Have you felt like you’ve been on a rollercoaster ride, emotionally, lately?
My kids are now home due to COVID. So, aside from that, and all the other things come with life, work, and business, I’m tired. And, I know I’m not alone.
One thing that I’ve found that has helped me not to lose my marbles lately is taking at least 45 minutes every morning for myself. Every weekday, I do a workout. Periodically, I give myself Reiki. One day this week, I also journaled. The point is, taking time for my body, my heart, and my mindset has dramatically kept me from lashing out in frustration.
How often, though, do we go about our day without making our body, heart, and mindset a priority? How often do we lax on our self-awareness and go about our day mindlessly? A lot.
I recall many times throughout my life, where the littlest things would set me off. This response is not uncommon to us when we feel as if we’re on an emotional rollercoaster. So, how do you suppose this quick-to-anger, being easily poked by the bear – way of being is impacting your life, work, and business if you have one?
Back when I had my first business, I was struggling in a lot of ways emotionally. I was having physical symptoms, including unexplained body aches, headaches, and hair loss. Also, I had or have never been diagnosed with anxiety. However, since having a better understanding of our energy, I look back in hindsight and recognize that the physical angst I would often feel was anxiety. Even today, when my thoughts start to tailspin around overwhelm (which I’ve come to learn is due to lack of prioritizing) and the future, I begin to have episodes of heart arrhythmia and feel like I could jump out of my skin. Again, I don’t know if this is what anxiety feels like to those diagnosed, but this is when I know I am out of energetic balance.
I’ve come to understand that grief and energy go hand-in-hand. I do feel that is why Reiki found me after going through the grief recovery program and starting to unravel the years of emotional dis-ease I had carried.
When I look back on the years when I first joined the workforce at 14 and onward, I recognize (with new awareness) what emotional dis-ease (i.e., grief) has cost me. There were many jobs I never applied at because I didn’t feel like I had a snowball’s chance in you know what of getting the job. I also got so scared about the future, finances, and all the things when it came to college. I spent a weekend in a dorm when I turned 18 to pack the car and leave before ever giving myself a chance. I gave up on myself before I even tried. And, all because of fear and money.
I did not trust myself. I did not understand intuition and how to tap into it. I always looked to the external for affirmation that I was doing the right thing or looking for permission or just someone to tell me what to do. It was this confusion, and yet, also a knowing that I could do hard things that led me to join the military. If money was the problem in attending college, well then, I found my solution. What I didn’t realize was that I still had to pay that money upfront (which, I believe, is still the case).
I’ve learned to become resourceful through struggle, but I’ve also learned how to be resilient. That said, it’s taken me decades to dig in and tap into how to utilize my resourcefulness and resiliency. You see, when we’re emotionally suffering, it’s often difficult to see potential and possibility – in ourselves. Our minds become a fog of illusion that we’re okay and fine. However, if we take a birds-eye view of our life, we often see that we have blocks that keep us repeating the same self-sabotaging behaviors. Or, we become hyper-focused on performance, results, and outcomes – all the while neglecting ourselves and those we love (hello, burnout)!
Below is a rundown list of all the ways, I believe, emotional dis-ease creates blocks and hinders our progress in life and business. These are ways I self-identify with, and I am sure there are many more I haven’t thought of that I could add. If this list resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you! I’m curious if there are others I haven’t included that you found to be true for you?
The Ways Emotional Dis-Ease Impacts Life & Business
questioning/second-guessing every decision or difficulty making decisions
seeking outside validation/affirmation
unable to see other perspectives
lack of discernment
money drama – money comes, money goes // lack of growth in account or savings
quick to anger
difficulty connecting with others
feeling like others are out to get you // victim mindset
lack of self-awareness or not conscious of your physical body // desire to “numb-out.”
The more of these that resonate with you, the more likely you’ve got some emotional weeds in your heart garden that need some tending and pulling. With each weed we pull, we’re clearing out space for more beauty to enter and unfold in our lives.
There is hope on the other side of all of this. I’ve been having some wonderful conversations with some incredible healing hearts for my podcast, Grieving Voices. And, these guests have proven this to me over and over. There’s no such thing as joy or sorrow – the two co-exist within a matter of moments of each other. However, when the scales tip further one way than the other in a way that doesn’t sit right with you, then you have a choice to do something about it.
