There are some things in life we can change. There are some things in life we cannot change. If we can change it, we then seek solutions, but if we cannot change it and it was significant to us, then we need to grieve our loss. It is amazing how easy it is to get stuck on the journey of grief.  The two favorite parking places are depression and anger. There are those that choose to stay depressed as a way of life and those that carry a chip on their shoulder as a way of life.

 It is important to know that grief is a journey…an emotional one measured by the content and quality of the loss. Grief is not a mental experience nor defined by an objective standard.  We are in grief when we organize our life around our loss…that which is gone and absent.  And grief will continue until we organize and readjust our life to that which is present and around us.  Yet having a mental road map keeps us moving, normalizes our experience and validates our feelings along the way. The road map is not a fixed one and we can move forward and backward on the myriad of feelings. There are many books written on the steps of grieving and not all steps are identified with the same name or the number of steps. Elizabeth Kubler Ross  (On Death and Dying) and Granger Westberg,(Good Grief) both deceased offered many insights in their books from the work with those who grieve. Those of us who have lived grief can offer and expand on these insights. The steps are from Granger Westberg’s version, the explanation for each step morphs with my understanding and experience. 

Loss and grief are a universal experience; it crosses gender, age, socio-economics, and ethnicity, as well as cultural, religious and geographic divides. It unites us on the common ground of “meaning lost”. It seems no one escapes grief if we dare to care and love.

Loss happens and only we know how significant it is as we are the only ones that ascribe meaning to our loss.  So when loss happens in our life, the drama begins …yet without our acknowledging the drama. 

Shock and Denial quickly show up and we do not acknowledge the loss.  The reason of course is because the reality is often too much to bear all at once.  We cannot handle the dose of the reality.  It is like trying to stare at the sun all day without sunglasses. We cannot do this…so we are given the gift of shock and denial as a respite from the harshness.  But it is only temporary… we will move out of this place otherwise it is maladaptive to the process to remain in denial indefinitely. Shock and denial can last from a few minutes, hours, days and maybe weeks but then our facades break down and we release the emotions.

Sadness, Depression, Loneliness often follows the breakdown of our shock and denial.  A welter of emotions find their release in tears, but it can be overwhelming. If we do not move and release the emotion we can get stuck and get sick.  As long as we get triggered emotionally, it means our grief is not over, our work is not over. Notice the larger part of the word emotion is MOTION…keep the feelings moving through us. With these dampened feelings, we tend to isolate ourselves, lose interest in life and activities.  Life is hard to go on with, as there are so many adjustments, too many demands on us, yet, life goes on without us and we do not care. We feel no one cares, not even God.  We can experience despair.

Physical Symptoms of Distress can follow if we do not want to deal with the changes in our life, and we put up a front of being okay… our body soon will call us liars. We will experience symptoms of sleeplessness, or too much sleep, backaches, restlessness, eating too much or not enough, headaches; we can get sick. There is a strong relationship between illness and grief not dealt with in healthy ways. We are invited to re-examine how we look at life, explore our faith or lack of it.  Lost meaning invites us to create meaning again in our life. Beliefs are challenged.

Panic Strikes when we realize our life will never be the same again. We can think of nothing but the loss. We are hindered and less effective in everything we do. We cannot concentrate or focus and are paralyzed with fear.  The way we knew life is forever gone…forever hard to grasp.  We want to run away from life and living. We often slide back into the comfort of depression as we are familiar with it by now and social demands are eased. But how do we get out of this pit of panic…the scariest part of the grief… the realization things will never be the same again!!!!!!!!!! AGHHHH!!!! But just then the blessing of the energy of anger shows up!

to be continued…

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

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Grief. . .it is a part of life. It comes in small, medium and large. We live our definition of a complete and whole life and then when we least expect it, a piece falls off . . . a door opens and our emotional journey through grief engulfs us.  Words fall short of describing what we feel; it is difficult to wrap our heads around this reality. Everything becomes dark in our hearts. We live in a time warp. We organize our life around what is gone, absent. We go through the roller coaster of feelings in a “not so predictable way”, but it takes us on its ride whether we are ready or not.

We experience shock and denial until our body calls us liars with somatic symptoms of sleeplessness, headaches, stomachaches, and any other ache.  We feel the sadness until the sadness and all its shades of blue sink us into the sea and abyss of loss. We are de-pressed (we repress, feel pressed yet need to express) and we are weighed down.  We slide into the pit of panic when we realize nothing will be the same again…and choose to stay depressed. We get angry, feel guilt, question, and nothing makes it the same again, we resist, until we are worn out and find the only way back to life. . . we surrender, we accept that which we cannot change.  We embrace life again; the sun shines in our heart again.  We organize our life around that which is living and present.  Our journey is complete. We can love again.

