Death is inevitable, the looming reality, that the journey on Earth is temporary. Although we observe the life cycles of all living things, we are devastated by loss and fear our own mortality.
Grief is an emotion that cannot be avoided. The pain is excruciating when loved ones, including pets, transition to the other side. A piece of us dies with them. Functioning like robots, we tend to daily tasks, but our hearts are non-participants.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed a theory that we go through five distinct stages of grief after the loss of a loved one: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I experienced all of these, but some during the five years that my husband fought leukemia. Denial came when he was diagnosed and relapsed from a bone marrow transplant. Bargaining was in the form of prayer during his treatment. Because he was suffering without hope of recovery, I felt acceptance and relief at his transition. Two years later, when time had dulled the illness and treatment nightmares, I was angry because he had left me to navigate life’s challenges alone. The last item is depression. Over the last seven years, I monitored my mood. Was I clinically depressed? No, but I felt a dark cloud overshadowing everything. Nothing felt the same. It was as if a nerve had been snipped from my body. I felt and enjoyed with all my senses, but the intensity was missing.
There is no time limit on grief, but we can take charge to avoid being devoured. Our loved ones are in a place of unconditional love and light. We remain here because there is more learning, growing and loving to do. Regardless of your beliefs concerning perpetual life, while here, you must survive. Reality bites when the loved one’s death puts you into financial hardship. You may have a family to feed, mortgage and other debts. Nobody is going to rush in on a white charger to save you. After the initial shock, there is no time for pity parties or for sitting in the corner to suck your thumb. Moving forward is the only way to survive. The progress may be slow. You may feel like you are slogging knee deep in molasses, with tears gushing from your eyes. The path may seem dark as pitch. Keep going, if only by baby steps.
With time, the journey becomes easier. Set realistic expectations. Become friends with grief. Know that dates, songs, pictures and places may trigger waves of sorrow. Feel and deal with the emotion when it arises. Have a good cry. When the intensity recedes, continue your healing journey.
Love and pamper yourself. Work on mind, body and spirit health. Stay open for signs from your loved ones. I experienced electronic irregularities, coins, feathers, scents, songs on the radio, random memories, a chill, tummy blips, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and ringing bells. Repeating numbers may be messages from the angels. Multiple fours appear to me several times a day. They are on the clock, computer, license plates, receipts and car odometer. Other repeating numbers include my birthday and 1111. Your loved ones reach across the veil to give you comfort and support. Be open to their love. Their vibration is higher than ours. Raise yours to meet them. Deep in sorrow, you will miss the messages.
Grief hurts and is merciless. Struggle through the void. Find joy and be grateful. Beauty surrounds. Open your heart to receive the love.
I tell people to face fears, push outside the comfort zone, ignore negative messages from ego and be self-confident, but when the arrow is pointed at me, I buckle with self-doubt. Walking into a room filled with strangers, speaking in front of a crowd, going to an interview, entering a competition and dating throw me into panic mode. I forget that I am a spiritual being here to learn. Some experiences are painful. Ego screams that I fall short, regardless of the scenario. It is easier to run away from possible joy than to feel disappointment, rejection and hurt.
How do I move forward? The answer is self-love. I am a work in progress and can only share what I have learned from great teachers. When challenged by a situation that has me on the ropes, I take time-out to get grounded by immersing myself into what makes my heart sing. For me, nature, music, walks with my dog and dance bring me back to center. I remember who I am, a beautiful soul within flesh and bones. Others may find their sacred space with meditation, gardening, cooking, building, sewing, etc. Taking time for yourself is not selfish. You cannot serve if you are depressed and depleted.
Life would be boring without challenges. Walk boldly with love and leave fear home, in the closet with ego.
How much of your life is wasted, while you play the what if game?
- What if I fail?
- What if I never find my soulmate?
- What if I don’t get the job?
- What if all my dreams don’t come true?
- What if I am abandoned?
- What if others laugh at me?
Time is a precious commodity. Think of it as currency. Is your priority to throw it away on negative thoughts? You cannot control what life throws at you, but you determine your response. Many disappointments and closed doors direct you to a better path. Trust that you are loved and supported. Turn off the news and take a walk. Focus on beauty and the arts, whatever feeds your soul. Go with the energetic flow and resist the temptation to swim against the current. Drop the drama. Be grateful in the moment. Inner peace is the reward.