There is no timeline for healing emotional dis-ease. However, how much time are you willing to give sorrow? How much of your life are you ready to gamble? We all reach a point where we get sick of our own crap. My friend, that’s when the magic happens. That fire in your belly for wanting more for yourself and your loved ones – it’s the stuff that dreams are made of, and we often give up on our dreams before we give ourselves a chance. We often don’t think there’s hope.
Take your life by the horns, my friend. It’s waiting for you. Will there always be painful and challenging things that put a boulder in your way? Of course. Life isn’t a fairy tale or movie. But, why write the final chapter before you’ve lived all the chapters in-between? Resiliency is learned through experience and growth, a by-product of suffering. I don’t care which way you slice it. It’s just some people are more willing to allow the unfolding than others. Fear and resistance keep the rest stuck in the past.
The future will not be found in the past. It took me 30+ years to discover this. That said, our pain often becomes our message. And, maybe that’s just a part of my walk here on earth. I don’t know. As a podcast guest stated recently, “I feel more awake now than ever.” And you know what, this woman lost her 17-month-old son suddenly. A loss I cannot even fathom. So, please don’t take it from me; tune in to the podcast and hear the stories of hope for yourself—just incredible stories I am honored to share with listeners. I feel so inspired by their faith and trust in what is possible for them. And, for a time (like myself), they didn’t see it for themselves, either.
There are gifts of grief (i.e., emotional dis-ease/suffering). Get empowered by what is possible, regain emotional control of your life (and body), and watch that list above fade into the rearview.
P.S. Need a lifeline of hope? Reach out to me. Here to serve and create more healing ripples in the world.
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. 😉
GRIEF HEALING EXPERIENCE
Please join me, Victoria, and Michelle Marsh of MichelleMarsh.com.au, as we take you through a grief healing experience. You get the best of both worlds; an Adv. Certified Grief Specialist + Reiki Master, along with Michelle, an Aromonosis Coach + Facilitator + Holistic Wellness Advocate as your guides.
You may also want to receive, The Unleashed Letters, a weekly e-publication where Victoria shares content not shared anywhere else + her deepest, darkest secrets. Okay, not quite, but you do get to see "behind the curtain" of her heart, to speak.
Awesome, friend! You're in! On Monday, Sept. 14th, you will receive the Zoom link to join us LIVE on Tuesday, Sept. 15th at 7 AM CST!
Your privacy is taken seriously, because, I hate spam, too.
You can learn more about Michelle and her Aromanosis Membership HERE. For questions about the Aromanosis Membership, email Michelle directly.
If your days have been feeling as though they’re all running together – know that today is FRIDAY! Woohoo! I hope you can find some joy this weekend.
If you feel like every person you cross paths with is cranky, rude, or negative – know that their emotional gunk isn’t yours. But, it may help you feel better to continue to be you. Don’t dim your positivity for the sake of making the other person feel comfortable. I’ve been on the other side of this. I’m sure you have, too. You’re in a cranky mood, and someone you speak to is just full of smiles and joy and, you wonder to yourself: “How can you be so damn happy all of the time?” And, you know what? It’s more of a reflection of ourselves. We can project our joy onto others, or we can project our pain.
And, I realize that’s the difficulty. I’ve written about telling the emotional truth about ourselves many times before. Yet, here I am saying that if you’re feeling negative, not to mention the emotional truth about yourself- not to project it onto others. However, there’s a difference between telling the emotional truth and treating others poorly because we feel – emotionally deficient.
We will not always be happy – about our life situation, the state of the world, a decision that’s been made, our health, the weather – you name it. However, if we can acknowledge, within ourselves, that which isn’t working, feeling right, or aligning our soul with joy, and meet that hurt within us with compassion, then we are more equipped to share the truth – without mistreating others in the process.
As we start to work through our emotional stuff (and continue to do so), we are less affected by others’ emotional dis-ease. And, I can tell you, I am much quicker to recognize now (because I keep applying grief recovery to my life) when I am a projector of the negative. I have learned that that’s when it’s time to step out of my head and into my heart, and know where there’s emotional work to do. As a result, this makes me a happier person – in my skin and to be around.
