communication, writing a letter
Today is a good day. I’ve chosen to take on an old pattern in a new way and while, incredibly scary, it’s also freeing. It’s an affirmation of the work I’ve done over the years to build an effective and healthy toolbox that works for me. It brings me increasingly closer to living my day-to-day life in an emotional state I want, regardless of external circumstances. I want to share with you two brief stories contrasting how I coped with my grief and offer a powerful tool to sort out what works best for you.
Storytelling is a time tested way humans connect with one another. Telling stories and listening to them has been an important part of the human experience for thousands of years. Unfortunately, for those of us in the Grieving Parents Club, we often find it especially hard to tell our stories.
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to get lazy with life, making unconscious choices. It’s easy to slip from one day to the next. I get tired or bored so a Saturday winds up full of binging on popcorn and Netflix instead of getting on the water taking in the elements … Continue reading The Power of Intention
I live in arguably one of the best places on earth, leading a pretty satisfying life...good friends, work with a purpose, playing in the ocean several days a week, and beautiful views right out my door. But it’s only through losing absolutely everything that I eventually made room for this life. Growing up I never once thought, “I want to dedicate my career and time to growth through grief.” Instead I spent my childhood yearning for the golden era of adulthood. I foolishly thought that’s when I’d finally be in control of my own destiny. As an only child of divorced parents, all I ever hoped for was a family of my own with a handful of kids. For the twenty-two year old version of myself, marrying a man and inheriting three-step children all aged six and under, whom I loved as my own, actually seemed like a good idea. Four years later, I gave birth to my one and only biological child, Alison Belle. How’s that for a big family to call my own? This is when I knew I was finally living my dream.
Now is the time to integrate memory into the present and release old stories that are no longer serving you and commiting to generative forward action. This exercise will take some time and space, but it'll be important in granting you permission to be live in the now and embrace your future. Download the exercise … Continue reading Released to the Future
You've allowed yourself to dream, to imagine a future you want. The more we follow our dreams, the more we inspire others to do the same. Are you ready to make steps towards that future? Watch a video about it here, then download the exercise pdf. After finishing with re-telling your story, take some free … Continue reading Re-Telling Your Story
Have you ever driven on automatic pilot from home to work, when you really meant to go to the beach? Your mind can do the same thing. This week you'll use a concrete tool to assess where you are and practice being in the moment. Sometimes being the present can feel easier said than done. … Continue reading Know Your Emotions
There are times when the past comes careening into your present and it isn't always when it's most convenient. It is important to live in the moment and be present for all the things going on in daily life. And in that, even though your loved one's life is in the past, your pain, grief … Continue reading Be Right Back
The last few days may have brought up things you regret. Now you get to look at the things holding you back from living in the moment and enjoying life. We’ve spent the last few weeks honoring your past and all its complexity. With this exercise we’re shifting into being present. Part of being present … Continue reading Forgiveness
As we delve further into honoring your past, this week's letter writing will create an opportunity for you to connect your truest self with your loss and the memories you carry. The exercise is about being honest with yourself and your loss. You have permission to explore all of your emotions, feelings, and memories. Doing … Continue reading Writing a Letter
Coping with loss is a complex experience. Oftentimes we call on coping mechanisms we've used in the past and when those don't always work we search for new, more effective ones. Through this exercise you'll see and begin to understand the ways you've coped or not coped with your loss. You'll also evaluate which have … Continue reading Coping with Tragedy
Ugh! We as a society in general struggle with the topic of grief. People are fearful. Those who are grieving are afraid they will drive others away with their own grief, and those who want to be supportive are afraid they will say the wrong thing to those who are grieving. Unfortunately this struggle can … Continue reading Telling Your Story
Feeling safe is the single most important aspect of mental health and safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. After going through a trauma such as a profound loss, many people find it difficult to connect with others. One of the ways to feel safest and most seen and heard is through connecting … Continue reading Finding Connection
Intention: “The why you want it and what you want to do with it.” – Mandy Morris Does it really matter if you set an intention before doing something? Absolutely! Gaining clarity on the why and what of your actions makes a big difference. Through this exercise you'll set your individual intention for going through the course. If you … Continue reading Setting Your Intention
The Loss as a Catalyst virtual course starts today and I'm so excited to share the concepts and tools that have helped me and many others find joy from loss. Over the next six weeks I'll walk you through different concepts and tools I used in my own grief journey and then over the past … Continue reading Finding Joy After Loss
Loss, no matter how profound, can be a catalyst for positive change. I know because I've experienced it first hand. Bringing together the tools and resources that helped me over the years, I created a seven day retreat curriculum for bereaved parents. Based on over five years of facilitating retreats with countless parents from around … Continue reading Loss As a Catalyst
I'm well aware of the futility of many New Year's resolutions and the school of thought which says you should be making changes and resolutions throughout the year. And I still find myself making them year after year. The close of one year and the beginning of a new one along with the winter solstice … Continue reading Resolutions or No Resolutions?
