How to manage the struggle right now

How to manage the struggle right now

So many people are struggling at the moment. No one likes their activities to be restricted and yet the options are stark: eliminate most activities we know and love or looked forward to — or risk death or terrible, llngering side effects.

Yes, there are those who don’t connect with the risk, but I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to YOU. Those of you who are worried and/or vulnerable. Those who have learned enough about the virus to want to steer clear. Those who value what they hope lies ahead and want to preserve those options for the still unknown future.

Yes, I’m talking to you. 

It’s important to feel your concerns and fears. To voice them to trusted friends who know how to listen. We have to get those feelings out. Because the struggle is real and we all share it.

the-struggleAnd then? It’s important to let them go. Because living with resentment and the feeling we’ve been cheated is no way to live. It’s also not a good thing to model for the kids in our lives.

It’s not useful, either, because there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. The virus will run its course in months or even years and we will have to adapt —  or live in constant grief for the way it was.

Life is not the way it was and may not ever be the way it was. We may never go back to those carefree days, or at least not for a very long time. The struggle with that is real, but it is also futile. And harmful to our mental and physical health, both.

We’re taught to be masters of our own destiny. To create our lives. To manifest our desires.

Apparently, the Universe has other ideas at the moment.

So here’s how to manage through this period:

Accept that at this moment, we are completely powerless over something: the virus. But this isn’t forever. It’s just right now.

Realize that we do have power and agency over our own actions and our own thoughts.

Consider whether you accept our obligation to our fellow man and to ourselves and want to keep everyone safe. Or if you are bound and determined to do what you want, regardless of others.

Once you’ve expressed your emotions and gotten them all out, move forward. Accept that this is how life is at the moment and find positive ways to work within that.

There are any number of online resources with suggestions for things we can do to make life more interesting: video calls and parties, reading, streaming, walks, learning music on line or a new language. Or just taking time for yourself to do nothing.

Resources also abound for jobs that are opening up. New kinds of jobs. Or new to you. Check into it all. And there are relief programs. It’s all imperfect, but every day I see people fitting solutions together. Not the solutions they necessarily wanted, but effective stop-gap solutions.

Any emphasis on what we AREN”T able to do just isn’t useful to a healthy life during this pandemic. Attitude is everything.

the-struggleIt’s pretty clear that we’ll never see our old lives back. But. Eventually, the risk will be lower. Eventually a new way of life will develop. We will learn new ways of living and working and relating.

We’ll grieve the old ways for a long time. But right now, as so many of us are focused on survival, it’s helpful to set that grief aside for a bit as we maintain good mental and physical health to manage through what’s in front of us. Let the Universe unfold as it will. Go on with your life as it is right now.

This is not my usual counsel on grief. But this is what I’ve come to see as most useful at the moment.

If you’d like to consider some hypnotherapy to help with anxious thoughts or a regression by Zoom, let’s talk about it. First, visit the home page here and see the tabs for hypnotherapy and for regression, then schedule a call to discuss it. It’s easy.

That’s what I’ve got for you today. Thank you for being part of my community. Would love to hear your thoughts.

When does a child’s anxiety become a suicidal thought?

When does a child’s anxiety become a suicidal thought?

suicideAfter years of decline, the suicide rate for kids ages 10 to 14 rose 76% between 2007 and 2017, according to the CDC. That’s a sobering increase: it’s risen threefold. Does it have anything to do with the nature of the world today?

Thinking back to my childhood in the 1950s and early 60s it’s obvious that overall, it was a more innocent time. Although we learned duck and cover to “protect” us should a nuclear bomb hit us (right….) I felt no particular fear of it actually happening and no anxiety over the act of ducking and covering. It was just something we did. I attached nothing at all to it.

Why not?

Probably because it had never happened. I had no image of what it would be like for a nuclear bomb to go off because when one did, I hadn’t been born yet. We didn’t see images of it all over.

Overall, the era I grew up in was a more innocent time for white people like me. A guileless time. It never occurred to us that someone could walk into our school with a gun and blow us all away. Or that a bomb could go off at a concert or event.