Life is for learning. When you feel like you’ve messed up – apologize. When you feel like you’re at your breaking point – step away, take a break, and hit the reset button. Ask yourself what you can do in the situation rather than focusing on what is out of your hands (I’ve been doing my darndest to put this one into practice as of late).
We are in community with each other whether we like it or not. So, rather than fret over others whom you can’t change, fret over a situation that’s frustrating the, you know what, out of you, and being frustrated with yourself – hit reset. Sometimes, we need to be alone – not in community with others, to do just that. When we’re in each other’s spaces, we’re also in each other’s energy. You’re doing the best you can steeping in everyone’s energy. But the most important person’s energy you need to pay attention to – is your own.
I know it’s not easy these days to manage our own energy either. I had been struggling with this, too. And, you know – I gave myself Reiki. True story. I gave myself Reiki before bed a few nights recently, and despite having fewer hours of sleep, I had better quality sleep. Another thing that feels like a reset at the end of the day? A shower. Yup. Sounds silly, as the majority of the people I know typically shower in the morning. However, I prefer to shower at night. You literally wash away the stress of the day down the drain and crawl into bed, feeling refreshed (and reset).
So today, I want you to pat yourself on the back that yes, you are doing the best you can. And, I hope this helps you to reflect on your energy and the energy of those around you. How is the energy of others affecting you? How is your energy affecting those around you, too? When I feel good, I influence those around me to feel better, also.
Even if it may seem annoying to others who project their pain on others (because they’re not tapped into their energy and their impact it has) – work on a reset for YOU. This reset is the best thing you can do this Friday and throughout the weekend, before the start of a new week.
Set the intention today for a fantastic weekend, regardless of the chaos that may be ensuing around you. Turn off the phone if you need to. Get a hotel room or an Airbnb by yourself for a night, if you need to. Take a drive on the backroads, or in the country, and photograph what you find along the way. Take a lawn chair and sit by the lake (or the ocean) and steep in the stillness.
Reset for your energy (and your mindset), so you can continue to do the best you can! And, if you need help with an emotional reset for life, reach out to me. I know the program that’s perfect for doing just that. 😉
P.S. Are you looking for support for a grieving child in your care? I am looking for four participants to walk through the NEW online group program, Helping Children with Loss. We meet on Zoom only four times – once a week, for no more than 2 1/2 hours each time. And know that there’s lots of material to cover. You won’t be a silent listener (bored out of your mind) as I lecture each week for four weeks. It’s participatory and engaging content, where you interact with others in the group, and learn some new skills and tools to utilize for the rest of your life. This program is prevention, so whether you’re a parent, daycare provider, social worker, school faculty, a child therapist looking for more knowledge around grief specifically, or work in the foster care/adoption system – this program is for you – the adult. The first group will be offered at a discounted rate, which will allow me to make sure all of my systems and processes are correctly in place and that there aren’t any hiccups—interested in learning more? Please email me at [email protected] or message via the Contact tab.
I look forward to sharing this amazing program with you – for the better of the child(ren) in your life!
The body always talks. Our bodies are our alarm system to something not being right. And, when experiencing grief, our bodies definitely talk to us. When we are feeling anxious or worried, our minds often swirl the same thought patterns over and over. In response, our bodies reply to those thought patterns. For every person, the symptoms will present differently, however, may be similar as well.
Common Physical Grief Symptoms
Since I started grief recovery work, there have been similarities in symptoms that clients have shared with me that were like my own. For example, when I had my “mid-life unraveling,” I was experiencing overall body aches, hair loss, weight loss, stomach/gut issues (often with bloat), fatigue, etc.. After going down numerous rabbit holes with my doctor, what came of all of that was that my body was “Epstein-Barr Reactive.” Meaning, the mono virus was reactivated in my body, however, blood work was showing that I did not have mono. Also, around those years, I ended up having three colon polyps removed.
