I want to share a passage today that I recently read that resonated with me so very much. As of late, I’ve been thinking about this very thing; looking back at my life as I recently shared my loss history graph during a One-on-One grief recovery session.
In case you don’t know, when you go through the program I facilitate, I always, always go first – meaning, I share my losses, grief, and heartache – first. It’s been twice now, sharing my loss history graph, and each time, I have been made aware of what I need to work on healing currently. Such was the case this very week. The process of healing is ongoing. The more you utilize this program, the more whole your heart becomes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it (and again and again): this program is the gift you give yourself that keeps on giving.
Read this message, I share with you today and know I believe this to be true with every fiber of my being.
Every challenge, every gief, every heartache brings a deep hunger and a well of tears. The emptiness inside us reminds us that our ultimate hunger, and our ultimate source of nourishment, is God alone.
If you are in a time of struggle or pain, know that this is not random; it isn’t heartless or without purpose. No matter what it is, no matter how big the chasm of your broken heart, God is with you. He has a plan for you. He will redeem and repurpose every bit of your ache for something greater than you could ever imagine. If that sounds unfathomable or impossible right now, all the better. Because when you get to the other side of this, you will be amazed at what He was doing for you behind the scenes.
Watch, wait, and wonder. – Kristen Armstrong
There was a time when I had lost all hope. I had rejected God and faith altogether for many years. In fact, I blamed God (and others, but God was a biggie). How angry and sad I was. It wasn’t depression. It was grief; a profound weight I had been carrying for many, many years that continually got heavier and heavier with every subsequent emotional loss I experienced. I had experienced a loss of self-worth, loss of trust, loss of faiths…loss of hope. Until one day, I decided to say a prayer. I had no idea the work He would do behind the scenes. And even still, looking back on my life this week during the One-on-One session, I know everything changed when I decided I was ready. My life turned around when I started to sweep my side of the street and allowed God in to do His work within me. And, it’s been a relationship-in-progress ever since. Do I falter? Yes, I’m only human. Do I feel conflicted at times? Of course.
However, this week I was reminded there have been greater powers at work in my life. I would be an alcoholic, likely a single mother, and I can confidently say, I wouldn’t be doing this meaningful work either or have the family I have – had I not deeply desired and asked for more. I never imagined I’d have a blog about grief for a business that helps others navigate their emotional pain. No – I am where I am because I became open to receiving and had the willingness to do my part.
Watch, wait, and wonder.I wouldn’t have believed you if you had had a crystal ball and told me in 2002 where I would be and what I would be doing on September 13th, 2019. It would have been unfathomable and felt impossible to me then.
We don’t know what we don’t know. And life has a funny way of proving it to us time and time again. So, wake up to your potential in this one lifeyou’ve been given – it’s waiting for you to do your part. Begin a quest, for your heart, to discover who you are, why you do what you do, what got you to where you are and demand more for yourself so you can give and receive – fully and wholeheartedly.
What feels unfathomable and impossible today – give it to God and then decide you’re going to do your part; making the commitment to show up for yourself every single day. He’s been patiently waiting for you to be ready.
And when the time is right, and healing is calling your name, I am here for you, too.
P.S. Liked this post? Share it with a hurting heart that could use this message today. And, did you know I share more personal stuff in my newsletter? I do! My favorite peeps get the inside deets. 😉 Sign up below or here and each Wednesday, starting next week, you’ll receive The Unleashed Letters – written with love from me to you.
P.P.S. Have a question about grief, in general? Email me at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com, and I’ll answer it here on the blog next week. I will not use personal identifying information – that’s a promise.
A while back on Facebook (and Instagram), I shared the difference between grief and loss. Grief is the undelivered communications that keep you stuck and unable to feel joy when you think about the relationship. Loss is about the feelings of missing the relationship and feeling sad they’re gone.
Just as there are differences between grief and loss, there are differences between healing and recovery, too.
Healing versus Recovery
We can experience healing and feel better for a time; however, recovery has long-term effects that healing may not.
