Grief Healing Experience Workshop

grief healing experience workshop
Carrying grief is exhausting. It ripples into every corner of your life, dimming our light and brightness along the way.
Grief is a burden we all shoulder, and despite the passage of time and positive thinking, we are unable to bury it or wish it away.
And many of us do not even realize this load on our shoulders; causing us to snap at our loved ones and reach for food, alcohol, and other crutches to numb and pacify ourselves for a short time.
Grief is not spoken about and because of this, we don’t even realize how it is preventing us from living the life we desire to lead.
Have a listen to my guest appearance on Michelle’s Podcast in preparation for this workshop. This is a great conversation where ample examples are given of the different ways grief presents itself.

My beautiful friend, Michelle Marsh (Aromonosis Coach + Facilitator, Podcaster, Writer, and Natural Living Advocate) is bringing me into her community to hold a Grief Healing Aromanosis Experience. With her expertise in the area of hypnosis, aromatherapy, and holistic wellness, and mine in all things grief + reiki, we are bringing our hearts together to facilitate this very special healing workshop.

 

Is this workshop for you? If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you may already identify yourself as a griever. If not, I encourage you to check out my podcast, Grieving Voices, where I offer bite-sized, weekly grief education.

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss or any change from what is familiar in life. It is the emotional response to change. It can be defined as a feeling associated with the things we wish might have been different, better, or more in any relationship. Whether it is with a person, a pet, a job, an educational experience, or even a place of residence doesn’t matter. Grief can be a result of unmet hopes, dreams, and expectations in any relationship as well.

The Ways Grief Manifests

Some people find that the confusing feelings that grief generates interfere with sleep, while others find it challenging to get up and function after waking up.

Some people find that they feel sad or cry over things that never seemed to bother them before.

Many find themselves longing for that relationship lost, and others find, especially when they discover that friends seem to be able to offer little meaningful help, that they lose some of their ability to trust others.

Some find themselves easily irritated, while others do not have the energy to feel much of anything.

For some, the memories leading up to and including the moment of loss overshadow all of their fond memories of that relationship.

Simply stated, grief can be overwhelming!  Just as overwhelming can be the labels that are put on grievers and the advice that they are given.

To gain FREE access to the LIVE workshop, enter your details below and I will send you the Zoom link on Monday, September 14th. The workshop will be at 7:00 AM CST on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020. My friend, Michelle, is located in Australia, where it will be evening. No worries – by signing up, you’ll receive the recording! However, if you can make it LIVE, it is highly recommended. 😉

You can learn more about Michelle and her Aromanosis Membership HERE. For questions about the Aromanosis Membership, email Michelle directly.

Self-Worth and Healing

grief self worth and healing

Do you believe you are worthy of healing? It sounds like an odd question, I know. Really, though – do you?

If you believe it’s an easy “yes,” do your actions reflect that you are?

For many years I struggled to cope with the events of loss and trauma that occurred during my childhood. Well into adulthood, my self-worth was in the toilet. During my teen years, although I was pretty thin, I would wear baggy clothes. I hid my body. I hid a lot during those years. I didn’t have a boyfriend until going into my senior year (even then, I couldn’t believe it). And, I had big aspirations for my life (travel was at the heart of every endeavor I considered).

As you know, life can be planned down to the letter. However, life always has other plans. Plans that are sometimes better than what we imagined, too.

However, what had held me back in so many ways was the fact I did not feel worthy of good things. And, even when I thought I had a good thing, I anticipated it (or them) going away or leaving, which is what happened, too. Relationships in my life were either strained or ended. I never let anyone get too close. I allowed others to take advantage of me (I didn’t know what boundaries were). I didn’t appreciate the good things I did have (including my job that I should have been fired from more than once). I even flooded out of my apartment. It was as if, if I had both shoes, I was creating chaos for one to drop, or, I was barely hanging on because I was losing one. Do you know what I mean?

It wasn’t until my now-husband came back into my life after many years of friendship, where he showed me what I was worth to him. And, slowly but surely, I began to understand my worth and how I contribute to the world around me (positive and negative). I discovered faith (and hope) for the first time, and I started to turn my life around. But, this didn’t happen until my eyes were opened to the fact that I was worthy of good things because I am, and no other reason was needed. I didn’t have to do or be anything to anyone else to be worthy. I didn’t have to perform or be someone I wasn’t to please someone else – I could be me, and that was enough. This awareness was only the start, though. Because even from this time, it took me another sixteen years (sixteen years!!!!) to put that feeling of unworthiness to bed – for good. And, it didn’t happen until I resolved all of the trauma and pain that was the catalyst for it in the first place.