 Introduction to “Candles in the Dark…Poems to grieve, hope and love again.”

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.”

www.mariahildapinon.com

Our capacity to experience pain is directly related to our ability to love. This is not a masochistic statement, but rather a sort of paradox of living life. How can it be that pain and love go hand in hand?

For starters we all have a certain amount of energy to do life with each day. If we are using some of it in the emotional bank to hold old pain that had not been dealt with effectively, our fuel is less than a tank full. It seems that pain ties up our energy and when we do not work through it we let the pain hold us captive along with the energy it takes to hold onto the pain.

When we do not allow ourselves to live through our own pain we will also not let anyone else do so and thus each time someone is in pain we either dismiss their pain or minimize it or outright tell them they should not feel what they feel.  Why?  Because we do not want to be reminded of our own pain that WE cannot deal with.

As we are able to truly heal our pain, we will find that we will be able to hold someone’s pain and really accompany them on their journey of healing. Whoever holds our pain when we experience it and allows us to be in the pain as we need, is someone who is not afraid of this experience. They have lived through it and know it will not destroy us, but rather transform us at the end of the journey.

Who can you share your pain with? Who do you allow to share their pain with you? If you have to release and heal any pain, be encouraged to do it for you will find that when it is released and healed, it will free up the energy you did not realize was wrapped around it…and guess what?  Suddenly you will have more energy freed up to love even more.  You will have greater capacity for love! Now is it not better to have more of the beautiful energy of love than of pain? 

Some of us may believe that if we let go of the pain, we stop caring about this loss that created our pain, but the fact is that because we care, we should be eager to work through the pain of loss as it will allow us to free up the energy for love.  The energy of love lifts us and others; the energy of love transforms us and the world around us.  Be courageous and heal your pain.  You will be glad you did. 

Our greater purpose in life is to love to the greatest and deepest capacity, not to be diminished by pain to the point that we can no longer take the risk of loving again.  Inadvertently holding onto this way of living, weighed down by pain, and believing it is purposeful robs us of the gift of living and loving fully.   

Heal thyself, so you can help others heal…and the world will be transformed as it is lifted from the pain that can keep us all small in our love for others and for ourselves.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Let your pain refine you rather than define you.  How many times do we stay stuck on pain to the point that it becomes the shield or badge we hide behind or organize our life around indefinitely oftentimes permanently?  It becomes the excuse for just about everything and we do not realize our potential or dreams. This may not be intentional and at a conscious level or it may be, but all the same it leads to the same place: energy tied up to pain rather than powering our dreams and developing our potential. 

Pain is a natural result of being human and daring to care and invest our time and energy in the human laboratory of life.  I am neither minimizing nor discounting pain as it is an occupational hazard of life. However, pain can be worked through and healed.  The circumstances that created the pain and the story of how our pain came to be does not have to create our future. It can be a part of the past, a healed past that becomes a springboard to the future without any strings of the past influencing our tomorrows. We can learn from the past so our future is navigated with greater clarity. Turning back to our history brings us smiles rather than tears.  We can draw strength from the past rather than allowing it to diminish us and keep a hold on our energy needed for the today we live and the tomorrow we can still create.

Time heals wounds goes the adage, but we have to do our part. We need to call the pain by name, experience the feelings it generates to the fullest.  We neither run from them to avoid the pain by burying then behind anxious busyness or anesthetize them with drugs or alcohol or hold onto them for life like a “scarlet letter”.  We allow them to be in us. We accompany the feelings and allow them to teach us about what they want us to know about ourselves. And we let them pass through us and dissipate, until they show up again and we repeat the process.  Ask your feelings…what is this about for me? Do not cut them short due to the discomfort as they will take you on a journey beyond the surface of the first answer.  They can take you to the core of your deepest and oldest wounds by asking yourself.  When did I first have this feeling?

With the thoughts revealed that accompany this feeling you suddenly have the power to change a disempowering thought and release feelings associated with these thoughts. Our feelings of loss can be so strong and loud that they do not let us hear our own thoughts. So this is why we have to feel them to release them until they become more manageable and we can actually hear the thoughts related to those feelings.

It requires courage to stay on the healing task which means you will have to tell your fear it is uninvited in this process.  Keep breathing through it all for fear will hold you back.  Fear will consume your energy and rob you of your power to heal and release pain.  Fear will convince you that somehow this pain is crippling for life and now you will just have to live with it and drag it around like a ball and chain. How tiring!

Be not afraid to live through your pain, get support when needed, but do not live in it and with it for the rest of your life, just for the duration that is normal and necessary in your process of healing the pain…after all neither fear or pain pay rent to you, so evict them, they do not have squatters rights unless you allow it.

