The title of my post is the question I have for you today: Do you believe you’re worthy of healing?
Your first reaction may be, ‘of course, I do.’ Or, you may be asking yourself: What kind of question is that? But how many of us act on it – even if we’re convinced we do deserve healing? Not enough; kids today are still learning the default setting we’re passing along.
Give it some thought, though – really. Do you believe you’re worthy of healing? When you’re on pain island and would give anything to be on pleasure island, what action would you take? What would you sacrifice to get to where you’d rather be than in the depths of pain you may be in right now? What would it take?
It is not uncommon for women especially, to put the oxygen mask on everyone else around us before ourselves.
What happens though, when everyone you’ve sacrificed yourself for to thrive, look at you one day and you’re all tapped out – you’ve got nothing left to give?
The “G” Word
But, what is guilt?
Guilt is an intent to do harm. But, you didn’t intend to do harm did you?
Based on a Canadian study, by the time we are 15-years-old, we’ve heard more than 23,000 messages that are negative about expressing any kind of sad, painful emotions. We’re taught, through this influenced learning, that it’s a negative thing to have feelings in the first place by how adults around us are modeling ways they negatively handle painful emotions.
Once we reach adulthood, we don’t know any better. All of the conditioning we’ve received becomes our default setting. So when life happens, and we experience significant emotional losses, we neither know what to do about nor if healing is even possible. More importantly, we push away our feelings and by doing so, we’re sending ourselves the message that we’re not worthy of healing. Because, whether you’re choosing to stay in the pain or choosing to make a commitment to healing your heart – either way, you’re making a choice.
Where would you rather be – pain or pleasure island?
You are worthy of healing. Always and forevermore.
P.S. If you’re in my area in south-central ND, I have two free talks coming up this coming week about grief and an introduction to The Grief Recovery Method. I hope you can join me! 🙂
Every 12.8 seconds someone completes suicide. Every year, more than 600,000 kids experience foster care. And, 1 in 20 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before age 18 (this may be higher). Add on the statistics for the death of spouse or child, divorce, miscarriage, loss of a pet, all the intangible losses (loss of trust, for example), and all of the more than 40 losses – I’d say grief is a pretty big deal. Agree? Also, the economic cost is over $75 billion annually, too. And moreover, the medical costs associated with grief as well. It’s all staggering! Grief is quite the bully, isn’t it?
Grief costs us all. Aside from the obvious costs, we also lose time; of being able to be present in our lives. Especially in the early days of grief, where the days run together and life around moves on but you feel like you’re stuck in some parallel universe, watching life all around you sail by.
We are robbed of so much when we’re feeling lost in our feelings and resist giving them a voice. The feelings seem to have nowhere to go or we don’t know what to do with them all when they rush in. So to cope, we stuff them down and bury them or turn to things to occupy our time and minds (alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, exercise, workaholism, etc.). Unless we’re blessed to have a heart with ears (listening ear) that doesn’t attempt to fix and hold space for us, then we isolate. And, I think eventually cut ourselves off from others regardless, because we have this notion that others get sick of hearing the story, right? Get on with it! Get over it! It’s been 2 years, you should be over it by now. Even if no one ever speaks these words, you feel them. I know these words well. Thirty years – you’d think I’d be over it by now, too. And there it is – a myth about grief that time heals all wounds. Time does nothing but pass, friends. Time doesn’t heal squat. It’s the action you take within time that makes the difference – nothing else.
You know what grief has cost you. I don’t need to tell you. You feel it and know it well within your heart; you just haven’t articulated it out loud. Because acknowledging out loud what grief has cost you will mean you’re in the position of awareness. You then have a choice to make – ignore it and go on with your buried grief feelings or the hard choice – face those feelings head-on.
Only you know when the time is right for you to move beyond your grief. Just make sure you’re not holding on to what is familiar out of fear.
“…As a seed buried in the earth cannot imagine itself as an orchid or hyacinth, neither can a heart packed with hurt imagine itself loved or at peace. The courage of the seed is that once cracked; it cracks all the way.” – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
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So far, my turning 40 birthday month has been amazing and filled with many firsts.