Our lack of self-worth is very much tied to childhood grief. Whether your parents were divorced, a parent died, you were sexually abused (a big, big one),  adopted, in foster care, you likely weren’t raised knowing you were in charge of your own agency. Meaning, you weren’t encouraged to make your own decisions (reasonably, of course, for safety reasons) and weren’t allowed to express your opinions. Perhaps you grew up in survival mode.

I’ve learned so much about the power of choice after going through what I have gone through in my life. Fortunately, my husband and I are on the same page as we raise our children, too. We do not force our children to do anything they do not want to do. And, we ask probing questions to help them come to their own conclusions about what matters to them.

Something as simple as having the ability (and choice) of not wanting to play a sport serves them well into adulthood. We don’t force our kids to do any sport they don’t want to do. However, once they start, they’re finishing. It is important to us, as parents, they learn what the word commitment means. These lessons serve them later when their friends have all gathered around and “they’re all doing it (drinking or whatever “it” is),” and they have the know-how and the conviction to say “no.” Regardless of what others may think, and because they’ve flexed their “decision-making” muscle, they can confidently stand by what they feel is right for them. I always ask my kids, “what does your gut tell you?” And, I conclude with “it will never steer you wrong.” I also tell them that nothing good happens after midnight. But, isn’t that the truth in adulthood, too? Lol!

What does the power of choice have to do with self-worth and healing?

Had I learned the skills and been encouraged to exercise my right to choose, I would have known and understood that my desires had worth. I would have grown up understanding that, what I feel in my gut, is what is right for me and would have created boundaries early on to protect myself from further pain and suffering. Instead, what happens, is we become detached from our own inner-guidance system. That muscle doesn’t get flexed, so we look to the external for all of the answers. We don’t know where to go, what to do, or why we’re here. We lose touch with ourselves. And, we base our decisions on the feelings/actions/behaviors of others.

Grief is the catalyst for lack of self-worth, and our learned behavior and generational teachings influence us like gasoline on a fire.

You want to build self-worth and heal? It takes inner-work, and it’s anything but easy. 

If you don’t have boundaries in your life, aren’t sure what they are, or are reading this feeling like nothing you ever do is good enough, that you’re everyone’s doormat, and why bother because life only seems to hand you lemons? Start by digging deep, my friend. There’s healing to be done. And, you are worthy of it. Always have been, and forever will be. If only you could see it.

Hope and healing is just an email away: [email protected] 

much love, victoria

 

 

episode02

Grief Defined

What is grief?

In today’s first episode as part of an educational series, I define grief in a way you’ve likely never heard it described before. By providing relatable examples and some of my personal story, you’ll leave this episode feeling like you have a better understanding of grief.

When we understand that grief is more than just about death, we are able to shed light on all areas of our life that feel emotionally incomplete and begin the healing process.

Be sure to tune into next week’s episode, where I’ll be sharing why and how grief keeps us stuck.

Are you wanting more content like this? Head on over to Instagram or Facebook where I share more info just like this, and say hello!

Episode Transcription

Victoria Volk 0:08
This is Victoria of theunleashedheart.com and you’re listening to Grieving Voices, a podcast for hurting hearts who desire to be heard. Or, anyone who wants to learn how to better support loved ones experiencing loss. As a 30 plus year griever, and an advanced grief recovery method specialist, I know how badly the conversation around grief needs to change. Through this podcast, I aim to educate grievers and non-grievers alike, spread hope, and inspire compassion towards those hurting. Lastly, by providing my heart with the ears and this platform, grievers have the opportunity to share their wisdom and stories of loss and resiliency. How about we talk about grief like we talked about the weather? Let’s get started.

