action we’re going to take, it will come from a place of love and consciousness, rather than from a negative energy that will only strengthen the thing we want to irradicate.

That’s what we do in the 12 Step program when we talk about “surrender”. As the quote I posted yesterday says, only when I accept what is, can I actually change it.

Try it. It’s a much easier path to change.