Loss

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS THE WAY YOU WANT TO

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I’m listening to the radio and the host mentioned how excited she is for Thanksgiving to be coming up next week. I didn’t even realize how quickly it came up.

Before, I would have had my Thanksgiving Day reservation made at Boulevard Five72 and a complete menu for the day after Thanksgiving all prepared by November 1st!

Now, the holidays approach like a regular day for me and I can almost slip through it unnoticed – until the invites come flooding in from friends asking for me to celebrate with them.

Of course I am always grateful, but the holidays after a loss is hard.

Even when you are surrounded by loving family and friends, sometimes it’s still not the same.

Through the smiles and laughter, there are times when a deep sadness peeps through and I wish I was home surrounded by what was familiar.

So, all of this is to say that I know that for some, the holidays may not be easy to navigate. In fact it may be downright hard.

I’ve come to realize that while the holidays will not be the same – some years will be good, some passable and some not so good – I had to give myself permission to do the holidays my way.

I focus on one day at a time and allow myself to do what makes me feel good, even if it means not following the expectations of what others may want me to do.

Every year, Derek and I engaged in our own holiday traditions. One of those would be to go to Bethlehem, PA to look at the Christmas lights and watch Santa ride through town on his Clydesdale-drawn sleigh.

I had a need to continue the tradition even though he was not physically here – so one morning, I just got into the car and drove to PA. The experience was different as it wasn’t during the night as I was used to doing. I also didn’t see Santa, but funnily enough I ended up having a good time exploring the Christmas shops and museums. I let go of expectations and gave myself permission to experience the tradition in a different way.

There are no expectations for you to be able to get through every day smiling and happy and that is ok even if others do not understand.

SO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO WHATEVER  YOU NEED TO DO TO GET THROUGH THE COMING WEEKS.

If you want to stay in and create a voice message that says you are “Out of the Office”–
do it.

Book a trip for the holidays or indulge in something that makes you happy.

Leave a party early or not attend at all.

Or cry.

Give yourself permission to let the energy flow however you need it to.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO PLEASE EVERYONE
AND KNOW THAT EACH YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT.

I used to go to South Carolina to spend the holidays with my best friend and her family. The warm weather and running after my nieces would help me to reset.

This Thanksgiving is a toss-up of spending it with friends or taking an impromptu trip up north. Or I may make lavender and white chocolate cocoa, put on my favorite sweats and binge watch movies.

For Christmas, I always hold an annual Cookie Swap party in early December. However, this year, I have not given a single thought to the actual day and that is ok. Whatever I decide on, I know it will be what I want to do to make me happy. It will be what my soul needs.

SO YOUR MISSION – IF YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT – IS TO DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO,  WHATEVER MAKES YOU HAPPY OR CONTENT. THAT’S ALL THAT YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT. ♥

Sending love and light always.

Val

 

RECIPE FOR LAVENDER & WHITE CHOCOLATE COCOA
Combine all of these ingredients into a small container to use whenever you want this indulgent treat.

¼ cup powdered milk
½ cup vanilla pudding mix
1 cup white chocolate, shaved
2 tbsp lavender

In a small saucepan, add ¼ cup of the Hot Chocolate Mixture into 1 ¼ cups of milk. Stir until heated through and the chocolate has melted.

Strain to remove the lavender and Enjoy!

Image by © Andreaobzerova
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What I’m Listening To: You + Me

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Just as in how I stumbled upon this song while looking for something completely different, “everything happens for a reason…”

You + Me ~ P!nk and Dallas Green

 

 

 

The Chaos of Grief

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In grief, we create distractions — working harder, drinking, writing, drugs, traveling, volunteering, gambling. Whether or not they serve the highest good for us, the distractions wrap us up like a warm blanket, creating a white noise around our screaming hearts.

I have several distractions shared between work, classes, my meditation and Reiki practice, writing my book, Sunday drives, volunteering and meeting up with numerous friends. For the last two years, just about every day/night has been filled with an activity. But there have been moments, when a pocket of free time finds its way to me.

And that is when I feel the “chaos.”

The physics meaning of “chaos” is “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.” But the chaos of grief is that it was the result of a MASSIVE change in our lives. And the “unpredictable behavior” is a response to quelling the pain so that we do not fully lose ourselves. For myself I quell the noise by going to the casino.

When Derek was alive, we used to go to the casino only when my hand “itched” or when Derek had a dream of our number 123. And just as sure as we were of our intuition, we would head to AC to Empire and win a handsome amount. We would then treat ourselves to a celebratory dinner or brunch (if we stayed up all night) and would tuck the rest away for safe-keeping. Sometimes we would go to AC just to walk the boardwalk just enjoying the lights, music and energy of the place.