Why not?

Probably because it had never happened. So how could we imagine it?

But kids today know that those things HAVE happened in their world. They know because it’s all over the news, all over social media and schools are having to conduct active shooter drills as a result. This isn’t a “just in case” thing, it’s actually happened and kids have seen it in living color.

So is it no wonder that young people today are consumed with anxiety?

Why else?

Social media, too, have changed the environment kids live in. Those carefully curated posts, retouched selfies and the appearance of a life that most kids can only dream of–those images stick like glue. It’s only natural that children would compare themselves to these curated images …and find themselves coming up short.

That, too, is anxiety-producing. And those with anxiety disorders are more likely to have suicidal thoughts …. and to attempt it.

suicideThis is the world kids live in today and they are ill-equipped to handle its pervasive fear and anxiety. That’s why it’s incredibly important to monitor children for signs of anxiety and to let them know they are not alone. And to get help.

I encourage parents to do some reading about the signs of suicidal thoughts in kids (like this article, for example) and if they have any concerns at all, to discuss with their pediatrician or another knowledgeable professional.

But what’s most important is that kids know that they have a caring support system they can turn to. And that help is available.

Sadly, today, more than ever, it is critically important to be alert to what’s going on with kids–the stuff they aren’t talking about.
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See all our healing products and services at A Healing Spirit.

Why death is the only thing that helps us come to terms with death

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Oh, how I love this man, this soul! Teaching in Maui, Dec. 2018

As if my season of loss wasn’t enough, (four death anniversaries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), my beloved Baba Ram Dass transitioned on Dec. 22 and my beloved cousin, Sandy, on Dec. 24.

It’s a lot. So many chapters in this life closed as I age. Year after and sometimes day after day.. And so, as usual, I turn to the infinite wisdom of Ram Dass for comfort. He may be gone, but his wisdom lives on:

“How you relate to death is the key spiritual work of aging. And how you see death is a function of how much you identify with that which dies. Egos die. Souls don’t die.

I encourage you to make peace with death, to see it as the culminating event of this adventure called life. Death is not an error; it is not a failure.”

come-to-terms-with-deathAs Baba Ram Dass so aptly pointed out: If we live fully in the present, death is just another moment.

How is it that I feel closer to him in death than I did in life?

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The glass votive in the grief gift is now replaced with an Apache Tear obsidian grief stone.

Ram Dass actively worked with the dying–he often told us how much he loved it. If you’d like to support someone in grief or healing I hope you’ll consider one of these gentle gifts, found right here.

 

When death anniversaries blindside you

When death anniversaries blindside you

death-anniversaryI am not a weepy person by nature.

Oh sure, I cry when I have to and am not in the least embarrassed to.

But I’m not someone who weeps at the drop of hat.

A few weeks ago our friend and Cutie’s foster mama told us she was moving to another state. She and her dogs, “the cousins,” had become like family to us, so it was a loss.

But was it so much a loss that I’d be constantly tearing up about it?

I like her very much and her dogs have are part of our extended family.

But did it make sense to be so weepy? People move every day. People have come into and left my life over and over. It’s just part of life and I didn’t usually get so emotional. Constantly emotional. Like I’ve been.

death-anniversaryAnd then, one day last week, while driving, it hit me. This week is the second anniversary of my beloved Riley’s death. My heart dog. My soulmate dog. The dog love of my life.

But that’s not all. On Dec. 21 it will be 20 years since my .mother died and on Dec. 27 it will be four years since my dear, dear friend made her own transition. Not just one death anniversary. Three. But wait. Some 40 years ago my grandfather died Thanksgiving week. So really, FOUR. (Scroll down for all their photos)

This most recent loss, while not by death, was just another blow in the holiday season.

Death anniversaries. They sneak up on you. And have a deeper impact than we might think, especially over the holidays.

Sure, you might THINK you should be “over it by now” but the truth is, some losses are always there. They hurt always and forever. You always feel the void. Like Riley’s. My mother. My friend.

That’s why this season is a particularly important time to be kind and gentle with those suffering loss or a death anniversary. You might not be able to tell, but chances are, they are feeling it.