Recovery (grief recovery, in particular) encompasses all parts of ourselves; mental, physical, emotional, and may also include spiritual well-being, too. When we feel like we’re healing, we can feel better in these areas as well. However, you may have to utilize several modes of healing that target specific aspects (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual). Often, the feel-good feelings are experienced only as long as you are participating in those healing practices. Some modes of healing (like meditation) may have a longer-lasting positive influence. But again, they don’t have long-term effects unless you’re continually doing these types of activities in your daily life. For example, a massage feels fantastic for the hour you’re receiving it. It helps heal the muscle tissue and can have you feeling better for a few days afterward. However, once the feel-good feelings wear off, and you go back to your daily life, you’ll be ready for another massage.
Alternative Methods for Healing
Over the years, I’ve incorporated many different modes of healing into my life. For example, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), an alternative treatment for physical or emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure. People who use this technique believe tapping the body can create a balance in your energy system and treat pain. For me, it had helped to release emotional energy, especially at the beginning of 2014, when I first began to look for ways to help myself feel better.
In 2014, I also began using essential oils (for aromatherapy and overall health versus chemicals). Since then, I’ve created many different blends for all sorts of things. One mix I use religiously (especially when traveling) is a blend for those times I am having gut issues. I keep it in my purse at all times, actually, and yes – it does help me when I am experiencing bloating/gut ache. I recommend checking out this article that shares both sides of essential oils. Use at your discretion and take what you read with a grain of salt. Aside from personal use, I also use Young Living products for my home, like the Thieves cleaner, for example. Also, because I don’t burn candles for an aroma, and, although I do use wax melts, I like the flexibility of scents I have with essential oils, too. It’s all personal preference, but after five years, I still use them nearly daily.
Over the last few years, I’ve also incorporated meditation into my life. I’ve tried several different apps, including Headspace and Calm; however, my latest favorite is the Insight Timer. I also enjoy reading non-fiction in the arena of personal development and spiritual writings, too. On the topic of exercise, we know it’s good for us in all areas of life. It’s also been one of the areas I’ve often struggled to stay consistent with because I tend to get easily bored. I jump from one at-home program to the next, because, as I’m getting older, it’s become more challenging to find something I enjoy doing daily. I do like yoga, and at one point I could do a tripod headstand. However, I feel like it requires so much time. Or, maybe I see yogi’s doing yoga for an hour or more on the regular and feel overwhelmed by that level of commitment. Probably more of the latter.
When it comes to healing and looking for ways to improve our quality of life, ultimately, we must do what feels good, right? All of the things I’ve previously mentioned have been great at helping me to feel better (for a time), but they didn’t help me to recover.
8 Week Emotional Boot Camp
Grief recovery is a journey you take your heart on just as healing is a marathon and not a sprint. I think of grief recovery as a sprint; there isn’t anything else out there that can take you from feeling chained to the past and emotionally bogged down to emotional freedom. And, in eight weeks, as the Grief Recovery Method can. It may not feel good in the process, but anything good for us isn’t always a walk in the park. Remember my mention of exercise? Consider the Grief Recovery Method your 8-week emotional boot camp. I’ve gone through army boot camp and truth be told – my life was changed by both experiences. However, it’s during The Grief Recovery Method, where I grew in ways I only wish I had known about sooner.
Are you ready for your 8-week emotional boot camp experience? Although you will be pushed and challenged in ways you can’t yet understand, I’m a lot kinder than a drill sergeant. At the end of the eight weeks, you’ll see the fruits of your labor – minus the 6-pack, of course.
Join me in my next boot camp…errr…Grief Recovery group. I’d love to have you! I’m looking for at least four brave souls who are ready to unleash themselves of their past hurt. Do you want to move forward in life feeling empowered with new tools for recovery (and healing) that no one can ever take from you? Once you learn this method, you will forever have it at your disposal.
What is your LIFE worth to YOU? What are YOU worth? Are you ready to UNLEASH your heart from your past?
We can begin early August in Wishek if you’re ready. I also want to start a group in the Bismarck/Mandan area if you or someone you know is ready to begin a new relationship to grief. Message me on Facebook or Instagram or email me at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com to get started!