Love or fear, the choice is yours.
Are you looking for that special someone to make you happy? Are you looking for security, comfort or intimacy? Do you fear being alone, the one in the corner, not picked?
Love is a complicated emotion. Many seek to fill a hole. Whatever the need, the burden is placed on Mr. or Ms. Right for fulfillment.
The first place to look is within. Do you love yourself, regardless of your perceived flaws? Do you accept who you are? Is your heart open to give and receive love?
Happiness flows from living in the moment with gratitude. External people or things can only provide temporary elation. Like icing on the cake, they enhance what is already inside.
Did you ever stop to think what motivates you? Why do respond the way you do? Are you avoiding pain or seeking comfort? Does fear of lack drive your career goals? Do you feel inadequate, therefore must prove yourself? Are competing with a sibling for your parents’ approval and love? Are you looking for love in all the wrong places, turning to food, alcohol or drugs? Scratching the surface, you may find a frightened child who needs a hug.
For almost three decades, my husband and I owned a successful photography studio. During those years, my father-in-law often asked my husband when he was going to get a real job. Our parents were programed and they lovingly passed it on to us.
Our egos tell us that we are deficient. We fear criticism and failure. How do you react? Do you find comfort in art, music or hobbies, that feed your soul? Are you anxious and irritable as you stretch for the gold ring? Do you dream about starting a business or writing a book, but talk yourself out of it?
Ask yourself why you do what you do. If you are happy, you are in alignment with your true self. If not, you are allowing the chatter in your head drive your behavior. Listen to your heart. It will never steer you wrong.
Life is a series of snapshots that reside in the heart. Our minds may only recall the happiest or most painful events, but each frame is captured for future review. We choose the pictorial.
Six tips for happiness:
- Words and thoughts shape the experience. What we think, we become. Be positive. Trust in your power.
- Pain, hurt and loss happen. We control how we respond. Choose love, forgiveness and compassion for healing. Give yourself time.
- Enjoy the simple things every day. Notice the beauty and magic in the world.
- Take care your soul’s temporary home with diet, exercise, sleep and hydration. With a depleted body, small irritations become insurmountable challenges. Treat yourself.
- Trust intuition. Turn off the internal and external noise. Listen to inner guidance, instead of seeking outside validation.
The album is yours to create with love and light.
Many suffer due to the pandemic, fires and hurricanes. Fear, loss, grief, illness and hunger are rampant. Although contributions to food banks, animal shelters and other charities are desperately needed, we can serve, regardless of our financial situations. Each of us has the power to brighten another’s day. Ask the divine how you can serve.
Ten free ideas to spur your imagination are:
- Phone call, text, email. Provide encouragement. Show that you care.
- Offer to take the garbage can to the road and back for an elderly neighbor
- Offer to pick up something at the store
- Walk an elderly neighbor’s dog
- Rake leaves, shovel snow
- Clean closets and donate usable clothing
- Hold the door for someone
- Be courteous when driving.
- Let someone go ahead of you in the store.
Do you feel bombarded from every direction? You are not alone. Technology tethered us to phones, television, social media, internet, podcasts, radios, books and newspapers. Depression runs rampant as negative news assaults our self-worth and hope for the future. Like moths to a flame, we are drawn to that which is destroying us.
In simpler times, Madison Avenue influenced our buying, but we could depend on the major television and radio networks for truth. Today, there are many rogue news outlets that pedal propaganda. Lies and half-truths seep into our beliefs. Like sponges, we adopt fantasy as reality, because we hear it or see it in print.
We must become aware of manipulation, shield from overstimulation and listen for our own truth with loving, kind and open hearts. Rise from division to unity. Humanity is counting on us.
Look at us, floating in space, no strings attached.
What keeps us from falling into the abyss?
The mystical power of what we cannot see and do not understand.
Shut down the media and go within!
Think for yourself.
We are all equipped with a soul to guide us.
Shut off the noise from those who want to influence and control you.
Each of us has a guidance system for truth and love.
The animal and plant kingdoms know what to do.
Kick greed to the curb. There is abundance for all.
No one is above another.
Show compassion for fellow man, animals and the environment.
Planet resources are for all.
We are one!