Halloween, Day of the Dead, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas Kwanzaa and New Year’s are officially on many U.S. calendars. Did I miss any on yours? I imagine some of you have Black Friday in bold as well, even though I hear several stores will not open for this day this year.
Holiday is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: “A special day of celebration. A Day most people do not have to work.”
So what happens when we are in Raw and Fragile Grief as the holidays approach?
Do we stick our head in the sand like an ostrich and pretend they are not here? Do we cancel the holidays? Or do we live from Awareness? Only ten percent of you will have the opportunity for a call with me to discover how to BE in Awareness this holiday season. Click here to register for the De-Stress Your Holidays Toolkit and receive a 30 minute call with me. Offer ends at midnight PST November 20, 2016.
Each year after my son, Reed died, we had a Family Meeting before Thanksgiving to intentionally plan our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
How we grieve- moving from pain to moments of peace is a physical process.
David Kessler says: “Our bodies remember dates” meaning anniversaries as well as holidays. The first Christmas after my son, Reed died we were in Sedona, AZ. Warm days and cool nights were soothing to our fragile bodies. We slept long and well.
I remember getting up on the second Christmas morning after Reed’s death for my tradition of wrapping gifts. (Yes, can you believe that the I intentionally left GIFT wrapping until the last possible minute?) We had decided this fall during our Family Meeting to exchange small, practical gifts. As I was in the gift closet pulling the black socks and stocking cap out to place in my son, Vincent’s gift bag (my short-cut), I felt a slash of searing pain enter my head from the upper right and exit my left shoulder. Grasping my shoulder, I collapsed on the floor. When I was finally able to roll to my knees and stand, I forced myself to put his gifts in the blue and white snowflake bag, place it under the tree and return to the warmth of my bed. I was shocked by this pain. Where had it come from? As a Synergist in training I was unable to hear pain’s message through the throbbing. It continued to loop through my head and shoulder shifting from throbbing to white hot searing for hours. People stopped by as invited for hot spicy punch and an array of Christmas cookies. I could hear the doorbell and their muffled voices. Was I being an ostrich? No, simply radically caring for myself as my body insisted I do.
How we grieve – moving from pain to peace is a mental process.
The misguided beliefs of my clients “How can I care for myself when I am supposed to be grieving my son? If I feel happy, even for a moment, that means I have forgotten him.” keep them stuck in the mental loop of grief. Mentally obsessing is re-traumatizing one’s self thought by thought.
The only moment we have is now. Past and future thinking often thrusts us like an ostrich head first into darkness, completely missing the precious present. Choice is our birthright. Believe it or not, many of us can choose to breathe and be in the moment with nature –another family tradition is our Christmas Walk – choose music to lift our mood or choose to be in service to others at a soup kitchen during the holidays.
How we grieve – moving from pain to peace is an emotional process. Emotions often blindside us as we are simply being in the business of living. In Grief, they are of tsunami proportions. When we resist the anger, sadness, despair, emotions persist.
Then there are times that our thoughts, trigger our emotions. The “If Only “ that triggers guilty sadness and the “Why” that triggers doubt and shame. When we learn to tune into the sensations in our bodies, the sadness, anger and guilt often dissipates like early morning fog. We don’t have to consider sticking our heads in the darkness shutting grief out. This is where the ABC’s of the De-Stress Your Holidays Toolkit and a 30 minute call with me can be a lifeline.
In bed that Christmas Day, I felt sadness well and wash over me like the ever rolling ocean waves. The physical, mental and emotional were enmeshed because I was unaware of the process occurring. I did not have the tools to interrupt the looping. All I could do is BE in the emotion. Finally, awakening from yet another nap, as darkness crept in from the window signaling the end of the day, the sadness lifted and my body was simply exhausted. I glided down the stairs slowly to check-in with my men for an up-date on their day.
How we grieve – moving from pain to peace is a spiritual process.
How many times does the admonition “Fear not.” occur in the Bible? Mrs. Goggle pointed me to a thoroughly researched response by David Lang reporting 119 times. How often the ground beneath my feet those first ten months felt like I was walking on an iceberg breaking up in the Antarctic Ocean. I felt fear. However, in faith, I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Always being guided to the next book or presenter for grief education, I trusted in this “Felt But Unseen Guidance”. As the years in deep grief wore on, my faith grew roots into my heart, mending it.
So know that YOU are NOT ALONE.
YOU are at Choice to be an ostrich and avoid the darkness of your grief or embrace your holidays with awareness of how we grieve – moving from pain to moments of peace is physical, mental, emotional spiritual process. BE in the New Now –however that is.