Julia Samuel, British psychotherapist and counsellor, who was a friend of Princess Diana
1. Ask yourself, what was your relationship with the person who died? The biggest indicator of how much pain we are in is the quality of the relationship and how much we loved the person who died. The more important they were in your life, the more you loved them, the more you will miss them.
2. Now ask yourself, what is your relationship with yourself? As your relationship with the world and others is changed by grief, so does your relationship with yourself change. You need to show compassion for yourself, to listen to your own needs, to be kind and not to attack or criticise yourself constantly.
3. Find a way to express your grief Find the means of expressing your sorrow that works for you personally. There is no right way; the key is to connect to the feelings you have inside.
4. Make sure you give yourself time It is important to understand that grieving takes longer than anyone wants or expects; you cannot fight it. Allow more time than is often expected to make decisions.
5. Remember to nurture your mind and body Your whole being is impacted by the death of a person you love. Every thought that you have has a physiological component that is felt in your body, and there are reciprocal bodily sensations that can trigger thoughts.
6. Know your limits When you experience a life-changing loss, it is likely to affect your capacity at work and socially. It is important to recognise the power to say no. If you are able to give a proper no, then your yes becomes infinitely more positive.
7. Seek structure In the chaos of grief, you can feel tilted off your axis. Putting one or two things in your day, regularly, that you know you can reliably do, for example exercise, helps you feel like you have some control.
8. Learn to focus. ‘Focusing’ is a practice, developed by the psychotherapist and philosopher Eugene Gendlin, that can let you ‘pause the ongoing situation and find new possibilities for carrying forward’. Grief is held in the body, often in an inchoate way. Closing your eyes and breathing into your body, then focusing on the images that emerge, can be a form of release, helping to induce a sense of calm.
I so appreciate her wisdom and willingness to honor the truth of the unique connection we share with others in our individuality while also acknowledging the collective. Moving too strongly in either direction can cause disorders and unresolved grief.
Both are necessary agents for change. We soften in our hearts or we stay hard and stuck. It is always my desire to remain open hearted. And sometimes what that means for me is I have to do my own inner work and it really isn't all that easy or pleasurable and sometimes it takes me a lot of time to get there but i do want to get there.
As time goes by I begin to connect dots that make sense to me. It doesn't matter if my dots make sense to others, they only have to make sense to me because it's my grief I'm trying to heal and move and I already know what it means to live with unresolved grief for many years. I am not willing to do that again.
The dot I connected the other day in connection to the loss of a child and the loss of a parent was this: Caring for my own baby as my baby's mother wasn't complex, or complicated. It was very simple. He couldn't talk so I couldn't ask him what he wanted or what would make him feel good. I just had to wing that one. He was a brand new human. It was a simple roadmap.
Just love him, keep him as comfortable as you can.
When I think about how simple the formula was in knowing there wasn't much time and what to do during that time.
I can see the simplicity now only in comparison. My father could talk and I could ask him what he wanted, What would be best for him and no matter what the answer was...I would honor that and him
Even though, my natural instinct was that same exact simple formula. That instinct did not shift, the only thing that shifted was I could ask.
The loss of Donovan now feels like this bigger gift that has moved to this soft lightness, whereas, the loss of my Father feels like I've truly done the inner work to get the rawness and the trauma of it handled as it relates to my own inner self and I'm just left to handle the residue that is left, mostly on my own body. I love it when people don't have to work as hard as I have to work to restore their health and well-being. Ever since my experience with Donovan, I have had to work a little extra hard.
It also feels perfectly okay to me now-that these things take time.
I think one of the most important lessons I have learned in the last year has actually been to care a little less, not more. In a world that's trying so hard to get everyone to see their own humanity and how we are all in this together...It sounds like I'm going against the grain. Maybe I am, and that's okay with me.
Because, I already know we are all in this together.