Hello in today’s episode we are going to dive into the definition of grief. And I like to start with the dictionary’s definition, which is
defined as a noun of deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death. And the example it gives is she was overcome with grief. The informal definition is trouble or annoyance; we were too tired to cause any grief. I just find it interesting that grief is defined as a noun, whereas I think anyone that’s lost anybody close to them, or has experienced trauma, or divorce, miscarriage, anything like that. To say it’s a noun I don’t know if that does it justice. I would like to say that grief is more like a feeling. And a grief recovery Institute defines grief as the normal and natural reaction to change or loss of any kind. And grief by any other name, such as stress, or burnout, even PTSD, sometimes you’ll hear the phrase complicated grief, maybe even depression is still grief. Grief is also the response to a change in or end of any familiar pattern of behavior. So, you know, consider the current times with COVID-19 with the racial and justice and unrest going on in the world. There’s a lot of grief in response to the changes. It is about mixed emotions also so you can graduate from high school and still be very sad and have grief over, leaving home, leaving your familiar environment, and patterns of behavior. And going into the unknown really, a woman can have grief when she has a child because especially I would say I’m speaking for myself, having my first child. Everything that you thought you knew about life about yourself; the things that you took for granted, really change in an instant, really. Someone who is dealing with addiction and perhaps are in treatment or are let’s say like myself, I’ve given up alcohol it’s been six months now. And I don’t have excuse me, although I don’t have grief around the alcohol itself. You know, you can see there’s dynamics kind of change in a relationship sometimes. And that’s kind of a side topic but, when it comes to addiction, and I’m not saying like, I was a full-blown alcoholic. Personally, I, I really just lacked some self-control at times, and it just really wanted to be a better role model for my kids. But someone who is going through treatment and addiction is all that they’ve known for several months, probably several years. That’s a life that they are having to say goodbye to. And often that comes with having to say goodbye to relationships that were unhealthy and, and hurtful, really. So we can experience grief more often in our lives than we think. Then just when someone we love passes away or dies. Grief is also the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there for you. Only to find that when you need them one more time, they’re not there. Or reaching out for someone who’s never been there for you only to find that when you need them one more time. They’re still not there. So this happens often too with family. You know, you can have a relationship with a parent, and you can feel like they’ve never been there for you. Maybe they have been haven’t been emotionally available. Maybe they were physically there. But like I said, emotionally, they were indifferent and not attentive to your needs, emotional needs, maybe even your physical needs, hugs kisses, things like that affection. These things that we long for growing up as children. You know, that’s how we understand connection. That’s how we understand how to build relationships and to let people in, right? So when we are neglected of that opportunity that grief is kind of stays with us. It does stay with us. And it’s kind of foolish to think that learning how to deal with grief in that way, as in like, you’re not like those feelings aren’t valid or aren’t needed to thrive, in relationships or in life. That greatly impacts you intuitive adulthood likewise, as an adult, you know, your family if you feel like, you know, that they’ve always been there for you, and then all of a sudden they’re not whether it is death that separates you or they move away. Um, you know that those are grief causing instances as well. So I think we tend to have this narrow scope, idea of grief. And I think that’s where a lot of people misunderstand that. Grief is more than just about death. Being a victim of sexual trauma. There is a lot of grief that can happen because of that because you can then experience it’s not just what was taken from you, but it is loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of security. It’s almost like putting fire or putting gasoline on the fire. You know, it’s like taking the screwdriver and just twisting it just a little bit more. It’s these intangible losses that we experience as a result of it a devastating life-altering experience, right.