After he passed, when I hand would itch I would go to the casino and hear Derek direct me to the slots — I would play and stop just when telepathically he would say that the machines were done. While I was winning money, being at the casino felt empty  and yet I also felt anchored to a memory that had implanted memories of me and Derek deeply into myself. For me, the money did not matter as long as I was able to pretend for a moment that Derek was alive and with me. And so my “chaos” became driving to Empire Casino regardless of if my hand itched or not. Sometimes I would just sit and not play listening to the ringing of the Slot machines around me watching people win and lose. And sometimes I would play and lose big. Last night was one of those nights.  But as I drove the solitary road back over the Tappan Zee bridge, I heard my voice tell me that I was trading one pain for another.

I woke up with those words still ringing in my ears along with the song “Breathe Me” by Sia.

Just as portrayed in the video below, grief pulls all the “sides” of us out that are hurting and depressed — the child, the playful joker, the mother, the friend, or the lover. And in those moments when we feel like we’re falling we find support in outlets that do not serve our highest good. However, it is also important to embrace and celebrate those moments because in them we find our greatest strength. And we also realize that the work that we do for ourselves is not just for us but for all others who feel like falling.

So in the realization of being aware of my “crutch” I do not judge myself but lovingly know that every day is a new day to listen to our inner experience and reassure myself that whatever I have experienced in “that past moment” will not become my “NOW moment.” There will be many times when I will fall but I am now aware that each one makes me wiser and more graceful in navigating my choices. There are no mistakes in life as each event brings us into an opportunity to unconditionally love and accept ourselves and others.

 

Sia – Breathe me from PK on Vimeo.

Lyrics: “Breathe Me” – Sia

Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I’ve lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

What I’m Reading

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As I mentioned in a recent posting, while I have not been writing much over the last few weeks, in the period of “abstinence” I have been reading several books on various topics nonstop.

The interesting thing about all of this is that since Derek’s passing, I’ve found it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything for too long nor am I able to hold my thoughts together without having to write them down mulitple times on paper. Yet all of these issues disappear when I am reading.

Below are three book reviews by renowned mediums whose personal stories and experiences brings insight to those grieving or who have questions about death and the afterlife. Please note that I will share reviews on the other four books, with a different focus from this grouping shortly.

Never Say Goodbye: A Medium’s Stories of Connecting with Your Loved Ones ~ Patrick Mathews

Renowned medium, Patrick Mathews’ shares true stories from his readings to illustrate how our loved ones never die. In fact, they benefit from communicating with us just as much as we do. This book also provides an understanding and guide into how to open our hearts and minds in order to connect with our loved ones through meditation and practice lessons.

Psychic Intelligence ~ Terry and Linda Jamison

Upon first glance it can easily be thought that this book’s sole focus is on how to become a psychic. While “Psychic Twins” Terry and Linda Jamison, provide insight into how we can communicate with our loved ones through the development of either our Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Clairsentience, or Claircognizance, this book provides a wonderful understanding of how to develop our own personal strength.

The change in our lives as a result of a loved one passing on, is scary. The fear of letting ourselves feel whatever we need to feel leads us into becoming emotionally numb. By honing in on the quiet, still voice inside each of us we can slowly heal ourselves while enhancing our intuition.

Heaven and Earth~ James Van Praagh

When a loved one passes, we start questioning “the mysteries of life and death.” Through real-life testimonies and stories, medium James Van Praagh, provides clarity on some of our questions as well as shows us how to open our awareness to those on the other side. Per Van Praagh, we are all naturally blessed with psychic gifts. This book invites us to discover our talents and intuition allowing us to strengthen our relationships with our loved ones on the other side.

What I’m Reading Now: Chicken Soup for the Soul ~ Jack Canfield, Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark

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A soulful collection of true stories of people receiving messages of love and hope from loved ones beyond the veil.

What I’m Reading Now: Love Beyond Life ~ Joel Martin and Patricia Romanowski

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The Healing Power of After-Life CommunicationsA comforting book which offers personal and scientific testimonies of people who have connected with their loved ones who have passed away. While the experience of a loved ones death is personal for all of us — we all share the common need to try to make sense of our experiences and loss — this book is a good resource.

What I’m Reading Now: this i know – notes on unraveling the heart ~ Susannah Conway

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This is one of the first books I purchased after Derek passed. And while I believe this book is suitable for anyone experiencing loss, this is a particularly helpful book for the tribe of women who have lost their husband, spouse or partner.

Susannah Conway’s book is soulful and heartwarming, as she shares her story of transitioning into her new life after the lost of her partner, through creative writing and photography. In sharing her story, Susannah invites us to delve into our own relationships with our loved ones and with ourselves through journal writing and photography. You will see some of my exercises posted in the Reflections section of this blog.

Addititionally, Conway teaches an online photojournalism course which offers a great opportunity to meet other women and make friends. http://www.susannahconway.com/