The biggest first is taking a solo flying trip. I got back earlier this week from Austin, TX, where I spent 6 days for a grief recovery certification training of the grief recovery method. I’d love to share a bit about my trip – the highs, the lows (and there were big ones), and everything in between.
First, going from snow and cold temps to – what I thought would be 70’s (with rain expected some days), was the first joy of my trip. Austin, however, pleasantly surprised me with even warmer temps than expected and apparently, unusually sunny, Goldilocks-type days.
My first day there, I met up with a gal that I’ve known since around 2010 or so from a senior photographer FB group. It was sooooo fun meeting her and actually connecting in real life.
The following day, I met a gal who I’ve followed for quite some time and who I consider a mentor – Phoebe Mroczek. I’ve listened to her podcast, The Unbecoming (which I highly recommend, by the way) for the past year, and she is as down-to-earth in person as she is online. We shared goals and aspirations and it was great to connect in real life. Because let’s face it, ND isn’t exactly the epi-center for entrepreneurs. There’s a snowball’s chance in hell of any entrepreneurial event happening that would draw in people from around the country in my neck of the woods! LOL! If that’s the case for you, too – never be afraid to reach out to your online people, when traveling, to meet up! I’m so glad I did!
I enjoyed a wonderful stroll down the river, where I came upon a little stand where they were giving away free pints of ice cream! You’ll see it’s made with cashew milk and I gotta say, despite not loving pecans, this ice cream was sooooooo good! Highly recommend! I was told you can find it at Target and, I think, Wal-Mart as well. Worth checking out, for sure!
To my delight (and truly, I was happy like a child), I made an unexpected friend while on a tour of Austin, where we visited the cemetery where some well-known people are buried – including veteran Chris Kyle. My new friend is originally from Burma (borders Thailand) and living in Kona, HI. She was in Austin for training different from mine but somewhat in the same arena, so we had a topic of interest off the bat. After the tour, she asked me to join her to eat and we ended up talking for over five hours. She shared about Buddhism and about her homeland, as well as her life in HI. We’ve connected since that meeting again and I know I have gained a life-long friend.
The first 2 days of my trip, reminded me of all the great blessings God brings me in the most unexpected ways. But, I was open to receiving, too. And maybe that’s the lesson the first two days taught me: keep your heart open. Love over fear – always.
The next four days of the trip would be some of the most challenging four days of my life. Despite this being a certification training, a part of the training is to experience the process yourself that you will take others through. The method is to complete a loss-relationship in two of the four days. What made this experience even more intense is that the morning of the first day of training, I was awfully sick (puking, nausea, and you know what). I spent the entire day lying on the floor just so I could be present. Fortunately, I had the read the book prior, so hearing it in person, reinforced what I had read.
To begin with, Austin wasn’t the plan either, as I had originally registered for a training a 5-hour drive from me, however, that ended up being canceled. The next nearest training wasn’t until October. Austin just happened to be at the same time and I already had the time off. And, honestly – I just felt in my gut it had to be now and not later.
The Grief Recovery Method, once learned, is a method of healing you can utilize the rest of your life with loss of any kind that feels significant and with relationships of those both deceased and living.
I am beyond excited to be able to bring such a service to my community and surrounding communities. To start, I can only do in-person Grief Recovery work, however, it is a goal of mine to complete additional training down the road, that will enable me to conduct online Grief Recovery (i.e. bring healing) to anyone anywhere!
In the weeks ahead, I will share more about this wonderful program. I can say, with my whole heart, this can be a transforming (i.e. life changing) experience. And, I only say can be because you truly do get out of it what you’re willing to put into it. You have to allow yourself to feel all the hard feelings and be completely honest with yourself because that’s where the healing is.
This program is generally 8 weeks, however, as I mentioned in training, the emotionally challenging work is completed in two days – so it is a very intense experience. There is an advanced training I can take down the road that would allow me to also conduct the 2-day process in a weekend workshop, too. But to start, in the 8-week program, it’s broken down into weekly chunks of information.