Grief manifests in our bodies; no doubt about it. And, because most of us will not identify ourselves as grievers, we suffer from what we believe are “medical mysteries” with no explanation, and, begin to feel a little crazy in the process. Also, “traditional” doctors are not going to ask you about your emotional state, are they? They’re not going to ask you about your “loss history,” are they? So, the mind-body connection is rarely (if ever) made in a traditional doctor’s office, even though boat-loads of medical research point to how our minds and bodies are connected in amazing, brilliant ways.
The disconnect comes where our ego is. The disconnect comes from our inability to get out of our minds and into our hearts. And, there’s this assistance of resistance to that which is painful and traumatic. We simply don’t want to “re-live” or “re-hash” what we’ve experienced. I often hear this from those who are not ready to dig deep and work through the muck. And hey, that was me, too, for a very (very) long time. But, if you would be honest with yourself (as I wish I would have been years earlier), you would see that not “re-hashing” and sitting in the muck, is only keeping you stuck in various areas of your life, negatively impacting your health and relationships, and probably taking years off of your life.
That which we don’t acknowledge (or refuse to) festers like a sore that won’t heal. And, over time, we tend to pick at the scab. However, when we’ve picked just a bit too much and it starts to sting a bit; we retreat, pull back, and leave it well enough alone. Because picking away any more is just plain painful.
A Car Analogy
Over the past five years, I have learned a lot about how my body responds to stressors. I’ve learned what I need to feel recharged, not depleted, and balanced. It’s still something I am working towards because, kids, life, work, side -hustle all require mental, emotional, and physical energy. If we think of our bodies as a fuel tank, we start to think more about our bodies as the cars we drive. We take our cars in for oil changes, tune-up’s, balance the tires, keep the fluids filled, etc.. However, this same common sense care and maintenance goes out the window when we think about ourselves and self-care. We take better care of our autos than we do our one body that we don’t get a re-do with; we can’t trade our one body in for another newer, better-equipped model. Nope, one shot – one life.
So, just as we take great care in ensuring our automobile lasts for the long-haul, so too, we need to consider how we’re taking care of ourselves for the long-haul. What is your heart needing? What is your mind fighting your heart against today?
I recently heard a pretty probing question posed by the author Hal Elrod who wrote the book Miracle Morning on a podcast episode. He said: “Is my life a reflection of who I want to be or a reaction to those who I don’t want to upset?” I bring this question up because often it is our relationships with the living that often cause us the most grief. And, this grief manifests in our bodies. What we hold in, emotionally, will always come out in one of two ways; we either implode (health issues) or we explode (emotional outbursts/anger/relationship problems/etc.). If you answer that question and, you’re walking through life on eggshells; reacting to life and attempting to not upset anyone, what do you think that this doing to your heart? What do you think that is doing to you emotionally? It likely feels like an emotional rollercoaster, filled with highs, lows, and a lot of stressors in-between. And, we all know what stress does to us – mentally, emotionally, and physically, right?
Heart vs Mind
My body responds to stress with increased heart rate, negatively impacted sleep (even if I don’t realize it), dry mouth, burning sensation between my shoulder blades (where my tension goes), anxiousness, lack of concentration, an inability to focus, and gut symptoms. I know this now about myself. I didn’t understand this over five years ago. And, that is why I believe I was led to grief recovery and energy healing. My body knew exactly what I needed. My mind (ego), however, was the one holding me back, pulling the strings, and keeping me stuck.
Where are you feeling your emotions in your body? I encourage you to consider that grief may be the cause of your physical symptoms. Whether it be high blood pressure, an ulcer, body aches, fatigue, etc., consider that it may be grief. Reflect on the losses you’ve endured in your life that involve both the death of a loved one and the losses that don’t.
Have you lost trust in someone you deeply cared about?
Have you felt betrayed in your life?
Have you experienced financial ruin?
Lost your home in uncontrollable circumstances?
Suffered estrangement as a child (from a parent) or as an adult (in relationships)?
Has your life been a downward spiral of loss of health?
Are you a caregiver to someone who is terminally ill, cognitively declining, or is cognitively delayed?
Have you survived a physical attack or accident?
Have you had many accidents throughout your life, which often occur as a result of the cognitive consequences of grief (an inability to concentrate/focus)?
