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Is Grief Getting in the Way?

Is Grief Getting in the Way?

grief in the way

When was the last time you had a fantastic day where it felt like nothing could take the wind out of your sails? You didn’t spend hours being upset about something; where even mother nature provided a goldilocks-kind-of-day to enjoy. Most of us have to think real hard about this question. Because life isn’t perfect, right? And rarely do we have a day that feels as such. Or, is it how we’re choosing to see it? Furthermore, is how we see our days being influenced by the grief we store in our hearts?

Consider, too, for a moment the grief we store in our hearts and then add on our political climate with opposing views, often among family members. Then, tack on our home climate – is it chaotic, frenzied, harmful, or so busy you would forget to be if it weren’t for your phone (this has been me, too, no shame).

Is it any wonder we’re stressed out to the max? Add on the demands of life and life events that occur that are beyond our control and our bodies become the perfect incubators for disease.

I tend to feel drained by heavily social situations and I also tend to take on the negative energy of others, if I’m not mindful. Meditation is wonderful for a mental recharge/reset but how you prevent it is where I was looking forward to hearing her insight. She said that we cannot attach to the outcome and that where the energy is at in others is not our business. It’s a practice of mindfulness; witnessing the energy of others, acknowledging that that is their current experience, and noticing what is going in our own energy space. And then it’s a matter of choosing to not allow ourselves to get into negative energy and doing whatever we can to elevate our own (to put our oxygen mask on first).

Some Things You Can Do to Shift Your Energy Quickly

  • Remove yourself from the presence of the situation/person.
  • Saying a prayer or an affirmation to yourself. For example, I am in charge of my thoughts. I decide how I want to feel. God/Angels/Universe, help me to see this situation differently. 
  • Taking a walk in nature is a wonderful mind/body reset, too.
  • Meditation, as previously mentioned. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Even 10 minutes helps! Recently, I learned of a neat technique through a young girl’s youth program in which I’m a mentor. Sit on the floor, put a hand in front of you on the floor with your fingers spread out. With eyes open or closed, take the index finger of your other hand and, starting at the base of your thumb, trace your fingers all the way around your hand, breathing in as you trace your finger moving up and exhaling as you trace your finger down. It’s a very effective calming technique and because you’re focusing on your breathing, it’s also a quick meditation practice that’s easy enough for kids and adults alike that may have never meditated or have tried it but found it challenging. Quieting the mind is hard; however, the point is to focus on deep, belly breathing. Thoughts will come and go and that’s okay. Always come back to your breath; you can’t do it wrong. It may be helpful, too, to count up to 8 in your head as you inhale, and while exhaling, count down from 8.
  • Listen to uplifting music.
  • Read positive quotes.
  • Watch some animal/baby YouTube videos. Seriously, this works. A good laugh is good for the soul.
  • Reframe the situation. What is one positive thing you can say about what you’ve experienced? What has the experience taught you? How can you carry that lesson moving forward?

The above are generic suggestions for shifting energy quickly. Life is full of challenges and this is not an attempt to simplify or minimize those challenges. Take what is helpful and ditch the rest. It’s a matter of cleaning up our side of the energy space. We are all energy. And, thoughts are energy, too. Thoughts become feelings and feelings become actions. And we back it all up with energy.

Back when I went to Austin, TX for my grief recovery certification training, I mentioned in this blog post meeting a new friend who is a Buddhist. We have kept in touch and recently we had a conversation about how to not take on the energy of others and we discussed the aforementioned. My friend went on to provide a beautiful analogy of our spirit/inner-light. She told me to imagine myself as a candle – “you are a light,” she said. She went on to explain that when you take one candle to light another, the first candle doesn’t get dimmer, rather, it burns just as bright – it’s not losing anything. So, when you’re sharing your light with others freely (without holding on to a certain outcome), similarly like a candle, your light is not extinguished and it’s then allowed the light of others to burn brightly, too. I just found that to be a beautiful analogy for the human spirit. We don’t have to feel like we’re losing a part of ourselves (and giving up our energy) when we help others burn brightly. Rather, we take care of and nurture our (inner) light so we can help others.

Sharing My Light So YOU Can Burn More Brightly

Wednesday night, I gave my last talk before I was planning to start my first Grief Recovery Group. I came into it with a ton of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement! I had two people show up that weren’t even from the community and I left with the same energy, enthusiasm, and excitement – not for me – for them. Why? Because they took action and showed up for themselves. They are tired of the grief weighing on their hearts and lives and have decided to do something about it. I admire them for it because it takes courage. All the while, my heart is sad for those who feel that the pain is more deserving of their heart than the love that is locked away because it’s unable to be fully expressed.

Over the last five weeks or so, I’ve given three talks in three different communities. The first talk had 2 people in attendance. The next talk had 1 person. And the last talk, as I mentioned, 2 showed up. I know there are a lot more than 4-5 grievers out there within a 45-minute drive of me. I know there are.