My Personal Grief Recovery Method Experience
In my experience, having gone through it, I would say that it’s not that I’ll never feel sad again or grieve what I’ve lost, however, I don’t have this immense attachment to the grief itself anymore. It’s as if we hold on to what is familiar, but I no longer feel weighed down by it. The perfect analogy for me is this: before, I felt like I was treading water in a sea of grief. It was an exhausting vicious cycle, knowing that my life decisions were being dictated by this over-arching feeling of loss. And now, I feel like I’m swimming again. The grief is still there but it’s me moving with the current, not being bogged down by it. Does that make sense? I want others to experience this transformation, too. I felt called to this program the moment I found it – I knew it was it. I could cry in gratitude for this experience. It’s a freedom I’ve never felt. And, I can say never because I’ve been carrying these rocks since I was 8. Moreover, you learn tools on how to be a better listener, how to better communicate, and knowledge of how to complete other/future losses that you will have forever. No one can ever take this experience or knowledge from you.
This program had me feeling like I dropped a backpack of rocks that I’ve been adding to all my life. I feel lighter today than I did before this program and am so grateful I listened to my heart and gut.
If you are in my area and desire healing, stay tuned. If you’re not in my area, I encourage you to seek out a Grief Recovery Specialist in your area via the Institute website. There are programs geared specifically for loss of a pet, one in the works specifically for loss of relationship/divorce, and also one for parents to help children grieve (love this one – it’s prevention at the heart of it). I have plans on offering these, too, as well as providing talks to businesses/organizations that feel their business/organization could benefit. We all could benefit from listening skills, right?
Grief – Impacting Our Economy & Other Areas of Life
Also, there is statistical data on the financial and productivity impact grief has on businesses and organizations and I will be sharing more info on that to come as well. It’s the one thing that unites us all – no one is immune and we all have it and we bring it to our careers, families, and all relationships. And, although you may feel as though you’ve dealt with it, I encourage you to dig deep and ask yourself if failed relationships, bankruptcy, broken family relationships, lack of or loss of friendships, may not be due to any relationship you’ve had that you wished would have been better, different, or more. I guarantee there’s something there you’ve likely buried and locked away. I did and The Grief Recovery Method was my key.
If you’ve made it this far – bless your heart. xx Stay tuned to future blog posts where I will share a bit more of the ins & outs of the program and other healing tidbits. In the meantime, I encourage you to sign up for my weekly newsletter, as upcoming talks and future group info will be shared there first with those most expressing interest in knowing more.
Yours in grief and for choosing love over fear – always. <3
P.S. Are you in my area and interested in being a part of my first pilot, 8-week group pilot program? I’m looking for up to 6 people who are wanting to heal a loss-relationship that they wish could be/could have been better, different, or more and heal that relationship once and for all, but are also willing to commit to their healing for 8 weeks – once weekly for approximately two hours each time. This is not a drop-in-and-out program. Commitment is required – it is the only way you can heal and also be reliable support to others in the group. Sound like you? Reply to this email and let’s chat.
P.P.S.There is also an opportunity for one person to work with me in-person 1:1 weekly for 7 weeks. Although I highly encourage the group dynamic (for various reasons), sometimes, a 1:1 is more fitting. Get in touch and we can discuss if you think you’d prefer in-person 1:1.
P.P.P.S. It is also worth noting that those that take advantage both pilot programs, will benefit from a greatly reduced investment. There is nothing you need and all materials are provided. Why not do this for free? I wish I could, however, aside from my cost and time, it’s likely you wouldn’t do the work without an investment of some kind. There is something about investing in yourself that flips a switch in your mind that you value something more if you invest in it. I know this to be true of myself, too. But I also know, when everything else I’ve tried in my life, including trying to work through it on my own and therapy – nothing worked until this. True story. Investing in this program is the act of choosing love (and healing) for yourself.
It is the belief, feeling, or experience you have.
Now you’re probably wondering: What do you mean?
Let me explain with the backstory.
A Buddhist and Christian walk into PF Chang’s in Austin, TX not knowing each other and leave as friends. I’m [the] Christian in this true story.