All of these situations (and many more) create grief in our lives that also manifest in our bodies. The body knows. And, our one body is always talking to us. I have become so attuned to this connection that I can often look at someone and, I know something is up. Both our body language, and our physical appearance tell a story without us having to say a word. We often wear our life stories like the clothes on our backs without us even realizing it. Kids are no different. The energy that surrounds us, and we take with us out into the world, tells the story.
Heal the story, and you begin to heal the body.
P.S. Do you have a child with a story that needs healing but you’re not sure how to help them? I am looking for 8 participants for an upcoming 4-week, online group program, Helping Children with Loss. We will meet on Zoom for one session per week for 4 weeks for approximately 2 1/2 hours, in the evening (day/time TBD and flexible). This is not a program for you, rather it is a program for you to learn tools and communication skills in how to help the child/children in your care work through and process loss. And, considering Covid-19 has touched every single one of us, there is no denying children need this, even if you think they’re doing just fine. Prior to Covid-19, has a loved one or a pet died? Maybe during Covid-19, a loved one died and they didn’t get to say goodbye? There is plenty of grief to go around these days and this program is prevention. I encourage you to consider it and get in touch with me via email to [email protected] The first group will be offered at a discount!
Looking out the kitchen window, I could see the church from where I sat. I often pondered my faith through the years, as they passed, and the calendar flipped month to month.
When, in God’s name, will I stop feeling this way?
Today, I reflected on the many times I sat at my kitchen table working on myself. You may be wondering: “What does ‘working on one’s self’ look like?” Well, at the time, it had become somewhat an obsession. It was a weird hobby to find what made me tick, what made me behave and think the way I did at that time. And, what I learned about myself was pure gold awareness. However, the revolving thought I had then was how lucky I felt that I was able to sit at my kitchen table and dig deep into my inner-world.
The Only Way Out is Through
I received this beautiful reminder today of how incredibly fortunate I was to be able to dig deep back then. Financially, I was okay. I could sit at my kitchen table and create that time and mental space. Granted, I had been working late into the night and was up early with kids. And truth be told, we were not financially rolling in it either. But, I somehow knew that the only way out of the rut I was feeling I was drowning in – was to quit squirming (and resisting) my way deeper and instead, create the time, intention, and focus on working on myself. For me but also for those I love.
When we are feeling strangled financially, it’s hard to focus on anything else. There is always this undercurrent of desperation. I do speak from my varying degrees of financial hardship (which will differ for everyone), but I do remember that feeling. I remember it well – both as a child and well into adulthood. And, it’s those early financial and money experiences that shape and form our beliefs about money into adulthood, too.
Do you hate to talk about money today? Look at what your relationship to money was as a child. What was the conversation around money growing up? What were the phrases and things you heard? There’s a clue there. And because it’s super-easy to tie everything into grief ( it’s the root of a whole lot of issue we have), do you think that the money talk growing up caused grief experiences for your parent(s)? And, don’t you think that rippled into your life experience, too?
I digress. The point is, is that there will always be a reason we don’t create the time and space to work on ourselves. Always. What I believe it comes down to, though, is courage. It takes courage to create change in our lives. And, personal development and growth is a long game. It does not happen overnight and it does take personal commitment and work.
One question I’d like to leave you with today is this: “What is one thing you want to do, but you have not found the courage to take action toward in your life? Two minutes. That’s all it takes is two minutes of courage to get the ball rolling. Send the email, make the call, order the book/program/course, ASK the darn thing that’s been sitting on your heart for God knows how long…
Two minutes of courage. Do the damn thing, friend. You’ve got this. It’s all learning, anyway. And, it’s impossible to fail if you reframe it as learning.
P.S. If you need a nudge, here’s yours: I have two spots available for the One-on-One Online Grief Recovery Program Online in June. And, I offer something special for working with me – both in the form of a gift and a bonus. Have I piqued your interest? If you’ve been standing at the edge of the pool of life, afraid to dive into the deep end (i.e., your heart), I’ve got you – the whole way through. You need not be afraid. There is so much goodness on the other side; I promise you that. I encourage you to find the courage to give yourself a gift that will keep on giving. Email me at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com or send a message via the Contact tab.