One of my senior friends who is one of the most amazing, kind, welcoming human beings who gives more and more.... recently said "I will give people what I can when I can, and when I can't, I can't." This type of thinking, the ability to say no when you can't....this is why she and I are friends. :)
Farewell To Another Friend
When I returned from my trip to PA in the fall...I returned to see another Vietnam Vet Agent Orange impact. He was dying too. When we talked and he wanted to give me all the medical details. I stopped him. I said I’m so sorry, we just buried my father. I can’t handle what you are saying with all that medical terminology -however I would love to hug you and talk about your health and your well-being.
His sigh of relief was a deep one. He didn’t realize he was holding his breath and I could see and feel a softness move through him.
His gratitude was immense as my heart said “oh no. Not another loss. That’s three back to back...my heart”
All through November. All through December-I gave my word to talk health and well-being with him as I could see, the life in him rapidly disappear.
Then, I didn’t see him at all this year and I knew what that meant but I couldn’t bring myself to find out what that meant because he was my friend and I didn’t have the capacity to add on more heart ache. I couldn’t be with it.
John Robert Coleman passed away January 24, 2018.
It was only today that I was able to look to see the exact date for confirmation and to complete the space that existed between him and I.
“He enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam War in 1969. He made his home in Hawaii for 40 years. Robert was a stand in for Hawaii Five O and other Western movies.
Bob was a very loving and kind person no matter who he met. He was drawn back in his faith and looked forward to going to church, and belonging to the choir gave him joy.”
He was also an artist and a writer. He was a very good writer and he made these heart cards to do heart readings.
When he would read your heart cards, there was no negativity. Just positive and encouraging. His design was brilliant and I felt that he could take them to Hayhouse publishing because it was all about following the light and the cards amazing in quality because he was an artist.
Those cards had the power to keep people focused on the center of their own hearts. Their goodness.
I forgive you for promoting the embodiment of kindness as a way of being on-line as you excluded me from that promotion. I forgive you for not honoring my no thank you to your teachings.
I forgive you for trying to force me to carry your belief systems and values. Especially the belief and values I respect others having as I no longer carry those beliefs or values myself because they no longer serve my reality at this stage of my life.
Above, in Julia Samuel's 8 simple steps to help deal with Grief, her step #
6. she says: "Know your limits When you experience a life-changing loss, it is likely to affect your capacity at work and socially. It is important to recognise the power to say no. If you are able to give a proper no, then your yes becomes infinitely more positive."
This is where mindfulness comes in: Kindness includes accepting and respecting another human beings: NO or No Thank You. (in my mind)
When I go inward and experience the gift of floating thoughts moving through any incident, what I often find is-I do know my limits and I do recognize the power to say no and it's been amazing to have my yes's become more infinitely positive.
As I experience that awareness move through me, I feel peace within. It's a pivotal floating thought that allows me to see myself. What happens, how do I respond when someone doesn't have the capacity to accept and respect my no? When my no isn't honored or respected, where can I feel that in my body/body mind and what comes next? I recognize, my no gets stronger, not weaker.
Lacking in having consent is being hugely highlighted right now in mainstream culture, however, mostly just on the level of human sexuality.
It makes me wonder what would happen if everyone got deeply intimately connected with their own no and their own yes in congruency and beyond the outrage of all things sexual but rather as a way of life.
It just seems like the allowance and acceptance of no - would make it easier to create.....a "Kinder World."
You are most welcome to free yourself by forgiving me too. Or not, either way I forgive you.
LEARNING TO SURF
You see this dorky face where the joy inside of me is so abundant that my eyes are closed and my face looks totally big and weird? Well that's my new goal. To be so thoroughly joyful that when I smile into a camera all you see is this total dork. Because the sensation of living and being extremely happy is what is being captured.
To me, that is where it's at. More of that please and thank you.
There is a German Proverb
Joy and sorrow are next door neighbors.
In a very real way, the loss of my father, the depth of sorrow there...the significant (from my birth on..flesh of my flesh -bone of my bone level loss) .that love and loss.....moved me somehow. To this place....
Now, when the joy does kick in...that too is somehow...deeper, richer and more vibrant. However, I had to sit with that sorrow, be with it, work with it and move through it and continue to do so moment to moment.
That's just how it works with me being me. It may not be how everyone else works. That’s okay