So, I just really want you to consider and think about all the ways that you’ve been grieving and, and the things that you’ve been grieving that you never really thought that you are grieving until hearing this right now. So, as a kid, did you move a lot? Were you a military brat, like they say?  Were you just really never were given the opportunity to create connections with others or you’ve maybe felt: “Why bother, we’ll be moving anyway in a year”  if it was just this natural occurrence or you just like expected it. So you never did put the effort in, because you just didn’t want to feel that loss. Again. And that’s not just the children in the family unit that can be the parents as well. How often do military families move about from base to base and maybe even country to country and never can really settle. And maybe have a hard time doing so because, you know, it’s just you’re gonna have to say goodbye anyway, so why bother, right? Hopefully, that’s not the case. But likely it is. and likely you’ve experienced grief because of it – you and your children. So, or how about as a kid, you had, you know, your first dog. And because you’re moving, you had to give it away. So it’s not even just moving. This would be especially hard maybe for a child. But it’s not just the idea of moving it is, well, we’re moving and I have to give away my beloved dog. So it’s the loss of the relationship that that child has to the dog. It’s the loss of relationship that they have to what they knew is their home. And if it’s, you know, a different town and it’s saying goodbye to their friends, there can be many losses wrapped up into one larger experience. I just think that there are so many examples out there. We know graduating from high school, leaving your friends, getting married, can be a grief experience in a way too because depending on when you get married. Let’s say you don’t get married ’til, you know, later in life, late 30s 40s. You’ve had a long time to get settled in, set in your ways, and get used to how life is right? Come and go as you want> Do what you want when you want. You don’t have to really answer to anybody. There’s a lot of freedom in that lifestyle. And hopefully, you’re, you’re welcoming someone else into it and you want someone else into it, and that’s why you’re getting married. But that doesn’t discount the fact though, that it is a major change. And you may experience grief along with that. Maybe to your spouse to be doesn’t, is allergic to cats, and you have to get rid of your cat that you’ve had for 5,6,7 years. Who knows, right? Um, I could give so many examples. Let’s see.

There are mean, I mean, I could really think of some terrible examples, but that would be just depressing. Let’s see. So how about like, I just really am trying to get you to really truly think about all of the losses that you may have experienced that you really didn’t think about until now. You know, and I think too, like just in the context of relationships. You know, I’ve had friendships that have fallen away a few by my choice sometimes, because, you know, sometimes we get into different phases of our lives than those who are in our lives. And it can be hard to relate. It can be hard to find comments. analogies are common things to talk about. Not always but you know if it can happen and, and people can choose to, to just decide that you know what I need to move on from this friendship or relationship. And there is nothing wrong with that. But there’s always going to be one person who feels maybe slighted or grief or sad or maybe angry. Because grief happens in the context of relationships and, you know, aside from those intangible losses, but because it happens first in the context of relationships, just think about all the different relationships that you’ve been in. And people have come and gone out of your life. And maybe, like I said, maybe it was a situation that you chose to back away from. You know, and something might remind you of them and take you back in time and you feel like Gosh, I wish I would have said this, or I wish I would have done that differently. Because grief two is anything that we wish would be different, better, or more. And, and that’s in the context of relationships. And it can be with someone who is living and someone who has died, I can still wish that my relationship with some loved ones would have been different, better or more. And it’s a loss to have hopes, dreams, and expectations. So especially with like miscarriage. When you lose a child It doesn’t matter if it’s nothing carriage or you just lose a young child or your child at any age really, because you always have these hopes and dreams and expectations. As a parent these as you know, you, you expect that they’re gonna outlive you, first of all, you never expect that you’re going to bury a child you never hope to. And I just, I could not imagine so my heart goes out to you if you’re listening to this. And that has been the case for you, but I, it is, that is, that is grief. And I’m sorry, but grief is not a noun. Grief is not a noun, it is a feeling and you know, the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations that you would have for your child upon them passing away. That’s really hard to get over. It’s really, really difficult. And likewise, if you’re in a relationship with someone living and they are in your life, you know, sometimes you can’t choose your family, right? And you wish that the relationship would be different, better or more. That’s grief as well. So I’ve kind of talked a lot about like different things that cause grief. And, you know, I really highlighted the fact that it starts in our childhood often with, you know, a loss of a pet or moving. You know, in my instance, my grandmother passed away when I was seven. dad passed away when I was eight, no losses really close together. And you know, my grandmother lived with us while she was sick as well. So, I saw that You know, I grew up
you know, I grew up seeing sorrow, and it just was not dealt with, like an emotion would be, or should be, you know, handled with care. And really I think that’s really my message for today is grief is a feeling to be handled with tender, loving care. And I think if we can look at each other and society and see and understand that we’ve all lost something or someone we all grieve something or someone Look at someone as they’re passing by in the street or, you know, the cashier woman at the checkout line or, you know, maybe the delivery guy that’s kind of being a jerk, you know, we’ve all lost something or someone and to be able to look at someone with empathetic eyes and know, I’ve lost and I agree if something or someone to because grief unites us all, every single one of us, it doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t care, your ethnic background doesn’t care of your economic status. And if we can look at each other, like children with backpacks, full of rocks, is grief rocks these grief experiences that we’ve been putting into our backpacks all of our lives. If we could actually physically see those backpacks think we would look at each other a little differently. We’d probably treat each other a little differently to right. Some other grief experiences which I didn’t even cover earlier but like loss of health, I can be a big one. I mean really, it’s like if you’ve been healthy for most of your life and then all of a sudden you have this devastating diagnosis, whether it be terminal or just chronic. Or, you know, you lose in the, you know, a leg or an arm or you know, something where it, it’s a changing or changing your pattern of behavior, right? It’s going to change your entire life. You’re going to have a grief experience with that incarceration. separation from siblings or friends. Like kids in foster care, environmental or climate losses. You can, let’s say your house burns down, you lose everything. You know, your pictures, your losses, that’s again your loss of safety or loss of, you know, where do you go from there? It’s a big change, right? You can also lose hope. And after so many years of grief, I think I got to the point where I kind of had lost some hope. And, you know, I just got sick and tired Of being tired of feeling the way I was feeling. And yeah, it’s you. There’s just grief is just so much more than just about death. And then we see it on the news. So you see, see it in the newspaper, you see it on TV, the lady in the grocery store, sharing her grief stories. You know, she’s not saying it like that, but she’s talking about you know, maybe she lost her job or you know, but people don’t use the word grief, right, grieving, they tell you the story. They don’t tell you how they feel. Even though they really want you to know how they feel. You’re always going to resort back to the story and so it’s, it’s being a heart with ears and really listening and having an awareness of yourself as well; where you talk about the feelings instead of just, you know, being stuck on the story.