Several years ago, I was taking a course by Tony Robbins. If you’re unsure who he is, he’s what I would call a “guru of change.” His programs, books, and his entire vibe is high impact and elevating. Sometimes, just listening to someone in our ear or reading their written words can help us out of a funk. Back then, I was hanging on his every word. I still greatly admire him. However, I rely most heavily on my intuition these days. We can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on coaches, programs, books, or courses, but none of them can create lasting change without YOU. You are the common denominator in every one of those means of change, but these things are simply dust collectors, paperweights, and gigabytes taking up space – if you do nothing with them. And, this is where The Grief Recovery Method is different. A GRM program is not something you’ll purchase and then will sit on for three months before you even look at it. It won’t sit on the shelf and collect dust until you “get around to it.” And, it’s not a course that will take up digital space on your computer and become lost amidst the other 25 programs you’ve purchased over the years (oh wait, is that just me?). Nope. The Grief Recovery Method doesn’t let you off the hook, to your own devices, and isn’t knowledge that will never be tapped into, learned, or utilized. On the contrary, your ROI (return of investment) is ten-fold. Not only do you reap the benefits of the deep, inner-work, but your relationships do, too – as does your community and future. Once you walk through the steps, learning new tools along the way, you will be gaining the knowledge you will have forever that will also positively impact every griever you come in contact with in the future. You will also be able to help yourself continually. The bible says that if you give a man a fish, he will eat today, but teach a man to fish and he will eat forever. This method is teaching you how to fish (i.e., take care of yourself and every griever you know). I don’t know of any other course, program, book, guru, coach, or anything else I’ve ever encountered in all of my life that has made me feel as empowered as this program. And, it is evidence proven because it encompasses laser-focused areas for creating lasting change.
The Five Key Elements of Positive (Lasting) Change
There are five key elements of positive change that, I believe, few programs equally and fully address. I may be partial, but the grief recovery program is one of them. What are the five elements of positive change as they relate to The Grief Recovery Method? Let’s dig in! Knowledge – By learning new tools and receiving an education about grief like you’ve never received before, you’ll walk away from the program more equipped to support other grievers. Albeit your neighbor, best friend, child, or the grocery clerk – this is where the program creates ripples. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say the cashier at the grocery store is the same cashier you’ve seen for the past ten years. All of a sudden, she’s not there. The following week, she returns to work and shares she had had a miscarriage and took a few days off of work. Saddened by this news, but ill-equipped with what to say, you innocently reply: “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Well, at least you can try again.” A well-meaning comment quickly felt like a stab in that cashier’s heart. And, you’re not the first to say that either. So, imagine what all these daggers do to her heart over time? Do you think she’s going to share her grief openly ever again readily? That’s not a trick question – that’s a “no.” Awareness – We develop awareness by evaluating old patterns of behavior, what we need, and recognizing where we need (and lack) boundaries. Through the program, these areas come into our awareness. I was quite surprised by how the need for boundaries became so apparent for me. I also recognized where my patterns of behavior were unhealthy and creating a cyclical pattern. Without awareness, we don’t know what needs to change. We don’t give much thought to how our thoughts impact our behaviors. It isn’t until we take a step back and a birds-eye view of our lives, where we can see more clearly. Beliefs – Children will learn 75% of the basic tools and concepts that they will use throughout their lives by the age of three. Even before they have developed any advanced communication skills, they have learned these things from watching what those around them do and listening to how they deal with day-to-day issues. Children gain an additional 20% of these skills, which will define how they deal with daily problems in the next 10 to 12 years. As a result, 95% of their decision-making powers are established by the age of 15. This means that by the age of 3, we’ve received most of the messages we will use to process grief and life in general. These early messages are either re-inforced as we get older or, are intercepted by a caretaker who receives educational tools to change the trajectory of learned behavior. This demonstrates why beliefs and ideas passed down, what I like to call generational learning, will either create havoc in our lives or empower us. However, considering we’re talking about generational learning, parents are only drawing from