It is so common that few show up to these talks at the beginning that I was forewarned. Yup, my mentors at The Grief Recovery Institute told me this would happen! Perhaps you wanted to come but you had prior obligations or you had an emergency. I get that things happen. No worries. Who I am directly talking to right now are those who know they’re hurting, whose hearts told them to put their shoes on but whose minds talked them out of it. Because I know that’s exactly what was happening and what I was told would happen.

What’s Possible

We all reach the end of our ropes at some point. Perhaps your hurting heart is just not there yet. And, that’s okay. There is no timeline to grief because truthfully, you’ll never be rid of it. Never. The love has nowhere to go when you’ve lost the one you were giving it to. However, it is possible to think of your loved one and not be taken back to the deep grief you’re currently feeling. It is possible to think of your loved one and remember the happy times more than all the things you never got to say, wish you would’ve said, or all the memories you’ll never share again. It’s living alongside grief. It’s actually living – moving forward beyond the grief that is possible. 

I can’t want this for you more than you want it for yourself. If this resonates with you and you feel a tug in your heart to join those who’ve decided to take this journey of healing, you have until Wednesday, May 29th, at the latest to join. We actually start next Wednesday, the 22nd, however, week 2 is the cut-off date. After this 8-week group, I don’t know when the next group will be held.

Will you choose to heal? If not now, when? If not this, then what?

much love, victoria

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you would like more info or would like to begin your healing journey next week, email me directly at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com OR reach out via Facebook messenger on my page, The Unleashed Heart. 

A Grief Wish

A Grief Wish

grief wish

One of my favorite shows (in fact, I DVR it) is CBS Sunday Morning. This past Sunday, there was a story about a man who receives people’s secrets on postcards. Secrets that many would otherwise likely take to their grave.  It’s gained so much traction, there are exhibitions of the postcard secrets. It’s an amazing example of how one idea can change your life.

Anyway, it got me thinking about grief being a result of a secret or maybe many secrets. We tend to hold the most painful things closest to our hearts and the postcard secrets is a beautiful outlet for people to give their grief a voice.

A Grief Wish in a Bottle

If I told you to write a message of truth about your grief on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle, and throw it into the ocean – what would you have it say? What do you wish others knew about your grief? What would be your S.O.S. or your grief wish?

Like the gentlemen said in the postcard secret story (at around 3 minutes 45 seconds) about how keeping a secret keeps hold of us; I believe grief keeps hold of us, too. We hold ourselves back from our lives in work, love, relationships, and our potential. Our growth is hindered and our perspective shifted in a new, unrecognizable way that we’re afraid to step into our lives fully because it’s a path we didn’t choose.

You may be reading and thinking that you don’t have grief. You may not have experienced an emotional loss of any kind (which is grief). Although I believe that is highly unlikely, perhaps the word secret resonates with you more?

What is your secret? Does this secret cause you grief? I bet it has and maybe still does. Know that that is normal and natural. And also know that it’s not weak to ask for help – it takes courage.

Fear & Grief

You may be afraid to open the windows and doors of your mind and heart, letting all the grief out because what if changes you? Well, grief changed you, right? And that wasn’t your choice. You have a choice, though, now – in how you move forward and what is written in your life story moving forward.

You may be afraid to let go of the familiar feeling grief has provided you, somehow making you feel connected to what you lost. But know that it’s the resistance of letting go of the grief that is keeping you in the past, too. Grief may have changed you, but it doesn’t need to define you for the rest of your life.

My wish for you is that you can look back on what you’ve lost and rather than be pulled back into the feelings of the loss and allow it to dictate the present, instead, inner-peace washes over you about how far you’ve come. Rather than the positive memories being overtaken by the negative, you command the driver’s seat of the present – in how you feel, what you know to be true, and the internal perspective of the grief you choose to give focus to.

Inner-peace: that’s my wish for you.

 

 

 

P.S. Feel like sharing your grief wish? What do you wish others knew about your grief? What is it, about your grief, you need to get off your chest? You can email directly at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com. No reply will be given unless requested – this is simply for you to put to words what you wish you could say (or scream) out loud and will be read by my eyes only. Or hey, maybe find a place in nature and do just that. Call it an exercise in grief release. 

 

Be Careful Where You Write It

Be Careful Where You Write It

sand and stone

Be Careful Where You Write It

What is it, you ask?

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.

P.P.S. PF Chang’s is delicious!

Limiting Beliefs Block Transformation

Limiting Beliefs Block Transformation

design your destiny

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.

To self-love & big shifts!

 

 

Give Your Pain a Little Love

Give Your Pain a Little Love

Ho’oponopono: a method of healing developed by a Hawaiian therapist by the name of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. He “cured” an entire ward of criminally insane patients having never met them or spent time with them in the same room. The story goes, he reviewed each of the patients’ files and then healed them by first healing himself.

Why would anything we work on within, have an effect on our outside world? If you think about it, everything that happens to you, you experience it in your mind. Everything you see, hear, every person you meet passes through your mind. You only think it’s “out there” and because of this, you hold no responsibility to it. When, in fact, you are responsible for everything you think and everything you give your attention to.