Not coincidentally (because I don’t believe in coincidences and this has been proven to me many times over throughout my life), this Buddhist woman came into my life as a “teacher” in perfect timing. Our conversation inspired this post.
She shared so many wisdom-isms (I’ll call them) with me that had me hanging on her every word. One of my favorites was this analogy she used to share how we always have a choice to write how we feel about certain things/experiences in one of three places: in water, sand, or in stone. These thoughts/beliefs are not permanent unless we make them so.
We can write them in the fluidity of water, coming and going with ease; not holding, forcing, or resisting. We can write these things in the sand where they’ll stay for a time – eventually fading. Or, we can carve them in stone, forever taking up emotional and mental space.
The choice is always ours.
Which will you choose, friend?
P.S. This post was an exercise in patience, in writing my feelings in water as I had to re-write the entire thing. Not sure how it was initially deleted but sigh…such is life, sometimes; gotta go with the flow and ride the tide.
The spiritual journey is one of constant transformation, and we can’t grow if we continually hold onto what is, rather than embrace change and what could be.
My children aren’t big into reading, which breaks my heart because a single book can change your life. Books can also take you to far away places and experiences. Such is the case with the book The Alchemist, one of my all-time favorites about a shepherd boy who yearns to travel for worldly treasure. My point in sharing this is that books can also help us unlock mysteries about ourselves. And often, it is our limiting beliefs about what we believe is possible or what we are worthy of, that keeps us stuck in our lives and making the same decisions over and over. One book, or even a piece of writing – heck, even one line, has the potential to have a lasting impact, helping us to recognize such limiting beliefs.
I recently read a piece of writing that helped me unlock my limiting belief. I have many; we all usually do. However, one could summarize all the rest. My limiting belief is that I don’t deserve/I’m not worthy. Do you have unique china/dishes you only bring out on rare occasions? Or, do you have an article of clothing that you have worn once, never to wear it again because you’re afraid of it being ruined?
On our first anniversary, I received a diamond bracelet from my husband, and it’s rarely seen the light of day outside of its velvet box (that’s inside another box). And what it comes down to is that it’s too good for me. The dishes may be too good for you, or the special scarf or dress may be too good to wear and enjoy them whenever you want. Sure, I could say I don’t want it to get ruined or lose it (and those things would be true) but, if I (and you) think about, the real emotions that come up is that I, or you if this resonates, are not deserving/worthy. People like “me” don’t wear beautiful things like that.
When I was a kid, I typically wore hand-me-downs. Woohoo for corduroy pants (which are making a comeback, by the way)! Anyway, I rarely got anything new. I didn’t mind. Although, I had this weird insistence, for a time, that everything I wore had to match, which was a problem with hand-me-downs because you get what you get. Lol! One year, though, Easter was extra-special as I received an Easter dress. But, I could only wear it for Easter, for that one time I got professional photos taken, and for super-special occasions (so, rarely).
This realization brought up many other examples of how a limiting belief, most often rooted in childhood, can wreak havoc through adulthood. For instance, I’m cozy with thrift stores. Granted, you can find some pretty great finds at thrift stores. Just as some people choose to be thrifty, there are people with no other financial choice. Regardless, if money wasn’t the issue, would you still prefer the thrift store? Likely not. Up until the last few years, I shopped exclusively at thrift stores. So, our limiting beliefs affect the one area of our lives most of us experience struggle of some kind with, and that’s money.
When things happen, too, throughout your life, that reinforces your limiting belief, it only cements that mindset further. For example, being a victim of sexual abuse as a child/adult reinforces the limiting belief that you’re not deserving/worthy. You’re not worthy of love that is pure and honest.
I could go on and on about this. For me, recognizing this has unlocked the ability for me to reframe it. I get to decide, from here on out, how I will shift out of this mindset and into one of self-love. Self-love is mentioned so often nowadays it’s starting to feel like a buzz word. But, it’s the only way we (you and me) can change our future. It’s the only way we can become the captain of our own ship and design our destiny.
