Archives for posts with tag: loss

GRUDGE Report

There is nothing as refreshing and cleansing as to be able to report we have truly released a grudge, we have let go of a grievance, we have practiced the art of forgiveness for our own good.  As the year draws to a close it is prudent and wise to spend some time reflecting on the year that ends capturing its highlights of both the joys and the pains.

At the end of each year my daughters and sometimes friends join us for a beautiful ritual to close out the year. Perhaps you would like to start your own circle with friends or family.

Sit in a quiet place together, place a special cloth on a table or on the floor, place a candle on it, and bring symbols that are important to each person participating that represent highlights of the year and icons that may be special to you representing your spiritual guide to place on the cloth. Each person should have paper and a pencil or pen. We use spiral notebooks. Have chimes, bells, bowls, tuning forks, or any instrument that produces relaxing sounds or enhances relaxation.  Light your candle, and have everyone take a deep breath. Have one person use the sound instrument on each person (we ring the Tibetan chimes over each ones head as they continue to take cleansing breaths). Call on the highest guides to be present to the exercise (angels, saints, the Virgin Mary, God, ancestors, etc.).When everyone feels calm and centered, begin the writing exercise.

1. Make a list of all the things, situations, persons, that need to be released or forgiven. What we are still clinging to and hold a grudge against is the focus of this reflection.  Remember forgiveness and release is about us and not the transgressor.  It is to free our energy for higher goals.  Take as long as is needed to complete the inventory.  When it is completed, each person takes a turn reading their list.  All listen quietly and in support providing the encouragement and courage to share and explore as deeply as is needed to truly let go.

When all have taken a turn, take a deep breath and bless each story of pain.  You can take the list or inventory and burn it using the lit candle. Have an ashtray or similar dish close at hand to smudge it or a glass of water to drown it and extinguish the flame.

2.  Now make a list of all the things or events or people we are grateful for especially in the year the exercise are being done. When each one completes it each one reads it aloud to the group, witnessing the blessings of the year.  You will be surprised how after doing the release exercise, we will be grateful for all the transgressions as they have been our teachers of greater wisdom, for these grudges have the potential to help us grow deeply as we look inward. After all have read their list, everyone can take a deep breath and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all received.

3. Now make a list of the goals you have for the New Year and after that list is complete, read it aloud taking turns and identify how your friends or family can support you in the achievement of those goals.

When the ritual is completed, take a deep breath, celebrate and congratulate each other for the strengthening and deepening exercise undertaken and glow in the light of the end of one year as we transition to the beginning of the New Year. There is nothing as refreshing as beginning a year with a clean slate and letting the past go and stay in the past….

There will be a few more blogs following this one that will focus on the process of forgiveness both for others and of us. Stay tuned and thank you for being part of this experience and reading my blog.  I will be grateful for all the followers and hope you pass this GRUDGE report and the blog site to others.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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

Poetry in E-Motions

Poetry in emotions can be discovered and an excavated gem. Just like music and new behavioral rituals.  There is an adage that says that “in all of us there is a bit of a poet, musician, and insanity.”  When we FEEL strongly we often seek expressions of the energy.  If we use this energy creatively we can even capture and immortalize a moment. Thus in all our feelings we can find a poem, lyrics to music or behavioral rituals that may look insane to some individuals (such as having a party by the tomb of the deceased) that not only help us emote creatively but keep us sane.  Sometimes “abnormal” in an abnormal situation is normal. Have you ever caught yourself in any of these expressions?

Moving the energy of feelings so that we do not get stuck in it is healthy and the goal of healing.

This is another exercise for creative expression of feelings, whether they be sad, happy or of any color of the rainbow.

Exercise: Think of things that remind you of something or someone that nudges your heart in a downward spin or if you prefer an upward spin of emotions such as loss, pain or joy. List the things.  Use the poem below of as an example of how these things can all be triggers for these feelings. Create one in a similar style with the things that are unique to what you jotted down.  In the end celebrate what you have created with the power of words and how you have captured and memorialized something or someone special to you.

 

     IT’S YOU I MISS 

It’s the phone call I’ll never get

And the number I’ll never dial

The fresh cut rose from your garden I will never smell

The chocolates we won’t taste and share

Nor the toasts we’d make over wine we’d sip

It’s the books we’d read and discuss at length

And the music we danced and sang to all night

The meals we’d prepare to dine without hurry

And the stars in the sky we’d count for hours

The strolls by the lake we would often make

And the country drives we’d often take

It’s the peaceful sunsets we’d contemplate

And the morning songbirds we’d awaken to

It’s your touch

Your taste

Your smell

Your gentleness

Your caress

Your kisses

Your embraces

Your voice

Your caring

Your presence

 

It’s you… I miss

 

This is a poem on page 24 from Candles in the Dark…poems to grieve, hope and love again.

Welcome Poetry in E-Motions and discover the unique poet in you and the gems of poetry that can be excavated in all e-motions.

 www.mariahildapinon.com

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

With an understanding of the process and roadmap of grief…it is time to do some work to release the old lingering feelings of loss. This is an exercise to help us work through any of our losses.  It is a process not a onetime event and exercise so repeat as often as necessary. And by all means seek professional help if you or others deem necessary.

First take an inventory of all the unfinished loss you are carrying around. Go as far back as you would like and is necessary. The size of the loss is not what matters; it is how you feel about it. It can be loss about innocence, youth, ideas, jobs, relationships, dreams, pets…anything you have given meaning to. Make the list as long as is necessary to dig up all the toxic pile.  Jot each one down in one word or statement.  