Forgiveness: The Hawaiian Way

There are four steps to this method, and the order is not essential. Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Love are the forces at work that can transform your feelings around a particular relationship.

The best part is this can be done in the quiet of your own home, without assistance from no one, and you can even say the words in your head rather than out loud. The power is surrendering yourself to the feelings that come up and allow them to pass through you – raising your vibrations and capacity to be open to love and forgiveness within your heart.

Four Steps to Forgiveness

Step 1: I AM SORRY
As I previously mentioned, you are responsible for everything in your mind, even if it seems to be “out there.” It’s often the “inside” problems that show up in our outside world, so keep that in mind. So, choose something to be sorry for that you know you’ve caused yourself – start there. Do you have an addiction, a weight issue, or other health problems? Maybe you have anger issues? Start there by stating what you’re sorry for as a phrase: I am responsible for [the issue] in my life, and I’m sorry that I have caused this.

Step 2: PLEASE FORGIVE ME
PLEASE FORGIVE ME. Say it over and over and mean it. It will feel awkward, but don’t worry about who you’re asking – just ask! Remember how sorry you are from step one as you ask for forgiveness.

Step 3: THANK YOU
Say “THANK YOU.” It doesn’t matter who or what you’re giving thanks to. For example, thank your body for all it does for you or yourself for being the best version of yourself you can be. Thank God or the Universe, if that’s more your thing. Keep saying THANK YOU and feel it with every ounce of your body.

Step 4: I LOVE YOU
Say I LOVE YOU – to your challenges, to the thing that has you feeling caught up in negativity. You can also say I LOVE YOU to your body, to God (the Universe, if that’s more your thing), to the air you breathe, and to the home that shelters you. Say it over and over. Mean it. Feel it. There is nothing as powerful as Love.

When I initially learned about ho’oponopono, I learned to do this practice alongside EFT (or tapping as you may know it to be called). It’s come to light, in recent years, that tapping isn’t actually a necessary component of the practice, which means – this is easily accessible in the quiet of your mind no matter where you are. Stuck in traffic? You’ve got nothing but time, my friend, and what a fitting situation to give love to, right? Because we all know road rage is real and one can only imagine the blood pressure of some people who take it too far!

Take a few minutes to watch the video below that helps explain how ho’oponopono works, how this physician uses it in her practice, and how it may help you.



I think what this really comes down to is a willingness and openness to be a witness to, be present with, and give attention to the emotional upset within our bodies. Providing love and care to what pains us and lovingly hold it in our hearts and releasing it with a new perspective is a way to heal and forgive ourselves – for ourselves.

Forgiveness: What it is and What it isn’t

Forgiveness: What it is and What it isn’t

 

Forgiveness is letting go of the hope for a better or different yesterday.

According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, it is “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).”

When one chooses to forgive, others may see it is condoning; however, the definition of condoning, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to treat as if trivial, harmless, or of no importance.”

If we are to believe these two words are alike, it would be impossible to forgive because who would or want to trivialize a horrible event?

What I’ve Learned About Forgiveness

I have learned, through years of grief, that forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with my well-being.

Forgiveness is an action, not a feeling. One cannot feel forgiveness unless you have forgiven. It is the act of letting go of resentment held against another.

Some may then say: I can forgive but I cannot forget. To that, it’s wise to ask then, has the transgression truly been forgiven? Who is the one who continues to remember and whose life is blocked by a lack of forgiveness?

Over the past few years, I’ve had to work hard at forgiveness. Not only that, I’ve experienced a lack of understanding when I’ve been able to forgive, and others in my life have not.

No one else needs to understand your willingness and openness to forgive. You and you alone know your heart and what it needs. We all walk the road of forgiveness in our own time. Let no one tell you that you’re wrong for offering forgiveness (in the silence of your heart).

What Not To Do with Forgiveness

To that point, never ever feel as though you must verbalize your forgiveness in person. You potentially open yourself up for more hurt and pain if you offer unsolicited forgiveness as the other person may see this as an attack. Remember: forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person.

On the other side of forgiveness is requesting it. When you ask for forgiveness, you are asking the other person to do something that you need to do for yourself. Because, when you’re the one asking for forgiveness, it’s really guilt rearing its head as you’re really trying to apologize for something you have said or done. Rather, it is an apology that is needed.

What are you holding in your heart that you’ve been unwilling to forgive?

Next week, I will share two methods I’ve learned in navigating forgiveness. In the meantime, give some thought to both positive and negative events of a relationship to someone you’ve found it difficult to forgive. This person can be living, deceased, or perhaps, any relationship you wish would be or could have been different, better, or more in some way. Map these events in chronological order as best you can, and then next week Friday, come back here to the blog for part two.

P.S. How about you? Struggling to find forgiveness in your heart? I know it’s hard – truly, I do. But know that by offering forgiveness, you’re not letting the “offender” off-the-hook. Rather, you’re breaking yourself free from the hook.