What are your limiting beliefs? What stories have been passed down to you? Did you grow up believing life is a struggle; that there is never enough (of money, resources – anything good, for that matter)? I don’t think we comprehend how these beliefs hinder us in our growth.
Self-love – that’s where we find peace and when everything around us begins to shift.
Try this with me: take your three middle fingers and while tapping on your thymus (breastbone), repeat over and over “I’m sorry. I love you.” As you do, bring to mind all the limiting beliefs; the stories passed on to you in childhood (if you need, journal about this first). Forgive yourself for believing it and give yourself some love to release it.
In this post, I shared what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. And, in that post, I also share what I’ve learned about forgiveness, as well as what not to do with forgiveness.
In this post, I’d like to share a deep-dive method I’ve learned in navigating forgiveness. Before we move on, however, if you haven’t completed the exercise I mentioned at the end of that post, I’m including the following info again, for your convenience.
Give some thought to both positive and negative events/unhappy memories of a relationship with someone you’ve found it difficult to forgive. This person can be living, deceased, and any relationship you wish would be or could have been different, better, or more in some way. It is, however, best to start with the closest relationship. For example, in my case, it is the relationship with my mother because she raised me.
Next, map these events in chronological order as best you can on a straight-line timeline, starting with your very first memory with that person regardless of it being positive or negative. For some relationships, it could be the first time you met that person. Keep going, writing the positive events above the line and the negative events below the line and ending with the current year. Also, maybe it was a misunderstanding or memorable event – keep those times in your relationship in mind, too, to add to your timeline. Ultimately, it’s the feelings you had when these things occurred that we’re wanting to dig deeper into.
Some examples are a new dress, a punishment, a vacation, abuse, a tender moment that’s stuck with you. Even with an abusive relationship, if there are positive memories (or actions like paying rent), those must be acknowledged as well. Be as honest with this as you possibly can. Every relationship is made up of good and bad and right and wrong; acknowledge both to express the true picture of the relationship.
When I did this exercise, I had to sit back and let it all sink in a bit. When you see all the things you’re holding on to in your heart, it’s eye-opening. You realize how much toxicity exists within your body. Not all events were below the line, however. I also felt more appreciation in other ways, too, for events written above the line.
The next step is to translate the relationship graph into three categories: apologies, forgiveness, or significant emotional statements. Above-the-line events are usually apologies or significant emotional statements. Some negative events may fall into two categories, too, if there is appreciation but also a negative emotion tied to the event.
When it comes to apologies, you may owe an apology for something you did or did not do. You may not have communicated something before the relationship came to an end. Regardless, this is your perception of your actions or inactions.
A Side Note on Apologies
When you feel like a victim, apologizing comes extra hard to do. I can speak for myself when I say that I had developed a lifelong relationship with my pain and acted like a victim for many years. I didn’t realize this was a problem until I experienced a mid-life unraveling (crisis) and looked inward for the first time.
No matter how insignificant it may seem, apologizing for even the slightest transgression is the only way you can complete your pain to move on from it.
Forgiveness: An Inside Job
The next category is forgiveness, which is the acceptance that there will not be a different or better yesterday. It is the action of giving up resentment held against another person. You would also never want to forgive someone face-to-face, as doing so will likely be met with defensiveness. Always keep in mind: forgiveness is an inside job.I have been a witness to this and it’s just not pretty. Don’t add insult to injury – this is inner work for you and you alone.
Things Left Unsaid
The last category is significant emotional statements. These are neither apologies nor something that calls for forgiveness. We tend to hold on to unsaid things that make a situation feel incomplete for us. A few examples would be: I love you, I hated you, I was ashamed of you, thank you for the sacrifices you made for me, etc.. This category includes all the things left unsaid or things we wish we had said or done (or hadn’t said or done).
Repeat the above for every relationship that’s caused you suffering and you’ll experience many a-ha moments and, my hope, healing as well.
I created a little guide to go along with this post. Enter your name and email and you’ll receive an immediate download. You’ll also receive The Unleashed Letters, which hits inboxes every Wednesday.