what they know and what they were taught, just as their parents did, and their parents’ parents. To choose to become educated in the area of grief and working through our belief systems, we empower future generations to do the same. Behavior– We resort to what’s comfortable when we feel uneasy. We fall back to behaviors that help us feel better, at the moment, when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or fearful. And, we repeat these same behaviors because it’s a compulsion to resist pain and move toward pleasure. However, we all know that too much of a “good” thing is never a good thing, right? Even exercise can be hazardous to your health when done in excess. If you’re pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, spending hours upon hours in the gym, while your family is at a family birthday party, perhaps there’s an issue with “just trying to get healthy?” How healthy is it really if other areas of life are sacrificed, cast aside, or disregarded? In grief recovery, we call these STERBs (short-term energy relieving behavior). And, they’re called this because they’re exactly that, short-term – you feel good for a time, but later feel shame, guilt, exhausted, anxious, or depressed. Many behaviors may fall under the addiction category because the feeling of temporarily feeling better itself becomes the addiction. Whether it be a common addiction such as gambling, pornography, drugs, alcohol, sex, work, etc., or something seemingly innocent like shopping, exercise, or gossip – the effect during and after are similar. We feel better while we’re buying that 15th pair of shoes we don’t need (and may rarely wear) but feel guilty or shameful for spending the money. It’s a strong desire to feel better, where reason does not even win because the heart’s pain is speaking so loudly; you just want it to shut up already. We do what we do because there is a pay-off. Ask yourself if the behaviors you engage in are a way to distract yourself from what’s really going on in your heart. If the answer is yes, you are “STERB’ing.”
Grief Has Been The Pandemic
The world is talking about Covid-19, and grief is also a topic of discussion as a result. However, we’ve been in a pandemic far longer than Covid-19. Grief has been our pandemic. And, if you disagree, just look at the ripple effects of Covid-19 and the grief it is stirring up in people’s lives. People had STERB’s, presumably reliable belief systems, and didn’t futz with awareness because they had preoccupations shifting attention elsewhere. Covid-19 has brought grief to the forefront of society. But, I would argue, it’s always been there. Always. Because, every single day, there are new grievers around the globe and that has not changed because of a virus. All the grief of the world has been amplified because of this. This is a blaring, sound-the-alarm, wake-up call. I cannot even begin to imagine the ripple-effects of all of this global, unresolved (and unaddressed) grief that will result once the dust settles. And now, doctors are begging their states to get back to business and open up because they see, first-hand, the after-effects of grief in their communities. The rates of suicide, alcohol/drug abuse, people fearing seeking treatment for known conditions or health concerns, and even cancer screenings are down 90% due to fear of going to doctor’s offices. But, there is hope in all of this. GRM (grief recovery method) is HOPE. It was my hope when I needed it most. By utilizing and addressing these significant components of lasting change, I say, without reservation and with conviction: GRM changed my life. I know I sound like a broken record. However, I can’t and won’t apologize. If you’re reading my words for the first time, this blog post could change the trajectory of the rest of your life – if you choose to let my words sink in today. If you are open to hearing them. And, if (and only if) you are open to feeling better – once and for all. Not to mention, creating ripples in every other area of your life.
Emotionally well people create healthier homes, communities, states, countries, and world. And, that, my friend, no one can argue.
And to think that, when I sat down to write this week’s blog post, I wasn’t feeling inspired. Nearly 1850 words later, my heart’s plea passed through my fingertips. It is your time. Now is your time to take even just 1% responsibility for your life and how you will choose to respond to the chaos in your heart you may be feeling. Hope is here, as a gift for you on Christmas morning. How did you feel this past Christmas morning (if you celebrate)? How do you WANT to feel Christmas morning 2020? I’m here for you as a guide through the hardest shit you’ve ever faced in your life. We all face hard shit. And, in GRM, there are zero comparisons. There is only love, compassion, empathy, and results in a set amount of time, and far cheaper than years of therapy. *Not discrediting therapy/therapists – we all serve our place and purpose in the world.* I’m an email away, friend. P.S. Know someone who needs to hear this message? Did reading this have you thinking of someone that you know? Listen to that nudge in your heart, and pass this along to them. Did this speak to you personally? Listen to the whispers of your heart – it will never steer you wrong.