One of the things too that you know, because grief begins in childhood and, and in our youth. You know, we’re born with perfect harmony, intuition, intellect, and emotion like it’s perfectly in harmony. And, you know, by the age of three, we have learned 75% of the basic tools and concepts that we will use throughout our life. And there was a pediatrician who was interviewed was about grief, I can’t remember exactly, I think in the UK maybe. And he was asked: “When does the brightness leave their eyes?” You know, talking about children, and he said: “In middle school.” You know, and that’s 95% of our decision-making powers are established by the age of 15. So by the time we reach Middle School, we have already learned and received the tools and concepts that we will use for decision making. And that’s true when it comes to grief. Like how we are taught, the messages we receive, and how we deal with grief. We learned at a time we were age 15. So this is why it’s so important that we start talking about grief, like a feeling. We start talking about grief like we talk about the weather, and that we stop shying away from others’ pain and sorrow, that we start having some awareness around our own in the behaviors that we resort to, to avoid what is ours, what our feelings are. Because grief unites us all. In grief is not a noun. It’s a feeling.

So that is today’s episode, I feel like I have definitely shared the definition of grief that is more than just about death. Next week, I will be sharing how and why grief keeps us stuck. So I hope you tune in for that. Until next time, take care.

From my heart to yours, thank you for listening. If you liked this episode, please share it because sharing is caring. And until next time, give and share compassion by being a heart with yours. And, if you’re hurting, know that what you’re feeling is normal and natural. Much love, my friend.

 

Grief and Entrepreneurship

Grief and Entrepreneurship

In 2008, I started to dip my toes in business. The following year, I registered and officially started VLV Photography, LLC. For the next six years, I ran a boutique photography studio. I had a high-touch business, where I conducted in-person ordering, provided finished photo art, and custom designs for my clients.

From start to finish, when I worked with my clients, I held a very high standard for myself. I started out shooting weddings, which is literally equivalent to running a marathon when you shoot solo (or so it feels like). At least, for me, I needed two days to recover because I expended a massive amount of mental and physical energy to keep up with the demands that photographing a wedding requires.

A few years in, I discovered that my first favorite was shooting high school seniors. I saw myself in so many of them; a zest for adventure, excitement for the future, and unbridled energy that felt both scattered and channeled. There is just something about being 18. It’s a year of transition that’s filled with so much emotion and, being in their energy was just that – energizing. Weddings created the same kind of “adrenaline high,” but on a much larger scale that was energizing at the time, but depleted me when it was over.

That’s all great, but get to the point, right? Lol!