Dr. Phil once said, “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” I believe we’d all agree with that statement.
So, if we’d all agree with that statement, why do we deny when it’s our own shit that’s keeping us stuck or getting in the way of our lives? Why do we treat grief like it’s an elephant in the room that’s obviously present but no one wants to talk about?
We’re Not Taught the How
Lately, I’ve contemplated the narrative that all you need is prayer; that prayer alone will get you through whatever pains you. So, I’m taking this opportunity to present another perspective through the lens of someone (myself) where prayer alone wasn’t enough. Faith is one thing. That’s not what I’m talking about. Because, without faith, I simply don’t think we’d take certain actions in our lives. What I’m talking about is the action of prayer alone getting us through – being the how – we get through difficult times.
Let me ask you this: How is prayer alone working for you? Be completely honest with yourself; remember what Dr. Phil said.
Prayer alone wasn’t enough for me. I believed I had plenty of faith to go around. I believed that if I would journal on God’s word enough, read enough scripture, listened to the Bible app faithfully in the background of my life, that I would have some sort of epiphany and be healed of my sorrows. So much so, I got a “Let Go Let God” tattoo on the inside of my right wrist. All you need to do is give it to God and he’ll do the rest, right? Wrong.
Maybe you relate to this. Maybe you’re struggling right now in your faith [in God] because you feel abandoned (as I did for many years). Perhaps you feel like you’re not Christian enough, therefore, there is no hope for you.
It’s OK to Not Be OK
I want to share this message with specifically you today and anyone who has convinced themselves their OK because they have faith and prayer. To drive this message home, I am going to use an example I pray never happens but one that I know many will relate to and one I’ve personally experienced watching my father fade away due to cancer (passing away only four years older than I am now).
I proposed this example to my husband because I wanted to know his feelings on the matter, but in the back of my mind, I also wanted to drive this point home to him and that I want to share with you today.
Hypothetically, I am diagnosed with cancer. It’s terminal and there is nothing more that can be done. I asked my husband if he felt he would be drawn closer to God [in prayer] or if there would be a part of him that would want to retreat and pull away (which is a natural response, by the way). He said he would pray harder; he would pray more than he’d ever prayed. And I replied with: And I died anyway. “Don’t you think,’ I said, ‘you would have a difficult time reconciling that in your heart?” This is what we experience and struggle with because we are human. There is nothing wrong with us. However, given that we’re all going to die someday and we have no way of knowing how; I want to share that, for most of us, prayer is and never will be – enough. And, I believe people often use their faith or prayer as a way of convincing themselves they’re doing just fine. I know I’m not the only one who has done this. Perhaps you’re identifying with doing this right now in your life?
For God to do His work in our hearts, we first need to sweep our side of the street; we need to do the inner-work. Then, and only then, are we able to give our hearts fully to Him and to others in our lives; loving with our whole hearts – not just the broken bits we’re desperately trying to super-glue back together and hope it holds. But life rolls on, right? Crap rolls downhill and snowballs and adds up in our hearts.
Resolving the Unresolved
By holding on to the familiarity of pain, we’re not fully living in joy either. God is joy. God is love. Until we resolve the unresolved, we’re not able to fully step into who we are, what we feel, and what we wish to contribute in this life. We’re all walking around a little shattered inside.
So, when I am snubbed by the faithful when I say that the Grief Recovery Method (GRM) isn’t faith-based, I’m partially telling a lie. It’s true that there are no scripture readings in the program. It’s true there isn’t open prayer during the program meetings. It’s also true that God is not shoved down your throat in the program, too. However, the message I really want to get across when I share about GRM, is that it’s you doing the inner-work, so He can do His. It is transformational, not in the way of conversion, but in the way of self-love, self-acceptance, emotional resilience…all the things God wishes for us. So, I guess in that way it is faith-based. Faith in knowing we are fully supported. Faith in knowing that God places people in our lives at just the right time. Faith that there is hope…even on the darkest of days.
That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up. You just have to be willing to take the ascent.
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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.