Besides a nine year gap, I’ve journaled from the age of ten to my current forty-seven. I had reasons for not doing it. During those years, I stopped because I was in relationship where I didn’t trust my writing would be sacrosanct. I doubted it would be for my eyes alone. Unfortunately this gap also … Continue reading Reasons Not to Journal
We just made it through quite possibly the most stressful Thanksgiving ever! No matter how you celebrated, or didn't celebrate - can we all agree this year was different? Whether you were able to gather with friends or family or stayed isolated, the circumstances of the pandemic lent a new layer of considerations to the … Continue reading Post- Holiday Hangover
We as a society in general struggle with the topic of grief. People are fearful. Those who are grieving are afraid they will drive others away with their own grief, and those who want to be supportive are afraid they will say the wrong thing to those who are grieving. But telling your story is important. … Continue reading Telling Your Story
I bought my first journal in the fifth grade. It sported a red cloth cover with white hearts on it. The inside held the deep ponderings of a pre-teen, oh and a lot about boys too ;). Journaling was my safe space to process my day, my struggles, and my emotions. Close to forty years … Continue reading Journaling and Journal Prompts
The holidays are a tough season for many who've lost a loved one. And not just the first year, or the second. I still have my moments close to twenty years later. What's different for me is that I'm a seasoned pro. I know by now what works for me and what doesn't. Many of … Continue reading Holding Space During the Holidays
Talking to my adult stepchildren I made a jarring discovery. As children they thought I was lazy, languishing on the couch reading all day. It never dawned on their pre-teen brains the house was nearly always clean, they had well balanced and varied dinners, and clean clothes stacked for them to place in their dressers … Continue reading Permission Slip for “Lazy”
Grief vs. joy. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I catch myself seeing grief and joy as an either or proposition. But it doesn’t have to be. Emotions aren’t linear. It isn’t like you graduate from grief to joy. They can be in the same container together. And when Grief Island isn’t a place of … Continue reading Grief Island – Stay as Long as You Need
I often field messages from people who feel helpless as they watch a loved one bear a devastating loss. They search for tangible ways to help, or resources to give. Unfortunately, grief is hard work only the grieving can do. However creating partnership alongside in the grief - holding space, a place of loving non-judgment … Continue reading Partnership in Grief
Today I’m choosing to lean into the tension and anxiety of desiring a particular outcome in a situation I’d so love to control and dictate. It’s the same struggle and a different day. I’ve found over and over again that I think if I have things go my way, just this one last time, I’ll … Continue reading Leaning into the Tension
When someone significant in your life is no longer here to celebrate the holidays, it’s tempting to shove thoughts and preparations surrounding celebrations to the back, with perhaps the unspoken hope they’ll quietly slip away without your attention. Unfortunately, whether or not you ignore the holiday festivities, the feelings remain. Every year on my deceased … Continue reading Create a Seat for Memories, Feelings, and Honoring
You got through and maybe even enjoyed Halloween this past weekend. Yay! And in case you missed it, we also have an election coming up tomorrow. Oh and a pandemic that's changed how we do life. So much going on that's stirring up so much in ourselves and friction in families, friends, communities, and the … Continue reading What’s Your Why?
Last time I wrote about celebrating the holidays – how they can be a stressful time for everyone while acknowledging the added difficulty for bereaved parents in particular. Today I want to delve into some of the whys this season (and frankly any celebration) can be so utterly wrought with conflicting emotions for parents who’ve … Continue reading The Celebration Laundry List
Holy cow is it that time again already?!? You know how I know it is? I saw a Hallmark Christmas movie commercial ;). Then I got invited to a pumpkin carving party. So, yes it is indeed time to navigate through the sometimes complicated holiday season. No matter who you talk to, holidays appear to … Continue reading Holiday Season – Is it a Trick or a Treat?
When it clicked with me that tending to my state of being was the most important job I have, it felt so freeing. We live in a culture where doing is more valued than being. And yet the state of our being directly dictates our doing. Think about it, when you’re in a good mood … Continue reading Rainbow State of Being
I’m baack! It’s been awhile since writing in this arena. Over the last fourteen months I’ve dipped my toes in a variety of community efforts – tracking and reporting on local government activity, helping a local charter school find its way through getting up and running, and navigating ‘Ohana Oasis through COVID-19. This year was … Continue reading It’s a New Day
I’m baack! It’s been awhile since writing in this arena. Over the last fourteen months I’ve dipped my toes in a variety of community efforts – tracking and reporting on local government activity, helping a local charter school find its way through getting up and running, and navigating ‘Ohana Oasis through COVID-19. This year was … Continue reading It’s a New Day at Ohana Oasis
Inspired by Glennon Doyle’s commitment to write an hour each morning, I’ve decided to try a half hour through the end of the year. I just added the end of the year part so I have an out. So this is simply an experiment. It resonated with me yet again when I heard her story for … Continue reading Morning Musings