I do have one. However, I think it’s important to understand that through all of those years, I was a griever. Through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, I was grieving. And, despite the “high” being a photographer gave me, it was kind of that – an addiction. I was addicted to learning everything I could possibly learn about photography, equipment, software, business, etc.. However, I gave little interest in learning about myself. I wasn’t interested in digging internally to discover why I was struggling in the areas of self-worth, self-criticism, focus, motherhood, and then some. In hindsight, I was using photography as my STERB (short-term energy relieving behavior).

Despite having young children when I launched my business (all were in diapers, and the youngest was six months old), I poured everything I had into that business – less into myself, and, if I’m honest, being present around my children. I was neglecting what was really going on internally.

I had experienced post-partum after our second daughter. To add insult to injury, she was a November baby. Within two years, we had our youngest, a February baby. And, after having the youngest, the post-partum was so bad I went to my nurse practitioner, shared how I was feeling, and I left with a prescription.

I was never asked what happened in my life up to that point. I wasn’t asked if I was getting enough rest, or if I had support at home (which, I often didn’t because my husband was often gone a week at a time). I tried that pill for two weeks before I stopped taking it on my own. I never once received a follow-up from the doctor why I never refilled it. I stopped sharing how I felt to doctors from that day forward. What I needed, at the time, was a good life coach, someone to help me dig into my emotional shit. And, I know now, not just any life coach, one that specifically addressed grief. Grief was the most bottomless hole I was finding myself impossible to crawl out of on my own.

How Grief Showed Up In My Business

I would have days where I couldn’t get myself to do a darn thing. I had days where I questioned everything I was doing. I second-guessed myself ALL.THE.TIME. I looked to others to validate and give me the affirmation I couldn’t find within myself. I did not understand what intuition was or how to tap into my own. And, I had a pretty intimate relationship with constant low-grade anger and procrastination.

These feelings and struggles continued for another five years. FIVE YEARS! Oh my gosh! Ask me if I experienced more grief after going through the grief recovery method, and it’s a resounding yes because I realized what had been the missing piece for me all those years. And, I was filled with the regret of not finding GRM sooner.

Since that time, and since completing GRM and becoming certified in helping others in their grief, I’ve spent a lot of time digging into what was truly going on with me. I’ve processed a lot of the emotional baggage that was hindering my ability to grow and scaling my business in a way that exceeded all of my expectations. And, I’ve learned that wisdom only comes from experience.

Those early years of entrepreneurship laid the foundation for the business I have now. So many of the skills, lessons, processes, and internal work I’ve completed since have made me a more level-headed, knowledgable, and wiser entrepreneur today. Eleven years is a long time to commit to being an entrepreneur. Many that attempt it often don’t survive beyond three years. It’s taxing work. And, I argue, it’s often taxing because we don’t give one thought to who we were before entrepreneurship, and the ways our experiences have negatively impacted our lives and then address them, so they don’t hinder us.

The Disconnect

How we have learned to process our loss at an early age, and throughout life, have a direct impact on how we treat shortcomings, failures, or anything we perceive as negative in our business. Many entrepreneurial-geared programs and coaches focus on what needs to change in business because it’s easier (and sexier) than addressing the inner-work.

Also, the connection isn’t made that the issues we see in our businesses are a reflection of ourselves and the climate in our hearts. If you feel as though everyone is out to get you, life is unfair, people don’t respect you, and everyone is a cheap-skate; perhaps look in the mirror. Ask yourself if those are thoughts you are having being reflected back to you by external experience as a result of your internal one. Could it be because what’s at the heart of it is that:

  • You don’t trust others.
  • You have unresolved anger.
  • You have self-worth issues.
  • You lack boundaries.
  • and more

due to, you know what I’m going to say – you guessed it! GRIEF! Grief causes us to feel all of these things, depending on what we experienced in our lives.

If you’re reading this and you’re not an entrepreneur, I bet you can still apply this message to your working life and the relationships you have with colleagues, as well as with your friends and family. I can only guess how much revenue grief caused me all of those years, and how much it has cost you in your business. Or, how much your grief has caused your employer, too, in lost productivity and focus.

It causes me to grief, to this day, having the awareness that I never met my potential for what was possible in my photography business either. So, I choose to look at it all as a stepping stone and part of my journey through grief. And, there’s still some gunk to unpack there, too, as it relates to my relationship with my children.