The pain of loss has the power to transform you. Heal your pain and evolve. Heal your pain, evolve and you will be able to give more to the world to transform and evolve it.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Life can be like a ledger, tracking gains and losses.  Few of us suffer pain when we gain or lose if we agree with it and want it.  It is when we do not consciously choose it that we run into the emotional downward spiral.

At an unconscious level we choose everything for there are those who say it is what the soul has chosen for this lifetime. So everything even though it may feel like a painful loss is actually a gain. This premise presumes we are experiencing life from a higher level of consciousness.

Yet precisely on our journey to higher consciousness, we will stand in agreement with the above perspective and welcome all experiences as a doorway to growth and higher conscious evolution.

In the meantime, life happens, it gets messy and painful, jobs end, relationships end, earthly life ends, finances burden and redesign our lifestyle etc. and with these events a windfall of pain accompanies them unless consciously chosen.

The pain is what keeps us stuck, and into patterns of unconscious repetition unless we heal the pain, move to higher understandings and let it go…move on, release the grip it has on us.  We do not have to let go of the story of what caused the pain, it is the pain we need to let go of.  This is where healing is.  The art of healing our losses is indeed an art and a journey in itself.

Yet we often stay stuck not only with our pain, but with our story, seeking others to validate our story and make us right and someone wrong rather than validate the pain and realize that the story is a perspective and may or may not be right.

However at a higher consciousness it is not about being right or wrong, but living from a higher realm of understanding and being that does not invest time or energy into being right or wrong, but just staying in the light, expanded in our highest being and in unity. 

Seeking to heal all pain from our stories so that we can convert each painful experience into a diamond of light and draw strength from what has already happened is something to aspire to.  For as we release the pain and transform it, it will no longer diminish us, but expand us spiritually.

Loss in whatever size it comes must be grieved in order to heal…and that is an art in itself. More on this art of grieving will follow in other reflections.

In the meantime, take some time and make an inventory of where you are now on your ledger of gains and losses.  If there is a salient loss you are living now, “do not sweep it under the carpet” as they say, but spend the time to work through it, not around it.  When we experience the feelings fully, we can begin to release them, if we shortchange this process, it tends to last longer in our emotional bodies and will resurface later, reminding you that your work is not over.  Avoidance guarantees we will relive it again for “what goes under comes out sideways”, “what is not talked about gets acted out”.

We are invited to heal all our pain in order to evolve and shift to a higher consciousness…

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

Where are you now? Where is the place you call home? Where are you planted? Are you blooming?
In an age when we engage in all social media to build platforms as springboards for marketing ourselves, our wares, our gifts, our products, our anything….are we waiting to be discovered? Are we waiting for a “gatekeeper” to open the door and let us into the next level of stepping out into this global world environment where we want to be heard, recognized, acclaimed, noted not just by one, but by millions? Is this not the age when what we have to sell is not as important as who there is to sell it to? Who will give the gatekeeper the next opportunity to make millions off your gifts and talents? Platforms (followers) are the industry standard these days. For without any clout, we start at the bottom and may never get past a few rungs up the ladder of success (defined by how many millions are made or how many followers are ready to spend on what you have to offer, say or give to them).
And it is not just one ware, product or gift or anything we have to give that has value, but we also have to “up sell” give more “added value”, and create “urgency”, buy now before it is too late, or you get left behind, to compete in this global world. It feels like a race to outdo, outsmart, out strategize just to maybe step out and up! Whew! The goal keeps outdistancing itself, for when you reach one, the rules change, the methods or processes change, technology changes, the gatekeepers have changed….are we there yet?
Before we connected with technology, our only way was to connect personally. It may still be a most effective and valid way. We spend so much time with machines…adding to the value of a mechanized world, rather than the value of a human world. Our technology speaks to our current direction…more impersonal, scripted, mechanical, instant, and irreverent, anything goes.
Alas! Whereas we strive to stay connected and technology has opened the world to us and through this medium, for instance, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Great Britain have this blog in common and we connect through the technology web, it is still a machine in front of us and between us.
We fail to thrive without human contact or touch. We need each other, to look into someone’s eye’s and see that window to their spirit, to touch and transmit our healing and loving energy, to hear and allow the voice to vibrate and resonate in the chambers of our inner worlds.
Wherever you are give your gifts to those around you to those who will receive them and continue to bloom and grow where you are planted, while we wait for the seeds cast out in this web of technology, to fall on a fertile mind, heart, or spirit and your creative life force spreads globally, perhaps because of a gatekeeper or your platform size, but hopefully because your gift is the most valuable thing we offer to anyone. One on one, eye to eye, face to face, hand to hand, you are valuable where you are now.