That’s another reason I am constantly mentioning my supportive grief products: a beautiful remembrance candle made especially for them. The Guided Journal through Grief. Transforming grief affirmations. And both condolence gift options.

This is a time when these gentle and beautiful tools can be especially helpful. I hope you will take a look and consider who in your life might need a little thoughtful support.

Here’s my honor roll:

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My beautiful boy, Riley. Missed so much.

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Mom and me in the mid 1990s, California.

death-annivesary

Marilyn & me 20 years ago.

My beloved Papa and me.

Do you wonder why the world’s still there?

Do you wonder why the world’s still there?

condolence-gift

The most startling thing about heartbreak is
…noticing that the world didn’t actually end. *

After my dear friend died I’d sit and look at the mountains and wonder why they were still standing. Why the sun came up and went down without her. Why the world’s still there. She died Dec.27, 2015 and I last saw her that Christmas Eve.

It was snowing like crazy that Christmas Eve in 1999 we buried my mother, so cold I wished my grief would freeze and I could break it apart like ice. But I couldn’t. It stuck with me a long time. It’s still there, really. Holidays are difficult.

This is the hard truth about life: it’s full of loss and loss means heartbreak. Parents who have lost children. Children who have lost parents. Widows and widowers.  Everything with a beginning also has an ending, says Jack Kornfeld,  and our peace of mind comes from being ok with that.

Easier said than done. Grief holds on tight, sometimes for a very long time. Our feelings remain long after our living loved ones want to hear about them.

Holidays are hard for many who grieve even if they didn’t lose loved ones at that time.

regretAnd that’s exactly why I wrote the Guided Journal Through Grief: to provide a safe place to share all the feelings that remain. Our grief, our guilt (if any), our regrets and also our happy times together.

Each page has a prompt that you can respond to by writing, drawing, painting or even do a mini collage. Or it has a simple activity or a meditation. 

For years I searched for a condolence gift that was supportive but not complicated. That didn’t have a shelf life, like flowers. Or didn’t seem celebratory like a fruit basket.  I couldn’t find one, so I created it.

grief-supportOur large condolence gift includes the guided journal, a deck of 50 gentle  grief “affirmations” meant to help transform grief (because it never goes away), a pretty heart shaped mini-candle and an Apache tear grief stone, which has helped me tremendously in my own grief. $34.99

Our small condolence gift includes the 50-card deck and the heart-shaped candle. $19.99

Both are gentle, supportive, affordable and those who get them say they really do help.

This Christmas it’s my mission to get these helpful tools in the hands of those who really need them. So if you know someone who is grieving, why not send them this gentle support? We ship and provide your short message on a gift tag.

Find them and more at our gift tab.

Quote from Bloom for Yourself by April Green and this is an affiliate link.

 

When you grieve hard

When you grieve hard

mothers-deathNo one has grieved harder than me.

Those are the words that just came off my keyboard. And then, a second later, I thought about grieving parents. And that grief isn’t a contest. It just isn’t. We all grieve as hard as we need to and as long as we need to. That’s truth.

Mom’s been gone 20 years now. 20 years! An eternity, I was going to write, and a second later I thought, “We’re all living in eternity.”

Yeah, there’s no winning when you 1) work in grief and 2) work in afterlife stuff.

My mother’s death was huge for me. The biggest thing that had ever happened to me, and the most mysterious.

So in that last year of her life I traveled thousands of miles every month to spend a week or two at her hospital bedside and as I walked into the hospital every day of every visit, an essay was writing itself in my head. I took everything around me in. And then finally, after she died, this piece came out of me.

It sat around for month, years even, and then, a few years later, was accepted for publication in a literary magazine affiliated with a medical school.

Mom’s death catapulted me into a search for the answer to this question: “Where did she go?” and that led me on a spiritual journey that hasn’t stopped. A story for another day.

I read once that the death of the mother is the first sorry wept without her. How true that is.

For today, though, the day before what would’ve been her 94th birthday, I’m sharing this piece in her memory.