The blog post photo is an excellent analogy for entrepreneurship and life. Many entrepreneurs are walking on a shaky foundation. Many of us, including non-entrepreneurs, feel as though we’re walking on a rickety dock that is our life. At the end of the dock, however, is a small boat. You don’t know whether to trust the boat, though, either. That too appears to be in rough shape. Not to mention, will the waters always be calm? Surely they won’t be; we expect some waves, don’t we? Suffice this to say, the only way we know where life can take us is if we have hope, and faith in ourselves, that we can do hard things. For me, it was facing decades of grief. If this post resonates with you, grief is likely your culprit as well. However, you may not have perceived it as such until now.

You’ve walked the hard walk. Perhaps it’s now time to get on the boat?

What do you think? Do you think an undercurrent of grief may be the root of issues and inner-conflict you are experiencing in your business?

Have you become a master at busy-ing yourself in your business to avoid how you’re feeling. Or, are you aware of how you’re feeling is a problem but haven’t even considered that grief is the culprit?

Let me know in the comments below, or do you see the handy dandy “Leave a Message” button to the right? You can leave up to a five-minute message, and, if you enter your email, I can respond directly to you! Pretty neat, eh?

much love, victoria

Emotional Freedom

emotional freedom

Did you know that you are able to apply grief recovery to relationships with the living, deceased, and also the relationship to yourself?

Throughout the past year, I’ve worked through processing what is emotionally incomplete. I’ve worked through relationships with several deceased relatives, some living, and also with my relationship with my inner-child, money, and alcohol.

In the United States, it will soon be Independence Day (4th of July). We collectively celebrate our societal freedom, meanwhile, many of us feel as though we are stuck in emotional jail? What a paradox!

Do you feel as though you are in emotional jail, despite having all of the freedom in our country that we’ve been blessed to experience? That’s normal and natural because grief is normal and natural. Feeling emotionally incomplete keeps us feeling as though we are imprisoned. Grief itself feels like this. Do you agree?

I felt as though I was in an emotional prison in the context of a certain relationship for many years. It wasn’t until I processed and worked through those feelings in an action-based, structured way, that allowed me to, once and for all, experience emotional freedom. I learned how to release all that I could not change, the emotional pain I was harboring, and process the grief I had around the loss of hopes, dreams, and expectations I had for the relationship.

Working through my relationship to alcohol enabled and empowered me to give up the emotional hold it had over me. It’s so easy to reach for a drink when we’re feeling stressed, bored, or upset.

Think about it – how often have you had a bad day and, a friend suggests going for a night out on the town to get your mind off of what’s bothering you? Or, do you resort to alcohol as a way to loosen up when socializing because, without it, you feel inadequate or uncomfortable? In a couple of weeks, it will be eight months since I’ve had a drink – even a sip of alcohol! I absolutely contribute the work I’ve completed around my relationship to alcohol, in grief recovery, to the fact that I haven’t felt the need (or, desire for that matter) to have a drink.

I am not anyone special. I am a griever just like you. I just happen to learn new tools and methods for finding my way to emotional freedom. And, every time I feel myself becoming emotionally reactive, I know that’s an area where I have some work to do.

Do you desire emotional freedom?

Are you a recovering addict – whether it be to alcohol, drugs, or otherwise, with at least a year sober under your belt and, are ready to work through grief, specifically, in a supported and guided way?

Regardless of the losses you’ve endured (grief is grief), grief recovery will help you complete what is emotionally incomplete –

I have two spots open right now for grief recovery online, one-on-one, if you are ready to do the internal work. Grief recovery is hope. And, if you’re a parent of a child struggling, know that, very soon, we will be able to work together online with the four-week Helping Children with Loss program. Stay tuned for more info on that!

And, if you’re not quite ready to work with me but are wanting to get to know me better and learn more about my teaching style, you can listen to my recently launched podcast, Grieving Voices. I am thrilled to give other grievers the platform and opportunity to share their grief stories as well. If this is you, please get in touch.