“Bloom where you are planted.” Jeremiah 29 (1-7)

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of “The Willows of Corona”, a novel, and “Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.”

www.mariahildapinon.com

Now look at the wonder of all living things, in particular human beings.  Look at our capacity as beings gifted with intelligence, talents, a functioning body that strives to stay in balance and healthy (read about homeostasis and human physiology and stand in amazement), emotions, a mind, and a spirit part of the larger universal spirit…beings that have been given everything we need to make it in this world. 

The wonder of man and his achievements and accomplishments since the beginning of time speaks to the skill sets developed because of our imagination and intelligence and ability to create. Human beings create some amazing things in the world that improve life for all of us. Look all around you and notice that all things visible to us began as one person’s conception or idea and now it is embodied and part of our world. Appreciate all that you interact with from a toothbrush, to a fork, to the transportation we use, to the food we just shopped for, to the clothes we wear, to the phone we use and this computer that can transmit this message. It was an idea in someone’s beautiful mind at one time before it came into existence, including the intangibles like harmony.  

What we can craft is spectacular!  Imagine what one brilliant mind can do, imagine many brilliant minds working for the common good of all.  Imagine a world where each person gets to contribute their best to move humanity forward. Believe in yourself and all you are capable of being and giving to the world to make this a world we can be proud of and share with one another in joy.

 Can we co-create a world that by choice… we all get a chance…not a world that by chance… some get a choice?

What do you believe?

 Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

So of all there is to believe, what might be worth holding onto to encourage us to rise up to be our best selves? 

When we wake up each morning and we hold the gift of life flowing through us and we step into the wonder of nature and its majesty, we need to ask ourselves, do we have the individual capacity to orchestrate such events? Certainly, something bigger than us, is present and around us and within us. 

If we get scientific and take it back in time to the “no thing” of nothing that evolved to the all things and “everything” there is now, who or what had the vision that is unfolding before our eyes in this moment?  Is it not amazing how we are part of the evolution of time and history and are currently participating and shaping our world? Co-creating and constructing or destroying it as we live each day.

 Is it possible this higher, larger than life being or entity exists? Can we believe this benevolent source of life, (God, the Universe, Higher Being, Yahweh, Brahma, and Supreme Being, whatever name we choose) is a belief worth keeping?

 Yet we can choose not to believe.

However by choosing to believe in this source, creator, we get off our pedestal positions of wanting to be all-knowing ourselves and stave off some of our human proclivity toward arrogance that holds the view some beings are inherently more worthy than other human beings.  We invite humility (Latin root “humus”, meaning earth, soil) as a common ground we stand on from which to respect every individual since we all have inherent worth. We are who we are and can choose to be our best selves or our worst self. This belief in a Higher Being or Life Source allows us to be open to learn from other individual’s perspectives long enough to examine them thoughtfully and hold conversations of possibilities before we make individuals’ ideas wrong. It keeps us connected with awe and amazement to all living things especially each other and our capacity. We can be teachers to each other. We can choose to take the journey together and help each one of us make it.

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

We never act outside of our belief system.  If we do, we generally experience dissonance or discomfort at some level.  We then can either change the action or change the belief to improve our experience of dissonance or discomfort.

If you wonder what your beliefs are, just observe your behavior or conduct. There is a belief you have that allows you to act on it without any feelings of discomfort at any level. For example, if you get involved with activities that promote health, it is probably because you believe this is something to support and live out or perhaps you believe you should do what other individuals with greater knowledge offer.

We are invited to believe in many things that can be at odds in many ways and make our life a very complex list of do’s and don’ts and potential conflicts. 

Some beliefs are myths… some unexamined and others more examined. We choose to believe the myths as true.  But, just because a large majority believes something, does not mean the belief is true anymore than when a small minority believes something and we believe it is untrue.  Our collective history evidences how some beliefs once held unshakeable, get abandoned.  Remember the time when slavery was common practice?   

Given the nature of how beliefs create the path we chose to walk, it is prudent to ask ourselves what we believe about any action we give time and energy to support and create.

If we are willing to loosen up our attachments to our beliefs long enough to examine them, we could learn about ourselves without getting so defensive or argumentative or aggressive when someone challenges a belief we hold.  Each challenge can help us clarify or perhaps liberate us of what can bind us and keep us from growing, moving forward or becoming more than we can be at any given moment. We can choose to stay in conversations of possibilities or gridlock them.  We can choose high roads or low roads. We can rise to an occasion of greatness or step into smallness. All greatness, now or in the past, comes from seeing possibilities and releasing some beliefs…  

 

Maria Hilda Pinon, author of The Willows of Corona, a novel, and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

www.mariahildapinon.com

 

 

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

 Mahatma Ghandi, Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 – 1948)

 

Is there congruence in your life between your thoughts, words and actions? Take time to check in with yourself on this key point of healing, growth and transformation.

www.mariahildapinon.com

Maria Hilda Pinon, author, The Willows of Corona, a novel and Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again