Take a deep breath as you think about each. Write one salient feeling associated with each one. On a scale of 0-10 (10 being the strongest possible feeling) rate each one. Work with the strongest ones first or weakest ones if you prefer. You goal as you experience each one is to slowly see a drop in your rating scale of each so that a 9 becomes an 8 and so on, until it is at a 0 when possible.  (There are some losses that will always leave a residual sting and perhaps a zero is not the desired goal such as when a parent loses a child. Yet it is possible for many to get to zero.) Remember lowering the rating scale is about the intensity of the feeling, not about your level of care for the loss.  You will always care about it but it will be a source of joy and strength in the future when your grief work is over.  

How do you know which losses are still lingering?  How do you know when your grief over a loss is over?  How you feel about it when you recall it will tell it all.

Whenever you think about or see anything that reminds you of your loss, you will feel a shift in your emotional state.  If you are not finished with your grief work, the shift is downward, diminishing, and restrictive, you may not want to go there as you “will feel bad all over again”. The emotional strings get pulled and you have a reaction to stop the feeling, escape, make it go away, make it go under a façade again.  Usually they are feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, fear or shame.

Welcome this visit from your feelings instead.  This is the opportunity for coming face to face with these feelings that pull us down and are tying up our energy in the wrong direction. Sit with your feelings and letting them just be and experience their aliveness in our being until they dissipate. Resist holding onto them or pushing them away. Just letting them be gives a sense of relief, just like when you go empty your bladder. You will feel better and lighter.  The feelings may surface again at a later time, but let them be. Name them and let them visit and let them pass through you. Repeat as often as they visit. 

Eventually you do run dry and then when empty you can be filled with more light and loving energy that is always there waiting to drop in on us. Remember when the feelings are reduced you will be able to hear the thoughts related to those feelings and can explore and challenge any self-defeating or limiting ones.

If when you think about it, you feel truly peaceful and can find strength in the experience of the past and have drawn insights or just feel complete with the ending, then your grief over that issue is over.  You will have no adverse feelings, only peace and perhaps joy as it was a great learning opportunity for you and now a part of your life history you can stand on with calm and acceptance.

Do this exercise as often as you need to and work on as many issues as are necessary. The reward is more energy for being more of the best you.  The healed and transformed you. Remember you are the author of your life.

www.mariahildapinon.com

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

The journey of grief continued…

Anger/Resentment/Criticism show up and this intense energy is often feared.  We do not see it as a gift and how it is valuable but rather as a socially unacceptable feeling.  Why?  Most of us do not handle this intense feeling of anger well. Our skill set may be limited or past experiences have not had peaceful outcomes when anger is involved. These disempowering outcomes perhaps have done more damage than good to relationships and from here comes our fear of this intense energy. Yet if we think about it, this gift of the energizing power of anger when utilized correctly and in civilized ways is what we need to pull us out of the panic pit or the depressed mode. We need it to make the changes necessary in our life to move us forward to reorganize and redesign our life. How else do we get this energy, when we have been de-energized by our loss? It naturally comes as part of the journey.  Anger can narrow our focus to take action. Yet if we misunderstand and misuse the gift, we can get a hardened heart and hurt others as well and stay stuck in this venom that indeed can poison us and our health. In anger we can find courage to move on.  It is a good tool when in good hands guided by a good head. But then as we move on we feel the strings of guilt.

Guilt is normal when we have done or failed to do something, it becomes unhealthy when it is out of proportion to our involvement in the situation. Yet we will feel that sense of remorse… why should I go on without what I lost, why me, what did I do wrong or not do? I have no right to go on.  It might mean I do not care anymore. How do we keep memories alive? But if we have experienced forgiveness and acceptance we can easily admit the guilt and let it go.  Unresolved guilt can make us miserable for years.  But if we move on, how do we return when we can’t go back?

We Resist Returning to life as usual as it is difficult, demanding and unpredictable.  The familiar feels safer and oftentimes we would rather get stuck on grief than face a new world and decisions. Many out there do not let us grieve and we feel as if grief is out of place in their world and we are left to carry it alone inside ourselves…no one wants to talk about the loss anymore, yet we still carry it. Everyone forgets our loss, but we are still living the ramifications of all the changes in our life. But thankfully, a thread of hope can keep us moving forward if we do not despair.

Hope shines through since we are human and need the warm affection and encouragement of those around us.  It makes it easier to let go of our unrealistic attitude of wanting to shut the world out and all the opportunists for meaning again…not replace, just play again, just participate in the dance of life again. And this new chapter and beginning is not a sign of disloyalty to any of our past or any person of the past. But we will never be the same again.

We Embrace Reality as a wiser, stronger person. We can never be our old self again…it is not possible. We have grown through this journey and are different and changed.  Yet depending on how we responded or coped we will be stronger or weaker, healthier in spirit or diminished.  Those coping with less healthy ways never really work through their grief. Those of us with a healthy faith and healthy coping can be there for others who face similar losses as we are helped by the deepest conviction that we were not alone then and will not be in the future.  We did not do it alone; there was a higher power, God, after all.  Under the duress, greatness was sculpted in the interior chamber of our being and the rays of sun come through the dark clouds that have been inside our hearts. We may continue to struggle, but we can affirm the gift of life and go on living.  Because life is the gift and one day we will meet the end of our earthly journey.  Each loss in our life well grieved will prepare us for the ultimate loss…our very own life.  Grieve well to live and love well.

Remember the journey is unique to each one, but a roadmap helps us to keep moving and not get stuck way past what is a healthy resolution to our losses and grief. Love life and give it your best.  We only have this time now.

 

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

 

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

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