Have a safe and joyful independence weekend (if you celebrate)!

much love, victoria

Our Shadow Side

Our Shadow Side

When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. – Matthew 5:39

It’s a sorrowful time. I have tried to tune out the news and, instead, turn inward. Fortunately, this week offered a lot of road time and, for me, that’s thinking/reflecting time. I also enjoy listening to various types of podcasts when I’m traveling as well. This week, one podcast interview arrived in my inbox with the title: “Racism, white privilege, and healing America.” It was this conversation between Reverend Michael Beckwith and Lewis Howes. There is one stat that Reverend Michael Beckwith mentions that I did find to be false. Beckwith stated a staggering statistic that 80-90% of the prison population in the U.S. is Black. I had to know if this was true. Indeed, it was a false statement. Instead, 33% of the prison population is Black, whereas 30% is White. However, Blacks are incarcerated more than 5X the rate of Whites. A far cry from 80-90% but none the less, the rate at which Blacks are incarcerated is significantly imbalanced.

Since childhood, I’ve always been a cheerleader for the underdog, likely because I viewed myself as an underdog. I love a good triumph story. I believe we all do. There isn’t a whole lot of diversity living in the midwest, as there is in other parts of the country. I only knew of one Black person that lived in my entire county growing up. Imagine being the only Black person in a whole county of White people!? I don’t know for sure, but of the few Black individuals I know of from growing up, and in recent years, from my perspective, I didn’t see them treated any differently. They were maybe safer living here, in German country, than in larger metropolitan areas.

I didn’t grow up with much racial talk in my home. I have a half-brother that is half Puerto Rican, nieces, and nephews who are half Puerto Rican-Native American. And I only recently learned in the past year that the only reason I am alive today is that, while in Vietnam, a Black man took a bullet for my dad. And, although my dad grew up in a racially prejudiced home, my dad didn’t follow the ideology of his parents. Perhaps because his faith was important to him? I can only imagine he often asked himself: “What would Jesus do?” For that, I am grateful.

Growing up, I had the understanding that people were people. We all bleed the same. However, recently while in a meeting, a White individual remarked about the protests and riots using derogatory language, I did not agree with, and I did and said nothing. Days later, I still feel an unsettled feeling and guilt around this. I did not agree with the statements made, and I remained silent. I believe what stopped me was the feeling that this person has their emotions that they are equally entitled to and, it’s not my place to say his feelings have less value than my own. And, nothing I would ever say will make this person believe otherwise, anyway. Or, perhaps I’m wrong. I don’t know. And, I’ll never know because I remained silent in the situation.

If you’re not having a conversation with your kids about the current events, I encourage you to do so. Today, I asked all three of my kids if they had seen the video and, if so, how they felt about it. They all had, of course, it’s everywhere online. And, when I asked them directly what they thought or felt about Black people, my middle replied: “We’re all the same. We’re all people.” They all agreed that we are all the same. I then shared the story above about mixed ethnicities within our family and my dad’s experience in Vietnam. This conversation was long overdue.

I want to share a passage of writing I came across today (published in 2016), such a timely piece I thought I would share.

In first-century Palestine, left-handedness was seen as evil. People never used their left hands for any public task, even slapping a person. The only way to strike a person the right cheek, using the right hand, is with a backhand. One could only strike “inferiors” back-handed: slaves, women, and children. Striking an equal, a free man, with a backhand could incur legal punishment. Hence, Jesus’ message: if someone treats you as an inferior by backhanding you on the right cheek, turn the other cheek to them and challenge them to treat you as an equal, a form of nonviolent resistance. It is an instruction about using inner strength in a noble way.

This call to respond with dignity is greatly needed in this time when verbal backhanding erupts in every forum. We need Jesus’ call to stand up to contemptuousness not by striking back, but by fostering respect. – Patricial Livingston

Respect. There it is.

Respect for ourselves, others, and for life itself. And, we bring about respect when we come from a place of love. Society sends all sorts of messages that love is something to be obtained. But, it is in giving love away that we experience it. If we give love to ourselves, we receive love. If we give love to our neighbors, we receive love.

Love is anything but an easy call to action. We have our inner demons, sorrows, and shadow-sides to fight before it can beam from us freely. We have years of stories blocking us, with learned beliefs and ideology, to discern what is right for ourselves independent of what we’ve been taught. And, here’s the thing – we’re not meant to soldier on in our lives alone. We heal ourselves and help others heal when we are in community with others.

Like Reverend Beckwith states towards the end of the interview, when asked about a mantra we can all adopt during this time: “Make me an instrument of PEACE.”

Peace. It starts with intention. And, it begins within.

much love, victoria

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